My book, Front Toward Enemy details the personal and factual aspects of my husband’s murder and his killer’s subsequent acquittal. Haven’t read it yet? This piece I wrote some time ago provides a peek into our case. Have a look-see. Then get your copy of my book. Our case is not “isolated.” It has happened again and again, and will continue to happen. But lessons can be learned from our case that will save others from suffering the same compounded tragedy. It’s an important story. Please share.
I normally make every effort to avoid clichés. Sometimes, though, there is simply no avoiding them. In this case I cannot pretend our case resembles anything but a perfect storm.
Epic storms are often preceded by dark clouds. The foreboding skies of murder in our case were darkened by the Cohoes, NY, fire inspector who refused to remedy his mistaken finding of an accidental fire as opposed to arson. This, in spite of investigative evidence that Alberto Martinez had, in fact, burned his own home to collect insurance money – I have to admit, locking the family cat inside the home to burn was twisted, but appears to have added to his tale and helped Martinez to have a clean criminal record when applying for the National Guard.
Martinez artfully avoided criminal charges after stealing from UPS, too. This fed his arrogance. The recruiter who overlooked his questionable personality and welcomed the criminal into his flock helped smother the sun, and the darkness grew.
Next the wind: Countless threats Martinez issued against the life of his Commanding Officer, Captain Esposito, appear to have been swallowed by the wind known as the 42nd ID members who heard these death threats. They refused to inform Phil Esposito, the man they were directed at. A man some even claimed to call their friend. Lou was swept up on this wind and deposited in the path of this storm, even as those who heard the threats removed themselves from their path, all-too-happily allowing him to stand in their stead.
Thunder. Have you ever head a boom so loud it temporarily deafens you? One which shakes the ground beneath you and brings you to your knees? Our storm’s thunder was the lethal blast of a claymore mine, its lightning the flash of power that shredded the men in its path.
Rain. The tears of the mothers, fathers, siblings, wives, children, and friends of Captain Phillip Esposito and Lt. Louis Allen continue to fall, and will do so for life, long after the government turned its back on the men who served and the families that entrusted it with the quest for justice and honor restored. The tears –some real and some feigned –of those who turned their backs on their duty to tell their friend and Commanding Officer his life was in danger. The CID agent who was so concerned his adulterous affair would be exposed at trial that he buckled under testimony. The military judge who refused to seat an impartial jury or clearly impart the truth that a conviction would not equate to a death penalty. The General who dismissed a guilty plea and ordered the government not to disclose its existence. The panel forewoman who unduly exercised her rank to disallow full deliberations, including deciding to not formally vote on the charges of murder concerning Lou. And the panel members who bravely came forward with the truth of deliberations, only to scurry back to the safety of the shadows.
Will anything be done to remedy these mistakes, to protect all who serve with all the Martinezes out there? Will there be a movement toward transparency and accountability that are so lacking? Will I be permitted to personally appear in Washington to present Lou’s story and my argument to award him the Purple Heart he is so far denied? Time will tell. Meantime, the storm rages on.
Barb Allen Is A Gold Star Wife, Author & National Speaker. She's a professional veterans advocate who understands the personal and factual struggles of turning adversity into advantage. But this lesson did not come easily and this upper hand must be diligently maintained. Now, Barbara brings her life lessons to her audiences in keynote speeches and custom programs. She relates to her audiences’ lives and challenges, and teaches them how to become gladiators in their own life’s arena.