Wrong Choice, Bad Love: Why Bernadette Sugrim Makes Me Scream

This morning I did something I thought I’d never find myself doing. Watching the TODAY Show, I screamed at a woman who had been emotionally abused by her husband. And if I could scream at her in person, I would.

There was Bernadette Sugrim, blow-dried and made-up and smiling, seated on the interview couch with her two children, talking to an empathetic Matt Lauer about how she had claimed the courage last summer, after years of marriage, to turn her husband in to the police–not for beating her, which he didn’t unless she got in the way while he was beating their children, and not for tying their 11-year-old daughter to the family dog and beating her to ribbons with a martial arts stick, which he did, but for the brutal murder of a prostitute he had committed in the family van and told Bernadette about . . . in 2003.

Besham Sugrim wouldn’t be in prison today for that murder, or even for scarring his child because she failed to discipline the dog to his exacting standards, had the daughter not had enough. She managed to escape the beating and ran to a neighbor’s house. The neighbor called police, the first time authorities had been involved in the Sugrim marriage. Afraid not for her children–whom she hopes will maintain a relationship with their father because he was always so good at getting them to excel academically–but for her own safety (she says Besham told her he would kill her if the police were ever brought in), Bernadette told police they should look into the unsolved murder from 2003.

That 8-year secret is bad enough. Women, even very smart, very capable women who profess to love their children, stay with abusive and violent men all the time, relying on the flawed economy of victimhood that says there’s too much invested in the relationship to disturb the pattern of abuse. But that wasn’t the only secret Bernadette Sugrim was carrying for her husband. Way back in 1996, when they were first dating, she watched him break her brother’s nose and break both legs of another brother. And she listened as he confessed to killing a man–a homeless man in the last stages of AIDS whom his parents had taken in to care for–just because he felt like it.

It wasn’t fear that drove her to keep that first secret, or to go ahead and marry Besham. It was, she told Matt Lauer solemnly, love. “You know how it is when you love someone,” she smiled, as the camera cut away to show photos of the young couple nuzzling. “He loved me so much. He really needed me.” That’s when I started screaming.

It gets worse. In an extensive interview with Kalamazoo Gazette reporter Ursula Zerilli in February, Bernadette goes into her motives for staying with Besham at great length. The fear is utterly unconvincing. What rings true is romanticized, self-aggrandizing crap like this:

“For the first 10 years of our marriage, I felt I was put into his life,” Bernadette said. “It was my responsibility to make him a better person. I thought my love would be enough to break that. It bothered me for a long time that I wasn’t able to do anything for him or change him.”

Throughout those years, this is how Bernadette Sugrim helped her husband become a better man: She let him try to pin the blame for the 1996 murder on his father, whom they both disliked. She watched him beat his foster mother into unconsciousness after the foster mother kicked the young couple out of her house, and then stepped over the woman and complained because she was going into labor with their first child and they had nowhere to live. She looked up at the police information photo of the murdered prostitute while applying for a handgun permit so her husband could elude gun-control laws, knowing she was aiding in arming a double murderer. She stood by while he regularly beat their children bloody with a whip. She concealed her husband’s status as an illegal alien, because if he were deported what would happen to her? She wrote a letter to her best friend to be opened in the event of her own death, suggesting that if there was suspicion of foul play the police should look at Besham for her murder (but making no mention of his other crimes). When asked how she was able to justify all this, Bernadette said, “I learned not to let it eat away at me. I put it out of my mind. I couldn’t survive if I thought about it all the time.”

Besham Sugrim is, by his own admission, an evil man. But what made me scream at the television is the fact that no one seems to be admitting Bernadette’s cooperation in that evil, which may even outdo his. By putting the knowledge of his crimes out of her mind–consciously, continually, for the sake of her own ability to live with herself in the comfort of an anesthetized conscience and to sustain the fuzzy teenage dream of love–Bernadette is complicit. She abused her children more viciously than their father did. She as much as murdered the young woman Besham battered to death in 2003, by not immediately reporting the 1996 murder. But of course those two victims–an old man dying of AIDS, a drug-addicted hooker–weren’t really people. They weren’t worthy of love or saving. They weren’t worth letting it eat away at Bernadette, who now sits on Matt Lauer’s couch and talks about how great it is to finally live stress-free and enjoy herself.

