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10-13-09, 02:45 AM #1
State of WI paying for killer to get a new face
MADISON - Daryl Strenke called to his former girlfriend to come out of her Comstock, Wis., mobile home so the two, who recently had broken up, could talk.
Samantha "Sam" Verby told him to come inside. As Verby blurted out, "What are you doing?" Strenke aimed his 12-gauge shotgun at her head and fired, killing her.
Verby's two friends ducked for cover as Strenke then turned the gun on himself, blowing away the lower part of his face.
The crime left the Verbys without a daughter and a 7-year-old girl without her mother. But Strenke, of Turtle Lake, survived the shotgun blast, eventually pleading guilty to second-degree intentional homicide in the June 30, 2002, shooting. He sustained significant injuries that make it impossible to eat or speak normally.
Later this month, the Columbia Correctional Institution inmate is expected to have the first of what likely will be a series of extensive - and expensive - surgeries to repair his shattered face, his mother, Darlene Strenke, confirmed.
The decision by the state Department of Corrections to OK the surgeries has raised questions about how far the state should go to provide medical treatment to prisoners who rely on the state for their care.
Strenke's mother defends the decision, saying Strenke, 45, is "tortured" by his injuries. He is serving a 60-year sentence, including 30 years behind bars.
Verby's mother is unsympathetic. She said Strenke should have to live with the consequences of his crime.
"Taxpayers feel their money should go to better things than rebuilding his face," said Alice Verby, of Turtle Lake. "He did it to himself. Let him live that way."
Duty to limit sufferingCorrections spokesman John Dipko would not confirm or deny that Strenke would receive surgery, citing patient confidentiality rules.
However, Dipko emphasized that any "reconstructive surgery would be undertaken for medically necessary reasons only, not for elective purposes."
The department has a legal responsibility "to deliver adequate health care to inmates under its custody," he said, adding that "deliberate indifference to an inmate's serious medical needs" would violate the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
"Our actions as a correctional health care provider are consistent with this constitutional directive, including instances in which an individual is identified by an outside medical specialist as in need of reconstructive surgery to protect the individual's life and health," Dipko said.
Helen Potts of Physicians for Human Rights said the department might be obligated to provide the care for other reasons.
"Doctors have an ethical duty to prevent and limit suffering of patients in their care, and a duty to practice medicine in a neutral way without fear or favor," said Potts, an attorney and human rights expert at the Cambridge, Mass.-based group. "And under international human rights law, governments are obligated to respect the right to health and refrain from limiting access to medical care for prisoners."
Weighing need, costState Rep. Ann Hraychuck, D-Balsam Lake, who was the sheriff of Polk County in 2002 and helped prosecute Strenke, said she sees both sides. Taxpayers don't want their hard-earned money wasted, but the state must care for people in its custody, she said.
"I do understand that institutions are responsible for providing necessary medical treatment," Hraychuck said, noting that as sheriff, she ran the Polk County Jail. "Now my job is to protect taxpayers ... and make sure they're getting the best bang for their buck."
In the end, Hraychuck said, she trusts Department of Corrections Secretary Rich Raemisch, former Dane County sheriff, made the right decision. Given the budget cuts across state government, Hraychuck said, "I can't imagine that the secretary of the Department of Corrections would OK any kind of treatments or surgery that isn't absolutely necessary."
Attempts by the Wisconsin State Journal to determine how much the facial reconstruction might cost were unsuccessful.
Asked to estimate the cost of such procedures, UW Hospital spokeswoman Lisa Brunette said it would be impossible without a physical examination and knowing the patient's detailed medical information. But she hinted it could be expensive.
"Complicated reconstructions for severe injuries in particular very often present unexpected developments all along the way," Brunette said. "I don't think we can responsibly provide even a ballpark estimate at this stage of the process."
'Still a human being'Without surgery, Darlene Strenke said, her son would continue to struggle to speak and eat. His speech is nearly impossible to understand, she said, and his food must be pureed.
"He doesn't have any teeth. He doesn't have a roof in his mouth, and he's only got part of a nose," she said.
