VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT, read at Juan Cruz sentencing 1/7/2013
BY: THERESA LETICIA RAMIREZ,
Daughter of the Victim, “Rosie” Marie Woolwine
Age 7 at the time of the crime
Describe how this crime affected you or your family:
Juan Cruz not only destroyed my mother’s life, he also destroyed my life among the lives of her many close relatives and children she also left behind. Juan Cruz’s abuse towards my mother continues to replay in my memories, and I will never forget what he did to her. I grew up in turmoil and despair without the love of a mother. I became withdrawn and closed off and even contemplated taking my own life at times. I suffered torture and ridicule at school for not fitting in well, as I struggled to adapt to the changes all young ladies go through. I never knew the advice and confidential moments most teenagers share with their moms. It was a dark and lonely time in my life that lasted years as I drifted by, never striving towards much at all. But something hit me and gave me the strength to forge my own path through life. At 16 I realized that my mom would want me to be strong like her, and I started remembering all the things I learned from watching her as a little girl. I began to understand how beautiful of a person she was, and how compassionate and loving she was to everyone she met. But most importantly I adopted her work ethic and survival mentality that came second nature to my mom. I took care of myself and struggled to make it through college while I worked several jobs at a time to afford tuition. I’ve clawed my way through school and stayed strong when I hit harder times, but nonetheless continued to feel the impact of a broken family long after my mother’s murder. Rosie’s 3 children, my siblings and I, were ripped apart and given to our separate 2 fathers. Sarah [8 years old] and myself, Theresa [7 years old], went to Dearborn, MI with our father; and our little brother Joey Sajewski II [4 yrs old] went to live with his father in Detroit, MI. We grew up in a manner my mom Rosie wold never have wanted and would have undoubtedly broke her heart, apart from each other, never to share our sacred bond as close siblings any longer. We’d cling to our few precious memories throughout the years as we also continue to seek more information about our mother. Neither one of us 3 children were ever able to obtain any belongings from our mom, until 2012. Living full lives without any possessions or keepsakes from our mother has been a constant painful reminder of a sudden and tragic ending & loss. We each suffer the emotional trauma of not having photos, memories or essentially any traces of our early existence with our mom. Rosie never saw me break records in track & field, stand up for myself against bullies, earn the highest rank in JROTC, help me get ready for my first date, graduate from high school, get accepted to Wayne State University, graduate from college, and she will never see all of the milestones I have yet to face, the children I will have, and my wedding day. I will never know why she named me, what her hopes were for me, what she dreamed about for herself and all of the special moments we should have shared as a mom and daughter. I cannot even understand the bond of a mom and daughter and I will never truly know this until I have my own children. Juan Cruz stole from me the most important relationship I could or will ever have had…a mother’s nurture. I lacked confidence, motivation, self-worth and self-esteem when I grew up without Rosie. It took me years to piece together the memories of what my mom taught me as a child. But now I have found her on my own and despite the length of time Juan Cruz evaded responsibility for his actions. Today, I give back to Juan Cruz all of the grief, strife, frustration, anger, rage, hurt, guilt, pain, struggle, torture, hatred that this case has brought to me since 1989, up until this day. Now that Juan Cruz has been brought to justice and convicted of his crimes by a jury of his peers, I gladly hand over all of these things to him. I no longer have use for them and my life from this moment on will only be a reflection of the life my mother always hoped I would lead. I will only have room in my life to honor her memory and share her wisdom and love with my own family. I will share her spirit with all others as I myself practice her belief of family, faith, forgiveness, compassion and love. I refuse to carry with me the memory of Juan Cruz, except to speak out against any hope of release from prison he may ever have. Rest assured I will be at any and every hearing, for as long as I am alive. I’d like to address the gross defamation of character and misrepresentation brought up by the defense in this trial. Contrary to what was proposed, Rosie was an amazing mother whose children never doubted her undying devotion and unwavering loyalty. Rosie was never an alcoholic, nor an irresponsible mother. To the contrary, Rosie had been reevaluating her life and chose to further her education to afford more opportunities for herself and ultimately for her children. Rosie sacrificed everything to take care of her children as a strong and independent single mother and Juan Cruz stood in the way of her path towards self-betterment and any potential success. We will never know the greatness Rosie could have attained. Her only mistake was loving a cruel and dangerous man capable of murder, but we all know that Rosie had a heart far too big to ever foresee Juan Cruz’s final act of violence towards her.
Describe any after affects as a result of this crime:
I continue to struggle with trust issues, relationship problems and issues with men in general due to Juan Cruz’s actions. I suffer chronic anxiety, and PTSD in any situation involving crime, harm or potential bad situations [ie., dark alleys, stopping next to a car late at night, strangers walking, etc]. I have adapted to the normalcy of a broken family and home, but realize that it is a cold holiday season each year I head to other people’s family dinners never knowing the feeling of having a holiday meal with my mother. I have had a hardened perspective on life and the possibilities of tragedy since a severely early age. I was unable to enjoy a happy and vibrant childhood without my mom. I still feel an empty spot deep in my heart where a mother can only exist. Though I know in my soul that my mom will always be with me, I will never know the sound of her voice or loving gazes and smiles at me. It is imeasureable, the amount of pain and hurt I feel and will always feel without my mother, and given the way she was taken from me. Nothing will take this away, forever.
What recommendations do you have or what sentence do you think the defendant should receive if he/she is convicted of this crime?
The sentencing guidelines from the date of the warrant issued recommends about 22 years for the 2 charges he is guilty of. However, I believe that Judge Timothy Kenny should find Juan Cruz’s flee from authorities to Mexico for 20+ years, the brutal nature of the crime and actions taken to cover up the crime, the history and testimony of abuse demonstrated by Juan Cruz, and the lack of remorse exhibited by Juan Cruz, extenuating circumstance and justifiable cause to sentence additional years. I would recommend 35-40 years in prison with no chance of parole. If parole is unavoidable, it should not be given to him liberally. This recommendation is to further protect the general pubic from the remorseless monster known as Juan Cruz, who I believe is an evil womanizer capable of brutal acts of violence, oppression and avoidance of guilt/consequence.
When we finally got a Guilty verdict, we celebrated all day long and continue to do so in Rosie’s name and honor. We will never look back on the demise and tragic ending as our memories of her. We will instead carry her name and heart with us as we pass it down to our children. Grace, love, respect and character are all components of Rosie’s essence. We remember her when we love each other, when we’re there for each other and when we forgive each other. Rosie’s spirit will never die, so long as we open our hearts and share with each other what she meant and how strong she was.
WE WILL NEVER EVER FORGET YOU, ROSIE…This one was for you, mom <3