Why I Killed My Father, Part 1 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Why I Killed My Father, Part 1

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D.J. Jarvis D.J. Jarvis
Dale Jarvis Sr. Dale Jarvis Sr.

"He'd beat me to a bloody pulp before and he molested me a few times," Dale Jarvis Jr. said.

Dale Jarvis Jr., known to many as D.J., says he's glad he finally confessed to killing his dad. He told Reporter Matt Henson about that night just days after being sentenced.

"I just lost it, 24 years of pent up frustration got let out in one night," he said.

That night was Feb. 21. Police found it marked on a calendar inside the Chateaugay home D.J. shared with his father, Dale Jarvis Sr.

"He was smoking crack and shooting up in the bedroom, like he did every night. I was playing a video game and the game I was playing had a siren. And he came out with a pistol, screaming and hollering and that's when he cracked me across the face with it. I fell over and had a big gash under my eye. I just freaked out. I fell on a pile of tools and there happened to be a hammer there," D.J. Jarvis said. "He was screaming. He turned around and started going to the bedroom and that's when I hit him with it... From there that night I pretty much stood there and stared at the wall and freaking out."

Reporter Matt Henson: Was he dead?

D.J. Jarvis: Yeah.

Matt Henson: Why did you not call the police?

D.J. Jarvis: I knew this was going to happen.

So, he decided to cover up the crime.

"I went out in the garage. We had a bunch of lumber because we were fixing the house. I built him a casket and prayed for him," Jarvis said.

After storing the body in a crawl space underneath the home until the ground thawed, D.J. used a backhoe to bury his father in the backyard.

Matt Henson: Why did you put your dad in a coffin?

DJ. Jarvis: No matter what he did to me, he's still my father and I love him. And I didn't think it was right to just bury him.

For the next five months, D.J. tried to go about his daily routine as a handyman. When people asked what happened to his 48-year-old father, D.J. said his dad retired from logging and moved south.

Matt Henson: Were you surprised so many people believed your story?

DJ. Jarvis: My father took off a lot, disappeared for weeks at a time on drug binges. It wasn't anything new for him.

In the meantime, D.J. reconciled with his wife, Grace. The two had split before he killed his father. That's why he had been living in the house. But D.J.'s wife quickly began to have her own suspicions about her husband's story.

"I did find his father's license in my husband's wallet. That was kind of strange. You would think he would need that to travel down south," Grace Jarvis said.

She also recalled a bizarre incident around Easter.

"One time he did come to my house in Malone at two in the morning and said he was burying garbage. Why the hell would you bury garbage at two in the morning? And he was covered in dirt," Grace said.

And as the two worked on their marriage, Grace suggested they should leave the area for a fresh start together.

"I would just say let's just move away from this town. He said I could never leave this house; I could never leave this house. Why would someone say that?  He said he had to take care of it. I was like if nobody is going to be living here, just shut it down and check on it. And he went on to say he didn't want to leave. Now we know why," she said.

No one reported Dale Jarvis Sr. missing until July. Someone told police he was missing from the local drug ring.

"Through another investigation we were essentially told off the cuff why aren't you guys investigating this guy? We all think was murdered," said Derek Champagne, the Franklin County district attorney. "So right out of the box we were like, what are you talking about?"

Police immediately began questioning D.J. since he was the last one to see his father alive.

Matt Henson: Could you believe you got away with it for that long?

D.J. Jarvis: No, I didn't think it would last that long.

Matt Henson: So you knew you would be caught?

D.J. Jarvis: I knew I was gonna, it wasn't the fact I got caught, it helped get it off my chest. I couldn't sleep and it just bothered me a lot what happened.

Police found the body after just two days of digging and charged D.J. with murder. But just two weeks later a twist-- D.J. told prosecutors he wanted to plead guilty.

"I didn't want to put my family through a trial or anything," he said. "It wouldn't have mattered what they offered me, I would have taken it."

"This was the quickest one I have ever dealt with," Champagne said.

Prosecutors allowed D.J. Jarvis to plead guilty to manslaughter, believing he did not intend to kill his dad.

"I think the statute fits what clearly the jury would have found him guilty of at the end of the day," Champagne said.

But it would be up to the judge how long D.J. would spend behind bars-- as little as five years or as long as 25. Family members asked the judge for leniency. They wanted D.J. to get the mental health treatment they think he needs.

D.J.'s sister told the judge, "He did not deserve to die like that. But I believe we are all better off with him gone."

Dale Jarvis Sr.'s sister said, "I don't blame D.J. for what happened. I have lost my brother and it's hard to deal with... I just hope D.J. gets the help he needs."

"It's clearly the only case that I have ever had where every single letter from the family of the deceased supported the defendant," Champagne said.

The judge ordered D.J. to spend 15 years behind bars for killing his father.

Matt Henson: Do you think you got off easy?

D.J. Jarvis: I got off less than I thought I was; I thought I was going to get near the max.

Matt Henson: Do you regret what you did?

DJ. Jarvis: I regret every day what I did. No matter what my father did to me, I still love him.

Champagne says he was surprised by the 15-year sentence. He says it will be a very difficult sentence for D.J. to serve, because he does not have the personality or social skills to spend that much time behind bars, due to the physical and mental abuse he went through.

Why I Killed My Father, Part 2

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