Hello! My name is Heidi Good Swiacki. I have been married to Steve for 25 years, which has been filled with laughter, trust and love. We have 2 great kids, Ashton 22 and Chris 16. I have ALS, aka Lou Gehrigs Disease. I was officially diagnosed March '05, I was just turning 45. This blog will be about a myriad of topics. I will share my ALS story which will hopefully encourage others. It will show that quality of life comes in many forms. I have to tell you up front that there will be some spiritual references. Don't be afraid or turned off by that. Since I have had ALS I have seen many miracles. Let's be realistic, who can be a happy, non-verbal,ventilated quadriplegic without Faith? I hope you will join me and make this an interesting, educational, inspirational forum. Humor and the ability to enjoy life is required! :)

Heidi passed away 3-25-13 :(

August 4, 2013

Hello, Steve here. To help with the healing process, I am going to continue on with Heidi's blog, primarily talking about our lives and how we as a family are learning to live on with Heidi's memories pushing us forward. Topics covered will be geared towards the affects ALS has on loved ones.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


The Sherriff's department returned a few things that were confiscated over 3 years ago when my home was "locked-down" to preserve evidence. When I picked up these items, there was red tape smothering the package "evidence"

The label on the two packages are painful reminders of the hatred and pathological lies the kids and I had to endure. It listed Stephen Swiacki as the suspect and Heidi Good as the Victim. It was dated 3/26/13. Over the next 3 years, our lives were torn open, our most intimate thoughts and end of life discussions were used to try and deflect and justify the actions of two people.

VICTIM BLAME is a deplorable method of defense and should not be allowed

To all those people who judged the kids and I, my hope is that they will never have  to walk in our shoes and experience the 8 years we all lived with ALS

Heidi, it is over but the pain still is real. You are gone, your life taken by two women who immediately accused me of murdering you. If it was accidental as these two women would like us to believe, why was this not immediately discussed. Your hose popped off accidentally at the exact moment Wanda Nelson walked out of your room, passing Midge Good who was trimming hedges outside. Midge Good's stories changed from being in your room 5 minutes before Wanda got back to being outside trimming hedges for 1/2 hour, losing track of time because she was 87 years old.

Its over, we will  never know the truth.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Justice Served ?

Caretaker Sentenced To 5 Years Probation for Solvang ALS Patient’s Death

Judge rejects defense motions in case stemming from death of Heidi Good

Wanda Nelson, left, was sentenced Friday to five years probation following her conviction for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Solvang ALS patient Heidi Good in 2013.
Wanda Nelson, left, was sentenced Friday to five years probation following her conviction for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Solvang ALS patient Heidi Good in 2013. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
By Janene Scully, Noozhawk North County Editor | @JaneneScully |

The caregiver found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of a Solvang ALS patient will spend five years on probation and was ordered not to work in that role again by a judge who called the case “a real tough one.”

Wanda Nelson, 63, learned her fate Friday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, where she also was sentenced to a year in custody, but won't wind up spending more time behind bars.

“This was a perfect storm of problems that happened that day,” Judge Rogelio Flores said, adding that Nelson, as the professional caregiver, was responsible for Heidi’s care.

A jury found Nelson guilty of involuntary manslaughter, after rejecting first- and second-degree murder charges for the death of Heidi Good on March 25, 2013.

Good had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Nelson, one of Heidi’s paid caregivers, and her mother, Marjorie Good, 90, were indicted by a criminal grand jury for conspiring to murder the ALS patient who relied on a ventilator to breathe.

Prosecutors alleged that the pair first sedated Heidi before disconnecting her ventilator, causing her death from asphyxiation.

When Heidi died, Nelson was running an errand  — at Heidi’s instruction — to pick up a prescription, with Good left to care for her daughter.

The ventilator alarm sounded for 30 minutes, with defense attorneys contending the elderly mother had some sort of episode that caused her to lose track of time.

A different jury found Good not guilty of first- and second-degree murder, but a mistrial was declared in that case due to concerns about jury misconduct. Prosecutors have since decided not to retry Good.

Before handing down the sentence, Flores rejected a defense motion for a new trial based on improper instructions to the jury and declined an invitation to dismiss the conviction.

“I find no error in the instructions of this case,” Flores said, adding that paid caretakers are held to a higher standard legally. 

“Heidi Good was Wanda Nelson’s one and only responsibility,” the judge said, adding the fact she left and was not present to deal with the ventilator means negligence. 

