By Perry Groten
Darlene VanderGiesen was a regular visitor to the South Dakota Association of the Deaf Recreation Center located on the west side of Sioux Falls. The association’s president says Daphne Wright’s conviction will go a long way toward healing the emotional wounds within the deaf community.
Tom Kober was surprised Daphne Wright’s guilty verdict came down so quickly… but he says jurors made the right decision. South Dakota Association for the Deaf President Tom Kober said, “My first reaction was yay, it’s done, this is done, it’s over, justice has prevailed and that’s because our community has suffered, we lost a member, Darlene, we lost her.”
Kober says the deaf community is divided over what kind of punishment Wright should face. Kober is hoping for the death penalty. “She stays in prison, we’re going to be paying for her living in prison, free food, free sleep and if she’s sentenced to death then it’s done, just like Darlene, I mean Darlene’s gone, why shouldn’t she be gone.”
Wright’s conviction comes as a relief to many deaf people. Kober said, “Just suppose if she was walking free, we would be scared, we would, we would be scared because there are members of the community who have been threatened or have felt threatened.”
The rec center purchased thousands of dollars in electronic equipment through donations made in VanderGiesen’s memory. The center will hold a dedication for the equipment after the jury decides Wright’s punishment.
Kober says the electronic equipment is a fitting tribute to VanderGiesen because she watched a lot of television at the rec center… including the Super Bowl.
(( Source:Â KELOLAND TV ))