If it weren’t for Bernadette Sugrim’s 11-year-old daughter, though, who knows how many more disposable victims this “love” would have claimed? The problem is, I don’t think the daughter escaped far enough. She’s still with Bernadette, who wants her and her brother to have good memories of their father. When Matt Lauer asked the girl this morning what was going through her mind when she ran to the neighbor’s house, she licked her glossed lips and stammered. “I don’t really remember,” she finally said. “It was really just a fast blur.” It’s not likely to get less confusing, as Bernadette now thinks her daughter’s testifying against her father in court was “good practice” in overcoming stage fright for the singing career she has planned. The girl has already written a song about her father’s crimes.

It’s tempting to generalize from this story, to talk about how our society makes it so easy for a woman to prioritize a man’s love over a child’s welfare, so easy to justify even the most heinous crimes on the basis of “what’s best for me.” It’s easy for me to scream at the media’s making Bernadette Sugrim a victim and and a heroine (she’ll be the focus of an NBC Dateline episode tonight), when what she is is a monster. But that won’t do much good. All I can do is refute, with every fiber of my being, Bernadette’s message.

When Matt Lauer asked her this morning what the “takeaway” from all this is, what words of advice Bernadette Sugrim might have for other women in similar circumstances (even Matt had to catch himself–he started to say, “in the same circumstances,” but realized quickly that no one is), she smiled into the camera and had the audacity to say that she just wanted to tell women “not to let fear paralyze you, like I did, even though you have no choice.”

Women, sisters, mothers, daughters, you always have a choice. Even if your ability to choose freely becomes limited over time by the pattern of abuse, by drugs, by violence, by literal captivity–which was the case for Bernadette’s children, but not for herself–you have a choice at that first moment. When Bernadette’s boyfriend first told her he killed someone, she had a choice. She chose wrong. And kept on choosing wrong. That wasn’t love, ladies. That was sin, and once you nuzzle up to it it’ll paralyze you worse than fear, and hurt you and your children worse than any beating.

I just hope Bernadette’s daughter can hear me screaming. Run for your life, sweetie, and keep on running.

  • Anonymous

    Oh Lord– Joanne– I could not finish reading this. I don't like to cry at school; it upsets the children, and I'm surely not telling them why. YES. You always have a choice. Sometimes it's a very hard choice. That doesn't excuse not making it– especially when the lives of the kids God puts in your hands are at stake. (Seriously? I'm supposed to forgive her? C'mon, Holy Spirit, gimme a break..)Jenkins Minor, who will sign her real name-Lin Jenkins

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for so eloquently saying every single thing I was thinking about this woman (Sugrim).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00442985285647041700 Melody K

    "I just hope Bernadette's daughter can hear me screaming. Run for your life, sweetie, and keep on running."Amen to that. I just hope the poor kid's head isn't already screwed up beyond all help from living with that.

  • Anonymous

    Please say this louder and louder! The longer we glorify this quasi-victim the more she gets out of it. This is not acceptable. Perhaps the law can not hold her accountable but society should!

  • Ann Marie

    My head is just spinning from this – I don't understand how someone can stand in the presence of such evil and do absolutely nothing unless that person is also evil. I can't tell from your writing but get the impression that Bernadette still has custody of her kids. I can't believe this would be the case considering she stood by while so much abuse was occurring. The nightly news is filled with stories of children being removed from parental custody for far less.

