Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story (1994) - full transcript

Donna Yaklich meets Dennis the policeman and thinks she might have found a good relationship. But Dennis is obsessed with weight-lifting and uses steroids, which make him aggressive and abusive. Getting out of the relationship isn't easy as Dennis isn't willing to let her go, and Donna's options are narrowed down to one remaining alternative. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
- Hello?
- Donna, Donna.

Are you awake?
- Yes, Dennis, I'm awake.

This is what I want.

Have you got cube steak?
- Mm-hm.

Cube steak.

Mm-hm, what else?

You're gonna wear
that black dress, right?

- Right.





It seemed impossible that he could die.

When I saw him lying in the driveway,

all I could think about
was how cold he must be.

How angry he would be when he got up.

Then I thought about
you upstairs in bed and

I asked myself, how am I gonna tell Denny?

- I've read everything about the murder,

I've talked to people who knew Dad.

I think I understand what happened there.

- But do you understand why?

- I don't think I'll ever understand why.

Did you ever love him?

- Yes.

I loved him very much.

♪ Some girls got this old time notion ♪

♪ The way to catch a man
is through devotion ♪

- So, have you picked one yet?
- Not yet.

- That's it, I'm doing it.


How about this one?

- Too sexy.

- Oh, I get it, you're gonna
dazzle him with your intellect.

- Oh, I'm not gonna dazzle
him at all, in fact,

I don't even know why I'm
going out with this guy.

Cops aren't my type.
- Well, he's not just a cop.

He's a narc.

- A narc?

- You set me up with narc?
- Oh, calm down!

- Look, just call him
and tell him I'm sick,

or I've gone back to
California, that's it.

Call him and tell him I'm sick,

and I've gone back to California.

- Just have a good time,
you're on vacation!

- Why don't we just blow this
guy off and go to a movie?

- That's gotta be him.

- It can't be, he's early!

- Maybe he can't tell time,
he used to be a weightlifter.

- A weight...

If she doesn't like
me maybe you let me take you.

- Donna, this is Dennis.

Dennis, this is my sister, Donna.

- Hi, Donna.

- Hi.

So, how do you
like living in California?

- It's great.

- You ever miss Pueblo?
- Not really, just my sister.

- Yeah, family's important.
- Do you have family here?

- Yeah, I sure do, I got a
step-daughter and a wife.

She died a year ago.

- I'm sorry.

- Well, when you lose
somebody you love, you,

you realize what's
important in life, you know,

family and friends, building
a future and doing something

that gives you a sense
of satisfaction, pride.

Ah, here we are.

- Okay.

- So, Saturday night, we drive back.

Well, well, well, yabba dabba do.

- Stay cool, Jerry.

- Guys, I'd like you to meet Donna.

Donna, this is Mike and Jerry.

- Hey, Donna.
- Hello, gentlemen.

- Gentlemen, you got the wrong
guys, we work with Dennis.

- Don't let him scare
ya, Donna, he means well.

- Donna, would you like
something to drink?

- Cola's fine.

- You don't drink?

- Not much.

Is that okay?
- Well, it's fine.

I don't, either.

Freddy, two colas, please.

- Okay.

- I'll say.

- Hey, Dennis.


- Excuse me, I'll be right back.

- We'll keep an eye on her for ya, Dennis.

Yeah, don't strain yourself.

- Dennis was a clever bastard.
- What do you mean?

- Well, I probably
shouldn't tell you this,

but Dennis has this prearranged signal.

- What kind of prearranged signal?

- Well, if he thinks it might
be time to cut a date loose,

he'll have a police call come in.

- Oh, I see.

- Now, why would he wanna cut her loose?

- Hey, don't tell him I said anything.

I'll drive you home
when you're ready to go.

- Gee, Jerry, that sounds thrilling.

This is my
favorite time of the day.

- You don't have to go back to work?

- No.


- Oh.
- Just wondered.

- Jerry said somethin'.

- I guess...
- Jerry talks too much.

- Is everything about looks with you?

- No, no, there's a lot
of things to consider.

Intelligence, good values, charm.

But you gotta start somewhere.

- You're too much.

- Thank you.

Hey, you wanna see my house?

It's a real log cabin.

- It's our first date.
- Oh, come on!

I'm harmless, I just
wanna show you my house.

- Okay, why not?

Good, good.

- I can't believe how peaceful
this is, if I lived here,

I'd sit in that swing every single night

and watch the stars twinkle.

- Yeah, I spend a lot of
time doing that myself.

Come on, let me show you the house.

Right in here, this is
the, well, this is the...

- Kitchen.
- Kitchen, yeah.

- Oh, you built this all by yourself?

- I sure did, with my own two hands.

Would you like something to drink?

I don't have much, I've got
juice and I've got soft drink.

Cola, is that okay?
- Cola's fine.

- Are you sure?
- Yeah.

Who's that?

- Oh, that's Patty,
that's my step-daughter.

She's staying with some
relatives right now

until I find someone to
help me take care of her.

- Her mother?

Yeah, that's, that was Barbra.


- Yeah, she was.


- Thank you.

Big house.

Well, I'ma big guy.

