The following is in memory of Viviana Tulli and was written by her sister Stella Tulli:
My 21 year old sister- Viviana Tulli- was murdered on Aug. 30, 2010– our mother’s 60th birthday— She was strangled and suffocated by her ex boyfriend who had been granted an early parole release, placed in a halfway home,, and had escaped….
I struggle with her death daily. She wasn’t just my baby sister., she was also my child…. I was her “surrogate mother”….
I had written my feelings down and had gotten it published locally—-
My phone is vibrating. Earlier that day I had wished my mom a happy birthday and it seemed to be a good morning. As the hours passed, a feeling of uneasiness crept over me. Something isn’t right, I thought to myself. I want to go home. Hours passed and my cell is non stop. Why is my mom calling me? I’m at work and not supposed to have my cell on, but…, let me see what the birthday lady wants. “have you spoken to your sister today?” no Mami. Why? “the police called your father and want us all to go to police station. Something happened to Vivi”. I finally get driven to the police station- fighting back tears. This is not happening. I meet with the officer’s. They start asking questions. All I can stammer out is ” is she alive”. Once I give a description of her and all her tattoos, my heart broke. “your sister was in an accident. She has died.”. From the car accident? “no, she was killed”. It was David! He did it. And this is where our lives have changed.
I felt like I had been kicked, stabbed, thrown into a fire. How could this be? He escaped the halfway house? As details emerged, my stomach knotted, my eyes filled with tears and this cry came out. So primal and raw. I ran out of the room i was in, started punching walls, ripping paper to shreds. Found my parents and hugged my mom. Of all days, it had to be her birthday. This animal.,,, this… No body, played god and took something no one could ever replace. Finally make my way outside, light a cigarette and just collapsed on the sidewalk. Drive home a few blocks, the police cruiser is still parked there…… Shortly thereafter, our first reporter comes up. I immediately spot him and tell him to take a hike. His response ” I just want a story”. My brother and I, our quick witted response ” here’s a story, reporter gets his ass kicked”. That’s right fucker, move it along. News has now spread. My phone is non. Stop. Texts, calls, Facebook messages….. Having to reply “yes, it’s true. My sister had been murdered “. The pieces of that day and week are still foggy 8 months later. Between the raw emotion and the tequila I was chugging from the bottle, my memory is still clouded. A lot of people wound up at my house that first night. I know from stories that I was quite the s**t talker. I was beyond drunk. The reality I was so desperately trying to hide and avoid — I just lost it. The next day, I went to the morgue. I was still in disbelief and in my head, I NEEDED to see her. I thought it would provide some closure. No. Closure was not provided. Instead, the image haunts me. I rememer banging on the glass partition. “vivi. Vivi. Vivi!!! WAKE UP. Stop f******g around Vivi. It’s not funny. Please. Please wake up. Please. Tears are falling, I’m still banging on the glass. There she lays, shrouded in a white blanket. Her face, pale, bruised and swollen from the beating he administered to her. This is where the bargaining begins. “god, please. Bring her back. I’ll trade places. Take me. Not her. Please not her. Take my legs, take my arms. Make me blind. Please. Just bring her back. Sadly, these negotiations, didn’t work. Since god wasn’t hearing me, maybe the devil will help out. Offered him my soul for her…. He didn’t want it. Back home, more alcohol goes down my throat— along with whatever else was presented in front of me. “make me numb” I cry as I chug from the Patron bottle. This can’t be happening… You read these stories in the newspaper and never think such a horrible thing can happen. It does! Hindsight kicks in. As I slowly scroll through my memories, conversations I’ve had with Vivi…,, I knew this day would come. Didn’t think it would the way it did though- but I KNEW Vivi wasn’t long for this earth. A gut feeling. Intuition. Just like i knew something wasn’t right on my mom’s birthday. Maybe if I had stayed home from work that day…maybe if i had gone out with her tht night.., maybe if I…,,,, the guilt eats at me. The what if’s… How is it possible a person-an inmate- is in a hospital with a chaperone, guard, whatever… leaves?? so many unanswered questions.. The bottom line, the people who are supposed to be protecting us fucked up.. Now this presents a challenge for me.. The people who are here to protect and serve are now working on my sister’s murder case.. I have mixed emotions about it. distrusting, yet grateful. It’s funny, you watch a crime show and it’s all wrapped up quite quickly..I mean, what exactly is the delay in all this.. 2 people are in a car. 1 of them winds up dead, the other attempts suicide.. really not that hard to figure out.. even a child can quickly sum up the facts.. yet, here we are. awaiting a murder trial with jury.. Great, we get to rehash all the facts.. I’ll hear David again say “not guilty” NOT GUILTY.. not guilty was his response at his arraignment.. f*****g coward.. shielding his face from all of us.. Why you hiding David? because Vivi got a few shots in,, you embarrassed tough guy?? If looks could kill, I along with others would have struck him down.. I know he heard me yell out in court as he was being led away in handcuffs, ” I HATE YOU DAVID” Vivi and I sound alike, so him hearing that,, knowing it wasn’t her.. makes me just a teeny bit happy.. at the same time, I’m disgusted with the chain of events. The whole “dropping the ball.” I still do not understand how he was released early. I still wonder how the parole board looked over his docket, showing his previous assault on officers, his prevous threaten to kill charges, his violoations while being incarcerated and still said, Yes, this man can go on to a halfway house. Seriously dude?? for real? no bull shit??? wow. im amazed.. Tell me, where is this “justice” oh i’m gonna get it when a JURY convicts him.. thanks.. not bringing my sister back.. nothing will, but fu** if it doesnt hurt.. What can I do to right this wrong?? I cant’ take it out on his family or friends, not their fault David is a piece of shit, but i want them to feel that pain my mother feels. I want someone to wake up at 3am bawling their eyes out because they just had a dream of their beloved little sister laughing and wake up and realize it was only a dream.. No more birthdays to celebrate with her, no more holidays.. vivi isnt’ waiting for me on the front steps ready to take a ride with me. no more shopping with my lil sis. it’s all gone.. Our love for her will always be there, but now all we have is our memories… the good, the bad, the funny.. I lost a part of myself that day… fun loving, free spirited Stella, has now gone away. and this older, stronger, wiser Stella stepped up.. I miss my old me.. I miss the old us.. i especially miss Vivi the most.. Lil MIss Tulli cant be replaced and she shouldn’t. She is definately one of a kind.