Please Help Me: Protest for Casper Man Convicted of Killing the Man Who Molested His Granddaughter
It was a windy Friday afternoon when a handful of Casper citizens gathered outside of the Casper Police Station on Friday night.
"Freedom for Olinza; set him free!" rang throughout the downtown area as several supporters of Olinza Headd and his family protested the sentence that he was given after shooting and killing the man who he said molested his granddaughter.
But that's not all they were protesting. They were also protesting the fact that, according to them, pedophiles seem to have lighter sentences than they seemingly deserved.
"We're here because there needs to be better laws for pedophiles," one protester stated. "Harder, stiffer laws. It's that simple. There's nothing complicated about it. What don't they understand about it? We need justice. Justice wasn't served in the first place, or we wouldn't be here. The justice system has failed."
There is currently a petition that was created with Change.org, calling for signees to 'Free Olinza Headd.' Originally, the petition was asking for 200 signatures. It achieved those signatures, and is now asking for 500. As of this writing, there are currently 262 signatures.
Additionally, a GoFundMe has been created to help Valenta and the rest of Lin's family with attorney fees and other costs. It has currently raised $925 of an $80,000 goal.
Another protester stated that the the man who was shot by Headd was not a victim, but a criminal.
"Eugene, the quote unquote 'victim,' was previously convicted for child sex crimes, and he was slapped on the wrist and let out to reoffend," the protester said. "And he reoffended on the wrong children. End of story."
A search on the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Sex Offender list using the accused's name yielded zero results, but Olinza Headd testified in court that Eugene Hogan III admitted to "touching" his granddaughter, which led to Headd fatally shooting the man three times.
Headd was arrested and initially charged with second-degree murder, but he took a plead deal and the charge was changed to manslaughter. Judge Daniel Forgey sentenced Headd to 17-to-20 years behind bars on April 21, 2022.
Now, Headd's wife is saying that his attorney ignored his requests.
"I'm trying to get the case out in the public so people can know the injustice of the justice system," Valenta Headd told K2 Radio News. "My husband does not deserve 17-to-20 years. My husband, Olinza Headd, shot and killed a guy because, in fact, he was molesting our grandchildren. We found out it was more than just one."
Valenta said that the child who was allegedly being touched told her sister, who then told adults. The sister, according to Valenta, is currently a patient at the Wyoming Behavioral Institute because of stress caused by the guilt of coming forward with the molestation allegations.
"She thinks it's her fault," Valenta said.
She stated that there were many miscarriages of justice involved with this case, including her husband's public defender, and the judge who presided over the case.
"I want Judge Forgey removed from the bench," she stated. "I want the public defender, Marty Scott to be moved off of being a public defender. He never had time to talk to us. He told my husband [during] the first meeting that, here in Wyoming, that we could end up with 12 jurors, with all of them being white men that don't like black people."
Valenta said that, per Scott's advisement, Headd took the plea deal but that he repeatedly asked Scott for a jury trial.
"I don't think that he was justified, or that he got a chance to say what he needed to say," Valenta said. "I don't think that he was given a fair shot. I'm asking everyone to please call your governor, your Congressman, whoever that you think could help me and my husband. They moved him last night and didn't tell us where he was. So at this time, I don't even know where he is at."
As Valenta shared her story, the group of protesters began walking past the Casper Police Department and headed south on Center Street, carrying a banner that said "Penalties for the pedophiles, not the protector." And that is what many Casper residents are calling Olinza Headd; a protector, a guardian, a hero.
That's certainly how Valenza sees him; her husband, the love her life. She views him as a hero, and she won't stop fighting until Olinza is free.
"He does not deserve this time," Valenta said. "This is unjust. A pedophile will get lesser time. My husband is a man that loves children. He's a God-man. He's a minister. Anyone who knows him knows that he loves people. People love him. Please help me."