Kirkpatrick said she knew that Dart would some day be eligible for parole. But she said she believed that 25 years in prison meant 25 years. Dart is eligible to be released from custody next September.
“I can’t believe how close of a call we just had,” she said.
According to state statistics obtained by The Daily Star, about one in eight inmates serving time for A-1 violent felony offenses, a category that includes second-degree murder, are granted release upon their first appearance before the parole board.
Kirkpatrick said she was surprised to find out that state officials are now housing Dart in a medium-security prison rather than a more-secure facility.
She recalled that after Dart was convicted at trial and was being ushered out of the courthouse in Cooperstown, he stared at her and muttered, “I’ll be back.”
A couple of years earlier, she said she had her own upsetting encounters with Dart while both were working together at a local factory.
At one point, she said, Dart passed her a hand-scrawled note, asking, “If I told you you had a nice body, would it freak you out?”
Not a day has gone by since the crime that Kirkpatrick said she has not recalled the vibrancy of her sister’s life. The murder has also made her extremely protective of her own children, she noted.
“Gillian was everything to everybody, and she always a compassionate person,” said Kirkpatrick, the office manager for the soon-to-open Otsego Dental Care. “There was no stopping her. She was on the road to success, no matter what she decided to do. But because of what happened she never got to have a first love. She never got to have a career. She never got to be a mother. And my children have been robbed of their aunt.”
Kirkpatrick said she is now scheduled to present her victim impact statement to the parole board on Dec. 13.