  • Jennifer

    It's easy to judge someone when you aren't the one walking in their shoes. I worked with Bernadette for a time, and I can tell you, I don't think she is a monster. There is no way for us to walk through someone else's mind and thoughts and know what they are going through. Think about that before you judge someone for something that you can't possibly understand.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/egregioustwaddle/2012/04/wrong-choice-bad-love-why-bernadette-sugrim-makes-me-scream.html Wadd

      Jennifer, I commend you for standing up for your friend. I can’t imagine how some of those making commentary here or in other places could see Bernadette for anything more than she was. A terrified person, mother, gripped with fear in a situation few could ever imagine.The whole time I was watching the Dateline story, I was just wishing I could hug her and tell her that things would eventually be OK. I pray for her and those adorable children. I also thank you for having the courage to stand up for someone you believed in when many others were so willing to condemn her and in my opinion so very unfairly. I wish them every happiness and every opportunity from here on in. The happiness and opportunity that was stolen from them all by a monster many obviously cannot imagine. I was more than happy to respond to you in here. For you, as are Bernadette and her children, real. As real as folks can be. May God Bless you all.

  • bob

    Alright, who just saw the show? That woman's obviously lying through her teeth. I get the sense from her, she wants to be an actress. Were any of her statements to the police verified independently?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06767838116702355734 Joanne K. McPortland

    It's true that no one is all monster or all angel. But I can certainly make a judgment based on the account made public, just as the NBC producers have. They have chosen to present Bernadette as a victim and a heroine. Looking at exactly the same information, I read her as a woman who chose herself and her need to be loved by an admitted murderer first, always. That's the definition of monster. As she admits in the Gazette interview, if Skye had not run away, they would all be still in that house.

  • Anonymous

    How many of you have had someone promise to kill you if you disobeyed or betrayed them? That's what i thought. You haven't walked in her shoes. You have no idea what fear she must've been living under. It's not as simple as you're trying to make it. Just because she didn't turn him in sooner or stop him from abusing the kids doesn't make her a monster herself.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05091578690820603519 MotorCap1957

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09455702626857782060 Andrea Slattery

    First off, I just want to thank you for writing this article, second My name is Andrea Slattery, Linda Kay Gibson, the woman Brian Sugrim brutally murdered is my aunt. What was supposed to be a story of my aunts murder and the prosecution of her killer was on dateline last night at 10. Unfortunately instead of running the story they promised us they instead ran a story about how Bernadette sugrim Married her Husband Brian knowing he had killed someone and then lived with him and endangered her 2 children for an additional 8 years after she knew he killed my Aunt Linda Kay Gibson. She is a Coward and should be prosecuted herself for being an accessory to murder. She should be doing hard time, not taking free trips to new york to be on the today show. I would greatly appreciate it if you contacted me, I would love to talk to someone about this. Thank you again. -Andrea Slattery

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06767838116702355734 Joanne K. McPortland

    I apologize for the comment from MotorCap1957 that previously appeared here. I had deleted it because it violated my comments policy (it used offensive language to attack another commenter and brought in off-topic remarks), but somehow it was published anyway. I have deleted it again.I also want to apologize for my own tone of personal attack. I would imagine that no matter what the real story in this case is, everyone involved has serious problems and could use prayer. There's a difference between decrying the media's making a hero out of Bernadette and inviting the kind of vicious personal insults that surfaced in the deleted comment, and I am sorry that I crossed that line, even inadvertently.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06767838116702355734 Joanne K. McPortland

    I have also deleted comments in response to the deleted comment.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06767838116702355734 Joanne K. McPortland

    Andrea, I am sorry for your loss, and thank you for giving a name to your aunt so that we don't think of her as a faceless stereotype.

  • Anonymous

    Written by someone who has never been in an abusive relationship. I agree with the anonymous comment: "You haven't walked a mile in her shoes."

  • Anonymous

    To those who say….you cannot know howYou would handle being threatened…etcWell that is not a good argument as she was told by him he was a killer waaay back in beginning.no excuse.she is almost as evil as her husband.she let others die.Who in their right mind doesn't run…from him learning he is a killer before marrying him.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11933578862877046522 TheSunshineShow

