You know what I find fascinating? The fact that Bernadette's entire family kept her new name and new identity a secret. Last night I was reading an email from a reader, and she mentioned that she had come across an article that mentioned that Bernadette Protti had five other siblings, Bernadette being the youngest.
Wow! Think about that for a moment. Five other adults other than her parents kept her identity and location a secret for 24 years. Reflecting on that last night proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that her husband has to know. At some point, she had to have confided in her husband about her past.
Perhaps others know as well, but have decided to keep her identity under wraps out of respect for her. Remember, before this all happened, no one had a bad thing to say about Bernadette. No one. Everyone liked her. The neighbor was totally distraught because she couldn't believe that someone as sweet and caring as Bernadette Protti could be capable of such a heinous crime.
I use the term heinous because...it was. Bernadette struck Kirsten Costas five times, specifically, on the right arm, on the left arm, and into the chest, the lung, and two to the back. Kirsten tried her best to get away.
Just let that sink in....I think with all of our talk about Bernadette, we forget about the actual victim, Kirsten.
I was asked the question recently about why I thought Bernadette dressed casually when she told Kirsten's mother that she should dress "nice."
When I was asked the question, I wasn't really sure of the answer. I had always assumed that it was because Kirsten didn't have the money to buy a nice outfit to wear to the so-called party. We know the money factor was the case when Bernadette went on the famous ski trip and was ridiculed by Kirsten because of her crummy skis.
But, I was told recently that a neighbor who knew Bernadette well stated that she had really nice clothes. In fact, sometimes when Bernie would get a new outfit, she would often ask the woman and neighbor, "How do I look," Bernadette would say.
So it hit me last night while I was sleeping that there was no actual party (Yes, cases and ideas and motives hit me when I'm sleeping sometimes). Bernadette knew this when she told Kirsten Costas' mother about it. She wouldn't have said anything at all about what type of clothing Kirsten should wear if Berit hadn't asked her.
So the part about the clothes was just an afterthought for Bernadette Protti, just something to say to answer Berit's question.
This is why the prosecutor felt that it was premeditated. However, I still do not believe this was premeditated murder.
So what was Bernadette Protti's motive for asking Kirsten out? I'll tell you my thoughts in another post.
Thanks for all of your updates. I know many of you have found out Bernadette's new name. I get emails just about everyday sometimes twice a day with details of her new name and her husband's name. I already know her name, remember?
Question from Frankie del Toro: "Hi Traciy! I was just curious as to how you found out that the movie's
portrayal of Kirsten was accurate. From all of the things I read, it
sounded more like Kirsten just didn't like Bernadette and didn't hide it
very well, but didn't bully her, either. I'm dying of curiosity about
that. Thanks! I enjoy your blog immensely."
Hello and thanks. The movie was supposedly based on the trial transcripts and the article about Orinda. The names were changed around for the film to disguise the true identity of the people involved. My feeling is that someone very close to the case sold their rights to the story, but I am not sure who. Several of Bernadette and Kirsten's schoolmates have written to me over the years giving their versions of the true events. Those on the side of Kirsten undoubtedly always deny that she was a bully. But, there are several girls who claim to have been treated very badly by Kirsten. As for the bullying issue, could it have been as overt as in the movie where the character that is supposed to be based on Kirsten actually walked up to people and bullied them, or if it was just that she treated them badly when they were in her presence? I can't be sure. I don't think we'll ever have a true picture. I do believe there is enough evidence to show that Kirsten was not a "nice" person to many people. And that Bernadette was generally well-liked by everyone.
"Tracey,you have never shared your personal thoughts on the case. Do you
believe it was premeditated? I honestly believe that she is making the
most out of her new life. I think she is embarassed,and feels guilty
over the crime."
No, I don't think the murder was premeditated. I think something happened when they were in the car. Something that scared Bernadette so much that it sent her over the edge. Don't forget the climate of Orinda at that time. It was fierce. The competition, the bullying, the rumors that could easily malign you from the community. Remember the case of the girl whom they accused of being a witch.
Bernadette was an outsider by all accounts. She fit it somewhat, but not totally. She lived a little bit outside of the area, so she was not one of the rich kids, though her parents did ok. Fitting in was extremely important to Bernadette. She wanted to go to THAT school and fit in with THOSE girls...period.
She did everything possible to fit in, and she did, for the most part. But, she needed the acceptance of Kirsten. She wanted to be Kirsten's friend, and now Kirsten was going to ruin all of that by exposing Bernadette. The movie's portrayal of Kirsten was pretty spot on. This is not a fact that will be admitted by Kirsten's friends.
But ask anyone who was at the mercy of Kirsten's wrath, and the picture will become a bit more clear.
Back to the inside of the car, I think it is very possible that Bernadette showed a little too much interest, and that interest in Kirsten was misconstrued as Bernadette trying to come on to Kirsten, thus the lesbian theories. Kisten was going to tell everyone about it, and Bernadette's anger and fear got the best of her.
Does she feel remorse?
At the time she did. Remember the movie stuck very close to the trial transcripts....very close. The crime was eating away at her, and she really did want to confess to her mom but feared what her mother would think. This whole crime was about Bernadette's fear of not being accepted and being pushed and pressured to fit in to a world that....at the time....was not hers.
Has she changed?
I have no idea. People do have a change of heart. She was a teenager, I am sure she is a totally different person now.
Were Kirsten's action an excuse for Bernadette Protti to take her life?Absolutely not! Kirsten did not deserve what happened to her.
"I have heard that she didn't actually turn herself in,but only did so
after she was cornered. To the blog owner,has Bernadette ever written
you? I know you stated at one point you had talked to a family member."
No, as far as I know, I have never spoken directly with Bernadette Protti. When I first broke the news that I had uncovered her identity, I received a flurry of disparaging emails, and I thought perhaps it could have been her. But, I can't be sure. Plus, the language in the emails did not fit the language befitting a seasoned medical writer, now that I think about it.
But, who knows.
Yes, I have spoken to a family member, but I do not remember who it was. I made two calls: one to her sister and another to a family member. I left a message on one call, and spoke to an actual person on another call. I was promptly dismissed though. The person never revealed any information to me, and I have never made an attempt to contact them again.
I also remember sending an email to her sister, who I believe was an attorney or something like that. It's been a long time so....
Tracey, are you going to comment on the recent post by, "Bernadette no more?" Do you believe that was a comment from the real Bernadette? I think it would be great to know and also to know your opinion about the post. Thank you. "
Yes, I think she reads the blogs. I don't think she comments much, but I do think she has commented before. There was one person lurking on here some time ago that pretended to be her. I don't think that person that you are talking about was her, but I will go back and look through the comments to see. She is probably too busy to lurk here most days, but who knows.