by: Elizabeth Kerian
The Honorable _ Name of court City,
State, ZIP code
RE: People vs. (case number)
On Thanksgiving Day (November 23) in 2006, I awoke early as I was planning to fly home to Missouri to celebrate the holiday with my family. It was still dark out when I left my apartment on W. Barry Ave in Chicago at 5:00 am and began to walk to the train that I planned to take to the airport. As I walked to the train, I was grabbed from behind and dragged into an alley where I was brutally attacked and raped by Courtney Austin. My attacker repeatedly beat me when I screamed for help and threatened to kill me if I didn’t cooperate. I seriously doubted that I was going to escape alive.
The damage done to me by Courtney Austin is irreparable. The brutal physical injuries have healed but I have recurring nightmares and daily flashbacks of the attack. I’ve lost a piece of my independence as I’m now afraid of the dark and cannot walk the streets alone like I once did. I will never be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving Holiday again as I’ll always be reminded of the horror of the attack. My ability to enjoy physical intimacy with a man is impaired and is not something that I care to expand upon. I trust that you’ll understand. In a nutshell, my life will never be the same again and I have to learn to live with the torment and mental trauma that this viscous attack has caused me.
This wasn’t just a random attack and I suspect it wasn’t the first time that this man has raped someone. His act was clearly premeditated. He had come prepared with baby wipes and used them to try to clean away any evidence of his bodily fluids on me. Some people write impact statements as part of their emotional recovery from the trauma of such an ordeal. I take no such comfort from writing this statement as it has just caused me additional emotional distress. The only comfort that I might gain from this exercise is if it helps to keep this criminal in prison for a longer period of time than if I hadn’t written it. I fear that, if released, Courtney Austin will attack and rape a defenseless woman again. I ask that your honor use the full force of the law to keep Courtney Austin in prison for the maximum term permitted by law to keep him from harming society any more than he already has. As you contemplate a sentence, please consider his parting words that play over and over again in my head: “Have a nice life, Bitch.”
Note: After this statement, Courtney Austin was sentenced to 23 years in prison.