    Wow it's amazing how people are quick to give their opinion which we all have & when given the opportunity to do should….just as I will now! People are funny to me, people that claim they don't judge are the very ones that do! Some people who claim to be followers of Christ or have faith in a forgiving & merciful God are the very ones that have no mercies or forgiveness for others. You the author of this "article" your personal opinion of a woman whose shoes I hope you never walk a inch in (and you surely had commentary of her and her daughter's appearance…wow you pay attention to detail!)but I digress, maybe instead of looking at her and determining what she did or didn't do right, you look in your own mirror & re-examine yourself as a woman this could have happened to (not saying you would not stay as long as she did in silence..but then again you don't know nor do I would I would do if it was us) For you to take the unnecessary time to post your opinion of a woman you don't know & say what she shoulda/coulda is amazingly sad! I see where you mention somewhere the word "catholic" (I assume you are one…forgive me if you can, if you are not) prove why many people's relationship who are "Christians" are not Christ like & why so many followers of Bible wear hypocrisy like a badge of honor! I am not a Christian nor practice any other religion, my relationship with God is one that allows me to be thankful that I have not myself in a place of so many that have been abused mentally or physically and hope & pray for better lives for that have. My opinion is that you seem to be very articulate and high on where you sit in your life today but low on realizing that you may need one day the same empathy you CHOSE not to give Bernadette! I keep it real about things I know about & keep my mouth shut about things I don't know about…so I don't sound foolish. I agree with you that we have choices but what I think you fail to realize that some times in our lives we may not be able to EXERCISE our right to make a choice when we should or in Bernadette's case a choice that will satisfy you & how you think it should of went in this woman's life. I hope you never get put in a place in your life where you can't make a rational decision & that you can continue to sit in judgement! I'm sure if I did a check into your life there will be a garbage that I can sit & wanna scream about cause you ain't perfect either! Be careful what you say & where you point that finger, cause it will come back & you got a couple of fingers pointing back you. So since I now wanna scream at woman who never walked a day in Bernadette shoes & I don't know you either, let me end on this note….self righteousness does not do anyone any good & I hope that you use your "voice" on the Internet to be a blessing to people with your gift of blogging & to add to humanity & love in this world! Be blessed & be a blessing to others! -Sunshine

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06767838116702355734 Joanne K. McPortland

    Comments on this post are now closed. Let's keep all involved in prayer.

  • Anonymous

    I have walked in very similar shoes. My husband threatened to kill me and I learned he had been abusive to one of our children. I immediately filed a restraining order and filed for divorce. I called the police as well. I let him have our house and moved with our kids across the country from him when they were 3 and 7. Today they're wonderful adults in their 20's, successful and kind. It was difficult and financially I will never be on solid ground. But people makes choices and fear is not an option when you value the lives of your children more than your own.

  • Anonymous

    No, no, no. YOU do not get it. Yes, it sounds unbelievably stupid to hear it after the fact. The old saying, you can't see the forest through the trees, is one of the truest things you will ever hear. That evil person empties you out, and lives inside of you. They feed off of your despair and emptiness like a parasite. They make you feel like you are their only hope to even survive. Yet, you are trapped. I was told I wasn't smart enough to do anything but expected to do everything. I'm glad you have never been in this type of situation. I pray you never are. But she was paralyzed by FEAR

    • Bruce H

      TY

  • Jamie

    You should never assume to know what you would do in such a situation. I am glad you think there is always a choice, but that is not true for everyone. Many people live in fear, whether it be in their household or country. Domestic abusers often kill before they let the ones they cOntrol get away. That’s quite the gamble when it’s your kids life. Plus, she had more to go on by adding in the murder it is hard to prove abuse .. Many don’t believe the stories and face judgement. I hope you don’t know anyone who is desperate, bc you probably wouldn’t be the one they should go to. Concentrate on what it takes for you to get up in the morning, not what it takes for others

    • joannemcportland

      I published your comments, even though they are all from the same IP address using different names, and even though I long ago announced comments were closed. Once again, I’ll say that no matter what the effects of long term abuse were, she had a choice at the very beginning, when he told her he had committed a murder of an “expendable” person for the hell of it, tried to blame his own father, and swore her to secrecy if she loved him. That’s the moment when she turned over her will to him and allowed everything that came after, all for “love.” And yes, I can judge her for that—on behalf of all his victims.