The elderly mother who is hard of hearing was regularly left alone with Heidi, typically during gaps between the paid caregivers’ shifts, Deputy Public Defender Lori Pedego said.

“That was a regular course of conduct by everyone,” Pedego said in arguing that Nelson was not criminally negligent.

But Chief Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Gresser said Nelson’s actions made her responsible for Heidi’s death, and contended the jury received proper instructions.

As she left to run the errand, Nelson saw the elderly mother walk outside to garden but the caregiver didn’t return to the house, Gresser said. Other caregivers didn’t leave if Good was outside the house, Gresser said. 

“Common sense, based on all of the evidence, would tell you that, yes, if you leave a woman who is ventilator dependent, and that ventilator malfunctions, that she is going to die,” Gresser said. 

Nelson, who faced a maximum of four years in state prison, was not sentenced to additional time in custody. She spent more than 10 months in custody after her arrest, a tally that comes up to more than a year with good-time credit.

The caregiver also was ordered to pay Heidi’s husband, Stephen Swiacki, $16,976 in restitution, but the judge reduced the request that had included attorney’s fees and a new computer to replace one seized by police.

The judge noted Nelson’s lack of prior criminal history.

“In our line of work, that’s pretty rare,” Flores said. 

During court Nelson spoke out about the case and said she never plans to work as a caregiver again despite her 30 years in the career.

“First of all, I would like to say sorry to the family,” Nelson said. “Of course, I couldn’t predict what happened.”

She has a grandchild she has not met, she told the judge.

“I’m at the age a long probation will break me down,” she said, adding she has health problems including a previous diagnosis of breast cancer plus issues from her incarceration.

“I am still traumatized from being away because I’ve never experienced that before. I’m just asking the court to go easy, help me to get back into life and with my family and my grandkids, who need me and are calling me all the time to be with them.”

“I truly loved Heidi and had a good relationship with her. I’m sorry this happened and I had no way, any idea, that this would ever happen in my life or her life.”

Nelson spent more than 10 months in custody, primarily in the Santa  Barbara County Jail. She has been free on her own recognizance since verdict.

Nelson’s attorney argued for a shorter probation so Nelson can move out of state to be close to family. While it’s possible to transfer probation to another state, the process can be time consuming and requires several approvals before it can happen, officials said.

"I just wish that this is over so I could get on with my life," Nelson said after Friday's hearing. 

Pedego said she intends to file an appeal on her client’s behalf, alleging improper instructions misguided the jury’s verdict.

“We are very disappointed in the judge’s ruling,” she said outside the courtroom. “We believe that had the jurors received the proper instructions, that they would not have convicted Ms. Nelson of the criminal negligence required for involuntary manslaughter.”

She added, "This nightmare is not over for Ms. Nelson. We will continue to fight until she is fully exonerated."

Pedego said she expected the judge to rule in favor of the defense motion and dismissal “because it has been clear from that beginning that Ms. Nelson is innocent of everything but being a wonderful caregiver for Heidi Good. She is guilty of that.

“This has been a horrible, scary, long ordeal for Ms. Nelson. Her life has been destroyed,” Pedego said, adding the jury verdict shows the panel did not believe the caregiver did anything intentional to harm Heidi.

Outside the courtroom, the prosecutor said a key concern was the lack of insight shown by the defendant throughout the proceedings regarding her responsibility in the case.

“I really respect the jury. This was a long complicated case filled with emotion on all sides …,” Gresser said.

She also praised Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department detectives Charlie Bosma and Matthew Fenske’s work on the investigation.

“They never turned away from such a complicated case,” she said.

Throughout the trial, defense attorneys criticized the investigation as being flawed.

Despite his nearly three decades presiding over trials, the double defendant case with dual juries hearing the evidence against the women made an impression on the judge, who has moved to Lompoc Superior Court. 

“Ms. Nelson, you indicated that you’re in pain. We were all in pain over this case. This was not easy for any of us,” Flores said. “I still think about this case every day. I think about what happened here. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for Heidi and for you and for Marjorie and for Stephen … for everybody involved.”

“This is a real tough one …” he added. “I think about Heidi a lot. I would have liked to have known her. She seemed like a pretty interesting dynamic woman."

Saturday, March 19, 2016

THE END MARCH 19, 2016

Heidi, I was called into a meeting this past Friday with the DA's office. Based on the "law" their hands are tied, they are unable to retry your mother for your death.

Why, my feelings don't really matter, they have not mattered throughout the proceedings.

