Editor: 

I’ve lived in a nightmare for more than 300 days as I watched my son, Drew Mangler, be arrested, put on trial, and convicted of second-degree murder.

This is not ending here: this story has just begun! I will not rest until there is justice for my son, Drew, and for Jim Remakel.

I believe my son was treated unfairly by the investigators. I also think the jury did not give enough weight to the defense’s case. This is why.

At the trial itself there was never a moment of doubt of my son’s innocence. I came in with my head up and knew my son was going to go home with us at the end. I did, however, have great sadness and empathy for the Remakel family because Drew and I on many conversations agreed that we felt bad for them because they were going to have to go through this horrific roller coaster of emotions again. After sitting in on this heart wrenching nightmare trial and hearing and seeing all the evidence presented, I cannot for the life of me understand the jury’s decision. It was like we were watching a whole different trial. I wish this hell on no one.

Some of the evidence and testimony that were presented in this trial were as follows:

1. A witness who testified admitted she was inside Jim’s house to deliver a prescription in the afternoon of Dec. 20 did not see “anything out of the ordinary” and it did not look like the pictures she was shown from the actual crime scene. The witness said she walked into the kitchen, calling his name and continued to the hallway and into the bathroom. No signs of anything out of ordinary.

2. Second witness states he was there because he saw a package on the front steps either on Dec. 21 or 22 and knew Jim didn’t use that door, so he took it upon himself to bring the package to the side south entrance. Came through patio door, and looks through door and doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Leaves package.

3. Federal express makes an attempt to pick up package on 22 of December. First attempt in morning and he knocked and yelled and no answer. On his second attempt in late afternoon he decides to go through the sliding glass doors on the south side and enters the porch area. He knocked on the kitchen door, no answer, so he opens the kitchen door, yells in and gets no answer. He said it was dark, quiet and nothing seemed out of place. He closed the door and exited.

4. As far as the footprints they were not an exact match according to the expert.

5. The victim’s state medical examiner stated that he would have bled (profusely) and died within minutes. Best guess was he was deceased for 4 days, possibly 5 by the autopsy performed on Dec. 27 by the State Medical Examiner, making the dates of death around the timelines given, temperature of house, and the witness’s testimony. In my opinion, it is quite possible Jim was stabbed later on Dec. 22 or early on Dec. 23.

The timeline that the State presented in no way fits the 19th of December date. Confirmation bias all the way. Period. The day my son was in Bellevue and they say this all happened only on that day. The days following this horrific event, my son was with us for 5 consecutive Christmas celebrations acting like the same old Drew. Enjoying family time, gifts, and pictures. In fact, he had on the same clothes he came to Bellevue with when he arrived for our Christmas. Witness even testified to that.

So, after hearing evidence, I believe Jim was not even home on Dec. 19 in late evening thru Dec. 21 and maybe even longer. Where was he? Who was he with and when did he get back home?. He was found on Dec. 25 around 12 p.m. according to a witness who walked in and stepped into something sticky and found Jim. The house was a crime scene at this point. Also, there were 2-3 witnesses that saw one of the other suspects in front of Jim’s house either on Dec. 22 or Dec. 23 pacing back and forth. No footprint from his shoes were tested and no verification of his timeline was done on that suspect.

The hardest thing I actually had to do through this whole thing was hide my tears and be strong for my son. Oh believe me, I was a mess, but when you put it in God’s hands that’s when I truly found peace. We have learned a lot. I told Drew, “God gave this to us for a reason” as hellish and completely frustrating as it was and still is, we learned to pray through it. I told Drew it was very important to understand that people are not what we thought they were. That people wear many masks, but because of that we need to pray for them more than ourselves because at the end of the day they need it more than we do. Don’t get me wrong we went through a grieving process, of frustration, loss, anger, depression, and more than words cannot even describe, but through our conversations, our visits, our letters we persevered and become better people for it. 

I’m not here to convince anyone, that is not my job, nor do I honestly care, because the truth is my goal and my strength comes from an inner place of finding justice for my son and for Jim. I have learned to separate myself from people’s opinions and judgement because the true power is sitting back and observing things with logic. This has given us so much of an awakening in both good and bad ways. Instead of listening to the noise of the world, we choose to listen to our own voices and our own souls. People with judgements are only a reflection of themselves. People with truth and integrity are the ones that prevail.

I just want you to know that this wrongful conviction is unacceptable. There is no justice for Jim, my son, or for the families involved in this nightmare. I waited 312 days to finally voice my thoughts and if in the end justice prevails, then, I have served it well. Keep on praying and know that God will bring justice and truth. Without him I would have never made it through this. The truth is there are two families that are all victims here. I will not rest until the truth comes out. The next step is the appeal process.

If anyone wants to do send prayers, inspiration, or information our way we would be so grateful. If you have any information whether you think it is relevant or not we have set up a P.O. box if you want to write:

Drew Mangler

℅ Kelly Connor

P.O. Box 4

Savanna, Illinois 61074

Kelly Connor

Savanna, Illinois