Lisa’s Mother

In my 9-5, a portion of my job involves me interviewing people, to obtain certain set information. One of the best parts of this is that I often get more than I bargained for during these interviews.

There was the 79 year old man I interviewed, who worked full time as a mortician and told me interesting stories about embalming and caring for the dead. There was the wife and girlfriend of a gentleman that had been injured and was unable to speak for himself. They all shared a house together, and the wife and girlfriend seemed to be the best of friends. There was the woman who had traveled to what seemed like every country in the world, and sold her art in multiple international galleries. I have been honored to have such stories shared with me.

The other day, I heard the most fascinating story of all. The woman I interviewed was older than me, probably in her early 70s. There was a TV in the room, and the classic “Law and Order” theme song was playing. “I love this show!” I exclaimed. “Me too!” The woman said. We commiserated about our husbands dislike of cop shows and crime thrillers.

She suddenly leaned into me. She looked at me intently, conspiratorially even. “I am going to tell you something. In 1985, my daughter Lisa Stasi was murdered by a man named John Robinson. She had a four-month-old daughter. He sold my granddaughter to his brother and sister-in-law for $5500.00, posing it as a legal adoption.”

I was aghast, fascinated. She proceeded to tell me the whole sordid story. The only time she cried was when she spoke of her son’s guilt at her daughter’s death. He later committed suicide, a few days before mother’s day. His sister Lisa had asked him to babysit the same day she was killed. He had declined. He never forgave himself.

When our talk was over, I thanked her for sharing her story with me. Was it true? Who knows. There really was a man named John Robinson who killed a woman named Lisa Staci and sold her 4 month old child in 1985. He also killed at least seven other women, and was convicted for three of the murders. Was Lisa Staci her daughter? I will probably never really know.

What I do know is that listening to others tell their stories helps me write. I feel grateful because the stories that people share with me inspire me. It’s a symbiotic relationship: I listen to a story, filter it through my imagination, and retell it on paper. I wonder what stories I will discover today?

You can read more about this true crime here:

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