I’ve been silent for the past few days, as you may or may not have noticed. I’ve been waiting for the hour in which I could make this very post. Tonight three men sit in jail awaiting trial for TC’s assault. Six weeks ago they approached my husband at a nearby park as he made his way home after an evening out with friends. They threatened him, robbed him, beat him profusely, and left him to die four blocks from our house. Bleeding in the brain, he sought help. He waited for 8 long hours before that help would arrive. Another hour, another minute, and he would be dead. The doctors who operated on TC did not expect him to survive. I am told the bleeding in his brain was so profound that within minutes it would have spread to his brainstem, effectively shutting down all of his organs.

I don’t know the men who did this. I don’t even care to utter their pathetic names. But I do look forward to the day I get to look their cowardly faces in the eyes and tell them exactly who I am. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a teacher and a friend and a sister and a daughter. I am the woman who bakes brownies for the nurses so that they can get to know my family. I am the one who cracks jokes at the hospital with her husband’s therapists and doctors because sometimes our reality is just too much to bear. I’m the one that signed those terrifying consent forms allowing doctors to cut open her husband’s skull and perform surgery on his brain. I’m the one that called 911 over and over on the morning of Saturday, August 18th while I sat outside on my stoop shaking and trying to remain calm as I fed my young son a banana. I’m the one who’s filled out pages of disability forms and read book after book about brain injury and neurology. I’m the one who has gone through hundreds of cards, e-mails, and messages from friends and strangers throughout the country and tried not to cry after each one. I’m the one that asked each of you to pray at 10:00AM on August 19th while we held hands around TC’s bedside and prayed loudly for the greatest miracle of our lives.

I am the one who has been present for each and every moment of this unending hell. And I will be here until the end, regardless of TC’s final condition. That’s what I signed up for.

What I ask for, however, is justice. I ask that these subhumans serve a term that is at least equal to the amount of time my family spends getting our lives back. And if we never get back a life comparable to the one we had before, I ask that TC’s assailants feel the full extent of their hideous actions. I’m a forgiving person, but forgiveness does not apply to this case.

You see, if these young men had asked my husband for his wallet, his phone, whatever, he would have handed it to them. TC isn’t a smart guy. He’s absolutely brilliant. He’s humble and shy and constantly embarrassed by my praising and bragging about him, but he is so absolutely deserving of every compliment. One of the brightest minds in his industry, TC was ready to take on the world. Now he spends each day asking me why he’s such an idiot, why he’s weird, and scary looking and stupid. I sob as I write this because it breaks my heart to have to respond to these questions. He’s not stupid, weird, ugly, or anything he has accused himself of, but I can’t tell him he’s going to be the same. I can’t tell him he’ll go back to work or play guitar or do any of the things that brought him joy. I just don’t know.

Every day is a little better than the one before. Every day is a step in the right direction, but when someone asks your husband what the name of his wife is and he answers, “Seventeen,” it’s incredibly hard not to be frustrated at times. I have so many fears every moment of the day. It would be so easy to let them engulf me. I don’t know what my life will look like in December or May or next August. TC will spend the next two months in rehab and then we will reconfigure our lives once more and determine the next step. I want us to be that family that inspires. I want us to be the biggest of all miracles. But all we can do for the moment is put one foot in front of the other and try walking.

27 thoughts on “Justice

  1. Oh Abby…I've been checking your blog for an update since your last post, and especially since the news broke of the arrests. I can feel your anger, your frustration and your sadness through the raw emotion of your words. I am relieved they caught these truly evil human beings who did this to your husband, to your lives…however, I know that doesn't change the reality and the struggle that is ahead for you. Please know that I, and countless others–friends and strangers alike–will all continue to be behind you as you put one foot in front of the other, and continue your journey to TC's inevitable recovery. –Neda (former MoTH and your friend vicariously through JoAnn)


  2. Justice will not be served, the only question is to what extent the punishment, if any, will fail to fit the crime. We all want to see these people go away and never come back, but I do hope for the sake of your mental health that you can temper your expectations for the DC criminal justice system at the outset, and not allow the inevitable frustration which is to come to distract from the primary task at hand. Best of luck.


  3. Was so hopping that no news was good news. And it is. I am so glad they have caught these … I don't even know what to call them. And I hope that justice will be served, but it is not guaranteed.
    So, continue to focus on your life, whatever it is now or what it will be. You are right, one step at a time. God can't possible ignore ALL of our prayers!
    Love and prayers to all of you!