  • Serena

    Wow, this article is very Christ-like of you. Yes, let’s blame the victim in this situation. Jesus would totally approve! As the anon above me so rightly stated, she was paralyzed by fear. He said that he would kill her, kill the children, kill her entire family. Based on what he told her, she was sure that he would. What if she called the cops, told them her story, and nothing happened? Say the police couldn’t find evidence to support her story, and so Brian was released, free of charge. He said that if she ever told anyone, he would kill her and her children. She couldn’t take that chance. I am sure she didn’t enjoy seeing her children abused, but I think she felt that she had two choices: they could be beaten, or they could be dead. Which would you choose?

    • Laurie

      But why did she let it get to that point? If your boyfriend confesses to a murder why do you marry him and wait for the abuse to start? Why not leave after the first incident of abuse? It takes years to become beaten down and paralyzed with fear. Why would any woman stay and let it get to that point?

  • Irony

    Oh yes. Sure. That’s all this woman needs: someone else to scream at her and tell her what she is, what she needs to do, what she needs to think and how to act.

    You don’t see the irony in this mindset? She ALREADY didn’t know who she was, what she thought, or how to be a whole human being, thanks to the man who was abusing her, so you think a little force and anger is in order?

    Bravo.

    • Cherry

      She MARRIED the guy knowing he murdered someone; and had children with him. Don’t you think she had some culpability?!!

  • Terri

    It’s so sad for everyone involved that Bernadette was too afraid to make the right choice.

  • anon

    I am 55. I had a mother like her who chose not to intervene for the first 17 years of my life ad my father beat and tortured me. He always threatened to divorce her if she did. I hate her more than I hate him- at least he was crazy. There is no “walking in her shoes”. YOU NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN TO A CHILD. No excuses. The parent is responsible for the safety of their child period. If you can’t do that, DON’T have any. I have lived and struggled with this prolonged trauma all my life. It was their fault including my mother’s. It is Bernadette’s fault ad much as his

    • lou

      Anon, I am so very sorry that your mother chose not to protect you. You are right. By definition of being a mother, it was her obligation/privelege to do so. I have 5 children, and my passion to protect them from ANY harm runs in my blood, even if it were their dad. It should have run through your mom’s blood as well. While I have empathy for women who are abused and live in fear, ultimately the choice to allow the abuse to happen to their children is a selfish one ( on some level, it will bring chaos to their world both internally and externally). My husband’s mother subjected the ENTIRE family to years of exposure to their alcoholic father. She NEVER protected them, nor did anything to stop it (he wasn’t physically abusive, but a sloppy drunk who embarassed them and was a TOTAL failure of a father other than providing for them financially). To this day, she still believes her choice to “lay down and die” was the right one for their family. And her reasons for staying were very selfishly motivated. She was afraid of the embarassment of the church folk knowing her husband was a raging drunk. She didn’t know what would happen to them financially. She never thought it bothered her kids that much growing up. Believe me, it enrages me to no end that a MOTHER would let this go on under her nose. Anon., you are absolutely right…YOU NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN TO A CHILD NO MATTER WHAT!!! As for Bernadette, I do not pass judgment on her. I have never walked in those shoes, but believe you me, my husband KNOWS, ” Don’t you dare mess with our kids or your gonna mess with me.” I gave that message early on.

  • not naming names

    I grew up with Besham “Brian” as a big-brother figure. He had a temper with his father but I never saw it with anyone else. He never made me afraid, quite the opposite in fact. He truly made me feel loved, safe, and cared for. I am still having trouble to adjusting to this hidden side of him. While my heart breaks for his children, I feel nothing but despise for Bernadette. She could have prevented the death of one of those individuals, by going to police when she found out about the first. She could have prevented the mental and physical abuse the children have gone through. She was never in danger, he went to several states for extended trips, he stayed with my family for weeks without her! She could have left at any time. I get the fear of an abuser but this was pre-children, pre-physical abuse towards her. She also knew Brian had a drug problem and alcohol problem at times and she made the conscious choice to marry him. She pushed that marriage. He was unsure, she was needy and demanding. He left her, she begged for him back….I was there, I saw and heard it. She may fool some, but never my family. We agree Brian should be in prison and that he has destroyed many lives with his actions but Bernadette is just as guilty, if not more so for her actions or lack there of.

