Lou Forte called the two years since his wife’s death a nightmare that he can't wake up from. Though it won’t bring an end to his nightmare, the husband of the late Kim Forte will soon have something he hasn’t had in nearly two years – closure.
Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday in Lowell Superior Court as Charles McNeil faces a variety of felony charges in the death of fellow Wilmington resident Kim Forte. But attorneys opted not to select a jury, and instead will present a proposal for a plea agreement to the judge on Tuesday.
According to Lou Forte, it’s possible that after two years of hearings, there will be a resolution in Forte’s death by Tuesday’s end. News of the possible plea agreement reached Patch after court hours, so no one at the court was available to confirm the possibility that a deal is on the horizon.
“Some people die. But Kim didn’t die. She was killed. There’s quite a difference,” said Lou Forte. “At the end of the day, my life is altered. I have to try to realize that this is my new life. It’s different, it’s not going to be the same, and Kim isn’t coming home.”
Prosecutors allege that McNeil was driving under the influence of anti-depressants and marijuana when he struck and killed Kim Forte in February 2011.
Lou Forte said it’s been frustrating to see how long the court proceedings have taken. It’s been nearly two years to the date since his wife was killed, and he has sat in on countless hearings along the way.
While he said it’s been difficult to constantly relive the day that changed his life forever, Lou Forte said what has helped him has been the outpouring of support from his hometown.
“I keep moving. I just keep moving because I don’t know what else to do,” he said. “The love and support from the community, organizations, and friends has been outstanding. I never in a million years would have expected so much support and love. It’s been consistent and constant. It has helped our family out so much.”
In a box at his house, Lou Forte keeps a stash of the cards and notes that he's received from Wilmington residents, many who were touched by Kim's spirit even without ever having met her.
Kim and Lou Forte met when she was 15 years old and he was 17. Lou said that in their 30 years of marriage, they never spent a night apart until the day Kim was killed on her walk home from the gym.
“It’s basically the nightmare I keep waiting to wake up from. I still wait for the door to open. I still wait for her to come in,” said Lou Forte. “It’s been very difficult. Each time you’re in the court room, your anxiety level rises because it’s another time you have to sit there and face the person who changed your life.”