Letter writers beg 'no parole for George Burch'

Published: May. 2, 2018 at 6:44 PM CDT
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Letters are pouring in to a Brown County judge who will hand down a sentence Friday that’s likely to make national headlines. Convicted killer George Burch will be given an automatic life sentence for first degree intentional homicide, but the judge may give him parole.

Action 2 news was there: extensively covering Burch’s trial and conviction in March for strangling and beating Nichole VanderHeyden to death in Brown County. Prosecutors say he raped her. VanderHeyden, 31, left behind three young children.

But a new stack of papers just put into George Burch’s public court file showcases 26 people who wrote out their pleas for justice, begging Judge Zakowski to give Burch a life in prison with no parole.

There were no shortage of insults for Burch in the dozens of pages. Friends, family and neighbors of Nichole VanderHeyden have been emailing and writing out their hate for her convicted killer. Some names for him in the letters are sick animal, a perverse, psychopathic, sociopath, monster, true fail of human existence, self-serving, self-righteous, demonistic fake, fraudulent, terrible excuse for a human— among other things, like “it.”

Neighbors of VanderHyeden say, since her brutal murder, there's a cloud over their neighborhood. They're unable to forget the gruesome scene that took place right outside their homes. They write about seeing VanderHeyden's young child playing in the yard, “dreading the day" the now two-year-old asks, "Why don't I have a mommy?"

One of the last friends to see VanderHeyden writes she is living in fear, struggling daily with severe paranoia, anxiety and PTSD.

As for VanderHeyden’s boyfriend and the father of her youngest son, writers are furious Burch got to smear Doug Detrie's name in court by attempting to pin the murder back on him with a "concocted, ridiculous story."

Even people from Burch's home state of Virginia wrote to say they don't want him back. One writer puts it like this: "Nicole won't get a second chance. Why should he?"

Burch will be sentenced Friday afternoon, with Action 2 News coverage beginning at 4 p.m.