Friday, 7 November 2008

Twenty two years have passed since Katherine “Katy” Hawelka passed away. The years have flown by, but memories of her persist and continue to surround us in our daily lives. On September 1, 1986, Katy, a 19 year old college sophomore died after a brutal attack at the hands of Brian M. McCarthy on the campus of Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. He admittedly was under the influence of drugs and alcohol as he viciously raped and strangled her, beating her so severely that she never regained consciousness.

Her convicted murderer, Brian McCarthy, plead guilty on Thursday, August 13 , 1987 and is up for parole April 2009. Justice demands that he be made to spend every day of his life in prison for taking the life of an innocent victim.

As her family, we are asking those that knew and loved Katy to please take a few moments and write a letter to the Parole Board to let them how you feel about the possibility of a convicted killer being released. Letters in support of denying parole can be sent to the following address:

New York State Board of Parole
97 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12206
Re: Brian M. McCarthy / DIN:87D0088

She may no longer be with us physically, but she will always be in our hearts and minds as a beautiful memory. Her spirit remains, watching over us until our time comes when we can be with her again.


4-Katy- Sample Letter -n-support-of-denying-parole

4-Katy-Petition-for-Signatures PAPER COPY


THE POST-STANDARD- (Sunday February 15, 2009)
Syracuse family fights to keep man who killed Clarkson University student behind bars

NEWS CHANNEL 9-WSYR STORY - (Monday-January 12, 2009)
NEWS CHANNEL 9-WSYR VIDEO - (Monday-January 12, 2009)

NEWS 7 -WWNY STORY/VIDEO- (Monday -March 30, 2009)
NEWS 7 -WWNY FOLLOW UP STORY- (Tuesday -March 31, 2009)


Betsy said...

Our sincere gratitude and thanks to our "blog master" Michael for the many hours of work he put into helping our family create this blog! We truly appreciated your offer to design the blog and we are thrilled! with the results!
The Hawelka Family

Joe H said...

Well said Betsy, I would like to remind everyone that this monster was ON PARLOE when the attack occurred. I would like to thank Michael for helping us create this blog and also anyone that takes the time to sign a petition or write a letter on Katy's behalf.

monica said...

Hello, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help-out. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I do have to agree Micheal did a wonderful job with this web-site. Monica

Betsy said...

More than 500 signatures in one week! OUTSTANDING! Thank you!

Pat F said...

May peace and plenty be the first,
To lift the latch to your door.
And happiness be guided to your home,
By the candle of Christmas.

May God bless you during this most difficult time.

Betsy said...

Since Carey posted the electronic petition on December 8th, the petition today has 898 signatures, we are anxious to see the results that media coverage can lend to our efforts!

Mary Julia said...

Hi, I'm Mary, Joe Fahey's sister. First, let me compliment you on this excellent website. Secondly, I am also an attorney, so if you need assistance with the Parole Board, feel free to contact me, as I would be glad to advise you, no charge. Contact me by leaving a follow-up comment, and it should go right to my email. I sat through the inquest assisting Joe, and had the honor of meeting some of you then.

You are doing exactly what you need to do to keep this animal locked up. My best wishes.

Bridget said...

In 1986 I was only 1 yr old so I do not remember this story, but after reading the news article tonight on the parole of this horrible man, I felt extremely drawn to helping where I could. For this reason I have put together a facebook group in memory of Katy. It has the article about what your family is trying to do with the denying of parole and I have attached this website. I hope this helps get the word out and maybe even scares a few young girls like myself into getting the word out so this doesnt happen from him again.

My deepest sympathy...

Justme said...

To the Hawelka family,

My hearts go out to you for the loss of your daughter at the hands of a this monster. Our family too lost our brother to a senseless act of violence by the hands of a monster and will be doing the same thing when she is up for parole. God bless you all and stay strong for Katy.

Allen said...

I was a classmate of Katy's at Clarkson. She was a friend and always had a smile for anyone. We all piled in the car for our final freshman exam and celebrated afterwards.
The following fall the news was more than heart wrenching. It struck all of our class and it's something we will never forget.
My heart goes out to Katy's family and you can be sure I will be writing a letter to the parole board..

God Bless,
Allen Gilberti
Class of '89

Allen said...

I was a friend and classmate of Katy's at Clarkson. We all piled in the car for our final Freshman exam that spring. It was my last memory o f here. The news was a horrific shock to our entire class.
You can be sure I will sign the petition and write a letter and pass it along.
My prayers go out to her family and how this changed their life. Please help to support their cause.

Allen Gilberti
Class of '89

Krystal said...

I'm sure that a day does not go by that you don't think of your loved one. May God's peace, grace and love carry you through!
God bless,

biggman100 said...