- I'm impressed.

With me or the house?

- I'll let you know.

You won all these?

I sure did.

- That's you?

- Well, it's been a while.

I mean, I don't get much
chance to work out anymore.

- How much weight have you got there?

- Oh, this is about three.


- 300 pounds.

- Ah.


- You ever, uh, trained, lifted weights?

- Me?

Ah-ah, I'm more of the ping-pong type.

- Oh, no, you've got the body,

the frame to pump some serious iron.

You wanna try it?
- Get outta here.

- I'll make it easy on ya.

Come on.

- Okay!

I'll give it a try.
- That a girl.

No, no, no, no, like me, lay down.

All right, grab the bar.

- Don't let go.

- I won't let go.

- Now what? Oh.

- How's that feel?

Cold, hard.

- Now, don't tense.

Don't tense, it's the rhythm, remember.

- Right.
- Up.

- Down.

- Up.

- Down.


- Down.

Very good.

- I think I've had enough.

- Okay.

Oh, wait, don't get up too quick.

You just lifted a lot of
weight, let me help you.

Well, that was good, see?

Told you you could do it.

- Yeah.

There's something about Dennis.

Good something
or a bad something?

- Oh, there's something
very sweet about him.

He's got this primitive,
sexy, dangerous quality.

We went to his house.

- On the first date?

- Don't worry, we didn't do anything.

I was tempted, though.

- You're nuts about him.

- Don't be ridiculous, we just met!

- I see it, I know, end of subject.

Oh, stop.

- Here comes the bride!
- Susie, stop.

What's this?

I don't know.


- Oh, thank you.
- Here you go.

- Oh, it's for you!
- What?

- Sign here, please?
- You're kidding.

"Please come to dinner and
meet Patty tomorrow evening.

"Warm regards, Dennis!"

Oh, they're beautiful!

So, what are your favorite
subjects in school?

- Science.

My teacher, Mr. Mulvayne, he's kinda...

- Oh, no, Mr. Mulvayne is still there?

He was my teacher.

- Really?
- Huh.

- He's gotta be 100 years old.

He's probably injecting formaldehyde

in his arteries or something.

This is really good!

I can't believe you made this.

When I was your age,
I couldn't make jello!

- It's my mom's recipe.

- She must've been a terrific cook.

- She was, yeah.

Excuse me.

- I'll check on her.

- Thank you.

You wanna talk?

I can't.

- Well, maybe I can sit
with you for a little while.

- I just miss her so much.

It's not fair that she died.

- I know.

- She was my best friend, too.

When she said bye to me that
day, it was Valentine's day

and she looked so sad.

She said something like,

"every time I say goodbye,

"I feel like it's the last
time I'll ever see you."

And, I was so mad
at her 'cause I had on

this pretty new dress
that I was gonna wear

to the afterschool Valentine's dance

and all I could think about was the dance.

So mad at her, I wouldn't
even kiss her goodbye.

And then a couple hours later,

they called me out of history class,

and Dennis was waiting in
the Principal's office.

And he told me that she
had an allergic reaction

to her medication and died.

My mom.

Is she all right?

- She's fine.

- Thank you.

- It's not an easy age for a girl.

It's tough for you, isn't it?

Being there for her, with your work.

- Especially with her mother gone.

I was wondering,

what're your immediate
plans for the future?

I mean, what're you gonna do?

- Oh, well, I don't know.

I'm probably gonna go back
to California, San Francisco.

Find work, maybe go back to school.

- What do you think about staying here

and taking care of Patty?

Dennis, we just met.

- No, wait a minute, hear me out.

It would strictly be a business
arrangement and that's all.

I saw you two together tonight, Donna.

I mean, you'd be great for her.

You can give her something
that I can't give her.

- Dennis, that's a big commitment.

- But she seems to really like you.

I couldn't say no.

Maybe it was because of Patty,

or maybe it was because I
didn't wanna leave Colorado.

Or maybe it was because I
was falling in love with him.

All that mattered was that I
seemed to belong in that house.

By the end of the summer, I was
hopelessly in love with him.

What is it?
- I don't know.

There's something beneath the bed.

- Ah.

- What's that?
- I don't know, what is this?

I don't know, what is this?

- Oh, Dennis.

I don't know what to say.

- It was my grandmother's.

Say you'll marry me.

- I'll marry you.

- Dennis.
- Hey, how you doin'?

- Hey, good to see you, Denny.
- How are you?

Well, look
what the cat drug in!

Where you been, Dennis?

- Catchin' drug dealers, gettin' engaged.

- Engaged!
- Huh, can you believe it?

- Congratulations!
- Thank you.

Who's the chick?

- Here, let me show you a picture.

- Yeah, let me see.

- Look at that.
- Oh yeah, man, she's pretty.

- Huh, she's beautiful, isn't she?

Yeah, you'd be beauty
and the beast.

Hey, you been training lately?

- Yeah, why, can't you tell?

- Looks like you're shrinking to me.

- It's definitely not you.
- I know.

- Here, try this on.
- Okay.

Oh, no.


- It doesn't matter, you're still gonna be

the most beautiful bride in
the history of the world.

