Tonight while searching for something on the internet I wondered if there had been any mention in the Mountain Home News about the bond hearing that was recently held for the murderer of my grandson Joey. After not finding anything in that paper I decided to just do a search on the murderers name and came across a new site that was put up by his mother. A new attempt to raise money to help pay for the legal expenses for her son. That's fine, you have every right to try and raise money since you have now hired a private attorney to defend him.
So where is my anger and outrage coming from? From the things this woman has put in her write up in attempt to get people to donate money to their cause. A few quotes from her new plea for donations....
"I was posting updates atRally for Ryan, but due the harassment and graphic nature of some of the emails (mostly from a limited number of friends and family of my sons wife, yes they are still married) concerning threats to my family and so forth I was unable to continue." Seriously lady? Threats to your family? Not from my family. And truly, if you thought you were being threatened then why didn't you go to the police? Because it's a pack of lies! (anger starts here can you tell?)
"It has been brought to my attention, that despite my desire to see my son personally and not via computer model and to physically hug him instead of sending 'BMH' (Big Mental Hugs) that to bail him out of jail could possible cost him his life. Death threats remain in the jail as well as within the community due to the types of associations that my son's in laws have." Due to the types of associations that her son's in laws have? Hmmmm, ok who are these bad ass people that I apparently have associations with? How dare you blame threats made against your son back at my family! And pardon me if I can't sympathize over your wanting to see your son personally and to physically hug him.....at least your son is still breathing.....see my daughter would love to hug her son again, she would love to see him in more than just photographs and videos...but you see that's all she will ever have -- there are no more photographs to come, no more videos, no more talks, there will never be a phone conversation or an email between them. Maybe you should wake up to reality and maybe read the transcripts from the two day preliminary hearing, where your son changed his "story" a dozen times, where the doctors described the multiple injuries that my little grandson suffered, where the doctors explained that these injuries could not happen from a fall. Do you not understand how someone that kills a child is one of the lowest forms of scum even in jail and prison? And believe me I don't want your son dead. No one in my family wants that to happen. We want him in court where we will see justice on earth served. (yep more anger building here)
"...trial was originally scheduled to start January 2014, yet a key piece if evidence had never been explored. So the trial was moved and to begin end of March 2014. Once again another problem occurred.... As of December 2013, Ryan's original the attorney, the Public Defender, who by the way has defended different members of his wife's family, had yet to speak to or secure any experts... We got nervous and hired private attorneys." Key piece of evidence had never been explored? Ummm, not true but OK, regardless it was explored again...and tested and results were negative (again)! Public Defender defended different members of my family? Well yeah I know of one member of the family that he probably defended, so what? He's the county public defender, that's his job. Public Defender had yet to speak to or secure any experts? Really? Might want to get your facts straight once again because that isn't the case and everyone that has been in that courtroom for the countless number of status hearings between September and now knows the truth on that subject. (Frustration here because I am sick of the way this woman twists the truth to suit her needs)
"Ryan has now been in jail for over a year and has been attempting to cope with this tragic accident with no counseling and / or therapy and is now possibly suffering from sIde affects due the traumatic situation" OUTRAGE! Are you serious? You want us to feel bad for him? What about my daughter? What about Joey's dad? They had their son ripped away from them at the hands of your son! What about me? I lost my grandson and a part of my daughter thanks to your son! What about the rest of Joey's family? Do you not think that we have suffered every single day since this happened? Possibly suffering from side affects? Really? NOTHING...NOT ONE DAMN THING will ever compare to what my daughter has to deal with for the rest of her life.
As a mother I can understand being there to support your child, to let them know you love them and are there for them. But there also are times where you love your child but accept the harsh reality of things. What parent would ever imagine their child capable of such brutality? None that I can think of. When Joey was first admitted to St. Luke's Boise I started contacting family to let them know they should get here as soon as they could to say goodbye. One of those calls was to Ryan's parents. While many friends and family had a hard time with them being at the hospital Erin wanted them there, and I welcomed them when they arrived. They saw his little body, they cried for him. In court they heard the same things we heard, yet they still insist this was a "tragic accident" and say so many other things. I'm not in their shoes, I don't know what it is like to be the parent of someone accused of such a horrific crime. So I pray for them. I try to have compassion for them. I admit that at times it is hard. I mean ....REALLY hard....but I keep trying. But my focus also isn't on them every day nor on Ryan. My focus is on my family and my focus is on Justice for Joey.
We'll continue to get angry, we'll continue to get outraged. We'll also continue to show compassion, we'll continue to speak out, we'll continue to love, to cry, to laugh, to hug, to sit quietly, to remember and to share Joey with the world. And I'll continue to write.