Alleviating Strenke's suffering as his victim's family continues to struggle with its loss doesn't seem fair, Verby said. Her husband, Larry, was the first on the scene, running from the family-owned Staples Lake Bar near Samantha's home. Her granddaughter was just a few feet away when her mother was shot to death.
"It took quite a long time for her to go to sleep by herself," Verby said. "She was afraid someone else was going to shoot through her room."
Darlene Strenke admits there was a time when she would have felt the same as Alice Verby - until her own son was sent to prison.
"It doesn't matter who they are, what crimes they've committed, (prisoners) still deserve the (medical) care," she said. "They're still a human being."No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
"The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".
We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.
10-13-09, 03:52 AM #2"It doesn't matter who they are, what crimes they've committed, (prisoners) still deserve the (medical) care," she said. "They're still a human being."
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.
10-13-09, 02:28 PM #3
this is stupid. but for his own actions, hed have a regular face. if his half head is functioning, and keeping him alive, problem solved. nowhere in the article do i read that he is suffering from unusual and abnormal amounts of pain. nowhere do i read that without this surgery he will surely die. the state is not responsible for his condition, and therefor should not spend a cent to improve his condition cosmetically. if he could independently pay for his own operation, id have no problem with it, but to ask the state to fork up hundreds of thousands of dollars for [cosmetic] surgery because hes " mentally tormented" due to his appearance is outlandish.in the warriors code there's no surrender, though his body says stop, his spirit cries...NEVER. deep in our souls, a quiet ember, knows its you against you, its the paradox that drives us all. its a battle of wills, in the heat of attack, its the passion that kills, and victory is yours alone.
the posts and opinions stated by me do not in any way reflect the values, beliefs, or views of my department. they are simply opinions and/or observations which have been developed through my personal experiences. hell, most of the stories probably arent even true...wink wink
10-14-09, 12:27 AM #4
Personally, I think he should look in the mirror every day as he is now so he can be reminded of the crime that he has committed for the rest of his life, but that's just me. Apparently the victim's mother thinks somewhat the same way.
Choose The Right. When you're doing whats right, then you have nothing to worry about.
Not a LEO
In memory of Sgt. Howard K. Stevenson 1965 - 2005. Ceres Police Dept.
In memory of Robert N. Panos 1955 - 2008 Ceres Police Dept.
10-14-09, 02:36 AM #5
Make it so he can eat/take care of himself, but dont make him look like brad pittSomebody Please, what the hell is that smell?
"The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was 'involved' - the pig was 'committed'."
The views, opinions, stupid off the cuff comments, mouthy, obnoxious, thoughtless, etc etc etc are not always or even some of the time the belief of my department, so bugger off!
10-14-09, 07:41 AM #6
He can eat, so what if his food has to be puree'd it's his own fault. Can't understand him speak? Give him a pad of paper and a pencil, cheaper than surgery! I can't see how anyone can have sympathy for him. There is a young girl without a mother and with lots of issues to deal with because of him. Why they didn't give him the death penalty is beyond me
My dad, I miss him every day.
Originally Posted by Wolven
Life is too short to wear unsexy underwear.
I am a female!!!!! LMAO
Be who you are and say what you feel.....
Because those that matter...don't mind...
And those that mind...don't matter
10-14-09, 08:11 AM #7
Maybe it'll be easier for him to give BJ's?\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
10-14-09, 12:09 PM #8
Give him the shotgun back. The job is still only half done.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
10-14-09, 01:02 PM #9SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM-Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"
"It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
Far from being a handicap to command, compassion is the measure of it. For unless one values the lives of his soldiers and is tormented by their ordeals , he is unfit to command.
-General Omar Bradley, United States Army
10-14-09, 04:11 PM #10
Fucketh Himmeth'Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a
delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly
promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
holds forth the proposition that it is entirely
possible to pick up a turd by the clean end!'
“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” Sigmund Freud
10-14-09, 08:16 PM #11
Boo hoo....he made a choice that impacted the lives of many....let him live with that decision as is...the victim's family is thanks to himNever be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way" ~Martin Luther King, Jr
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