Since My Brother’s Murder

Originally published on

My brother was murdered — bludgeoned to death as he lay sleeping in his bed — three years ago this summer. The murder (like most murders) was not a random event. My brother knew his killer. The perpetrator was a young man, Max, who had been kicked out of his family home, and to whom my brother had given shelter.

Max was a Russian adoptee, who, post-adoption — from the age of five — was raised with every advantage that should have (could have) helped him to develop into a stalwart member of society. Yet, this did not happen. Continued

The Making of a Murderer Pt. 10: Meeting Louise

I never know what is going to happen when I go to sleep. Since David’s death, my dream life has become as vivid as my waking life. They are bizarre, imaginative dreams. Some redeeming; some disturbing. The last dream I had was about Max. Doctors had discovered that there was something wrong with him and that an operation would correct the problem. After the surgery, presumably, he wouldn’t continue to be violent. Continued

The Making of a Murderer Pt 9: David’s Tombstone Unveiling at Family Plot


One space left in family plot, on left of David’s (not visible in pic). My parents had bought the family plot when all were alive, and the fourth plot was for Lenny, David’s long-term partner, whom my parents accepted as part of our family. David and Lenny separated, and I suppose the 4th plot is now mine, awaiting my final visitation.

The Making of a Murderer Pt. 8: Bad News

Yesterday, moments after the deal seemed to be effected, it was already off the table. After turning down an already accepted plea bargain of 30 years, the judge decided that even the newly agreed upon 40 years was not sufficient for the crimes committed by Maxim Hoppens. She, thusly, attached another five years per additional crimes related to the murder: two counts of forgery and one for the use of a stolen credit card (called “access device fraud”). She is imposing the sentence for these crimes as consecutive, adding an additional fifteen years to the prison term: 55 years in total. Continued

The Making of a Murderer Pt 5: Photographs

janes-motherJane’s and David’s beautiful mother in Cuba.

meyer-goldbergMeyer Goldberg, Jane’s and David’s father, on his Harley. He rode from Georgia to Louisiana circa 1935.

GoldbergsDavid Goldberg, Lee Goldberg, Mommie, and Jane with her cousin in her papa’s arms.

david-childDavid, around 13 years of age.

david-high-schoolDavid in high school.

david-king-of-mardi-grasDavid as the King of the Mardi Gras Ball, circa 1970.

david2David Goldberg in his 40s.

The Making of a Murderer Pt 4: David and Max

Therapist to patient: “What stage of grief are you in?”

Patient: “Writing. Is that a stage?”

Said by Sally Wade upon the publication of her memoir about her long-term love relationship with George Carlin.

DavidGoldbergLast picture taken of David M. Goldberg, at Niagara Falls – a vacation trip where he met for the first time Yang, a Chinese man he had been communicating with every day for five years via the internet. (See previous post The Letters, to read Yang’s response to the news of David’s death.)


The Making of a Murderer Pt. 3: The Letters

These are the letters that came to me after David’s death:


This news of course came as a great shock !!! We are so very sorry and what a terrible ending to his life. He loved his family and was always devoted to all of us, especially you. He never missed an event that included his family. I am really saddened because he was a part of us and sadly he will not be there any longer. I’m also so sad to learn of all of your mishaps. This has definitely been a trying time for you. I’m so happy that Barbara Pailet has been helping you. You have always been a great daughter and sister no matter how difficult the circumstances. Please keep us posted, and again our sympathies. He will be missed. Continued

The Making of a Murderer Pt 2: Finding Out

I always thought I would be a catatonic. I was sure that if a major trauma came my way, and I ended up having a nervous break-down, it would be the silent treatment that I would revert back to. Essentially I had to learn to talk as an adult. Growing up, I had lots of thoughts, lots of ideas – lots going on in my brain – that I never shared. Sharing my thoughts and feelings seemed a bit superfluous. So – catatonia was my mental illness of choice. Continued

The Making of a Murderer Pt 1: About Max

How is it that I, a 66-year-old successful professional woman living in New York City, have come to have acquaintance with a young man who has lived his 18 years in New Orleans, daring to be difficult, provoking those in authority positions to institutionalize him for his misdeeds, thievery and disturbed behaviors, and living out his plan, as he himself said of “ruining (his) life”? It is only through unforeseen circumstances of the most morbid kind that this young man, Max Hoppens, has arrived in my life, destined to stay for a good long time. Continued