Love your children, play with them every day and keep those cameras close by, take lots and lots of pictures. And do this grandma a favor -- when you tuck them into bed at night after reading this -- kiss them once for me and Joey as well.
With anger, outrage, compassion and love,
In this country an accused person is "Innocent until proven guilty" which I have typically agreed with. Ferret out the facts in court and prove one way or the other. Do innocent people go to prison sometimes? Yes they do. I believe with the advances in DNA testing and other methods of gathering evidence that the number of truly innocent people has declined in major cases such as murder. But here we are as a family, our funny, loving, handsome, precious little boy Joey died from horrific injuries to his body and head by the hands of a man who was supposed to love him and protect him. That man's family still insists it was a "tragic accident." When you listen to the doctors explain the extent of the injuries and that the story this monster presents could have in no way caused these extreme multiple injuries you know he is guilty. We knew he was guilty long before we stepped foot inside the courtroom for the preliminary hearing, we knew at the hospital that first moment the doctor's explained what they knew at that point. This was no accident. This was deliberate abuse on our precious Joey.
So now after several months of waiting for the bond motion to be filed it has finally come to pass. Since the death penalty is not being sought by the prosecution the monster has a right to bond. That's how our judicial system works. While so many people are outraged at this notion it is the law. On Monday we appeared in court to listen to the defense lawyer present his case for bond and what he thought that bond should be. Let's just say that he asked for a bond that is significantly lower than the bond that was placed when his client was first arrested on Felony Injury to a Child (the charges were of course changed to 1st Degree Murder after Joey was declared deceased and that bond was no longer in place). The defense attorney tried to use the fact that his client was Security Forces with the US Air Force and stationed at Mountain Home, that he had never been in trouble with the law, that his mother moved here from Texas and has "permanent" housing, etc. The prosecutor on the other hand gave information to the judge that the US Air Force discharged him from their service last week (less than honorable), that he is still a Texas resident and that his mother's "permanent" housing is not really that permanent (I won't go into detail of that but let me just say I had to chuckle when I heard what this "permanent" housing is) and that while he has nothing on record for conviction there was another case against him in 2012 that was ended in a conditional dropping of the charges. After all was said and done he was given a 1.5 million dollar bond, if he bonds out he will wear a GPS tracking device, a No Contact Order was placed and the other normal bond requirements.
Like I said before, several people are outraged that he got a bond set, but that's the law. I just wish that people would understand what bond is (he's not walking away free) and understand from my daughter's perspective how incredibly frightening this is. The only comfort I take in the possibility of him getting out on bond until trial is that nearly every officer in Mountain Home knows my daughter (either through family friendships or because of Joey's death) and that there is a certain group of people whom I know will protect her and my grandson, but it still scares the daylights out of me. My hope and prayer is that they won't be able to come up with the needed money to secure a contract with a bail bondsman. So for now we sit and wait to see if that phone call comes letting us know if he is bonding out. It feels as if this nightmare will never end.
One year....and yet it feels like yesterday in some ways. The pain and hurt is still so raw and it runs from the surface to the depths of my soul.
Last night my sleep was fitful, tossing and turning, waking multiple times due to unpleasant dreams. This morning it was hard to get up and get going, things needed to be done but all I wanted to do was sit at my computer and watch video after video of Joey. I did finally finally make it to Boise and take care of some things, and I am glad I did because I was able to see my granddaughter Kayley for a few minutes and even though she was not feeling well, seeing her warmed my heart.
As I am writing this I noticed the time and realize that it is about now that we were beginning to leave Saint Al's and head over to Saint Luke's where Joey was to be transferred to the Children's Hospital ICU.
It was during that drive that I spoke to my step-son Lawrence, my daughter Crystal and made that first phone call to Joey's Grandma Kim. Having to break the news to them of what we had just learned from the doctor's at Saint Al's. That they needed to come from their respective corners of the states. That Erin needed them, that they needed to come say good bye to Joey.
It was when I first arrived at the ICU at Saint Luke's that I first spoke to Joey's dad Joseph in the middle of trying to get a grasp on this out of control whirlwind in my head, of the crushing pain in my gut and the trembling of my entire body.
I remember so much, like I said before, as if it were yesterday. I know with time things will be get easier to deal with but for now all I want to do is scream.
Life has continued this past year, but it is not the life we once knew. Yes some things never change, you laugh, you cry, you play with the kids and grandkids, you watch TV, you talk with friends but everything is impacted by the death of Joey. Everything.
I miss my precious little grandson Joey but I am grateful for a few things - that I know he is in a very special place in Heaven and that he will never feel pain or sadness again, and that we have so many pictures and videos of him. Today I watched several videos and looked at so many pictures and I just have to smile and at times laugh as I see certain things. I really hate having my picture taken but there is one Erin took of me and Joey playing together through the front glass door of my house and wherever I see it or think about it I can't help but giggle because I can hear him, clear as can be, laughing at me and hitting that window.
