A contract murder wasn’t supposed to happen in rural South Dayton in the 1980s. But it did.
Yvonne Park, at the time the Villenova Clerk, actually had to sign the death certificate for her own brother. Ron Fisher, 32, was shot in the back as he rode his motorcycle home from Tonawanda where he had spent the night at his girlfriend’s apartment. He was less than five miles from his parent’s home when he was shot in the back by the occupant of a van, driven by another person.
Original witnesses thought the accident was a hit and run. It turned out a man named Michael Lafferty, who was also involved with Fisher’s girlfriend, hired two people to kill Fisher.
As Park wrote in her book “Murder for Hire: My Bro-ther’s Story,” “As I write this, I can still feel the pain from that same incident 32 years later. It never goes away.”
For Park, that was the hardest part of writing the book. “I still get emotional after all these years. Sometimes (while working on the book), I had to walk away for awhile,” she said.
Park explained how she came to write the book. Retired New York State Police BCI Senior Investi-gator Don Munch, who worked on the case contacted Park a year and a half ago telling her the story should be told. Park said she looked for and did meet with a local author, but the story didn’t gel for the author. Park then went online and was unsuccessful finding an author. Munch suggested Park write the book, so she decided to do it.
She drew on her own collection of documents, which included newspaper articles, court transcripts, police records and letters she wrote to governmental agencies, such as the parole board. Munch condensed the facts of the investigation.
Park pointed out some positives of writing the book.
“I see it as a personal achievement,” she said. “I amazed myself.” She has a sense of relief now that it is done and published. In looking back at it, she has even found that some media reports were more balanced than she thought at the time.
Park can still tear up when talking about the murder and she feels it is still emotional for members of the community. “A lot of people did not know all the facts,” she said and the book is a way for them to heal too.
Asked what she wants the reader to take away from the book she answered, “What a family has to go through in a situation like this. Most people don’t understand all that is involved.”
For Park, this meant sitting through arraignments, trials and retrials. Even after conviction, she wrote letters to the patrol board arguing against parole for Michael Lafferty.
So far, Park has received positive reactions from those who have read her book. Amazon has sold 110 copies to date. The book is also available on Kindle. Park said people who knew her brother have reached out to her through Facebook and she has shipped a number of books out of state.
The book is available at the Book Nook in Dunkirk and Valley Hardware Center in South Dayton or through Park herself (988-7745).
Park will sign books in the South Dayton library during its “You Gotta Love It” event Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon. The Book Nook is planning a book signing with a number of local authors toward the end of February. Contact the Book Nook at 366-0685 for further information.