- Can you believe how
fast this is happening?

It seems like I just met Dennis.

- You act like you've known him forever.

I almost forgot.

Something old.

- Grandma's bracelet?
- I want you to have it.

- Oh, Susie, I couldn't.
- I want you to have it.

Something old, something new.

Something borrowed, something blue.

- Dennis?


Are you okay?

I'm fine.

Maybe you better sleep in the other room.

- Why?


- I don't wanna crush you.

- I don't mind staying.

- Please, just listen to me.

- I wanna, I wanna stay and cuddle.

- Just get out!

Please, Donna.

Please, just leave.

- Okay.

I need my pillow.

- Get out.

- Why are you talking to me like this?

- I said get out.

- What is wrong with you, Dennis?

- Get out!

- Let it ring.

- You think I wanna talk to that maniac?

Here, put this on you.

- I don't understand how he could be

so violent all of a sudden.

Maybe, maybe it was me, I don't...

- Donna, it's not you.

Once a man shows he's violent,
there's bound to be more.

Pick the phone up.

Pick the phone up.

Pick the phone up.

You're sure you
don't want me to call a doctor?

I'm fine.

- I'm going over there tomorrow,

and I'm gonna get your things.

- No, I don't know, I'm just...

- Donna.
- I'm not sure.

You don't deserve this, this is scary.




Donna, open up!

Donna, please, Donna!

Donna, it's me, Dennis!


Please, Donna!



Please, Donna!

- He'll say anything to keep you.

If you open that door,
there's no turning back.




- You hurt me.

- I'm sorry.

I love you.

- Promise me you'll never
hurt me like that again.

- I promise you, please don't leave.

God, I love you so much.

- I love you, too.

When you love somebody as
much as I loved your father,

you tend to block out things

that might interfere with your happiness.

But Susie was right,
once I opened that door,

there was no turning back.

- Hey, Donna!
- Hi, Phil.


Watch your drink.

- Toast, everybody!

- Toast, toast!

- To Donna and Dennis.

To loving, laughing and fun.

- And remember, Donna,

everything you love about
Dennis, he learned from me.

- Don't drink that champagne.

- Why not?

- Because I said so.

- Can I talk to you please?

- Why would you tell me not to drink

on our wedding day, or ever?

- You are my wife, the
wife of a police officer.

That means no drinking.

- What did you think I was gonna do,

get drunk and embarrass you?

- No, there are rules, you
have to follow those rules!

- Rules?

This is our wedding
day, we're celebrating.

I have one glass of
champagne and you get upset?

But your buddy out here, Phil,
who I've never seen sober,

is practically falling
on the floor, drunk.

- Leave Phil out of this.


- Don't talk about my friends that way.

- The photographer...

I'm sorry.


I'm sorry.


Come on.


The mirror.

God, you turn me on.

You don't understand how much I love you.

- I love you too, Dennis.

At night, I went to my
wedding bed with a man

I was beginning to fear
as much as I loved.

He wasn't the same man I
fell in love with, but,

I couldn't figure out what was wrong.

- Why did you stay?

- When the rages passed,

he went back to being the sweetest man.

He was Jekyll and Hyde.

At first I thought it was stress
related because of his work

or maybe he had some
psychological problem.

I didn't realize at the time
that it was the steroids.

- So, how did you find out?

- He was building a gym then, with Eddie.

- Eddie Greenwell helped
Dad build the gym?

- Man, when are you gonna work out, man?

- Well, I might let you train with me,

but you gotta promise
to take it seriously.

- Oh yeah, I will.

Yeah, chicks love guys with muscles.

You know, I gotta get me some muscles.

- Yeah, you gotta get you some muscles.

- Hey, guys.


What do you say, Steve?

- Glad to see you workin' out.

Beginning to think you
were dwindling on me.

I'll show you dwindlin'!

- Well, well.

- Uh, Steve is my wife, Donna.

Donna, Steve.

- Hello, Steve.
- Hello, Donna.

- We used to work out together.

- Yeah.

So, how's it feel to
be married to a legend?

- Great, can I get you some lemonade?

- Oh, no, no thanks, I'm fine.

Here you go, my man.

- Donna, you got $50 here
for Steve for my medicine?

- Are you a doctor, Steve?

- Not exactly.

- Just get him the money.

- Dennis, we may have to wait on that.

About the end of the week?

- Oh, yeah, that's no problem, buddy.

I can just get it later.

Look, I gotta get goin', I gotta
be gettin' back to the gym.

I'm meeting some people back there.

It was nice to meet you, Donna.

- Nice meeting you.

- Get in the house.

- Uh, are we done here?

- Don't ever embarrass me like that again.

- I can't help it that
we're short on cash, Dennis.

You've been spending money like crazy

on your new gym, ordering more equipment.

- Look, I don't wanna hear that.

Now, when I ask you for money,
I want it and that's it.

Look at this glass.

Look at this glass,
look at the spots on it.

I'm not drinking out of this.

It just came
out of the dishwasher.

- I don't care if it just
came out of the dishwasher.

I want you to clean it, by hand.

What did I just say?

- I heard you.