Images that are stuck in my head today Joey's second 4th of July - the family was gathered at my house (as usual) and Joey had this little pink plastic pig that he kept putting in my youngest son's tricycle and rolling that trike back and forth on the patio.
Joey's first birthday - watching my son Stan having so much fun watching Joey walk in the kitchen - to see both of their faces light up was just one of those moments in life that sticks with you.
I love you No No Jo Jo and I always will. You were an incredible little boy with a personality that could make anyone smile. Your fascination with everything was so fun to watch and you will forever be a part of me. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you. Forever in our hearts little man. Rest in peace my precious boy.
Love your children, play with them, soak in every moment you have with them - get down on the ground and play with them and see the world from their eyes...and take lots of pictures. Hug them and tell them you love them.
The past few weeks have been busy and tis the season for head colds as the weather continues to change but one thing never changes and that is how much I miss my precious grandson Joey.
I want so badly to stop the clocks, the angel-versary approaches. I think one of the hardest parts for all of us is that we are still waiting for trial and that looms over every thought of Joey - because Justice has not been served -- yet.
On March 12, 2013 Joey was flown to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center where he was later that day transferred to Saint Luke's Medical Center. On the morning on March 13, 2013 the doctor's completed the final "brain death test" and pronounced Joseph Wayne Graham III dead due to abusive head injury.
I sat here for several minutes just staring at the screen after typing that last sentence. It still numbs me.
I spent a lot of time this evening looking through pictures of Joey. His mommy took so many and for that we are all so very thankful, because those and 22 months worth of memories are all we have left.
We held a Celebration of Life for Joey shortly after his passing and the family members each released a blue balloon for Joey that day. On March 12, 2014 I'll be lighting a candle and placing it in the window for Joey and on March 13, 2014 I'll let go a blue balloon for him.
I don't know what the future will bring, I don't even know what tomorrow will bring. I used to look forward to things that were to come days, weeks or months down the road. Now it's one day, one step, one breath at a time.
Hug your children, play with them, cherish them and take lots of pictures.
Eleven months ago yesterday my kitchen was torn apart, cleaning behind the stove, scrubbing walls and cabinets when I realized it was time to pick Aiden up from school. Dressed in sweats and a baggy shirt, no socks and wearing a pair of worn down moccasins on my feet I left the house and picked up my son. We went and got our hair cut and then planned to go have some pizza for dinner - as we surely were not going to be cooking in the kitchen that night. Our house was packed except for the few things we needed for the next 10 days. I silenced my phone while we were getting our hair cut because the last time we were there it kept ringing. When we got out to the car I saw three missed calls from Erin, one right after the other. My face lit up and I thought to myself -- "We're having a baby! I will get to meet him before I leave for Texas!"
I called her back and instead of happy news all I had was a screaming, out of control daughter on the other end of the line - something had happened to Joey. Our lives forever changed in that one split second.
I called Crystal, told her what I knew, I called Stan and told him what I knew. I called Kevin and asked him to come to the hospital as soon as he could to take Aiden. And then I called Michele, my former boss and one of my best friends. I needed her to pray for Joey, I needed her to pray for all of us. When I told her what I knew, that he was being flighted but I didn't know where she gasped, they had just taken the call that Air St. Luke's was going to Mountain Home for a 22 month old child. It was our Joey. She called Jeremy out in dispatch and had him try to find out where they were transporting to. A little while later Jeremy called me and told me they were heading to St. Al's and their ETA. I was going to get there about the same time as the helicopter. Erin was still in Mountain Home.
I came into the ER and they took Aiden and I to the "Quiet Room" and said someone would be in to talk to me soon. Michele showed up and sat with us. I don't know that I could have stood it in there by myself with my child and am forever thankful she got there when she did. The nurse came in and spoke with us briefly, mainly wanting to know where Joey's mom was. They were on their way is all I could tell her.
When Erin and Ryan arrived all I could do was hold her. The nurse came in and told Ryan he would have to step outside, Erin didn't grasp it at first, I don't know when it connected with her why they wanted him to step out but I knew, right then and there, I knew - he had done this to our baby boy. Michele took Aiden out of the room and shut the door. Just before the doctor's walked in my son Stan showed up and came in the room with us. This was the first we were going to hear about what happened to our precious baby boy. Erin was numb, in shock, Stan was a rock holding us both up and I screamed and screamed and cursed Ryan.
