It's a compelling book, this "Shattered" by Debra Puglisi Sharp.
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”Shattered” by Debra Puglisi Sharp
Debra Puglisi was busy planting roses one morning in her home in Delaware. Nearby, as fate would have it, one Donald Flagg just got a paycheck from the local Chrysler plant and used the funds to purchase some fine crack. The crack/cocaine caused Flagg to get a bit horny. So he perused the streets until he spotted Debra carrying her garden equipment around and decided she would do just fine for what Donald had planned and to satisfy Donald’s needs.
Donald Flagg parked his car near the Puglisi home then entered the house as easily as a family member via a door left open. Nino Puglisi was arriving home at around the same time and Nino was in Donald’s way. Quick as a flash Donald Flagg shot and killed Nino Puglisi.
Flagg then found the object of his affections, the pretty woman who had been tending her garden. Almost before the surprise could register for Debra Flagg Flagg grabbed her, tied her up then proceeded to rape her in her own house.
But Flagg had other plans for Debra. He bound, gagged and blindfolded her then threw her in the trunk of his car.
Through her co-writer, Marjorie Armstrong, Ms. Sharp then tells the story of what had to be any human being on this planet’s most horrific six days on the planet. For Donald Flagg took Ms. Sharp to his home, threw her into a room somewhere as if she was a rag. When Flagg’s nature called he would retrieve Ms. Sharp, rape her either vaginally or anally, then hog-tie her again and throw her aside for an encore later.
Sharp recounts the horrors of having to urinate on herself, the pain of a horrific anal rape, the unspeakable abomination of having to share this man’s bed as he slept with his arm slung across her bound and naked body that she does not escape. The pain of the ropes cutting into her wrists added terrible pain to the discomfort of the contorted position she was left in for hours on end.
The few times her captor spoke to her Debra assumed a quiet response of respect, referring to her captor as “sir”. One day Flagg casually apologized to his victim for having to kill her husband.
Meanwhile Sharp’s twin children had learned about the death of their father and all of Delaware was awaiting information as to where Mrs. Puglisi might be. The police, as they are trained to do, even suspected Mrs. Puglisi as a possible accomplice in the murder of her husband with a planned disappearance afterward.
The details of the six days were captivating reading. Sharp’s recovery after she was finally rescued was just as captivating.
Besides the trial of recovering from her own wounds (she still has the scars from the tight ropes which bound her for so long), Sharp had to recover from the loss of her beloved husband.
The reader then goes from anger at the evil Flagg through the bittersweet memories of Debra as she now must navigate life without her beloved Nino; a husband taken from her with one quick shot from the gun of Donald Flagg who watched Nino drop in his death then reached behind him to grab a beer from the fridge.
Victims do not lose loved ones in one awful day of fate. Loved ones are lost at an empty chair at the Thanksgiving table. The pain of the loss rises at even the sight of tall grasses, something the fastidious Nino would never have tolerated. Nino’s children finish school and graduate in ceremonies without their father in attendance. Victims lose loved ones in every second of every day as the minutiae and routine of life plows on.
Debra gave a great insight into the trial of Donald Flagg. Sharp had managed to get the police on a telephone in Flagg’s house by hopping on bound feet and dialing the number with her hands tied behind her back. Debra was hoping for the death penalty to Flagg but for whatever reasons, the death penalty was not granted.
As the reader not immersed in the daily pain of loss Ms. Sharp must feel I can understand why Flagg was not given the death penalty. Yes, he did kill one innocent man who deserves to be alive today, watching his grandchildren grow and happily mowing his grass. But as often happens between captor and victim, Flagg began to view his victim as a human being. At one point he had a soul food dinner with her and he began to make promises that he would release her. Point is that Flagg COULD have killed Debra and this fact tended to make him not such a good death penalty candidate in the rather liberal state of Delaware.
The sentencing judge DID give Flagg enough confinement that he’ll never walk free again. One interesting part of Flagg’s confinement as stipulated by the sentencing judge was that for the six days every year that Flagg held Debra hostage under such cruel conditions he was to be put in solitary confinement.
Good. Here’s hoping he had to think how cavalierly he treated a human being while he’s locked up all by himself. May his anniversaries by fine affairs that he anticipates eagerly.
Debra referred to her captor as “asshole” throughout the book. A little tidbit I found terrific because the poor woman had to call that asshole “sir” and that had to hurt.
Makes me understand Fred Goldman all the more.
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