  4. I hope they get every ounce of punishment they deserve from the justice system, but I'm so glad they will get to hear these eloquent words from such a tough, intelligent lady too. Go get 'em girl!

    I know it will take another level of strength from you, but I agree that they (and the court) should know exactly what their actions have done to your family.


  5. I've never met you but I'm a fellow MOTH. I cannot imagine what you and your family are going through. And I'm so sorry that this terrible thing has happened. Please know that we are sending our love, prayers and good vibes to you and your family. Things will get better.


  6. Oh Abby. I am so angry for your pain and what you've had to endure. I want you to know that there are so many of us who continue to pray and hold vigil for your family. I hope you can feel our love and presence as you face the moments ahead. Is there anything we can do to heighten the charges facing these monsters? You need to focus your energy on TC, but if we can help motivate better justice, I am right there! These despicable boils on society did more than “attempt robbery” They beat him and left a man to die. That is attempted murder in my book.


  7. Abby–I continue to pray for you and your family each minute of each day. Like Jack, I check everyday for updates to your blog with the hopes of receiving good news! Justice will be served — have patience (not easy I'm sure). I'm happy to know these demons are off the streets.


  8. Your words are incredible, inspiring, heart wrenching and most of all drenched in love. Love for your family. My heart aches at what you are going through, we live on the hill and this could have been us just as easily. I know we never met but every time I walk around the hill I hope to run into you to tell you we are walking beside you even if you don't see us. Sending a million prayers your way. I'm happy arrests have been made and I hope you get some peace.
    A fellow MOTH.


  9. Abby, we are praying for you all and cannot begin to comprehend the trauma you are experiencing in every aspect of your life. I don't claim to have any answers but I'd like to challenge you to re think your definition of forgiveness. Forgiveness is something we chose to do for ourselves, not something we do for others, says my cousin Jonas Beiler. He's had a lot of devastating first hand experience with it too. Praying for true peace in your heart and soul as you navigate these exhausting and terrifying waters and that nothing will stand in the way of both you, TC, and Jack experiencing overwhelming love, unexplainable grace, restorative justice and powerful healing! Yet another neighbor 🙂


  10. Wonderful news. Hopefully these arrests will allow you to focus on what is truly important: TC and his recovery, as well as the health of your family.


  11. Abby,

    We can do nothing to ease your pain, but please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Chuck and Christina Brown
    (fellow Hill residents)


  12. Again crying from reading your words….. I hope that these little bastards rot in jail. I hope they become another mans toy and are beat just as they beat TC. I hope you do get to look them in the face and show them just who you are, a women to fear. You have been amazing throughout this unthinkable hell. As a wife and mother I can't say I would have been as strong as you. I would have broken into a thousand pieces. You are “Super Women” to SO many people. I think of your family every single day, I pray for you throughout the day. -Katie Ward


  13. We all know that there is no sentence these three could serve that could in any way represent true justice. I am glad that they have been caught, but it is only relief that they are off the street, not some hope that they will ever be made to repent, or to become more than the subhumans that they are. Forget these monsters. They are the past, and nothing that they do or say or are sentenced to will in any way affect you moving forward. May they rot in the pits of hell.

    Your story has captivated the hearts and minds of thousands upon thousands of people; this horrible act visited upon your dear family, you and TC and little Jack, has not broken you, though surely it threatens to many times a day; just know, as has been stated so many times in these comments, that you are a beacon to the rest of us.

    What we are praying for Abby, is that this horrid experience, the nightmare that you and your family have been thrust into and will continue to work through, becomes the impetus for some greater change or good, something truly transformative for our community and the world at large, that both heals your family and creates more good in the world.

    We pray that over time, you know again a true sense of peace and happiness, together.

    – Your neighbors


  14. I don't know you, but my niece, Cory Balint, went to school with you in Phoenix. Her entire family is receiving updates, and we all hope and pray for your family. Our family is extremely good at prayers! Please feel our strength around you as you continue on this horrendous journey.


  15. I saw this on the news today. Words cannot express my deepest condolences. I don't know you personally but your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Please let me know if you I could help with anything.


  16. Dear Abby,

    I pray for TC, you and your family, (I only found this out today) I am a class friend of TC's when he was at AU, (but I live in Europe since then), I had no clue. I am so terribly sorry to hear this. I wish him rapid recovery.

    And justice must take care of punishing these stupid idiots.

    I send you all the care, and thoughts I can, from France,

    Take good care of yourselves



  17. Abby, sending thoughts, prayers and strength to you and your family. Your writing makes it clear that God's grace is with you, embrace it and know that your Capitol Hill neighbors pray for your miracle.


