|Family seeks justice for unsolved death|
|July 19, 2012 Jerry Purvis|
Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen
Monica Hall speaks to the media prior to submitting a petition asking for a grand jury to investigate the death of her niece, two-year-old Juliette Geurts.
Four years ago, 2-year-old Juliette Geurts died from what an autopsy revealed as blunt force trauma caused by a severe beating – and her aunt is still trying to find answers.
On the fourth anniversary of Juliette’s July 11 death, Monica Hall, the girl’s aunt, appeared at the Scotts Bluff County District Court office to submit a petition containing 1,770 signatures.
The petition asks the county to convene a grand jury and appoint a special prosecutor from outside the Panhandle to investigate Juliette’s death.
Hall said that on July 11, 2008, Juliette and her twin sister, Jaelyn, were living with their mother and two of the mother’s male friends.
Juliette was taken to the hospital for a seizure and fever, but was later sent home. Within a few hours, the girl was dead.
Hall claimed her niece was killed by one of the three adults in the house and the others were covering for that person. Local law enforcement investigated, but eventually ran out of leads.
“It’s a disgrace,” Hall said. “The Gering Police Department and the County Attorney have had no contact with the adults at the scene for the last three years.”
Hall said that while circulating the petition, people told her they were tired of “30-plus years of corruption, cover-ups, intimidation, drugs, crime and all the murders in their community … but people are afraid to speak out for fear of the consequences.”
Hall hopes a grand jury will be able to not only bring justice for her niece, but also bring about a change in the system.
“Our faith in the justice system has been shattered,” she said. “No justice system can work honestly and fairly when there are so many family members and long-time friendships working together in law enforcement who are more concerned with covering their own backsides than protecting and defending the victims and families they were sworn to protect.”
Clerk of the District Court Ann Rosenberry, who received the petition, will send certified copies to County Clerk Vera Dulaney. The clerk’s office then has 30 days to determine whether the petition has enough valid signatures. A total of at least 975 are needed.
If the petition is deemed valid, District Judge Randy Lippstreu will have another 15 days for review and to determine whether it is legally sound before calling a grand jury.