    • Bruce H

      He’s got you buffaloed

  • Tank

    This woman is a victim and you want to scream at her because she was terrified for her live? Your blog sucks by the way.

    • Laurie

      I understand a woman can be beaten down by and fear a man. What I don’t understand is how they let it get to that point. The first time a man hit me I would be out the door. The first time a man touched one of my children I would be out the door. Then you add the fact that he confessed to her about a murder he committed before any abuse. How could you marry a man that you knew murdered someone? Why was she not afraid then?

  • Iris

    Just saw the story on 48 Hours on Discovery Channel. I’m glad someone spoke out here against Bernadette’s inaction to protect her children. How could she sit by and let the man abuse her children so badly year after year! Those innocent little children being beaten with a whip! Forced to box a grown man! Sad situation.

  • Patty Hayes

    Watching the Dateline re-run on TLC and had to google Bernadette’s name. I was afraid that my reaction to this disgusting woman would not be shared by others. Thankfully, you have validated my opinion of this selfish woman. From their dating days, when Brian confessed to a murder, all Bernadette thought about was her own wants and desires. I’m repulsed at her attitude, even now, giving herself a pass with the excuse of fear, for not protecting her own children. It’s sad that these children have to live with this woman. She belongs in prison for her role in the abuse and the murders committed by that monster husband.

  • joe mudafusco

    Joanne. you are a complete moron.

  • noelle

    Amen. I just watched this and was soooo confused?! Wait. Why is she a hero? She stood by and witnessed her husband murder innocent, defenseless people and mercilessly beat her children? Right….she’s a role model. And way to egg your emotionally damaged children to keep in contact with their abuse father to ensure their place on honor roll. Seriously. This woman has got it twisted.

  • Ryan

    I just watched the Dateline episode on this case and found Bernadette’s behavior very troubling. Your comments are spot-on. The first thing I found bizarre was her admission that the husband told her, before their marriage, that he had killed someone, and she just ignored it, as if it were some unimportant detail. Huh?! Her demeanor throughout the interview was insincere, phony, and forced. I agree with you that she was willingly complicit with her husband’s crimes.

  • Luna

    I just watched the Dateline show (I don’t watch AM TV) and was rather amazed at how many holes there were in the story and how this woman didn’t go to the police or her own family when he first confessed murdering a man at his parents’ home. When I heard that, the first thing I thought was this is/was a 17YO girl getting a thrill by dating a murderer. I went on line to find out more about Besham Brian Sugrim to satisfy my own curiosity and happened upon this site. Thank you for filling in some of the holes and answering some of my questions.

  • Eccentricity

    I just saw the episode on YouTube and I had to Google her name just to see if someone out there felt at most a smidgen of what I felt for this woman and boy am I glad I did. …I’m not a cold hearted bitch, at least not in this case.

    I’m sorry but Bennedette Sugrim is NOT a victim. I don’t need to go into why I think so because others have done it so well.

  • lavisa

    No fear would ever paralyze me enough to keep me from protecting my child. There would have not been a trial, but a funeral for that monster.

  • Lisa Wells

    The only victims here are the children. Most mothers could not ever watch their children being abused and terrorized and do nothing to protect them. How long would this have gone on, had not the daughter finally intervened. The children will have a lifetime to wonder why their mother allowed this to happen. And so will Linda Gibsons family. How very tragic.

  • http://wrongchoice.com Steve snell

    You are a moron! She as much as killed the next girl? Really?! First off, get a life and don’t believe everything you see and hear

  • Absurdist

    Girlfriend, I will buy you a catapult and you can use it to throw large boulders at Bernadette’s head.

  • jakari

    i think the only reason she talked was to save her own butt from prosecution. Then they make her look like a hero…smh the media always does this. I just seen this on ID investigation discovery…she’s phony and i think there is alot more to this story.

  • Nancy

    Stupid woman! Story was just on tv.

