The untimely death of Rachael Jane Wierzbicki at the hands of her boyfriend Shane Casado led to the creation of the Rachael Warrior Foundation, a non-profit organization in New York that helps domestic violence victims in crisis. In April 2019, the foundation was set up.
Rachael, who was 22 years old, was shot and killed by Casado, who was 24 at the time, in front of his home on Edson Street in South Buffalo on November 27, 2018.
Two of Casado’s three shots from close range with his 0.22 caliber rifle hit Rachael in the stomach. She died the next morning from her injuries.
Shane Casado shot Rachael Wierzbicki and then called 911 to say that he “didn’t really mean to hit her.”
Shane Casado and Rachael Wierzbicki had been dating on and off for six months. When Rachael showed up in front of his house that fateful night, they were in the middle of a bitter breakup. After a few minutes, her boyfriend shot her, and she fell to the ground.
There are different versions of why she went to Shane that night. On the one hand, Rachael’s family says that she went to “make things work” with Shane and give their relationship one last try.
Shane, on the other hand, says that she came to confront him and threaten him even though he told her not to.
He said that Rachael was the “first aggressor” because she hit him and wouldn’t leave when he asked her to. Then, as she was leaving, she kicked his car and hit the window of the car.
In response, he shot her with his rifle to get her off his land. He didn’t mean to hurt her. Shane then called 911 to get help for Rachael, telling the operator that he “really didn’t mean to hit her.”
He also wanted to end the call so he could help her, but the person answering the phone told him to stay on the line until the paramedics got there.
Shane was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter at his eight-day trial in Erie County Court three years later.
But the record of the 911 call was important evidence against the prosecutors because they couldn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Shane had planned to kill or hurt Rachael.
Shane testified that he was “afraid for his life” and didn’t know that his 0.22 caliber rifle, which he used for target practice, could kill a person.
So, on October 7, 2021, after deliberating for six hours, the jury found Shane Casado not guilty of both murder and manslaughter. He was found not guilty of both crimes and was set free.
Rachael’s family said that the verdict of “not guilty” was “disgusting” and an example of victim blaming
As expected, Rachael’s family was upset and disappointed when the jury cleared the person who killed their daughter of all charges.
“Most of the time, the person who is abused at home is blamed for it… The jury made it clear that “she got what she deserved.” They fell for his lies and let the person who killed her go free. “It’s awful,” said Rachael’s mother, Lauri Wierzbicki.
Shane’s family, on the other hand, was happy with the verdict and said that they “knew all along” that he was not guilty. Even though they sent Rachael’s parents their condolences, they said that the case was not “open and shut.”
“There were things that made sense. There were some things that made sense, and the jury got it right. Shane never wanted this to happen, and the jury saw that, said the defense attorney Teo Siguenza after the verdict.
Still, Shane Casado is going to be sued in civil court by the Wierzbicki family. In honor of their daughter, they are currently running the Rachael Warrior Foundation, which helps people who have been hurt by domestic violence.