George Hartwig: Justice finally served?

It has been almost exactly 9 years since my life as I knew it ended with the arrest of my ex-husband. I can say I am a “survivor,” but my life will never be what it would have been had this not happened. In the wake of Barry Lichtenthal, many people have been permanently damaged. Perhaps the best marker of a sociopath is the number of broken and wounded who fall on the paths of their lives. But I am lucky, as are the rest of those who survive life shared with a sociopath free of bodily damage.

I have come to understand that the bodily damage that sociopaths inflict is both direct and indirect. George Hartwig’s story gives us an example of both. It also causes us to pause and think about the issues of justice and recovery.

Before she was really mature enough to know better, Denise Richardson made the mistake of marrying George Hartwig. She then suffered years of physical and emotional torment, the stress from which I believe contributed to her early death from cancer. There are many, many victims for whom the stress of emotional abuse at the hands of a sociopath has caused physical illness- from cancer to infection to cardiovascular disease. Many victims thus die from their tragic relationship choices. Those who inflicted the stress that contributed to the deaths are never charged with a crime, and yet they, in a sense, commit murder. Sociopaths whose torment leads victims to suicide also commit murder.

The impact of George Hartwig on Denise Richardson and her family went even further. Following an argument with Denise’s mother, George shot Denise’s sister Louisa Rodas in the face; she lost an eye and she remains permanently brain damaged. Yesterday, Hartwig, now age 43, was sentenced to a 20-year term for the attempted murder of Louisa, and a consecutive 10-year term for the attempted murder of Rodas’ brother, Thomas Richardson. He must serve nearly 26 years before he can be considered for parole. Judge DeAvila-Silebi, also imposed a $100,000 fine and said she will hold a hearing on whether Hartwig, who may have received a settlement from a worker’s compensation claim, can make the payment.

Read: Lodi man gets 30 years for shooting sister-in-law in the face, on

Denise and Louisa’s mother, BettyJean Downing- Kling, maintains a website, and posted the following on her blog, George Hartwig gets 30 years for shooting sister-in-law in the face:

DV Justice at last:
ON behalf of my daughters and their sons — I ask interested persons send letters to the Judge thanking her for her sentencing in the following case. Judge DeAvila-Silebi handed down a most fair sentence citing Domestic Violence statistics as her major consideration in making her final decision along with the testimony and guilty pleas of the defendant. It is apparent, this jurist sentenced George Hartwig to the full extent of the law within the bounds of the law, and she is to be commended for her careful, honest and thoughtful consideration of domestic violence and taking brutal offenders off the streets and refusing to fall for the defendants and his attorney’s arguments of mitigating circumstances. This Judge knows her business and we certainly need more of her on the bench all across this nation!

I, too, am glad that Hartwig received the toughest sentence possible, but why should this small modicum of justice be some unusual event that has us all writing thank you notes to the judge? Is there really any sentence here that would be considered “just” by any thinking person?

In my opinion, it is too late for justice in this case. Justice was only possible years ago when the abuse first happened, or maybe even earlier when Hartwig first manifested his disorder.

Sadly, often recovery is as incomplete as justice. What kind of life will BettyJean and her family have now that this case is finally “over”? We all wish them the most peace and happiness they can find, but we know life will not be the same as it would have been if they had never met George Hartwig.

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25 Comments on "George Hartwig: Justice finally served?"

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Truthspeak, I agree the entire LEGAL SYSTEM and political system is broken….I just read a story about an Irish guy who left Ireland and went to England to make a living, got rich and came home to briing jobs to Ireland, and the political corruption and bribe demands of the politicians etc. and then the revenge when he stood up to them…broke the man, and his wife…financially and emotionally. Now, 25 years later he has finally been vindicated and the bribe takers (a few of the lower level ones) outed in the newspapers, but no real consequences….so it is everywhere and it is at all levels of “justice” and frustrating!

People have always been afraid to take a stand, this isn’t something new. Kitty Genovesee was killed and screamed for 20 + minutes and no one even called the cops.

I live in a very corrupt county about like the Irishman frankly….and I’ve seen the same thing, with a local whistle blower beaten down, literally beaten on the court house steps…and he kept on fighting (He owned the local little weekly newspaper) and it took a horrible toll on him and his family but he wanted justice, just like this family does, but the price was high. He eventually got some justice, but at what cost.

