Tag Archive: Viviana Tulli

No Remorse: A dangerous convict in a halfway house escapes and commits murder

David Goodell in jail bragged that he would kill his girlfriend while he was already planning his escape. After being transferred to a Community Education Centers (CEC) halfway house in Newark Goodell feigned illness, was taken to a hospital and broke loose. Within hours he murdered Viviana Tulli. After being apprehended a Lieutenant Corrections Officer says Goodell was potentially one of the most dangerous guys he has had in his jail.

You can see and hear Goodell in the Bergen County Jail on a new MSNBC episode of LOCKUP: New Jersey – No Remorse premiering Saturday at 10:00pm. You can catch a preview here, or watch the video here after the show has aired. LOCKUP has been running other New Jersey jail episodes which you can view here.

During Saturday’s episode there is an interview with Viviana’s sister Stella Tulli-Makowski who talks about the loss to her family. Stella has said “David Goodell, in my opinion, has now become the poster boy for someone who should have never set foot in a halfway house, let alone paroled early.”

At a Bergen Record editorial board meeting in June 2012, Governor Christie was asked if he would consider reaching out to the family of Viviana Tulli. Christie called the question unfair. He said the incident happened when Democrat Jon Corzine was governor. “So to ask me that question presupposes that I have responsibility for something … that didn’t happen on my watch,” he stressed. That claim was false. The incident occurred in August 2010, eight months after Christie took office.

Who knows? Maybe Christie is a fan of Lockup and will see the show. Will he feel any remorse? Will he call Stella? Will he bring reform to halfway houses – a problem he prefers to minimize and ignore? (His campaign has received CEC donations and his political confidante Bill Palatucci used to work for CEC.) Will the Legislature which held hearings on the matter finally take action? You can read the excellent NY Times exposé of  NJ halfway houses UNLOCKED here.

Stella in July 2013 out of frustration wrote a diary for Blue Jersey, One year later AFTER Assembly hearing for Halfway House reform. She continues her crusade. She says what happened to her sister and her family could happen to anyone.  

Records Show Top Chris Christie Advisor Lobbied To Bring More Inmates To Troubled Halfway Houses

Promoted by Rosi. Originally posted on Firedoglake.

Viviana Tulli was murdered by an escaped halfway house inmate



One of the most confusing aspects of the halfway house scandal – where numerous inmates escaped  halfway houses and committed horrendous crimes – is why such violent individuals would ever be released to such a low security facility in the first place. Based on records obtained by Firedoglake under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA) we may be closer to an answer.

Bill Palatucci, a major fundraiser and former business partner of Governor Chris Christie, has spent copious amounts of time lobbying New Jersey officials to bolster the halfway house system for his longtime client and subsequent employer Community Education Centers (CEC) that has financially benefited from increased use of the halfway house system. Records show Palatucci was CEC’s registered lobbyist while also becoming a vice president for business development.

Lobbying For CEC

In his role as a lobbyist for CEC, for which he was generally paid $45,000 a year, Palatucci approached officials in both the New Jersey State Legislature, State Agencies, and the Governor’s office to promote CEC’s interests:

* In 2007 Palatucci lobbied then Governor Jon Corzine as well as the New Jersey Department of Corrections for a public contract for CEC in relation to a recent court ruling that found that local ordinances prohibiting the treatment sex offenders in various communities were “arbitrary and capricious.” Presumably Palatucci lobbied to help expand the use of halfway houses and other CEC services now that a court had struck down laws that prevented sex offenders from being housed within certain limits of children.

* In 2008 Palatucci lobbied the new State Parole Board chair and staff with a “discussion of services.” He also lobbied Assemblyman Louis Greenwald regarding Assembly Bill 2800 which increased funding for halfway houses. Additionally, Palatucci paid a visit to New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to “advocate review” of halfway housing licensing laws on behalf of CEC.

* In 2009 Palatucci lobbied again for halfway house licensing from Department of Community Affairs as well as for favorably amending a contract between CEC and Department of Corrections. Palatucci also disclosed that he was promoting a bill to expand halfway houses in the state of New Jersey.

After Chris Christie became governor in 2010, with considerable help from Palatucci, CEC began using other lobbyists. Palatucci had already gone beyond lobbying with CEC becoming senior vice president and general counsel for public affairs, he would ultimately resign from those positions in the wake of the halfway house scandal in 2012.

More after the jump

What’s Happening Today: Fri. 12/27/2013

THE SAD SAGA OF HALFWAY HOUSE MISDEEDS, GOV. CHRISTIE’S EFFORTS TO MINIMIZE THE PROBLEMS & THE LEGISLATURE’S INACTION

Many will remember the NY Times three-part series of articles in June 2012: UNLOCKED: I. As Escapees Stream Out a Penal Business Thrives, II. At a Halfway House Bedlam Reigns, and III. A Volatile Mix Fuels A Murder. Blue Jersey and other news sources wrote extensively about the problems, including Governor Christie’s disinterest in the matter and the legislature’s hearings chaired by Sen. Bob Gordon (D-38) and Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-31) which promised action but produced nothing.