- No, no, no, what did I say?

Repeat it to me.

- "Wash it, by hand."

- Hurry, please.

- Was is that you're taking?

♪ What I want, I want ♪

♪ What you got, I need ♪

♪ And nothing can do ♪

- Patty, turn that music off.

- Sorry, Dennis.

- I told you not to play
that music in my house.


- Oh, good.

I think you're starting to see
what marriage is all about.

- It's the steroids.

They make him crazy.

I did some research
on metabolic steroids.

Read books, talked to doctors, pharmacist.

I wanted to know why things had changed,

physically and mentally.

He was having liver problems,
acne all over his back.

The worst were the rages.

- What's the situation?

- Two guys and a woman in there,

a lot of cocaine and a couple of guns.

Who are they?

- Just some locals looking for rent money.

- Please!

- Are you okay?

- What? Yeah.

What kinda gun's he got?
- Small caliber handguns.

- Is that the only exit?
- Yeah.

- Cover me.

- Dennis, there's a kid in there!

No, don't, stop it!

- Put it down!

Shut up!

Come on, put her down, tough guy!

Put her down!


Yes, Dennis.

Pork chops, green corn.

Potato, mm-hm.

Yes, I'll um, I'll wear the dress.

It's 2:20 AM and
time now for the local news.

The Elks Club will be hosting
a fund-raiding barbecue

in Martin Field this
Saturday to help support

the new senior citizens
center in downtown Pueblo.

Tickets will be four dollars
for adults and three dollars...

- Don.

- I'm sorry.

- I've workin' all day,
the least thing you can do

is be decent company.

- It's just that it's so late, Dennis,

and I'm not feeling well.

- You're a hypochondriac.

Nor any member
of the Pueblo police force

would comment on his alleged
behavior on that drug bust

where it was reported that
Yaklich held a nine-year-old girl

by her ankle with a gun to
her head, the police would...

- Is that true?

You did that to a little girl?


How could you do that?

- Donna, I wouldn't do
somethin' like that.

The press hates me.

They don't get it, the
public doesn't get it.

Oh yeah, they want
protection, yeah.

But then they wanna question
the methods that I used

to provide that protection,
they don't care about cops.

They don't care about us layin' our lives

on the line every day.

I've got a lot of enemies who
would like to see me hurt,

or worse.

You understand, don't you, Donna?

- No, Dennis, I don't understand.

- Watch your tone with me.

- I read about the steroids you take

for your weight lifting.

They've changed you, Dennis.

You're not the sweet man I married.

You've gotta stop taking the drugs.

- I don't take drugs, I
arrest people who take drugs.

They hurt you.

- What're you, deaf?

I said I didn't take drugs.

- They make you angry.

- Hey, if you don't like it, get out.

- I'm gonna have your baby.

- A baby.

Well, that's uh...

That's great.

- Don't let your enthusiasm
run away with you.

No, really, I mean that,

you know, it's wonderful.

Denny Junior, that's wonderful.


Try and understand about the steroids.

It's a deal that you make with yourself.

When I use them, I can do
things that normal men can't do.

- Dennis, no, no, I can't
keep living in fear of you.

I'm gonna be a mother.

Please stop taking the steroids.

Be the man I fell in love with.


- All right, Donna.

- Do you promise me?

- I promise you.

I'll be a good husband.

And I'll be a good father.

- For a while, things
were good between us.

He was sweet and loving,

but his promise to stay off
steroids didn't last very long.

As he bought more and more equipment

for his new weight lifting room,

his urge to go back on
steroids became overpowering.

By the time you were born,
he spent every free moment he

wasn't working, in a gym, either
lifting or making weights.

Come on, push it
now, baby, push it, push it!

Come on, man, one more!

Come on, keep it going now, keep it going.

Ride it, man, ride it!

Ride, ride!

- There you go.

- Ah!

- Say "Hi, Daddy."
- Come here.

Come here, boy.

You daddy's boy, huh?


Who's boy, are you daddy's boy, aren't ya?

Look at this, Eddie.

You ever seen a more
handsome kid than this?

- He looks just like you, Dennis.

Except, he's got his
mother's beautiful eyes.

- Oh, man, you scared him.

Hey, I got somethin' for
ya, I got somethin' for ya.

Stay right here.

- What's he got?

- You like that?

Do you like that?

You like that, huh?

- He does, I thought you
might like some dinner.

- No, not till we're done working out.

- That's mighty nice of you though, Donna.

- Cover him up.
- I got it.

- All right, you go.

See you later, Daddy.

- Bye bye, buddy!


- Man, you sure are lucky
to have such a beautiful,

thoughtful wife, Dennis.

- Donna's a selfish, manipulating woman.

- She don't seem that way.

- You don't understand women.

They'll do anything they can
to try and shatter your dreams.

Try and make you something
that you can never be.

You know what I mean, huh?

- Yeah.

- Look.

Look, there's a wishing star.

Look out the window, let's make a wish.

Let's make a wish.

Star bright, star light,
first star I see tonight.

I wish that you'll only know
a gentle, peaceful life.

And that you'll never ever be scared.


- Just give me a few more minutes.