  • A Realist

    I, like others, just saw this story on ID. This is not complicated you bleeding hearts. She is no heroine! She had huge red flags BEFORE she married that monster. If she’s a victim, she’s a victim of her own making! He showed her exactly who he was while they were dating and she still married him. I don’t have to walk in her shoes to know that choice was stupid. One has to wonder, too, how she could “love” somebody who was a murderer? She was aware of crimes he committed and was complicit by her silence, so shame on her. She then provided this monster with two more victims by having children with him, so shame on her! She then stood by, silent, while he abused those children, shame on her! Of course those poor kids think she’s a hero, she is all they have and they need to believe that she will care for them and keep them safe, but she did not and I feel safe to say, would not if the same situation arose again. Shame on her! Those of you who are decrying her victimhood, did you not pick up on how OFF this woman is? How improper some of her comments are? Her facial expressions? Her demeanor? She offered herself up as his accomplice the minute he confessed to her he was a murderer and SHE DID NOTHING ABOUT IT! SHAME ON HER!! Personally, I wish the second victim’s family would go after her in civil court because she knew he had committed a previous murder and aided and abetted him by doing nothing to stop him. She should rot in hell. My heart breaks for her children.

    • Bruce H

      You are not a Christian .. Remember we all live in glass houses.. and the woman’s family has called her a Hero thou they wish the parents had lived long enough to see that justice was dealt . And those children are doing just fine I am very proud of both them and their mother

  • Edgar B.

    Sunshine … Truer words never spoken.
    Everything you said, I thought of, while reading some of these very judgmental comments.
    Sunshine, your comments saved me a lot of writing. Thank you…lol
    I do hope that Ms. Sugrim and her beautiful children do not read other people’s opinions of them.
    Especially the opinions of self righteous hypocrites, which can be painful, and in some cases, harmful.

    I believe Ms. Sugrim and her children are very brave and wonderful people… and hope they move forward and prosper. May god bless them.

  • Toni

    I am currently watching this on ID and my first thought was how anyone could continue a relationship with someone capable of murder and as someone who lived through an abusive relationship, it was knowing that my child would forever relate a relationship to the one her mother was in was enough for me to get out. You absolutely hit the nail on the head with this woman who takes absolutely no personal responsibility. His character was clear from the start!

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    A criminal who ought to be in jail along with her hero. Period.

  • Irishmoose

    I just watched the Dateline story on the Sugrim debacle. I sat there, at first in horror, and then enraged – at Bernadette, as well as her husband. How dare she let her children be abused like that! She certainly deserves no kudos for her “heroism”. If the daughter hadn’t had the courage to run to a neighbor’s house, they might still be in that dysfunctional, violent situation.

  • Bruce H

    Bernadette’s Mother and I parted ways while Bernadette was still in Diapers.. She was 17 and not yet a graduate before we were able to reconnect .. and already in Brian’s Grip.. Her family and I knew he was no good . we also know that the Sheriff’s Dept. and State Police were looking at Brian for the Murder here in NY .. Knowing what he had done only helped to strengthen his threats of killing her family if she didn’t Marry him.. ( wife can’t testify against spouse in NY) She had a good up bringing and taught some Sunday school .. Now having a soft kind heart which she gets from both her mother and myself.. Knowing the type of person my daughter is . and the kind of person Brian is , I can see her doing as she did .. I made the trip out to Michigan to be with her at the trail . It was the action’s of what Brian had done to my grandchild Skye that put Bernadette into Mother mode so that Skye was able to escape thru the woods to safety.. when Brain was handcuffed and lead out of the house and safe for Bernadette to grab the female officer and tell her of the possible murder that Brian had told her about.. We are all built different we handle things in different ways we cower differently or not at all.. I know I would not be the same today as I was at 17 when I entered the Army , Veitnam change that .. At 17 I would not have stood up for myself or family today I’d ripe your tongue out and feed it to you .. Without my daughters and granddaughter testimony Brian would be free today.. She has been thanked by the family they have closer and that is all anyone can ask for. or hope for and I’m happy for them they are Fine people and I’m glad I had the chance to meet them .. My prays are always with them now and always

  • CindyC

    What was going on in Bernadette’s life as a child? Who and what were her influences? You don’t become someone who enjoys the suffering of others, out of nowhere, and at such a tender age.


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