Behind Nikki Goeser's ongoing harassment from her husband's jailed killer
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Almost 12 years ago, Nikki Goeser’s world was shattered when Hank Wise, a man who had been stalking her, fatally shot her husband Ben inside a crowded Tennessee restaurant.
Yet, his subsequent conviction for second-degree murder in Davidson County Criminal Court hasn’t squashed her anxiety. According to Goeser, Wise has continued to send sordid love letters to her from behind bars while for years being touted by prison officials for his “good behavior.”
“For 11 years, I have tried as best as I can to piece my shattered life together and try to get back to some kind of relative normalcy. But Hank Wise wasn’t finished tormenting me,” she told Fox News.
In October 2019, Goeser learned that Wise had for years been sending her letters from prison, mailing them to her former attorney who had represented her in her wrongful death suit against him.
“He had sent Valentine’s Day and Christmas cards. He had included pictures of himself. He wrote that he had always loved me and that even if I had found someone new in my life, he would continue to love me,” she chillingly recalled, adding that despite her complaints, the Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) was not stopping it, but rather rewarding Wise with early release credits for “good behavior.”
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No extra charges were filed and no restraining order was issued.
“It’s been very stressful. I can’t even begin to tell you how many nightmares I’ve had, how many sleepless nights just worried. I’m now back to square one with the daymares and nightmares that I have tried so hard to get past,” Goeser continued. “The anxiety, stress, and sleepless nights are all back again.”
Although sentenced to 23 years of incarceration in 2012, it was the looming notion of Wise being rewarded for anything — a nightmarish prospect — that Goeser said has prompted her to hire yet another attorney.
“The notion that someone could commit a crime while in prison, and the prison system believes a warning is enough,” she said. “A murderer using the U.S. Postal Service to send letters to harass/stalk a victim of his crime. It is a federal crime and comes with a 5-year federal prison sentence.”
Goeser claimed that she was initially cautioned by officials that prisoner rights advocates would get upset if early release credits are taken away from an inmate. But this month, federal investigators finally charged the inmate with mail-stalking, after Goesar was compelled to go public with her ordeal.
“TDOC, it is now your move. There is no excuse anymore — it’s time to start caring about victims. Revoke all early release credits for Hank Wise. Please do the right thing,” Goeser urged.
TDOC did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
For the grieving widow, the days drag into nights as she worries endlessly about the threat Wise poses to her and her family. For months, he haunted the happily married Nashville local until, in a jealous rage after Goesar requested management remove him from the Saloon, he opened fire on her husband right in front of her eyes, Goeser said.
The tragedy has prompted Goeser to not only become a national advocate for victim’s rights but for gun rights, too — given that, despite being a concealed carry permit holder, the area was a “gun-free” zone. Tennessee law then prohibited carrying in restaurants serving alcohol.
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Yet Wise did not heed such a law, and she and other patrons were left defenseless.
Goeser, as executive director of the Virginia-based Crime Prevention Research Center, has since gone on to successfully overturn the Tennessee law against carrying in a venue that serves alcohol and has bolstered the effort in a slew of other states, including Arkansas and Kentucky.
The issue has been thrust back into the national limelight over the course of 2020, with an unprecedented rise in gun sales and the issuing of concealed carry permits amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest and questions over gun control measures vocalized by the incoming Biden administration.
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According to statistics from the Crime Prevention Research Center, there was a total of nearly 20 million concealed carry permit holders in 2020, totaling 820,000 more permit holders than in 2019. The report also found that in 2020, women made up 26.4% of permit holders; however, this number only includes the 14 states that provide data by gender. Of the seven states that had data from 2012 to 2019/2020, permit numbers grew 101.2% faster for women than for men, according to the center.
“There are ample reasons for women to become the first line of defense for themselves or their loved ones, but ultimately, it’s about protection and security,” added Beth Alcazar, a senior training counselor for the U.S. Concealed Carry Association and associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine.
“Whether it’s more secure in your own home, in a city, or on the road, the responsibility of protecting yourself, your loved ones and your home falls on each of us, personally, and women are increasingly taking matters into their own hands.”
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