- Come to bed.

- It's okay.

Come here.

- Dennis, I can't.
- Shh!

- Don't make me do this.
- Don't say anything.

Get on the bed.

- The baby's crying.
- Don't worry about the baby.

It's good for him, shut up.

- But Dennis, I...
- I said shut up!

I'm sick of your whining.

Remind me of my first wife.

What're you doing here, Susie?

- We're gonna stay with her for a while.

- Uh-huh.

Well, you can stay with
her as long as you like,

but the baby stays right here.

- I wish I knew what a pig you were

before I introduced you to my sister.

- Susie, if you knew
what was good for you,

you'd keep that smart mouth of yours shut.

- Don't you dare threaten my sister.

- We're leaving, Dennis,
she's got a right...

- She's got what rights I say she's got.

Now, get off my property
and don't come back.

Or believe me, you're gonna be sorry.

- Donna, I...
- No, no, you better...

- Get outta here!
- You better go on, it's okay.

- This isn't over, Dennis.

- Oh, what're you gonna do, Susie Q?

Call the police, huh?

Get inside.

Please, Dennis,
please don't hurt me.

Just leave me alone.

- You want a divorce, you want a divorce?

- I won't do it again!

- You're never gonna get my son!

You're never gonna get
my son, do you hear me?

Get back here!

You get back here!

You're never get him, do you hear me?


- Hey, Donna, how you doin'?

Have a seat.


- No.

- What can I do for you?

- I need your help.

- What's the problem?

- Please talk to Dennis for me.

- Dennis is actin' up, huh?

- Yes, he hurts me.

He scares me, you...

You've gotta make him stop!

- Come on, Donna.

Dennis just gets a little
carried away, that's all.

- No, no, he's taking
steroids, it makes him crazy.

I think he could kill me!

- Look, Donna, I would like
to help but it's not my place.

- Jerry, no, there must be somebody,

somebody who could do
something to help me.

- Donna.

Donna, we just don't get involved

in each other's personal business.

You understand?

- Yeah, I understand.


- I understand you had a
visit with Jerry today.

- I just...

I didn't...

- You see, Donna, I
consider marriage sacred.


When you do something like,

like talking to Jerry about
our married life, I...

It hurts me.

- I didn't mean to say
anything that would hurt you.

- You're probably wondering if
I'm going to crush your skull

or squeeze right here and watch
the life drain out of you.

I could do that.

No, no.

- Very easily.

- Dennis.

- I wanna show you something.

I went to a lot of trouble so
you could see these pictures.

I wanted you to see them.

- No.

- Look.

You see it, no, don't look away.

You look at me.

See that?
- Oh, God!

Oh, God!

Look here!

Look at that right there,
you just look there.

You see that?

That could be you, Donna.

That could be Susie.

- Oh, please.

- Anything could happen.

- No.

No, no.

No, please.

Don't hurt me, please.

Oh, no.

- We'll be together, Donna.

Till death do us part, remember?


Help me.

For the next five years,

I was a prisoner in a torture chamber.

He got crazier.

I lived in constant fear for my life.

Dennis spent all his free time in the gym.

Patty was a senior in high school.

She was dating Greg, a nice
guy who was so good to her.

They were so much in love and
they wanted to get married.

I never went anywhere or saw anyone.

From that point on, I
only had two thoughts.

Kill him.

Or kill myself.

And then I would think,

I can't leave my son without a mother.

Look, there's San Francisco.

It's a beautiful city
with a big golden bridge.

- Have you been there, Mommy?
- Mm-hm.

It's my favorite place.

- When are you gonna take me
to California to see the ocean?

- Someday, Denny.

- I wanna go swimming in it,
and I'll fish in it, too.

Promise you'll take me someday, Mommy?

- I promise, Denny.

Now, let's go make some cookies, okay?

Come on, let's go!

- I need more chocolate chips, Mom.

- Denny, I bet you've been eating them.

Mm, these are going to be delicious.

- Little Dennis.

Come on, buddy, I got a prize for ya.

- What is it?
- Come on, I'll show ya.

- I'll be back in time to eat 'em, Mom.

- Okay, honey.


- Yes, Patty?

- I gotta talk to you.

- What is it?

- I'm pregnant.

- God, baby.

What're you gonna do?

- I can't tell Dennis.

- How can you hide it?

- You tell him.

- Oh, Patty.

Oh, my.

- What's goin' on?

What is it?

- It's Patty.

Please don't get upset, Dennis,

but I need to talk to you alone.

- No, tell me now, what is it?

- Patty...

She's pregnant.

- Patty.

Get away from me.

I'm sorry, Dad.

- How could you do this to me?

How could you betray me like this?

You know how bad this is
gonna look for Dennis Yaklich

to have a knocked up
step-daughter, huh, do ya?

- Dennis, please.

Please stop.

- God, I can't even look at her.

I can't talk to her, you tell her for me!

You tell her!

- Please don't.
- God, help me find the words.

Tell her she's no good.

Tell her!

- You're no good.

You're no good.

- You tell her she's disgusting.

- Dennis, please don't make say anything.

- This is your fault, this is your fault!

