The 76-year-old applied for his firefighter’s pension days after he beat his second wife to death. Ornstead’s daughter from his first marriage, Kristyn McClearn, has been cashing his checks for the past 19 years and is allowed to spend some of the money on herself.
“A lot of people will be angry, but if you read the statute it’s fine. Correct? That’s what the pension board told you, correct? In my opinion? What he did, he’s serving time for it,” McClearn said. “Is it right that he gets his pension? Yes, he deserves his pension. What he did has nothing to do with his being a fireman and he deserves his pension.”
Ornstead’s son, Richard Trevino, however, does not feel good about him receiving a pension. “For someone else, from what I understand, to be collecting that money and using it to live a better life than most people do, that’s just wrong,” he said. “And it came at the expense of my mother’s life. In a way the passing of my mother was like a lottery ticket to some people.”
In 1994, the former firefighter killed his wife in their home, stuffed her body in the trunk of his car and drove to Racine County, Wis. He later told the police that they had been kidnapped.
Pension expert Bill Zettler believes that giving a pension to a prisoner is immoral. “Social security, if you’re in prison you don’t get it. You can start it again if you’re out. Why can’t the public pensions be just like our pensions?”
Do you think it is wrong to give Ornstead his pension? Or do you believe he is still owed his pension?