Monday, March 22, 2010

Face of the murderer

People who knew her have nothing but good things to say about 55-year-old Maralee Andreason. She was a "stay-at-home Grandma," after a disability left her unable to work. She loved taking her grandkids to activities, like swimming or the circus. Maralee made friends with everybody.

Maralee made a fatal mistake when she fell in love with an ex-con named Thomas James Valdez, Jr. He had a history of violence. Last year he stabbed her and she needed surgery to repair tendons in her arm and shoulder. Apparently it wasn't enough for her to call off the relationship. A couple of weeks ago in their home in West Valley City, Utah, Andreason died of blunt force trauma and blood loss after being assaulted by Valdez, Jr. He said they had argued.

An argument isn't a reason to kill someone, but to 44-year-old Valdez, Jr., it was his way of dealing with it. Maybe he is proud that he won that argument the best way he knew how. Violence.

You can see by his tattooed face that Valdez, Jr., is someone who has chosen to live outside of society. By inking up his face he is saying fuck you to the rest of us. Valdez isn't a member of a group that tattoos faces for cultural purposes. His tattoos are meant to show his contempt. They are a permanent signal to everyone looking at him that he has something loose upstairs, something that makes him reject the commonplace or acceptable in our traditional society.

It's always been a mystery to me why women stay with men like Valdez, Jr., who have no respect for them and who treat them as punching bags. There are whole bookshelves written about women who find themselves in these intolerable relationships and there are always common markers. Even with the public becoming educated, women being told that they don't need to put up with this kind of abuse, many women every year end up dead because they chose the wrong man.

Valdez, Jr., is certainly that. I'd like to see him spend the rest of his life behind bars for his crime, so that no other woman--if there any women left out there who could stand waking up to that face--would have to go through what Maralee Andreason went through. And of course, there are many more victims than just Maralee. Her whole family is victimized, grieving because they saw this coming.

Why did a nice person end up with someone who abused her, mistreated her, then killed her? I wish Maralee had listened to someone or done something before this tattooed freak got hold of her and ended her life.

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