In the most recent development the NJ Law Journal reports this week, “The family of a woman murdered by a halfway house inmate who absconded after faking a seizure can sue the State contractor who operates the facility, a federal judge in New Jersey has ruled.” The contractor is Community Education Centers (CEC) from whose halfway house David Goodell absconded and hours later murdered a woman. The Journal continues, “The judge on Monday allowed to stand claims that the facilities – mismanaged, understaffed, and plagued by a high rate of escapes and other problems – breached their duty of care to the eventual victim.” Viviana Tulli was the tragically murdered victim.

Viviana Tulli’s sister Stella Tulli-Makowski had opened the Assembly hearing with testimony of heart-felt emotion and listened to Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-31) say, “When escapes, gang activity, drugs and sexual abuse are widespread and yet Governor Christie opposes improved oversight, something is wrong and terribly unacceptable.” Sadly efforts from Sen. Loretta Weinberg and others were dismissed by Gov. Christie, and no reform bills were past by the Legislature. After hearing the court’s decision this week StellaTulli-Makowsk says, “I am greatly disappointed in the lag time in halfway house reform. To me, I feel like empty promises were made to stave off the public.”

One of the few tangible results has been that Christie’s close friend and political confidante Bill Palatucci, who for years served as a Senior Vice President at CEC, quietly resigned from his post there. Stella Tulli-Makowski  goes on to say, “If people really wanted this reform, it would be happening… not lingering in limbo. What will it take for a real, honest approach of trying to repair this broken and corrupt system?  Another murder? Or will the death of a public official’s loved one finally get the ball rolling?… Please, don’t talk about it….be about it.”

Naughty or Nice?: U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (sponsor) and Cory Booker (co-sponsor) along with 32 other co-sponsors are taking heat for introducing Senate Bill S1881: Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013. Ten Senate committee chairs are circulating a joint letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, urging him to reject then effort by Menendez to tighten sanctions on Iran and warning that his bill could disrupt ongoing nuclear negotiations.” Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “The president would veto it.”  Nonetheless, as the NY Times points out, the bill would only “impose new sanctions on Iran if it failed to conclude a nuclear agreement, or stick to the terms of its interim deal, with the United States and other major powers.” The bill permits a 180-day wait – and – see period before imposing further sanctions. If you like the bill join the company of other sponsors including Sens. Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Mark Kirk as well as Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz.  Apparently birds of different feathers flock together.

American Hustle (Hollywood style): This funny movie, with excellent actors and great dialogue, has a basis in the infamous Abscam scandal and “some of this [in the movie] actually happened.” It takes place in New Jersey with stereotypes we Jerseyans have learned to love and hate. It brings back memories of past crooks including scam artists, greedy politicians, and devious federal agents. Perhaps it also reminds us that such folks are still with us. However, let’s not take the Jersey angle too seriously. It’s just a movie. What it portrays is universal and as a story it is a damn good one.  

One year later AFTER Assembly hearing for Halfway House reform

promoted by Rosi

Today marks the one year anniversary of my testimony at the Assembly hearing for the Halfway house system in NJ and I’m still awaiting to see how this saga unfolds.  

If you recall- my beloved younger sister, Viviana Tulli was strangled by David Goodell , a CEC escapee ,on our mother’s 60th birthday on August 30, 2010.

I have read with interest all published articles seeing what is being done in the name of reform and I still wait for an outcome.  

Yes, I do understand this all takes time, but how much longer? Are the powers that be at CEC waiting me out?? Come on guys, you can do better than that.  As you can see- I’m not giving up that easily.

I have been blessed with the outpouring of support and guidance by so many, including your very own Rosi and Bill Orr.

I have requested appointment to the Halfway House task force- or whatever it will be called- to ensure reform does happen.  Who better to be on that task force than myself?? I have a very personal interest in this and will not give up.

I have made contact with several legislators for help in suggesting my appointment- hoping I can make a difference in some way.

I’m an everyday person TRYING to turn my sister’s horrible murder into a positive triumph for  us.  Not an easy feat.  

I recall my testimony last year- and become emotional- emotional as I was that day. My voice cracking, my attempt to hold back my tears as I spoke- all while heavily pregnant.

This rollercoaster ride that began almost 3 years ago has not been a fun ride.  There have been great ups and horrible lows, with some twists and turns for flair.

How can I right such a huge wrong on behalf of so many entities.  Yes, I will admit David killed her.  David, one month ago in court did ADMIT to faking a seizure and gave graphic  detail on “grabbing her by the neck and strangling her.”  When asked if his intent was to kill Vivi- he responded “yes.”

So, rehabilitation for a violent offender at a halfway house facility? Please, show me.

Due to my filed lawsuit against CEC, I can’t speak much about it- in case it hurts us.  What a crock.

 

One Year Later: Where Is The Promised Halfway House Reform?