I put my trust in you and you
let me down, now you tell her!

You look at her in the eye

and tell her that she's disgusting!

Say, "Patty, you are disgusting!"



You are disgusting.

- And must leave this house at once!

Spit it!

- You must leave this house at once.

- Forever!

Say it!

- Forever.

- Now, you listen to me.

I want her gone when I come
back, do you understand me?

Do ya?
- Yes!



I understand you.

- And I don't want my son making cookies.

- Patty, I'm sorry.
- No, it's okay.

It's not your fault.

- Where will you go?

- I'll stay at Greg's parents' house.

- Listen, I'm gonna try
to get you some money.

So call me, promise me you'll call me.

- I'm scared.

- I'll be here for ya,
I promise you I will.

It's gonna be all right,
it's gonna be all right.

Where are we going, Mommy?

- We're going on a little trip.

Everything's gonna be just
fine, I promise you, Denny.

Come on, honey, let's go.






I'll kill you.

- So, the first time
Gary became violent was

when his mother came to visit?

- Yeah, I had a
disagreement with his mother

over some silly movie.

Mr. Yaklich.

- Officer Yaklich.

- Officer Yaklich, Donna is
going to stay for a while.

- No, she's not.

- She needs counseling.

For that matter, you might
consider counseling yourself.

- Listen, lady, I don't wanna hear

any of your psychobabble crap, all right?

You find my wife and you find my son, now.

- You're abusing your position, officer.

- All right so file a
complaint, but you get 'em

and you get 'em out here
right now, you understand me?

Or I'll turn this whorehouse
into a parking lot.

- Please, we guarantee
these women protection.

Don't violate that trust.

Sometimes, when
people feel threatened,

the only way they know
how to deal with it,

is to resort to violence and...

- What is he doing?
- I don't know.

- Come on.

Go in the house.

See you later, Eddie.

Do you know how bad I wanna kill you?

- Yes, I do.

- If you ever try and take
my son away from me again,

I'm gonna cut your sister Susie's
throat and make you watch.

Then you know what I'm
gonna do to you, huh?

- No.

What're you gonna do?

- I'm gonna slice you up,

and bury little pieces of
you all over the Rockies.

And guess what?

- What?
- I'll get away with it.

- Wouldn't be the first time, would it?

- What's that supposed to mean?

- You killed your first wife, didn't you?

You killed Barbra.

I saw the death certificate.

You, Patty said she was perfectly fine,

two hours before she died.

You killed her.

- What've we got here,
is this Detective Donna

on the case now, huh?

I wanna die, I just wanna die.

- Oh, "I wanna die, I just wanna die."

Well, do the world a favor
and pull the trigger!

Here, take it.

Take it, take it and put
it up to that stupid head.

No, do it right, do it right.

Put it here.

What's the matter?

You can't do it, huh?

I can.

- No, no.

- Here comes the pain.



I guess I ran outta bullets.

- Go away!

- I'm never goin' away, Donna, I love you!

We're just havin' little
marital problems, that's all.

- Good mornin'!

Are you okay, Donna?

- Eddie, I need you to do something.

- You got it.

- I want you to kill Dennis for me.

- You're joking me, right?

- No, I'm not joking.

My life is in danger.

- He beats you, don't he?

- Somebody's gonna die,
it's either him or me.

- You really believe that?
- I know it.

I don't know,
that's a heavy thing.

- Eddie.

You can save me.

- I wouldn't want you to die, Donna.

You're a wonderful woman,
I've always thought that.

You know that, don't you?

- That's why I'm asking you, Eddie.

I don't know who to ask,
no one will help me.

I'm locked up in that house
waiting for Dennis to kill me

and leave my son without a mother.

- I'll do it.

- Swear you won't tell anyone.

- I swear.

Of course, it'd be nice if
you made it worth my while.

- I'll get you the money.

After I had that first talk with Eddie,

I wondered if I was doing the right thing.

I kept telling myself it was the only way.

He was gonna kill me,
this was self-defense.

But still...

Taking his life was
the worst sin possible.

I tried to remember the times
I loved him, but I couldn't.


What's the problem?
- Look, this ain't easy, okay?

I've never killed anybody before.

- We knew it wasn't gonna be easy.

- I say we do it near the house,

when he comes home from work.

See, that way there won't
be any people around.

- My son will be around,
any place but the house.

- But everywhere else I go,
he's surrounded by cops!

You know, what am I supposed to do?

- Not near the house.

- I'm gonna need some help.

- Then get some.

- What about money?

- All right, how much do you want?

- I don't know, 40,000?

- I don't have that kind
of money, nowhere near it!

- Well, I ain't gonna
do it without no money.

- Okay.

I'll get you 5,000 after you do it and uh,

I'll think of some way
to get you the rest.

Eddie and I would meet, talk, make plans.

We were always making plans.

- This is my brother, Charlie, all right?

He's gonna help.

- I don't know, let me think about it.

- I'm a better shot than Eddie,

and I can use some of that money.

- Okay, I can't hang on much longer.

- All right, now we're gonna
need some money for ammo.

- And gas, too.

- Okay.