  18. Abby, I am so sorry for the pain, hurt, anger and countless other emotions you have felt and will experience in the coming months. While I don’t know exactly how you feel, I understand the experience. Many years ago my mother was attacked and left to die. My heart still stops when I think about that day and her long rehab journey. As you have so beautifully shared, you find the strength to take each step. Please know that my family and many other people are praying and cheering for you and your family every day. Your courage and posts bring tears and smiles to many of us.


  19. Dearest Abby,
    Me and my husband have been praying for you and your beautiful family, since we've heard this most tragic news. May God Almighty's love, mercy, blessings be on you and your family always. May All your wishes come true my dear. You are such a strong woman and you've been so brave and courageous throughout this painful moment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings and keeping us updated on your beloved husband's condition. We pray with all our heart that he gets better very soon, and nothing is impossible for the God Almighty who is the Creator of the Universe, and everything it contains.
    Sending love and best of wishes on your way,


  20. As the victim of violent crime in DC (assaulted, robbed, and left for dead,) if I may, some words of advice/support gained from my own experience? It's a great day when they make an arrest, it's natural to think ahead to getting your day in court (I felt the EXACT same way,) but I would advise you to steel your nerves for a very long and ungratifying experience dealing with the US District Attorneys Office. I went thru not 1, not 2, but 3 AUSA's (Assistant U.S. Attorney,) and then ultimately back to the 1st one, AGAIN, before even making it to Grand Jury testimony, to determine if a trial would be granted.

    And I echo others on here that have said the punishment will never fit the crime. DC has some of the most ridiculously lax criminal guidelines ever, regarding what constitutes “attempted murder,” “aggravated assault,” etc. I would encourage you to push with all your might to demand your AUSA outline premeditation in this crime. It's clear to everyone these goons knew exactly what they were going to do, before doing it. The AUSAs are so overworked, unfortunately, a LOT of victims are coerced into agreeing to let the perpetrators seek a plea deal, so that they can “guarantee” at least a jail sentence. My experience was that advice should be rebuffed, as the sentencing guidelines are so short, it's negligible.

    Good luck to you, and your Family, and I will continue to keep CT in my thoughts and prayers!

    Your Hill Neighbor


  21. I am sending you and your family many thoughts and prayers. Your story hits very close to home, my husband was also attacked at gunpoint by three men by the safe away on 14th St SE in May. The incident sounds very similar to TC's but with a much less tragic outcome. After hearing your husband's story today, he has contacted the officer involved in his incident to see if there is anything he can do to help assure justice is served.

    We will be following TC's recovery and wish you strength during this time. Our hearts go out to you, TC, and your son. Much love and happiness to you all.


  22. Hi Abby, I am a friend of Vanessa and JR, and have been praying for your family since August. I just wanted to recommend Jill Bolte Taylor's book, “My Stroke of Insight”. You might be familiar with it, but if not it is a beautifully written autobiographical story of a brain scientist's recovery from a stoke. She speaks very eloquently on what recovering from brain injury is like from the patient's perspective. It is a short read and very inspiring.

    Here is a Ted talk she gave

    Wishing you all the best!



  23. Thank the treasonous anti-gun zealots who run your city for what happened to your husband. They have created a killing field where the good people are helpless in the face of evil thugs, who know they can maim, murder and rape with impunity. As a Texan, I am never unarmed. Your husband should have had that same right; if he had he might be safe at home with you and your son. Save some of your very justified anger for your pro-criminal politicians. I will pray for you. This should not have been your life. Teach your son to fight against evil in honor of his father. God bless you.


  24. As a fellow teacher and Hill resident just a few blocks from Eastern Market, I've been following your story closely for several weeks — I know no words can make the long road of recovery easier but I am thankful for whatever small bit of closure comes from knowing the people responsible for this have been found and will be held accountable. Praying continually for you and your family!


  25. Abby, for a lack of knowing how to express my feelings, I've not written until now. Your mother is a dear friend of mine and obviously the person who you learned the level of strength & perseverance from. My heart broke when I heard the news from Ange. No one should have to go through what you are facing, no one. No family should have to face the struggles that your family has been faced with. It most definitely is not what God intended for the world. I will continue to pray for your entire family. I will pray that somehow you can find peace in your heart, that TC IS the miracle the community can look to as proof that good does win over evil, and that justice (whatever that might be) is served properly. Keep your faith in God Abby. He will guide you. Stacy Maffei


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