By Attorney David Engler
I have been an elected official for over 22 years. The past 11 have been with the Board of the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center. I was a Board Member who received a deranged business card from the killer who stalked Stacey Sutera. Please make no mistake about it: Stacey Sutera was a beautiful daughter, mother, granddaughter, teacher, friend and colleague. This was not some boyfriend-girlfriend relationship gone bad. This was a freak ego-maniac; obsessed old man who was bent on revenge once he learned the object of his obsession had rejected him. There was no relationship. It existed in his twisted mind. And then this criminal monster stole this tremendous young successful life from her family, friends and students.
I cannot remember being so sad and angry at the same time over something that has unfolded in the public. It did not have to happen. It could have been stopped. The government paid to protect us should have insisted that if the killer was not going to be in jail for 5 years, he should have worn a GPS tracking device that kept him out of Mahoning County. If he took the bracelet off or came within the County limits the victim and police would be immediately notified. She lived a nightmare of wondering where he was. And I do not know if she approved the plea agreement that got him no monitoring or jail or if that was recommended to her. Often a battered or stalked woman will not want to push too far. They fear retaliation. Stacey did everything right.
She called the police and Canfield PD responded to protect her. She received a restraining order. She filed a civil suit. She installed cameras. She asked for help. So why wasn’t he made to pay for a GPS tracking device? It was available.
The federal government, state government and every person that is elected to represent people should recognize that the answer to this tragedy is to hold those that should have protected Stacey accountable and to make sure it never happens again. Never again should a madman stalk an innocent young woman, put her life in tatters and not be required to wear a bracelet that would protect his victim. Anywhere. Anytime.
Some will argue where to draw the line. I trust the Judges will know that line if they are presented with the facts and threat. But please be sure that the devil that took Stacey was an obvious threat. She knew that and it meant that others knew the danger as well. May her memory be a call to action.