Here, now please, just do it.

- Oh, you got enough cash in
there for a couple of burgers?

I'm starvin'.

- Mommy, is the Golden Gate
Bridge made out of real gold?

- No, honey, it's not.

- 'Cause if it was, I would
go there and get some gold

for you so you could buy
something and it'd make you happy.

- Oh, Denny, you make me
happy, that's all I need.

- No, you're not happy, Mommy, you're sad.

I'll do anything to make you happy.

- Then promise me that you'll
never be cruel to anyone,

or hurt anyone, that you'll
always be a good boy.

- I promise, Mommy.

- I love you.

Sweet dreams.


- Donna, Donna, are you awake?

Yes, Dennis, I'm awake.

- All right, this is what I want.

Have you got cube steak?

- Mm-hm, cube steak.


What else?

- You're gonna wear
that black dress, right?

- Right.

- I don't know, man.

- Are you scared?

- I don't know.

- Dennis!



Oh, God.

- They sure didn't skimp on the lead.

- Who do you think did it?

- I don't know.

A lot of people would
like to see Dennis killed.

Donna inside?

- Yeah, her sister's with her.

Kid's upstairs.

- Honey, what're you doing up?

- Mommy, are you okay?

- Something has happened.

- Something bad?

- Very bad.


Denny, come away from the window, honey.

- Where's my daddy?

- Donna.

The officers wanna talk to you now.

- Come on, Denny, here's Mr. Bear.

You stay with Denny.

- Have you told him yet?
- Not yet.

- Oh, God!

- Donna, did Dennis say
where he was going tonight?

- No, he um, he just
said he was working late.

- Did you see anything, Donna?

- No.

I heard gunshots.

- Did Dennis say anything about

anybody who might've been responsible?

- No, I uh...

I didn't know his enemies.

I didn't know his friends, he...

We had a very, uh, private relationship.

- Hurry up, man, I'm freezing my butt off.

- Throw 'em in.

- Pueblo has lost a fine officer.

A fine, outstanding citizen.

Donna, Dennis Jr. and Patty
have lost a loving father,

and a devoted husband.

We are here to mourn a man
and celebrate his memory.

There is a young lad among us,

who must be assured that
there is room for happiness,

even in a time of deep sorrow.

Denny, would you join me up here,

while we offer a prayer of
eternal rest for your father?

Up here, Denny.

Let us offer up a prayer for eternal rest.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,

and let perpetual light
shine down upon him.

- We're here at St. Theresa's
Roman Catholic Church

where a large crowd, including
many law enforcement officers

paid their final respects today
to Officer Dennis Yaklich.

Yaklich, high decorated,

was recognized as being a model policeman.

He will be missed by his fellow officers.

More than 500 people,

including 300 law enforcement
officers came to...

Thank you, sweetheart.

Oh, did you hear about that
cop funeral, that was so sad.

- I'm hungry, where's my food?

- What do I look like, a waiter?

I don't know, okay?

Go ask the waitress.

- What is wrong with you anyway, Charlie?

You've been so mean to me
the last couple of days.

- I said, go ask the waitress.

- You better stop being mean to me.

- What're you gonna
do, you gonna shoot me?

- God.

Excuse me, we have some burgers over here.

- We have got to keep it together!

- We?

I'm keeping it together.

Look at you, you're
swigging down all the brews.

- You just loved killin' him, didn't you?

You just loved it.

- You're the one who got me to
kill him in the first place.

- Yeah, but I didn't love it.

- Shut up.
- I ain't shuttin' up.

- Just shut up, okay, shut up.

- I ain't shuttin' up until I get

the money that she promised, okay?

- Eddie Greenwell!

Get your hands up!

Get your hands up.

- Couldn't keep her mouth shut.

- You're under arrest for
the murder of Dennis Yaklich.

- Donna.

Are you okay?
- I'm fine.

It's been seven years since
I've been in a real restaurant.

It's the first time we've
had any time to talk,

that we haven't had to worry about...

- I know it's terrible what
happened to Dennis, but,

in a way, it's like you've
been released from prison.

- It's more like an escape.

- You have the right to remain silent.

If you give up the right to
remain silent, anything you say

can and will be used against
you in a court of law.

- It was Donna.

- Okay, let's go.

- You should use that money,

and you should buy yourself something.

Okay, go to California,
take Denny to California.

I mean, he's always wanted to
go, he's never seen the ocean.

- I'll drink to that.

- Okay, to my sister.

- To Denny.
- To Denny.

Two brothers
were arrested tonight...

- Hello?

No, Donna's not here right now.

- Dennis Yaklich, we have
just learned from the DA's...

- Who is this?

Oh, uh, she's at the Peacock Restaurant.


You're under arrest.

- Arrest? What're you talking about?

What's going on here?

- I was charged with two counts.

First degree murder and
conspiracy to commit murder.

My trial was a free ring circus.

I had only one thought in mind.

If I wasn't executed, would I
now be separated from my son

for the rest of my life?

And who would take care of him?

I was a battered woman.

Lenore Walker, a psychologist
who was an authority on

the battered wife syndrome,
testified on my behalf.

