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Cahill family remembers murder 10 years ago

Jill Cahill.

T en years ago this week Jeff Cahill put on a wig and a phony janitor uniform and walked into University Hospital in Syracuse armed with cyanide. He entered his estranged wife Jill's room and forced the poison into her mouth. Her six month recovery from the baseball bat beating he gave her ended, along with her life. It was October 28, 1998.

Jill's older sister Debbie Jaeger remembers hearing the gruesome details of the April beating in the family's Skaneateles home, "she was out to the mudroom to the backyard when he hit her for the first time with the baseball bat. He then dragged her into the kitchen and hit the her five, six or seven times altogether." The family prayed for her survival, but did not know what to expect because the injuries were so severe Debbie Jaeger said, "her head was swollen like a pumpkin. A fractured eye sockets, broken arm from defense wounds. She took numerous blows to the head."

The Cahill children, ten year old Tim and nine year old Mary, were home that night. They heard what happened downstairs. Their parents were on the verge of divorce, but family says there had never been violence before. Ten years later Tim and Mary are living in Tonawanda with their Aunt and Uncle and their children.

Debbie Jaeger says the young adults are doing well. She attributes immediate intervention for helping the children survive losing their mother to murder and their father to prison. Jaeger said,"they got their counseling up front and right away. First in Syracuse and then here. That was a huge piece of being able to deal with what happened."

Jaeger says she has not talked to Tim and Mary about the details of what they remember from the attack on their mother. Mary has corresponded with her father. Jaeger says Tim prefers to move forward and not consider the horror of the past.

The family continues to push each year for the passage of Jilly's Law. The bill would make it more difficult for those accused of domestic violence to get out of jail so easily. Jeff Cahill was released within one day after the near fatal assault with a baseball bat in April of 1998. The bill has yet to make it to a full vote by the State Legislature in Albany.

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