Your death blazed new trails in the annals' of our justice system. I was told that there was no case law as to what happened with the jury misconduct regarding your mother. They signed jury slips stating she was not guilty of 1st degree murder, they signed jury slips stating she was not guilty of manslaughter. Now theoretically these should be presented during the conviction phase of our glorious court proceedings, they were not due to our system declaring a mistrial. Jury misconduct.

But for some reason, they are recorded and the only thing the DA's office can pursue is involuntary manslaughter. This being said, they are unable to present the 2.5 years of evidence gathering for said charge, as all of there evidence is geared towards 1st degree murder.

So long story short, your mother got away with murder, as the prosecution's evidence is impermissible for involuntary manslaughter. So come 3/21 they are going to move on, leaving your mother gloating with her cheering section that she has been exonerated.

This is far from the truth, the only two people who know what happened are the two women who accused me of murdering you. We will never know what happened, but the questions in my mind are real.

Why did they immediately accuse me of murdering you?

How did the drugs get into your system which the experts stated you were sedated to the point of being passed out prior to your respirator being tampered with.

Why did your mothers stories change from  her being in the room 5 minutes before the caregiver got home to being out in the yard for the 30 minutes your respirator sounded  that you were not getting air.

Your mother never left your side more than a few minutes when she was left with you alone. So I don't buy she was trimming hedges for 30 minutes and forgot about her daughter.

Why did your caregiver disappear without a forwarding address soon after she was interrogated in July 2013. If it were an accident as noted by the chest pounding of the defense, why did they not state that right off.

I want to try and do something about the victim blame the defense lawyers slammed me with during the 2.5 days I was on the stand. These arrogant, abusive lawyers are above the law when it comes to diverting the focus from the truth. Were you sedated or not? Why did your mother's stories change. There needs to be legislative action preventing this abuse of a witness who never wanted any of this to happen.

Sweetie, it is over.

Your birthday is close, we will celebrate the woman you are, we will celebrate the example you set for us all, I will celebrate knowing you loved your family. I was the luckiest man alive that you chose me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Update to Heidi's Trial 2-24-16

Mistrial Declared for Elderly Mother in Solvang ALS Murder Case

Jury hopedeadlocked on fate of Marjorie Good, 90, who is accused of killing her daughter, Solvang woman Heidi Good

A mistrial was declared Tuesday in the murder case against Marjorie Good, left, by Superior Court Superior Court Rogelio Flores.
A mistrial was declared Tuesday in the murder case against Marjorie Good, left, by Superior Court Superior Court Rogelio Flores. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
By Janene Scully, Noozhawk North County Editor | @JaneneScully | updated logo 8:25 p.m. |

A mistrial was declared Tuesday afternoon in the trial of an elderly mother accused of conspiring to kill her daughter, a Solvang woman who had ALS. 
Saying he believed jurors were hopelessly deadlocked, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores declared the mistrial in the case of Marjorie Good, 90.
The judge later revealed concerns about possible juror misconduct.
A criminal grand jury handed down indictments against Good and caregiver Wanda Nelson, 63, after hearing evidence over several days last year in the death of Heidi Good on March 25, 2013, saying they conspired to kill the woman.