- I've read her books.

My lawyers felt that
Dr. Walker's expert testimony

could do for me what she'd
done for other battered women.

Get me acquitted.

- Clearly Donna was caught in
a cycle of marital violence

and she saw her only escape
as kill or be killed.

I've spent many hours with
Mrs. Yaklich since her arrest

and I firmly believe that
she felt she was in...

- Imminent danger.

- Donna believed that she
could not stop the violence.

She reached a point where...

- Fear turns to terror.

- There was a parallel in
Donna's mind as to her situation

and that of her husband's
first wife, Barbra Yaklich.

She felt that Barbra
did not die by accident,

and if her husband got away with it once...

- He could get away with it again.

Then the DA brought in Dr. Cassover.

- Donna Yaklich may or may
not be a battered woman.

The indication that women
are victims is a myth.

Men get battered, too.

They just have difficulty reporting it.

And the term, "battered wife syndrome"

is nothing more than a phrase
invented by Dr. Walker.

I certainly don't subscribe to her methods

of affixing that label to women.

- Dr. Cassover, did
you personally evaluate

or interview Mrs. Yaklich?


Then upon what
do you base your evaluation?

- I have reviewed Mrs.
Yaklich's previous testimony,

and I have read Dr. Walker's books.

- It was tough for Patty to testify, but,

she insisted on being there for me.

- Donna was Dennis's slave.

At one point, she told me
she was gonna kill herself.

That she just couldn't
go on living anymore.

She said she was scared to do anything,

in fear that Dennis might react.

I mean, it was like walking
on egg shells in that house.

One day, everything was
okay and then the next day,

the TV would be up too loud
and Dennis would get so mad.

And she was just tired of living that way.

- Did she seem scared or frightened?

- Yes, she did.

- There were many who
believed there was no problem.

It was all in my head.

- Like I told you before, I
rode with Dennis for many years,

and he never mentioned anything
about any marital problems.

- There were those of us who thought that

Dennis was a model cop.

And a great role model.

Everyone on the force respected him.

- Has the jury arrived at its verdict?

We have, Your Honor.

- Please rise for the verdict.

- "We, the jury, find Donna Yaklich

"not guilty of first degree murder."

- Order!

- "And on the charge of conspiracy

"to commit first degree murder, guilty."

- Donna, now you beat the
most dangerous charge.

Now, we'll deal with the
second charge, we'll file

for a new trial based on
the inconsistent verdict.

- Where is my son?

Where's Denny, where's Denny?

I need to get to my son, Denny!

- Mommy!

- Let me just have a minute!

- Mommy!

- Let me just have a minute, okay?

- Back off!

- We asked the judge for leniency.

I pleaded for the opportunity to raise you

and start life over, but the judge said...

- There are aggravating
circumstances here.

Granting probation to a woman
who's plotted the murder

of her husband would be
a miscarriage of justice.

You started this, Mrs. Yaklich.

I must give you a harsher
sentence than the two brothers

you hired to perform the slaying.

- The judge's sentence cut
me like a knife because

I knew we'd be separated.

You were the only good thing in my life.

- I remember saying goodbye to you.

Moving in with Aunt Susie.

Every day, I waited for
you to come take me home.

Look, I gotta go.

They say if you'd have
pulled the trigger yourself,

you would've walked.

- Maybe.


I couldn't have ever pulled that trigger.

- Okay, tell me something.

If you could do it over again,
would you still have done it?

- Yes.

It's a terrible thing to take
another person's life, it's,

it's terrible to take a,

a father away from his son, but,

if I hadn't done that, I'd be dead.

You really believe that?

- Yes.

- What about my survival?

You don't know what it's like
growing up in a world where

everybody knows that your
mother had your father killed.

Didn't you ever think of that?

When I look at pictures of Dad,

do you know I can still
remember the way he smelled?

The way he laughed and messed my hair.

How strong his arms felt
when he was holding me.

And I remember seeing him at his funeral.

And this overwhelming emptiness inside me.

Mom, why did you wanna
tell me all this, now?

- You're 18.

And you're going away to
college, in San Francisco.

You're finally gonna get to
see the Golden Gate Bridge.

You're starting a new life
and I wanted to tell you,

in my own words, from my heart,

I wanted to look in your eyes.

- Okay, fine.

- Denny, I spent my entire
marriage to your father,

afraid that he was gonna kill me.

And I've spent every day
in prison afraid that

that when you grew up, you
would hate me for what I did.

Visitation hours are now over.

All visitors will prepare to leave.

- All right, I better go.

- Do well in school.

- You take care of yourself.

- I will.

I love you, Denny.

- I've missed you, Mom.

I've resented you for
so long for leaving me,

I've been angry at you,

but I never stopped loving you.

And when you get out of prison,

I'm gonna be here to pick you up.

And we'll drive up to California

and we'll see the ocean together.

The average
prison sentence for a woman

who kills her husband is 15 to 20 years.

For a man who kills his
wife, two to six years.

I was sentenced to 40 years for
conspiracy to commit murder.

I have served five and a half years

and I have filed for a
motion for reconsideration

of my sentence, which is
currently under review.