For Fahey Family, `A Hollow Victory' Anne Marie Fahey's Siblings Spoke Of A Woman Who ``would Light Up A Room.''

Posted: January 18, 1999

WILMINGTON — It was the verdict that the Faheys wanted. It brought them some relief.

But they still count the days - 934, as of yesterday - since their sister Anne Marie was taken away from them.

``It's a hollow victory,'' Kathleen Fahey-Hosey told reporters, after a Superior Court jury convicted Thomas J. Capano of murdering her sister. ``I'm sad because we all miss Anne Marie and she's not coming home.''

About the best that could be said was that Fahey-Hosey could finally give a meaningful answer to her own young children when they ask about the news, and about their aunt - the woman who ``would light up a room as soon as she walked in.''

``I tell my children every night [that] Aunt Annie loves them,'' Fahey-Hosey said. ``This has been difficult, because every night they ask me, `Why is Aunt Annie in a cooler?' and `Is that bad man going to stay in jail?' ''

At O'Friel's Irish Pub, which has been the unofficial headquarters for the Fahey clan throughout the ordeal, owner Kevin Freel said the verdict against Capano only underscored what those who loved Anne Marie Fahey had felt all along.

``Now, the community has said through those 12 people, `You're guilty. You're responsible. You'll pay.' We've known that for two and a half years,'' Freel said.

About 15 Fahey relatives and friends arrived at the courthouse shortly after 9 a.m. yesterday - some patting others on the back after a night that was sleepless with anticipation.

When the verdict was announced at 9:58 a.m., Kathleen Fahey-Hosey and her brothers, Mark, Brian, Robert and Kevin, exhibited little emotion.

But later, in a dining room at the Chase Manhattan Centre nearby, they spoke at length to the media about those 934 days, and about the murder case that had put their family's lives in the spotlight and then torn those lives apart.

``It's just surreal,'' Brian Fahey said. ``You can't figure out what to expect.''

``We loved her a ton.''

That love and that pride in their sister, who had been Delaware Gov. Tom Carper's appointments secretary, were what Brian Fahey and his brothers and sister focused on when they were cross-examined about Fahey by Capano defense attorneys, he said.

Now that it was over, they praised prosecutors and spent only a few words on Capano.

``I think his true personality became very clear when he was on the stand - the manipulation, the control,'' Fahey-Hosey said of the wealthy and powerful defendant who was said to have killed her sister rather than be rejected.

Whether Capano now gets life imprisonment or a death sentence is up to the jury. ``In some ways, life in prison can be a crueler punishment than death,'' Robert Fahey said.

Throughout the experience, family members said, they felt they had the support of the local community and of God.

In a sense, yesterday provided some measure of resolution that had been lacking because their sister's body has never been found.

But Brian Fahey said the family had accepted the fact that the case would remain part of their lives, as it was likely to stretch out on appeal for years. A charity golf tournament in memory of Fahey is scheduled for April. Fahey-Hosey said the family would continue to raise money in her name.

Last night, they planned to gather privately, Robert Fahey said. The gathering would focus on Anne Marie and was ``certainly not a celebration.''

Nor was it a celebration at O'Friel's.

Headlines on local newspapers sitting on the bar screamed, ``Guilty.'' The corner TV screen screamed playoff football.

At one time or another, all of Anne Marie Fahey's siblings had worked at O'Friel's. All stopped by yesterday afternoon.

By 2:30 p.m., about 25 people were there, lined up by the bar.

``Normally, on Sundays we're not open,'' said Freel, who wore a ``Friends of Anne Marie'' pin. ``We opened special.''

The mood was one of relief. Not happiness.

About halfway down the bar sat several Fahey family friends, some of them drinking longneck beers.

``Justice was served,'' said friend Dick Monnig, 54.

``It was a good day,'' agreed Bob Vasile, 40, who heard the verdict as it was delivered. ``It took a long time to get here. ''

Vasile said it might not have appeared there was emotion in the courtroom but there was.

``There was emotion, but it was quiet,'' Vasile said.

``Pent-up emotion,'' added Monnig, ``released with dignity.''

``It was sad,'' said Monnig's wife, Ki, 42, ``sad satisfaction.''

To Freel, the verdict only offers ``closure on one level.''

He added: ``The bottom line is, Anne Marie is never coming back. Those of us who loved her will have to deal with that over time.''

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