Jun 18, 2012

The jury came back

If you follow me on Twitter, you saw that on Saturday morning, the jury deliberating in the case against my cousin Kyser's killer came back with a verdict of Guilty of capital murder.

The question was never "if" the young man had killed Kyser (and I don't use his name because I don't want to draw people to my blog via search engines on this subject), but whether or not it had been an accident. In finding him guilty of capital murder, the jury agreed with the prosecution that it was a purposeful event, not an accident.

I didn't blog about the trial while it was in progress, because I didn't want anything I wrote here to be used in any way in court. Not that it would have been discovered by anyone, but just in case, I didn't want to have said anything inflammatory or negative that would have affected the prosecution's case if it ever came to light. I did tweet and post to Facebook a few links of factual accounts of each day's events in court, via local media outlets.

While talking to my sister last Friday night about the case (when the jury had been dismissed for the evening and was set to come back in on Saturday morning), we were reviewing our Uncle Ben's testimony and how painful it was to hear ... to re-live those first 12 hours or so after the shooting and hear once again how difficult that time was for Ben, Kathryn and Harry. My heart broke all over again, and I had a mini-meltdown on the phone with her.

When the jury came back with the Guilty verdict on Saturday morning, I experienced relief. I hadn't even realized how worried I was that they might not find him guilty until they DID, and then I just sagged in relief. The only way this whole nightmare could have gotten worse would have been if the perpetrator had been found innocent of the charges.

But here's the thing: I think I expected to also feel ... SATISFACTION. Or that justice has been served. Or somewhat healed. Maybe all three of those, and more. Instead, I feel more sadness. Intense, all-consuming sadness. There is no satisfaction in this. Whether the sentencing phase results in life in prison without parole or the death penalty (the two available options), Kyser is still gone forever. No prison or death sentence for his killer will bring him back.

Did I know that before the verdict came in? Yes. Of course. But I'm still mourning ... for the wife he would have had, the children he would have raised, the lives he would have changed. His future was stolen. And for us, our present is less gratifying, less joyful, more empty, without Ky in it.

Having said all of that, I am grateful for a courageous jury. I can't begin to imagine the burden of holding someone else's destiny in my hands ... making an informed choice to set him free or imprison him for the rest of his life. I find it ironic that they had nearly the same choice to make in that deliberation room that the killer had to make in Kyser's living room two years ago.

He chose the devil's path late that night, and despite my conflicted feelings about the outcome, I have to believe that the jury chose correctly on Saturday.

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