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Monday, April 16, 2012

Victim Impact Statements

Today was the sentencing in which we got to read victim statements.   At the last minute the defense objected to me and mom reading our statements, and so the judge asked us to just summarize them.  That was pretty frustrating for me, because I was not at all prepared to "summarize."  Who knows what I actually said, but here is what I planned to say:


God tells me that I have to forgive you.  I don’t know what that kind of forgiveness looks like.  I know how to forgive someone who honks at me while I’m driving.  I know how to forgive people who are having a bad day and take it out on me.  I even know how to forgive the man who shot me as a teenager.  He didn’t know me.  I didn’t feel like it was personal.  I don’t know what it means to forgive someone who did something so personal to me.  Does that mean I have to be willing to shake your hand or visit you in prison? Does it mean I have to stop being angry? 

A part of me wishes that we could have helped you.  A part of me wishes that my family could have been Christ to you and taught you about what real love and a real family looks like.  I wish we could have broken through the layers of hurt and lies and abuse that have ruined you.  But part of me knows you were too far gone.  You made choices a long time ago that took you down this path. 

I have never loved anyone like I loved Jace.  I have never been loved by anyone like I was loved by Jace.  He was light and salt in the middle of a difficult life.  No one has ever brought me more joy, and I am grateful for every day I spent with him.  He made all of our lives better because we knew him, even yours.  He was willing to love you even though you were incapable of truly loving him back.  No matter how many times you hurt him he was willing to forgive you.  He was able to look past your flaws and love you.  In return you murdered him.  You murdered him.  You murdered him.  Listen to those words and let them sink in.  Stop lying to yourself.  You murdered him.  You saying you didn’t do it doesn’t make that any truer than you telling me you worked for a rich uncle, went to Paris, and almost finished college. 

I said once that you had sentenced all of us to a life sentence of unhappiness, but that isn’t true.  You don’t deserve that kind of control over my life.  I refuse to stop living because of what you did.  I will love even more fiercely, pray more fervently, laugh more hysterically, give more unselfishly and work more diligently to help others from having to suffer pain in their lives.  I will be a better person because I knew Jace, and I will not let hatred take away what I have left.  I will be happy.  I will be happier than I have ever been and when I cry and hurt and miss Jace, I will let myself feel that pain, but then I will remember this promise, and I will not let you ruin me. 

I will also forgive you.  I will forgive you again every time I start to hate you.  I choose to forgive you because Jesus forgave me.  I choose to forgive you because Jace forgave you time after time.  This doesn’t mean that I want you to leave prison and come over for Christmas Dinner, but this means that I pray that you face the truth about yourself, your past, your depravity, and what you have done.  I pray that that truth will set you free in some sense.  Not free from incarceration, but free from the evil that has taken hold of you.  I pray that you find some sort of peace and find a way to turn from that evil and do good with your life.  I forgive you.   

 I will try and post here what my mom and sister had to say at the sentencing.  My sister was AWESOME!  There were also letters written from his previous victims that I will try and get a copy of it to post here too if I can. 

4 comments:

  1. Oh my dear Batman.. i wish i could have stood there with you physically but know you and mom and sis but most of all Jace were on my mind and in my heart all day today.I am a better person for knowing you and knowing Jace and for that I thank you. I will strive to be more forgiving and more loving as a tribute to you and your precious boy.
    Love Robin

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  2. Stacey, that was so powerful. I'm so proud of you. I'm pretty sure that even in your "summary", you got the point across and the point of forgiveness was known. Love you!

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