I would like to know if i could put this story on a web site that i frequent alot called sodahead. Alot of the people i talk to on there, believe it or not, usually get there news from that site and not the regular news. I believe that the more people who sign the petition, the less chance he has to obtain parole, and by putting it on sodahead, more people will see it. My email address is

Monica said...

Betsy, What an excellent job you and your family are doing. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I just wanted to let you know Laura Fiorenza posted Katy's petition on Facebook. I am not sure if you are at all familiar with it but it is sure to generate a lot more signaatures. She did an excellent job.

4KATY said...

Please feel free to post the story and online petition information on another website. We truly appreciate all the effort that everyone has put into spreading the word on this!

jeff said...

I am a fellow class of 1989 classmate. I received word about this site through a long chain of well-wishers, and I am certainly signing/ etc. but also wondering if anyone has contacted the University to seek permission for distribution among a select group of graduates (class of '89 at least?) I know everyone is weird about sharing e-mails, etc, but maybe for this?? A second avenue might be to get in contact with some of the alumni chapters.

Jeff Felice
Class of '89

Lovely Lady said...

God bless you Katy,you will always be in my prayers

Peter Smith said...

1986, I just started my senior year of high school, I remember this very sad story.I can't begin to imagin the pain your family lives with! I will sign the petition and pray for your family!

Janice said...

To the family of Katy Hawelka, I,too, have experienced the kind of loss that your family has endured and am familiar with the parole system. Brian McCarthy sounds like a carbon copy of Nicholas Pryor, who murdered my daughter, Jenna, and will undoubtedly be shown the door very quickly at this, his first appearance before the Parole Board. With his history and the viciousness of this crime the likelihood of his release is negligible at best.I absolutely believe that he will spend the rest of his life in prison. That said, I know that the support of the community is important to you and will write my own letter to the parole board, adding my voice to all the others who support you.
Your website and efforts to insure that Katy is remembered and that justice is served are admirable. If I can be of any help in this or future efforts please feel free to contact me at the Jenna Foundation, 422-0339. Sincerely, Janice Grieshaber

Rebecca said...

I want to say to my best friend Betsy and the rest of her family how sorry I am for what you are all going through now and my heart goes out to all of you. I did not know Katy but the tears fell when reading the article in the newspaper today. I forwarded the site to all my co-workers, friends and family and know many have signed the petition. I will do whatever I can to help.

Chrisi said...

I was a student at Potsdam State at the time that Katy was brutally murdered. I never met her but was very effected by what happened to her and know first hand the darkness that overcame both the Potsdam and Clarkson campuses after this horrible incident. I pray that you find the peace and God's grace to get you through the upcoming appeal process. I pray that this monster will never be sent back on to the streets to bring such nightmares to another family. My prayers will continue for your family and also for Katy. May her spirit and soul be at peace.

antoinette said...

I remember reading about this tragic story when it happened. My heart when out to your family then as it goes out to you today. I am a rape survivor and I will be sending my letter to the New York State Parole Board.

MikeS. said...

Just signed the petition. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Hawelks family. I remeber that day as though it were yesturday. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do.

Mike Strauss

inthespring62 said...

I also signed the petition. My deepest condolences for your loss. This horrific monster should be erased from this earth.

jbd said...

You Hawelkas are amazing people. Thank you for fighting to keep this animal off the streets for justice for Katy and for the safety of all our daughters. The fact that he is even granted a parole hearing is dispicable.
I grew up on farmer street and have many fond memories of hanging out on the screen porch with Katy and Carey and playing kick the can at your house. I was also a freshman for 2 days at St. Lawrenence when I heard the news. Since then I have never felt that false sense of security that things happen to other people or that being at a small college in a rural town is safe.
I think of Katy often and always remember her as a girl full of light - beautiful inside and out - with always a smile, hello and kind word to everyone she encountered. The kind of girl we all hope our daughters grow up to be.
I will encourage everyone to sign the petition and will write a letter to the parole board. I will also be thinking of all of you as you make your impact statements. Best wishes to you all as you continue to endure the loss of your beautiful girl.
Amy (Fitzgerald)Fiorito

Cheryl said...

I was a senior at Potsdam College when Katy was killed. Her death made a profound impact on me and my friends. Up to that point, we felt we were in a small, safe, rural environment. After Katy's death, we never left our apartment, library, student union or downtown bar without walking with another person, especially at night. I was happy to be able to sign the petition and pass it on to my family and friends to sign. Hopefully, our small contribution will insure that Katy's killer remains in prison. I have thought of Katy and her family many times over the years. I admire your strength and devotion to Katy and one another. May God's grace and peace be with each one of you in the days ahead.