In 2010 David Goodell, while serving a four-year prison term for an assault conviction, escaped custody of a Newark halfway house run by Community Education Center (CEC). Hours later he murdered Viviana Tullli. On Thursday in court he pleaded guilty to the brutal murder. He said “I grabbed her by the neck and strangled her.” This killing, among other grave problems, formed a part of Sam Dolnick’s N. Y. Times June 2012 riveting investigative report Unlocked.

One year after the report and after two legislative hearings that promised action, Stella Tulli, sister of the deceased, had to relive the memory Thursday of Viviana’s murder with no consolation that our government was taking action to reform halfway houses and prevent such atrocities in the future. She said on Friday, “The guilty plea did awaken a lot of pain today. I feel like the day after I was told of her death. After a while people get tired of hearing about it, but I still continue.”

Stella Tulli testified with heart-felt emotion before both the Senate and Assembly hearings in July. As Sam Dolnick reports yesterday, “After the hearings, lawmakers introduced a package of more than a dozen bills that would reshape the halfway house system, increasing regulation and overhauling the contracts with the private companies. None of those bills have been approved.” Instead legislators created a task force. During the past year Stella Tulli says she e-mailed legislators who were on the hearings, and some responded but others did not.

Prior to the release of the N. Y. Times’ scathing series Governor Christie said at a CEC facility  this is “someplace where the work is purely good.” “Places like this are to be celebrated.” After release of the report Christie said his administration “takes its responsibility to properly administer this program very seriously.” Nonetheless, he line-item vetoed two important provisions which Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) wrote into the Budget bill. His approach has been to sweep halfway house problems under the rug, use line item vetoes, and only grudgingly make minimal changes.

Christie’s numerous connections to CEC, CEC’s significant donations to his campaign, and Christie’s overriding belief in privatization all serve to create conflicts of interest. As the NY Times series documents, Governor Christie’s championing of CEC started in 2001 when he and law partner William Palatucci became registered lobbyists for CEC. Palatucci went on to become a vice President of CEC and close confidante of the governor. Two years ago Christie attended the wedding of the daughter of John Clancy, Founder and Chief Executive of CEC. Christie hired the groom, Samuel Vivattine, to work as an assistant in his office. Paul Krugman in a N. Y. Times piece concludes, “What we are witnessing is a corrupt nexus of privatization and patronage that is undermining government across much of our nation.”

Murder victim’s sister slams Christie corrections chief’s remarks

Something has bothered me all week since Bill Orr’s excellent post, Gary Lanigan’s Head: Stuck in the Sand. Lanigan, to refresh you, is Christie’s Corrections Commissioner. He’s not concerned about security and safety issues at NJ’s halfway houses, despite the fact it took the New York Times to get our state government to pay much attention, despite escapes during Hurricane Sandy (seriously, the system fails because of … weather?), and concerns that Christie friend/advisor/contributor till recently ran the corporate privatizer responsible for most of the issues. Lanigan’s job encompasses not only security concerns but also the rights of inmates and the community.

That said, his remarks to Senate Budget were so casual, as if he doesn’t take seriously how easily the system we’ve now let tycoons take over can be tricked by inmates. Yesterday, I chatted with Stella Tulli, whose sister was murdered by a man who fled a CEC facility by pretending to be sick. As irritating as Lanigan’s remarks were to me, they were something else beyond that for her. I thought part of what she wrote in Bill’s post deserved to be pulled up to our front page (which she gave permission for). Here’s how it looks to Stella:

I have a personal interest in the way the halfway house situation is going… I feel the need to speak and remind everyone who reads this on my family’s dealings with this situation..

My 21 year old sister was murdered by a CEC inmate who faked a seizure, transported to hospital and bc of  not having any law enforcement with him, he escaped.

He then met up with my sister and ended her life.

This may be a small “anecdote” to Lanigan, but to my family and myself- our lives continue in a nightmarish reality.. Reading this garbage from Lanigan and seeing how much time it is getting to move on halfway house reform is another punch to the gut.

It floors and appalls me that Gary Lanigan is not bothered in the least on this situation.  

The corrections commissioner in Pennsylvania admits there is a problem with the halfway house system, yet this guy can’t bring himself to admit it. I can only assume the more he tells himself it isn’t a problem, it isn’t.  seems as if he needs to convince not only himself, but the lemmings as well.

halfway house victim

First up to testify this week in the 7-hour halfway house hearing before Assembly Law & Public Safety was Stella Tulli, whose younger sister Viviana was murdered when David Goodell escaped from a facility run by Community Education Centers (CEC) the company with close ties to Gov. Christie. Her voice shook as she asked the panel for answers, but she did it. Grateful she is telling her family’s story here.   – promoted by Rosi

Allow me to introduce myself–

My name is Stella Tullli- I”m a 36 year old female, mother of 2 boys and pregnant with a girl who shall be here in about 6 weeks.

You may have recognized my name… I testified at NJ Assembly Hearing yesterday, July 23, 2012 in regards to the halfway house system.

The reason for my speaking out— My lively 21 year old sister, my mini me, Viviana Tulli was tragically murdered by a man who “absconded” from a NJ halfway home on August 30, 2010