Deadly Injustice: The Ripple Effect

Deadly Injustice: The Ripple Effect


Donna reflects on, Jerry Savage. "Less than 30 hours after he put a gun to my head, he was out of jail. I didn't think he would do anything to the girls, I thought he was just after me," Donna says.

"He shot Caitlin in the back of the head and then he shot himself," says Kevin. "I never dreamed he would grab her at school. I feel very guilty because I couldn't do anything to stop that."


Caitlin's family and friends take solace in their fond memories of her.

"I miss my daughter a lot," says Donna. "She was the joy of my life. And just the fact that she's not going to get to do the things that she wanted to do with her life."

"No one can forget Caitlin. She was, she was a shining light. She just blossomed around people," Joann adds.

"She brightened up the room," says Caitlin's classmate, Matt. "She made everybody feel like they're wanted ... If I had the opportunity to talk to my friend, Caitlin, I would say, 'Thank you. You are such a good friend. You've always been there for me. And I love you very much.'"

"Caitlin was a really good big sister and a really good person," says Amanda.

Donna's brother, Kevin, a police officer, delivered the news about Caitlin's death to the family.

"That had to be the longest walk from the curb to the door you've ever taken in your life," says Dr. Phil. Kevin agrees that it was. Dr. Phil then asks, "What went wrong here, Kevin?"

"What went wrong is, the law failed, not anybody," Kevin says. "Right now the law is basically set up if you have not committed first degree murder then you are allowed some type of bond. And he didn't kill Donna, so he didn't qualify for what's
called a zero bond or no bond. And a bond was set, a rather high bond for our area, but still a bond was set. And he had the money to make it."

Dr. Phil turns to Donna. "And you left. You said, 'I'm out of here. I'm going to Tulsa,' which is some, what, 100 miles away? Because you thought, 'If I get out of here, then at least that'll draw him away, if anything, and I'm not so accessible to him.'"

"I knew he'd come after me," says Donna. "I didn't think he'd come after them, so I thought they would be safer if I wasn't there."

"You had no way of predicting that he was going to come after the children in any way, of course," says Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil is also joined by one of Caitlin's dear friends, Matt, who has been crying openly at the descriptions of Caitlin's last moments. Dr. Phil says, "Matt, this is a tough, tough time for you, I know. Did Caitlin talk to you about any of this beforehand?"

"When I went to lunch with her a couple of times during school, she had told me that she was scared that something was going to happen to her or her sister. She was more afraid for her sister," he responds.

"Now Matt, you know that there was nothing you could do to stop this," says Dr. Phil.

But Matt is unconvinced. "I felt that if I could have walked her to her car, it might have stopped it. Why couldn't I just have been there? Why couldn't I be there, trying to stop it?" he demands.

"But you had no way of foreseeing what was going to happen,"

Dr. Phil assures him. "You had no way of knowing. Her own mother couldn't know that he was going to target her, that he was going to be there to try to take her. I mean, you understand that you can't have X-ray vision going forward, although I know it hurts terribly and you play 'what if' in your mind, don't you?

"The first two days I said, 'What if I was there? What if I could have done something? What could I have done if anything?'" Matt admits. "But there's no way for me to know."

"Kevin, I know everybody looks over their shoulder when these things happen, but as you said, this isn't the failure of an individual," says Dr. Phil. "Certainly the sheriff did everything that he could do, the under-sheriff did everything that he could do in delaying the book-out, giving Donna a heads-up so she could get out of there. But the law is what it is, and that's the problem, right? We've got the problem that the law is such that you've got somebody who abducts a woman at gunpoint and 30 hours later can be back on the street and have another gun. And that just seems absolutely incomprehensible."