George and Dottie Cady said...

To the Hawelka Family:
Dottie and I were saddened at the time that Katy was brutlly murdered. We had been a patient of Dr. Hawelka's for some time. It seemed he didn't recover from this tragedy. I e-mail about 35 of my fellow UPS retired managers and asked them to reply to the article in Sundays PS. May God be with your family during these trying days ahead and give you strength to stay the course. Sincerly, George and Dottie Cady

otter said...

As a classmate and friend of Katy's (Lincoln Junior High, Henninger Class of '85), it crushed me when I read about what happened to her...and how this creep is even getting a chance at parole.
When I saw the story in Sunday's paper, those emotions cam flooding back to me. But rather than just dwelling upon those, I wrote a blog of my own that you can peruse.
The address is: .
I also signed the petition and plan to write to the Parole Board as well on Katy's behalf.
Godspeed to you and the family, Betsy. Your sister will always be in my thoughts.

Edward Ott
Class of '85
Henninger High School

Dave Hinman said...

I am writing to add my voice to those calling for the man who killed Katy Hawelka to remain in jail.

I graduated from Clarkson in 1980. I lived in the same apartment building as Katy, and made that same walk home from downtown countless times.

There is nothing I could say, I’m sure, that would add to what has been said about her or her case.

Instead, allow me to express gratitude, on behalf of a great many people, for Katy’s decision to be an organ donor. I know the Hawelka family was disappointed that circumstances did not allow her wish to be granted, but her intention, expressed at such a young age, says much about her intelligence and kindness. She must have been a special young woman.

Three years ago my wife lost her brother to liver disease. Since then we’ve become involved with a charity that helps those similarly afflicted, and have met transplant recipients and donors alike (a portion of the liver may be taken from a living donor). In fact, two years ago I climbed Mt. Shasta with a man whose life had been saved by a transplant. (This was no small feat for him – Shasta is over 14,000 feet tall).

Many families are deeply appreciative of those who, like Katy, make the decision to give life to people they have never met. I would not be surprised if somebody reads the article about Katy and makes the decision to be a donor, inspired by her.

With sympathy and support…

Dave Hinman, Clarkson Class of 1980

Andrea said...

The man has committed a repulsive crime, has no outward remorse, and shows no signs of being rehabilitated by his continued abuse of the judicial system by to committing offenses both before the death of Katy and after he was jailed. My heart goes out to her family as they continue to heal from the pain.

Nanci said...

Carey, Betsy, Joey and "Muff"
As the best college roommate and friend Katy has remained in my heart these past 22+ years. While my pain pales in comparison to yours I have never gotten over this horrific event. Katy touched so many lives and the love for her is far-reaching. I have blanketed my path through the southeast with Katy's story and the importance of this latest battle. If there is anything I can do do not hesitate to ask!

Archambeault said...

To the family of Katy Hawelka, the family of Carol Nelson would like you to know that our hearts bleed for you. I signed the petition at my work to deny parole for Brian McCarthy a couple of months ago. I was also very moved by the story about Katy in the Post Standard last week. I wrote a letter to the Parole Board in a community effort for justice for Katy. Your efforts are admirable and your website is amazing. I can only hope in years to come that our efforts will match yours when we have to go to before the Parole Board. By the way, I noticed the comment made by Janice Grieshaper. She has been an amazing support and mentor to me about many issues concerning my mother's murder. She is a great resource to reach out to.
Sincerely, Paige Archambeault

goofy325 said...

I just want to say your strengths are absolutely amazing! This site is wonderful. I did not know Katy, in fact I was only 13 at the time of the attack. However, I want the family to know that now that he is up for parole, I am going to print out petitions and get MANY signatures for this beast to be locked up for good, i promis you that. I live only a town away from Potsdam.. i live in Waddington, and i have many friends over there at college. I know what it's like to lose a loved one to such tragedy unfortunately. I am with all of you in praying for justice for Katy, even though I didn't know her, i want to do something really good for her and the family. I hope I can help make a difference.

Martha Gualtieri McLain said...

Your family has done a wonderful job with this website. I have written my letter and sent the petition to many to sign.

Katy was such a very special friend. I loved her so much. I think of her often and I am sickened that this awful man thinks that he has a right to ask for parole. Katy would want us all to fight for her.

My heart goes out to all of you because I know it is difficult to bring it all up to the surface.

Even though 22 years have passed, I cannot get over losing her.

All my love,
Martha Gualtieri McLain

john said...

I was born and raised in Potsdam and was only 13 when this horrible crime took place. I remember how shocking it was to my family and the community that such a gruesome act could take place in our town. Now that I am a Mother myself, I cannot imagine dropping my son off at college only to get the unimagineable phone call that you received. My heart goes out to Katy and her family for having to endure this. Please know that she will never be forgotten in the town of Potsdam.