But defense attorneys countered that a flawed investigation led to charges against the women, and asserted that a ventilator malfunction led to Heidi's death.
Flores ordered Good to return to court March 21 for another hearing, which will be before Judge James Voysey.
“Currently, Ms. Good waived time on the trial through September, so sometime between now and September, we will have to make a decision on whether we’re going to retry her or not,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Bramsen, who was filling in Tuesday for trial prosecutor Cynthia Gresser.
In addition to deciding whether to retry Good, prosecutors could reach a plea agreement with the defendant to avoid another lengthy trial. 
“To have to go back and retry this case as a murder case, I think, would be a huge miscarriage of justice,” said attorney David Bixby, who represented Good. "She's not a murderer."
 “If she is, she has virtually fooled everybody in her life," Bixby added.
A number of witnesses testified that his client was a good mom who loved Heidi and supported her desire to remain alive, Bixby said.
“How anybody could conclude that she’s a murderer is beyond me,” Bixby added. 
The jury for the trial that spanned more than three months tried to do the best job it could do, one juror said. 
“It was very emotional for a lot of the jurors,” one woman said. “It was hard, it was difficult, very very difficult.”
Last week, a separate jury convicted Nelson of involuntary manslaughter after finding her not guilty of first- and second-degree murder.
On Tuesday, the Good jury of 10 women and two men had returned to the judge several times with questions, and earlier in the day he had directed the panel to continue its deliberations.
Early in the afternoon, Flores and attorneys met with the jurors in private, after which the mistrial was declared.
Later, Flores revealed jurors had seen media coverage of the Nelson jury verdict and discussed the topic in the deliberation room.
Outside the jury’s presence, the judge revealed that the jury had found Good not guilty of first- and second-degree murder but was deadlocked 11 to 1 toward guilty of involuntary manslaughter. 
However, the judge did not record those verdicts.
“The issue before the court was that there was a discussion in the jury deliberation room regarding Ms. Nelson’s verdict amongst the (Good) jurors,” Flores said.
“There was some question about whether or not that news media coverage had an impact on the outcome of the deliberations,” Flores added.  
Throughout the trial, the judge admonished jurors to refrain from news reports or other information about the case.
Jurors told the judge about accidentally over hearing reports about the verdicts in the Nelson trial via news coverage and a conversation in a restaurant.
In private interviews with the judge and attorneys, the jurors gave differing opinions about the extent of the discussions about the Nelson trial verdict and its influence on Good trial jurors.
However, the judge ruled against reading the verdicts in the jury’s presence, saying it appeared votes were taken Thursday before the discussions about the other jury’s verdict, Flores said.
The Good jury’s verdict forms weren’t signed and dated until Monday — after the discussions about the verdict in Nelson’s trial.
“Had those  jury forms been signed on Thursday afternoon, I would have recorded the verdicts today because any discussion of the news media coverage did not appear to occur until Friday morning … according to the discussions we had individually with the jurors,” Flores said.
Bixby objected to Flores determining jury misconduct occurred and declaring a mistrial.
"I don't believe there was any misconduct that rose of the level where he should have discharged the jury, because they had by this time decided against murder," Bixby said outside the courtroom.
The trial was unique because of the separate panels considering fates of the individual defendants.
In another unusual incident Tuesday morning, court officials instructed Nelson, who has been released from jail pending sentencing, to leave the courtroom. 
Nelson’s attorney, Lori Pedego, objected to the suggestion made by prosecutors to remove Nelson from the courtroom.
Flores said the request to ask Nelson to sit in the hallway was made out of an abundance of caution.
“This is not personal,” Flores said. “This is just being very pragmatic here trying to keep the scales of justice balanced.” 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Trial update 2/18/16

Jury Rejects Murder Charges, Convicts ALS Caregiver of Involuntary Manslaughter

Wanda Nelson, 63, was accused of conspiring to kill Heidi Good of Solvang; second jury weighing elderly mother's fate

Heidi, only you really know what happened 3/25/13. Wanda is now a convicted felon, her conviction still does not answer what actually happened to you that day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Trial update 2-10-16

Heidi, here I go again, no last post just yet. Your trial is coming to an end, but at what cost?

There will be no winners in the end, just loss and the feeling of complete helplessness.

Christopher was on the stand for 5 hours .  Heidi you would have been proud of him, Chris maintained his composure and respect of the individuals who really did not treat him with the same respect.

Ashton was on the stand for 1.5 days, she is stronger than Chris and I combined and so much like you.

I testified for 2.5 days, this was as hard as the day we lost you.

Our relationship was built upon love and trust, we argued and had disagreements just like any couple would. We used e-mail to communicate our frustrations and thoughts from that moment in time. You were unable to talk, so we had no other way to really communicate our feelings. We were both very open and wrote what was on our minds. The defense tried to portray/paint our relationship as one that was not real.

Just like any successful relationship, we said what we said and we made up. This making our relationship stronger.  There should have been no misrepresentation  made of our relationship. There is no way anyone could comprehend our lives in dealing with this horrible disease. Given what we endured, I still feel we were stronger than most couples

Our justice system is flawed in its treatment of "witness's" who are called upon to testify. All human etiquette is thrown out the window, as the lawyers are able to badger, make accusations and have all means afforded to them to try and paint you as a person you are not. They are able to grandstand and yell  at you on the stand, ask the same question over and over, all in an effort to frustrate and or upset you to solicit a negative response out of anger. They ask leading yes or no questions, all in an effort to make you out as a person you are not.

Sweetie, there will be no winners at the end of your trial, if they are convicted it does not bring you back, you are still in heaven, if they are acquitted of any charges you are still in heaven but we are left with the burden of what really happened that day.

This sum's up our relationship

Saturday, February 6, 2016

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