Listen to this article

MONTICELLO — Renee Fehr said one of her main goals in writing “Wheels of Justice: The True Story of a 27-Year Battle To Convict My Sister’s Killer” was to point a finger toward the proclivity of domestic violence.

She put her money where her author’s pen was in October, donating all proceeds from books bought directly from her to Willow Tree Missions, in Monticello, which has a similar goal of curbing domestic violence.

It was also a nod towards Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is observed each October.

Fehr told those attending a presentation Tuesday in Monticello that she was shocked the donation ended up being $2,500.

“I set a goal for $1,000 and had no idea how it would do,” Fehr said.

She added that when people learned the sales would benefit Willow Tree, many donated well above the $14.99 list price.

“I was sitting up at night, addressing envelopes, stuffing them with books, taking them to the post office. I spent a fortune in postage!” she said with a chuckle.

But it was well worth it to help get the word out about how widespread domestic violence actually is, she said.

In “Wheels of Justice,” Fehr profiles the murder of her sister, Sheryl, and the 27-year fight to get Sheryl’s husband, Gregory Houser, convicted of murder in her 1990 death.

A Piatt County jury found him guilty of murder in 2017. Judge Karle Koritz later sentenced him to 55 years in prison. Under sentencing rules in effect at the time of the murder, Houser must serve at least 27 years behind bars.

Willow Tree Director Rachel LeJeune said the organization’s leadership team has taken turns reading the book, commenting that “this story is just one of many that keeps us fueled every day for this fight. I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s such a tool for us.”

“It’s really great when they have that opportunity to read that and see why this is so important, and also understand the dynamics of domestic violence more. And how what they do every day translates into helping families,” LeJeune said.

Fehr pointed out that her sister was a kind, animal-loving nurse who came from an upstanding family. She hopes her book informs readers that anyone can be a victim of violence in a home and/or relationship.

“It can happen to anyone in any family,” she said. “And so I share my story to provide that hope to other people out there. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t ever lose hope. There are resources out there, and there are things you can do.”

The book — co-authored with true-crime writer Brian Whitney — is on sale at wildbluepress.com and on Amazon.

Trending Videos