Thursday, August 15, 2013

Woman who murdered her allegedly abusive husband as he lay in bed with his eyes closed is denied parole

The case of Niki Rossakis, who is serving time in prison for murdering husband Gary as he lay in bed with his eyes closed in their Astoria home in 1993, became -- in the words of the New York Daily News -- "a cause celebre for advocates of battered women nationwide . . .." Rossakis maintains that she was regularly sexually assaulted by him. Earlier this week, Rossakis was denied parole.

Rossakis, who was addicted to pain killers, never produced witnesses or physical evidence that she was terrorized by her husband, a 6-foot-2 auto mechanic and gas station owner. “Despite your assertions of abuse being rejected by a jury after hearing you testify ... you continue to blame your victim for his death,” the parole board wrote in its decision.

According to the New York Daily News:
In May, Rossakis’ eldest son, John, told the Daily News that he grew up believing his mother’s version of the tragedy: that his father was a monster and she acted to protect herself and her children. He was 4 years old in 1993 when his father was killed. 
Last summer, John pored over trial testimony and police evidence. Now a 24-year-old law student, he became convinced his mother assassinated his father in cold blood, he said. 
She lied about the abuse, he says he believes. She was worried her husband was about to discover she had blown the family’s savings on drugs, the son says.
Gary’s younger sister Tina, said her large and tight-knit family was relieved that parole was denied. “I’m fearful that she has the capacity for that kind of violence again,” Tina said. “This isn’t about punishment. It’s about protecting our family.”

Rossakis's attorney says she has consistently taken responsibility and expressed remorse for her actions.

According to the Daily News: ". . . 20 years after Gary Rossakis’ murder, she still has her ardent supporters. Dozens have written in support of her getting parole."

We will never know for certain what happened in the privacy of the Rossakis marital bedroom, but it is grossly unjust to Gary Rossakis --  who is not here to defend himself against his wife's allegations and has no victims' advocates speaking on his behalf -- to assume he was an abusive husband just because the woman who killed him in cold blood says he was.