24-year-old New York criminal justice graduate student Imette St. Guillen allegedly “earned” her murder at the hands of “prime suspect” 41-year-old bar bouncer Darryl Littlejohn — his blood was found on the milky white ties used to cuff Imette’s hands behind her back.

 Imette St. Guillen

Littlejohn is accused of raping, torturing and killing Imette before hacking off her hair, stuffing a sock down her throat and binding her face like a mummy with tan packing tape to obliterate her beautiful features.

There are some who believe Imette deserved her death and earned her murder with unladylike behavior — a “good girl” isn’t alone and drunk and thrown out of a bar at 3:00am with a convicted felon bouncer as an escort — because any young woman who values her life would not be so reckless and haphazard with the rules of living in a dangerous society.

Others claim no one earns a humiliating murder or a tortuous rape even if they were socially stupid or culturally unwise — everyone deserves to live an unfettered life in spite of their mistakes and no one should ever be forced to forfeit their life because of one bad decision.

If we are only as good as the demons we control — what does Imette St. Guillen’s grisly murder confess about those who condemn her in death as earning her end?

19 Comments

  1. I agree with you, Carla and it is so sad to see Imette’s mother on television begging people not to blame her daughter for her own death. She said a woman has the right to have a drink in a bar at night and to not fear for her life afterward.

  2. Hey Karvain —
    You’re right. The bar dropped the ball. I have a feeling Imette’s family will soon be the owner of that bar. It’s a pale replacement for a beloved daughter but someone must pay for her death beyond the justice system.

  3. Hi Katha!
    It is wonderful to see you beautiful face next to your comments now! The keen thing is if you go back to all your other wonderful comments — there’s your face there now, too!
    I love it you are using your full name. It is quite lovely in itself and it defines you and specifies the international experiences you share here.
    Thank you for posting the link to Jessica Lal. What a terrible story!
    The thin line between function and chaos is growing thinner every day. There’s no doubt many think life is cheap, but when death becomes cheaper than a life we have a serious problem.
    I think we begin to create a safe space for everyone by joining together in the common cause of looking out for each other’s best interest without being selfish about it. You threaten me and you threaten my entire group and we will stand together and fight any common threats as if they were our own.

  4. I understand.
    I was blamed, when I was raped, being told I brought it on myself for wearing “sexy” clothing. People forget very quickly that there are babies who are raped, please don’t even try to explain to me how a baby is “sexy” and thus deserved to be violated. It is complete crap that the way someone looks, acts, or otherwise, is any reason or excuse for abuse.
    I remember all too clearly how I was made out to be some sick and perverted male hater, praying on young men, all so I could go running to the police. How disgusting that this kind of attitude is now being cast onto a woman who is DEAD. At least I was in a position to defend myself, I am ALIVE.
    This is so damn disturbing.

  5. Oh, krome.obsession, I am sorry to hear what you went through with your rape.
    It is too bad it is an allowable defense for the accused to point the finger at the other person.
    There was a story in the news the other day about a co-ed accusing another of raping her. His defense was his penis was so big that it wouldn’t fit in “an unwilling vagina” — his attorney actually used that phrase when talking to the press – so the sex he had with her was consensual and not rape. It was a Twilight Zone moment when you became so overwhelmed with the ridiculousness of the defense that you can’t even laugh at the stupidity of it any longer.
    I fear things haven’t changed much since your rape. Young women are still made out to be willing temptresses offering apples and serpents from the Garden of Eden to weak but, noble men, who would not fall if not for their alluring sexuality.

  6. Hey Katha —
    I think you’re smart to play it close to the vest. You have to be careful when dark forces want to steal — or even borrow — you inner light. It’s best to try to stay away from situations from which you cannot knowingly find the way out before entering.
    There’s an old saying in the theatre — “Know the exits!” — so if you’re in trouble you know where to run screaming from the theatre. There’s also a more universal truth that might compel us onward as well: Always leave yourself two ways out of any situation – be it physical, ethereal, emotional, virtual — because blocking two exits is harder than standing in front of the only way out where brute force and hardship and hatred can repel any chance for escape into freedom.
    You are absolutely right that blame and complain is simple while doing the right thing is always hard because so many around us are only interested in the effortless.

  7. You have had an amazing life, krome, and I thank you for sharing it with us here — the details make the experience lively and unforgettable.
    It’s good you have training and that it served you well. Talking is always better than risking a confrontation with an uncertain outcome.
    I can imagine it would be really hard to ever sleep naturally again after a rape experience like the one you shared with us.
    Maybe I’m showing my naïveté here, but what is a “rape hold” and how does one get out of it?

  8. There are typical ways that someone will try to hold you down when they are on top of you, such as holding your upper arms, shoulders, and wrists in particular ways, through to how they may use their knees to position and hold yours legs. The first class I ever took, and this was back before I was 10, actually showed me ways to get out of this .. even on a guy who was absolutely massive (considering I was 10 and the person I was working with was a full grown adult).
    No, it is not normal to teach someone so young to do this.
    The only reason that this wouldn’t have worked is because he was in me, not just on me. Any movement in that manor could have caused serious internal damage.
    Yes, it’s amazing what goes through your mind when stuff like this happens.

  9. Hi Mik!
    New Yorkers aren’t really blaming Imette for her own death — but callers on conservative radio talk shows are spinning her death as a morality tale and how America has become decadent and unsafe and how East Coast liberals don’t know any better than to be out late at night and drunk and acceptings a “ride home” from a stranger. It’s a curious phenomenon how people who don’t live in the region seem to know exactly what should have been done to save her.

  10. Sorry to hear about the crime committed against you, Krome.
    Your post reminded me of a taekwondo class I took that taught ways to get away from people who might have you in certain holds. My 8-year-old son was in another class for kids and was able to flip a larger kid off from him using the techniques.
    With the right circumstances, you can turn the tables on an attacker. In your situation, it sounds like there was little that could be done. A lot of self-defense depends on being aware. Being attacked while sleeping limits a lot of options.
    It’s interesting how a little leverage can make a world of difference in self-defense situations.
    If you watch police restraining someone, you’ll often see the police holding their subject by the hand with the thumb pulled up. It doesn’t look like much, but the technique immobilizes many people because it hits a pressure point and also carries with it the threat of a broken arm. I had a former prison guard demonstrate his technique on me to see how it worked, and it was effective.
    I’d suggest that everyone take a martial arts or self-defense class provide some tools that might never need to be used, but could make a difference in an attack.

  11. Ok – so we won’t blame the victim here. It is a tragedy and the ex-con bouncer is fully responsible for his heinous acts. Having said that – being drunk, rowdy and alone at a bar at 3:00 AM is a bad idea, whether you are a man or a woman. Of course she did not “bring this on herself”, but this is a prime time to try to pass a sad lesson on to other from this tragedy. Your personal well-being is dependant, to some extent, on the situations you put yourself into. The world around you is full of horribly sick people and you must exercise some judgment about the situations you find yourself in.

  12. To those who still care about Imette, I have pasted in a web site for the upcoming “A Night For Imette” A Benefit for the Imette C. Saint-Guillen 1999 Scholarship Fund.
    I still care for this young woman and her family, even though I never knew her. Also, I was one of the people rallying against The Falls bar, which is now closed. I wish that ALL of Dorrian’s bars were closed! From his arrogant attitude, and the carefree attitude that exists at his other bar, Dorrian’s Red Hand, it is clear to me who is also responsible for Imette’s untimely death.