Thursday, October 19, 2006

At a loss

The news coverage of the trial of the murderer of my friend was awful. The defense came up with a story that did nothing but taint April's image in the minds of those who did not know her. I knew it was all a lie made up just to try to save that guy from life in prison, but it was all very damaging for her family and friends. It was hard to sit throughout the trial and not get angry and sad, it was hard to sit there without tears coming right from my heart... But I had to be there. I had to be there for her family. And I had to be there for me, because ever since this whole nightmare started I've needed to know what happened. That's why I stood there and quietly dried the tears. I needed to be there to hold the hand of Bridget, to hug Mrs. Magic and hear her voice telling me that April would have been smiling... I needed to see Mr. Ira smile after it was all done. I needed to be there because I couldn't have been anywhere else.
All the terrifying details, all the evidence, the words of those who knew what had happened... it was all necessary for me.
And he got another chance, he got sentenced to only 25 years of which he might just do 17. He got to have hope that one day he will be part of society again. He got just that, when he should have gotten the life sentence. He didn't deserve a chance, because he didn't give April a change.
She's not here, and that will never be OK.
But now, as Mr. Ira said, we have to keep living like we'll see her again. Even though we miss her smile right now.
And even when it's hard for me, I will talk about the trial and her death and her life to all those who didn't know her. And I will try to fix the damage the defense and the news did to her memory. Just like she would do it for me.

From The Traveler:

Justice is served
Sanders' 25-year sentence provides first step toward healing

Traveler Editorial Board
Issue date: 10/18/06

Brandon Sanders will serve 25 years in prison for murdering UA student April Love.

His defense was a rare one. Not only was it rare - it was disgusting and disrespectful to a young lady who had, and continues to have, a touching impact on an entire community.

The claims of sexual asphyxiation were uncalled for if they were only an attempt at a defense for Sanders' sinking case. Unable to defend herself because of her untimely death, Sanders - once again - took advantage of Love during the four-day trial. And as her family was forced to stand by silently in the courtroom, hearing of "kinky" sex that their daughter may or may not have ever had with the her former high school sweetheart, Sanders victimized other innocents - the family.

And, again, the Loves were defenseless.

Luckily for the Loves, the jury did not waver in their judgment. Pre-sentencing comments from Sanders' friends and family members provided for one last grasp at normalcy for the 21-year-old murderer from Nashville.

"Do what you think is right, but give him a chance," his first cousin, Letito Williams said.

Sanders will get another chance. He will get to live, find himself and see his family members, even if it is all while in prison.

Love never had a choice. She's gone forever.

For the Loves, any sense of normalcy that will rear its presence will still be tainted in the future. No amount of time will be able to heal the wounds of losing a daughter, a sister or a friend.

The big question, really, when looking at this case from both sides and offering fair treatment is, "What was going through the mind of Sanders throughout the trial, the deliberations and the final judgment?"

What has it been like to sit with this pit in his stomach, this immeasurable weight on his shoulders. And, if he did love Love, how could he live with himself after her death - whether it was accidental or not?

The gruesome details brought forth throughout the trial made students, friends, family and casual readers of newspapers draw back. Most of it, however, was necessary to flesh out the details and bring about a judgment.

Baring the facts is not sensationalism, it's reporting and, in a courtroom, the road to truth and justice.

An outpouring of love and admiration of Love's past and meaning to the UA community has flowed freely throughout this college town. With the sentence Monday, some students and friends were outraged - some were just glad the chapter was finally over.

But a new chapter will unfold in the coming days, weeks and months. The conviction will be appealed by Q. Byrum Hurst, Sanders' laywer.

Twenty-five years behind bars will never match what Love's absence means to her closest friends and family.

A hole in the UA's emotional core was partially healed Monday, but with pending appeals and the continuous absence of one of the UA's greatest people, the healing has just begun.

The cut is deep. The void is still present.

And a man who caused it all has faced justice in the first step toward healing.


Coco said...

I am sorry for the pain that April's family is suffering...
I am sorry that you are in pain as well...

Sabelo bien, todo en esta vida se paga aqui (antes de morir)...Dios es el que tiene la ultima palabra. Hay que confiar en El.

Un fuerte y caluroso abrazo.

Bellota said...

apacerca de april no es mucho lo que tengo decir acerca de eso. obviamente no djo de poensar como abogada, porque no la conoci y no se que paso, como tu. aunque siento tu dolor amiga, lo siento y lo comparto, porque un crimen nunca tiene explicacion, mas alla de las evidencias y de la verdad real que nunca se sabra, Dios tien el control de todo.