Nicole Phillips

jacqui said...

im so sorry u have to be a victim again.Ten yrs ago my daughter was pistal whipped and shot in face 2xs and her soon to be husband was killed,by her mechanic,He stalked then broke into and hid in her closetwaiting,he was hunted in a man hunt caotured and given 25 yrs to life no in 15yrs we shall be where u are again..because ny state will not use the Death penelty as we the people voted for,,so again we are victims and shall remain victims as we have very few rights,,Gl to us all,,NO PAROLE!

Dave said...

“Sorry,” I say, to the friends and family of Katy Hawelka. The Criminal Justice System has once again failed them. They now have to be tortured again, while waiting another
two years for the system to decide the fate of this violent killer. If the general population only knew the actual realities of the “deals” given to the criminals of our country! Those deals are reflected on the Uniform Crime Reports, submitted to, and published by, the Federal Government. The reports document thousands of murders, burglaries, home invasions, armed robberies, and other violent crimes, committed each minute of every day in our country. And who commits those crimes? Statistically, a very high percentage is committed by repeat offenders. Had he not gotten a “deal”, the “life” part of the life sentence would have been for real. Even that would have been a deal - he should have gotten the death penalty. Our Criminal Justice System creates only but an illusion of “public safety”.
D. Bartlett
Parole and Probation Officer
Potsdam Police Department

Chris said...

i prayed this man would not be set free to kill again! My heart continues to ache for Katy's family; my faith tells me that she's with Our Lord and watching over us - she is full of joy and peace!

Although i graduated in 1968 from Clarkson, i can still remember "cutting through" by Walker Arena freshman year on my way back to Cubley Hall.

i am so, so sorry for your loss of such a sweet and beautiful young lady. What a senseless tragedy!

Let us stay united that this criminal will never be released. Amen.

Chris LaRose
North Lawrence

pjsam4 said...

I started as a student at Clarkson during the 80s and remember hearing about Katy's death....It still haunts me from time to time. We all cut through Walker Arena from time to time. I hope you are able to keep this guy behind bars1

Suzanne said...

To the family of Katherine Hawelka,
I was a 22 year old native of Potsdam when the horrible attack occurred. I remember feeling scared and vulnerable in a town I had felt so safe in. Katy's (as you called her) attack haunted me for life. I never forgot her name. I thank my friend Danny for posting the website on Facebook because I always wondered what the status of the case was. As the mother of a daughter away in her sophmore year at college I can understand your desperation at keeping this man in jail. I wholeheartedly sign the petition.

Chris said...

i am happy for Katy's family that this man will remain in prison for killing such a beautiful image of God. Katy, look down on us from His Glorious Kingdom, keep shining your light and most of all pray for a world filled with such evil and death. Please send us some of the peace and joy that surrounds you. Although i never knew you, i feel the Clarkson connection. i love you with the love of Christ sweet Katy.

Chris LaRose
Clarkson '72

Pearlcny said...

Condolences and I'm sorry for your Loss to the family of Katy Hawelka! At the time of this incident I was settling into college in Hawaii so I can relate by paralleling her life. I am disgusted by such viciousness and I have signed the petition. A copy is attached below in case the family keeps copies to present alongside. I'm sorry you had to deal with this and live with such a trauma - how terrible.

I am petitioning the parole board to please kindly abstain from releasing convicted killer Brian McCarthy back into society as I do not think with any confidence that he can be safely integrated into society. Miss Katy Hawelka suffered an unconscionable and vicious attack that resulted in her losing her life. This man has never apologized and instead has repeatedly acted out in prison and required even more disciplinary action. This man is a risk to society and if you insist his risk of recidivism is low then please relocate him into your own pretty suburban homes and / or neighborhoods!
I was settling into college at the same time she was and feel so badly for her family and her. Please do the right thing and leave unremorseful killers where they belong: behind bars. Sincerely yours, Pearl Ann Popiak

Pearlcny said...

I am petitioning the parole board to please kindly abstain from releasing convicted killer Brian McCarthy back into society as I do not think with any confidence that he can be safely integrated into society. Miss Katy Hawelka suffered an unconscionable and vicious attack that resulted in her losing her life. This man has never apologized and instead has repeatedly acted out in prison and required even more disciplinary action. This man is a risk to society and if you insist his risk of recidivism is low then please relocate him into your own pretty suburban homes and / or neighborhoods!
I was settling into college at the same time she was and feel so badly for her family and her. Please do the right thing and leave unremorseful killers where they belong: behind bars. Sincerely yours, Pearl Ann Popiak