Stony Point’s McElroy family leads fight to change “archaic law” that allows accused spousal murderers control over victim’s body

BY DYLAN SKRILOFF

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Sueann and Edward McElroy, parents of the late Glenn McElroy, spoke at a Wednesday afternoon press conference at Stony Point Town Hall
Photo by Ron Lent

Sueann and Edward McElroy were faced with the unthinkable four short years ago. Their son, 27-year-old Stony Pointer Glenn McElroy, was run over by his wife Kelly McElroy in the prime of his life. She was found guilty of second degree vehicular manslaughter and served two years in prison for the act, which occurred while both were drinking and fighting.

Adding to the terrible loss of their son, New York State did not have a legal mechanism to alllow families  who lost loved ones at the hand of a criminal act by a spouse to take away control of their final affairs from the alleged criminal

Kelly McElroy fought the wishes of Glenn’s parents, which they said were the wishes of their son, at every step of the road, his parents said.

Glenn’s father Edward recounts that his son had forebodingly shared with the the family a few months before he died that should anything ever happen to him he wanted his organs donated. Kelly McElroy said no. The family said he would not want to be cremated, but Kelly McElroy insisted he be cremated. She wanted a small funeral with only a few persons in attendance, the family wanted a full funeral.

Ultimately lawyers negotiated and Glenn’s parents got most of their wishes. The positive results of that negotiation were self-evident: at Glenn’s funeral over 1,200 showed up to pay their respects, he was not cremated and five persons were saved via his organs.

Through the entire ordeal the McElroys were faced with negotiating with the woman they believed not only recklessly killed their son, but perhaps maliciously.

“What we had to go through was horrible,” Edward McElroy told the Rockland County Times.

Shocked that the law gave so much power to those who killed their spouse, the McElroy family didn’t take it sitting down. Glenn’s sister started pushing lawmakers to act and former Assemblyman Nancy Calhoun (R) began fighting for them. Soon after when James Skoufis (D) became assemblyman even more progress was made.

With the entire towns of Stony Point and Haverstraw and public officials behind the cause, and after four years of hard work, a bill offering a judge the authority to transer control of decisions for the deceased or criticially injured who were harmed at the hand of their spouse to their closest family members has now passed the State Assembly and Senate. The bill sits on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk and it is expected he will sign it.

Before Glenn McElroy’s family suffered through the ordeal of negotiating with the person who killed him, it is certain many other families had suffered through the same cruel fate.

Thanks to the battle of this Stony Point family and the good work of elected state officials, local elected officials who sent letters to Albany, and  many others that will hopefully be no more. Governor Cuomo merely neeeds to sign the bill.

Sueann McElroy said, “That is a good feeling that no other family will have to go through this. It is a terrible thing to go through. You have no rights whatsoever and you have to go through the criminal.”

McElroy family member Robin Brooks had been one of many persons pushing for the law. Brooks said, “There’s no way a person who committed such an atrocious act can ever be expected to handle the situation with decency.”

Along the way, most politicans the McElroys met were shocked to learn the current law was structured the way it was.

Assemblyman Skoufis was among those who took the podium at the Wednesday afternoon press conference announcing the passage of the law through the State Senate.

Skoufis said Glenn McElroy was, “An All-American son of Stony Point.” He called the current laws in place “archaic” and said “this law hurts people on a deeply emotional level. The situation is unbelievable and atrocious.”