Wright Sentence: Deaf Reaction Mixed

By Lou Raguse

The day after the jury sentenced Daphne Wright to life in prison, leaders in the local deaf community have mixed feelings.

The jury unanimously decided Wright had a depraved mind when she killed Darlene VanderGiesen. But not all the jurors could agree to the death penalty.

Deaf leaders had hoped they would.

Darlene VanderGiesen was a regular at Deaf Club social hour. So, for taking their friend away from them, Tom Kober says most members of the Sioux Falls deaf community wanted Daphne Wright to die.

“But we do commend the jury because this was a very difficult, tough decision, which we do understand,” says Kober, president of the South Dakota Association of the Deaf . “At the same time, darn. We were disappointed. As long as Daphne stays in prison for life, will not get out, which means we are safe.”

Kober says he’ll support the decision, because VanderGiesen’s parents do, too. But he hopes life in prison is enough punishment for Wright.

“I’m hoping it’s harsh. I’m hoping that she suffers. And I hope she realizes that life is not easy in prison,” Kober says.

Life without VanderGiesen won’t be the same for this community. But Kober hopes to stay in contact with the victim’s family.

“We will always support that family,” Kober says. “I’m glad the family can move on with some closure.”

Kober says closure is what the deaf community needed as well.

“I’m glad it’s done, because we can move on and just move forward and focus on the needs of our people,” he says.

Kober says members of the local deaf community were tiring of out-of-state bloggers questioning the fairness of Wright’s trial.

The Deaf Club is planning to dedicate a new entertainment system to Darlene VanderGiesen. He says one of her favorite things to do there was watch football.

(( Source: KELOLAND TV ))

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