Our coverage of the murder of a McKinney, Texas, real estate saleswoman struck a chord with many 'Lineup' viewers. There are ways to protect yourself while at work, and we've highlighted one viewer's personal story and her advice to those who might be concerned about their safety.
E-mail No. 1
My name is Julie Roberts of Century 21 Sunshine Realty in St Petersburg, Florida. I am the realtor in Pinellas County who survived a horrible attack by a fledgling serial killer. I appreciate the great advice you have been passing along about advising your schedule, checking in with the office and giving a description of the car belonging to the person you are with. As good as that advice is it would not have helped me.
I was at my office with my attacker. My office knew where I was going and several other agents had met the man. He knew it would only take a short amount of time and he would be gone before anyone realized I was missing. The only thing that would have possibly saved me from this was to have another agent or friend/spouse with me.
I have recovered from my broken arm and knee injuries sufficiently to resume my practice, but have been forced to take on a partner which will cut my profits in half. I do not show property alone and only meet new prospects in the office where I can copy their driver’s license and auto tags. I want them to know that we are serious about the safety of our agents.
There is a fine line between alienating a client and security. How do you know where to draw that line? We are still trying to find it. Thank you for the attention you are giving this subject. We all grow too complacent until another attack happens. I feel the need to scream about my ordeal from the mountaintops in order to keep my peers on their toes. Most don't think it will ever happen to them, and they are so wrong.
St Petersburg FL
ANSWER: Julie, thank you for sharing your personal story with our viewers. In fact, you give great advice to anyone in your field or other fields who might be concerned about their safety. It is particularly challenging for women who are trying to stay competitive in a real estate market where men really don't have the same degree of safety concerns.
I think your advice bodes well for any woman who works in a sales position where they have to meet new clients outside of the office. In any situation it is good to be aware of even your co-workers and if you are uncomfortable or concerned about a colleague’s behavior, report it to a supervisor. It is always better to be safe than sorry. You are a very brave woman and it is important that you continue to spread the word to other woman to be aware because as you know all to well, it can happen to anyone.
E-mail No. 2
The Duke case has led me to question the right to a speedy trial. It seems this one is rather drawn out and not speedy. If the prosecutor doesn't have a case nearly ready, why is he having arrests made? There is currently a case locally that was dropped but not until the accused stayed in jail 8 months, and then someone finally looked at the case and saw there was no real evidence that would convict him.
ANSWER: Stan, I couldn't agree more. It is particularly frustrating in this instance where it appears there is credible evidence supporting alibi defenses and other exonerating evidence for the three young men in this case. This case is rife with credibility problems and inconsistencies especially where the timeline of events are concerned. The fact that this case is not scheduled to go to trial until spring of 2007 is confounding.
As a former prosecutor, I used to fight to get my cases to trial as quickly as possible, especially where I had victims of rape or domestic violence involved. Both sides should demand a speedy trial. Justice, which could come in the form of exoneration, should not be delayed.
— KimberlyWatch Kimberly Guilfoyle on "The Lineup," weekends at 9 p.m. ET