In the summer of 2013, 19-year-old Jessie Blodgett was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her life plan was taking shape. It was an exciting time; she was starting her sophomore year as a near straight-A student in the Honor’s College. She had followed her heart and her talent into the Peck School of the Arts Music Ed Program. After years of listening to her dad’s advice to get a solid career first, then pursue her passion on the side, she had convinced her parents that she knew who she was and what she was meant to do, and she changed majors. Professor Errante said that she was very excited to work with her newfound talent Jessie, and called her audition “stellar”. She quit her waitressing job and started her own business teaching piano, voice, and violin to Hartford, WI youth. Within two months she had 26 students, a Talent Scholarship at UWM, an offer to be the choir director at a local church, and a work study job offer at UWM mentoring disadvantaged inner city college students. Life was unfolding well. Her vision: become a high school or university choir director, touch 100 young lives a year, for forty years, using music to impact people and change the world. She was serious about that last part.
Jessie was born in the spring of 1994 in Marietta, GA, a suburb of Atlanta. She thought that everyone loved her and the world was hers. So she loved everyone back. But her eyes opened early in her teen years, and she saw the darkness in the world as well. At an early age, she became outraged by meanness and unfairness. She developed a strong social conscience and personal philosophy, stood proudly and doggedly for her causes, and became a fierce defender of animal rights, environmentalism, sustainability, social justice, and ultimately (and ironically) women victimized by male violence.
The full story will only ever be known when/if her killer tells it. But here is what we know: