Terry Wright
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Justin Graves Series




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       In Book 9 of the Justin Graves Horror Short Story Series, Good Samaritan Jenny Vandenburg comes to the aid of an African immigrant being beaten and robbed by a couple of skinheads. One punk pulls a gun, kills the black man and shoots Jenny, condemning her to a wheelchair. American justice put the shooter in jail for life, but his accomplice gets off on a technicality. Hes out of prison and back on the streets to wage war for white supremacy, prompting Justin to return from the grave and teach him a hard lesson in respecting his brothers of color.


This story is based on the 1997 racially motivated killing of Oumar Dia, an African Immigrant at a downtown Denver bus stop , and the crippling of Jeannie Van Velkinburg. Though the shooter, Nathan Thill, received life in prison, his accomplice, Jeremiah Barnum, got off on a technicality over tainted testimony.  


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Staff writer Jeff Kass contributed to this report.

Just last week, Jeannie VanVelkinburgh looked to her future, telling a reporter she was tired of the cycle of despair that followed her paralysis four and a half years ago.

``I kind of keep giving up, going, giving up, going,'' she was quoted as saying. ``I ain't going to give up no more.''

But Monday, in the late-night darkness, VanVelkinburgh, once the city's heroine for intervening in the skinhead slaying of a West African immigrant in downtown Denver, apparently gave in.

The 41-year-old mother of two was found dead in her tiny Aurora house in what police said may have been a suicide. Authorities say they think VanVelkinburgh, who had spoken of killing herself many times and attempted to cut herself a year ago, overdosed on Dilaudid, a powerful painkiller.

An autopsy and official cause of death is expected today.

VanVelkinburgh's body was discovered about 12:35 a.m. by her 15-year-old son, who told police he noticed his mother wasn't breathing when he came out of his bedroom to eat some cereal.