Sometimes we have to weigh our costs and decide if we are willing to pay it, if we even CAN pay it.

Sometimes we STAND ALONE.

I don’t mind at all. It helps me to blog about these things because if forces me to organize my thoughts about it.

I guess I could have said it more concisely by saying, You are the dog that he kicks because he hates himself.

It’s called transferance. He hates himself but that is unbearable, so he transfers his hatred toward the dog and kicks it, then justifies it because he truly believes the dog “deserved it.” Otherwise, why would he kick it?

But I had to write all the other stuff in order to boil it down to this very simple scapegoating concept.

Spaths are all backwards thinking so it’s hard to keep your brain on straight when thinking about them.

STJ , G1S, ErinBrock, Truth Speaks, Ox Drover !
Wow – I sure am glad I came back to check- First thansk you again, next – obviously some of you have been to my blogs and did some research – I am honored to make your aquaintance- you are warriors indeed to have looked deeper into the story! I am deeply moved that you did so.

As to how many women were working and couldn’t make it- I wish that were the case- U am involved in a facebook page that had 789 Lodi women who are my age and retired – you would think a few of them could have showed up 3 miles away? Where were the women’s groups? They are paid to show up?
I have been a squeeky door for over 3 years- I never let up for a second- I doubt if this was a secret to many as I shamed 9 NOW presidents including the National President into sending letter on Louisa’s behalf as well as Jehmue Green and yet not one of them reported on our victory.
I will tell you why they did not show up or reoport on our victory- they are in competition with our Non- partisan efforts to unite women.
If you do a search you ill find I have essentially fough this battle alone– and I have done so because of politis! Polictics is keeping women from moving forward- we can and we must break free! Just as the suffragists Kicked the asses of the parties – so must we if we hope to ever win this war against women by both parties .
Believe me – there is a war against women and both sides are using us against each other and we are allowing it.
No one women and her daughter should have fought this alone and after winning we all should be basking in the victory alas- I am willing but they want me hidden from site and my voice quiet!
We are losing wars in courts because we are powerless and that is exactly as they want it!Church on one side barefoot and pregnant and the Liberals on the other keeping us fighting tooth and nail against half of our own kind.
We must unite to win this war- the majority divided aginst itself will never prevail against the minority united against it!
Whiel they play good cop bad cop we are myd wrestling to their delight!
Forgive my honesty- but I have been in the independent trenches for 35 years! I have run for office, and I have beat the odds by standing strong! Now all I need is the rest of womankind to stand strong too! We can do this – and if we unite – they haven’t a chance against a united front!

BJ Founder The Majority United

BJ you are a warrior woman for sure! Around here our “war cry” is from Fried green tomatoes when Cathy Bates rams her car into the car of the uppity kids who got her parking place TOWANDA!!!!!

No you should not have to have fought this campaign alone, the DA, the police, the entire town should have been there with you!

No woman or man should have to fight for justice in a case like this.

In cases like this nothing will put “humpty dumpty” back together again. Your daughter’s injuries are there forever. There is NO RESTITUTION, but there should be JUSTICE for what happened to her. You should not have to “fight” for it, it should be PROVIDED by our government for all citizens.

Everyone of us here has had one or more run ins with pure psychpaths, I gave birth to one, he’s in prison for murder. My biological “sperm donor” (he wasn’t a father to me, only gave me his DNA) was a psychopath that killed at least two people I know for sure, but never went to prison. Every person here at lovefraud knows first hand the trauma that dealing with a psychopath can bring.

God bless you in your quest, warrior woman and blessings on your daughter and her children!

Betty Jean,

The work to take your individual efforts to a broader audience is not small. And will need significant funding if you want to light the fire you describe.

The first step would be search engine optimization for your blog.

The simplest way to accomplish is for people to go there and post frequently. Activity will increase your ratings.

And, it would be helpful if you had an opt in email list to send out announcements on new topics you post.

We could all set up google alerts on your website and post on new topics. I think that is the LF community could easily do to support you.

Additionally you might want to tackle topics like Bigamy and Divorce Custody cases with Psychopaths/ Sociopaths. These kinds of cases also need support because most of them don’t get near as far as you did.

The other thing you might consider is asking Love Fraud and the sites which are linked here to link with yours. Linking sites with activity will help to increase your ratings too.

Keep going. And use technology to your advantage. The virtual audience is waiting.


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