And then we went back to see Joey, precious, sweet baby Joey. Stan went to the waiting room to be with Aiden and Michele while Erin and I went back to see her son. As I rounded the corner I saw someone I had not seen in a few years, a former co-worker and friend. He grabbed me, with tears streaming down his face and just held me and we cried.
When it was time to leave Saint Al's and head to Saint Luke's Kevin was there, I kissed my little boy and then walked to my car. I got on the road to follow the ambulance that was transporting my grandson and daughter with some "dumb ass military guy" following me. The same dumb ass that I promise to have a beer with before he moves to his new assignment, the same dumb ass that I prayed for his safe return to his wife and children when he was deployed this past eight months. But another vehicle slid in between me and the ambulance, the Police Crime Scene Investigation truck. I wondered why on earth is he going to the hospital? Why aren't they arresting that son of a bitch? That officer stayed beside Joey's room for hours. He was gentle and kind and I wish I knew his name because I would like to thank him for how he treated our Joey when he had to photograph his injuries, how he treated my daughter when he had to ask her about bruises and such on Joey - if they were new or old. A big man with such tenderness and compassion.
Phone calls took place on the drive over, to Crystal, to Lawrence and to Joey's other grandma - Kim. Of all the phone calls that day and the days to follow that call to Kim was the hardest and I wish to this day I had handled it better. To hear her screams, to hear her pain, it ripped me apart. She loved that little boy as much as me and I just stabbed a knife in her heart.
So that was just a peek into the first few hours of our changed lives. Eleven months have come and gone. We have an almost 11 month old baby boy named Gus, who came into this world ten days after his big brother passed away. He came in a hurry and hasn't slowed down since and I am so thankful he is with us.
We have had laughs, we have had good days, we have had tears and pain, we have had bad days and we have had horrible days, but we're here - every day....living....loving....crying....smiling....hugging....fighting....and waiting. Waiting for justice. Waiting to finally be able to grieve without the trial looming over us.
Eleven months ago today the doctor's pronounced my grandson, Joseph Wayne Graham III, deceased. Eleven months ago my grandson made some other children's lives better as they received some of his organs. Eleven months ago tonight we said our final goodbyes to one of the sweetest little boys to have blessed this old grandma with his love.
Rest in Peace Joey - Grandma loves you.
Hug your children, play with them, love them and be there for them.
Yesterday as my sister and I drove to Mountain Home we talked of many things and shared some laughs of funny things that have happened along the way during the many courtroom appearances and such. We spoke of our Mom and Dad, we shared our tension of what the day would bring and we enjoyed some time of just being together as that does not happen much (there is usually a 6 year old and her husband with us).
As the judge and lawyers began to speak the queasiness returned. After all was said and done the new trial date is August 19, 2014. Once we have a guilty verdict it will take another 6 weeks (approximately) to have a Sentencing Hearing....so looking at the calendar it seems we'll be lucky if the murderer is locked away in prison by mid October.
Yesterday I spoke about my anger and my thankfulness. Today the anger is trying be in control and I'm trying to not let it consume me.
You see, I have a six year old child named Aiden. Aiden came to live with me when he was six months old and after a three year battle he legally became my son. Aiden is Autistic, he also is on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum (FAS). He suffers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) and Severe Anxiety Disorder (SAD). And he is the light of my life and the most amazing kid. His sense of humor is great and his imagination is out of this world. Because of Joey's death many issues surfaced. He cannot attend school because of his anxiety, going out of town or to a new place with people he doesn't know is very difficult for him and having to stay with anyone - including those he loves - while I am tending to other matters is extremely stressful for him.
Last night as I lay down with him he began to tell me of a bad "dream" he had. His "dreams" many times are his fears inside him that if he says it is a "dream" it is easier to express. His body shaking uncontrollably, tears streaming down his face and his voice cracking he is able to tell me - he fears that I won't come back, that I will disappear, that I will go to Heaven, like Joey did. He is so afraid to go to sleep (before medications the child would stay awake every night until he passed out from sheer exhaustion -- typically around 3:30 in the morning!) - afraid that when he wakes up I will no longer be there.
For months I have had to tell him where I am in the house if I needed to change my location or go outside. I would have to make sure he heard me and many times repeat it back so that he was sure of where I would be and how long I would be gone. Yes that meant every time I go to the bathroom, go to the kitchen, or anything else. It also meant that every time he needed to use the bathroom that I would have to stand outside the door - because you see, if the door is closed he can't see me and if he can't see me then I may not be there when he comes out. There are many other things like this that are a part of our daily life now.
An amazing therapist and awesome pediatrician are helping to ease these things in Aiden's life but he is forever changed ....because of the murder of my grandson Joey. We all are.
I read so many comments in social media about the trial being pushed back and that it isn't right, that they shouldn't be able to do this or that, that he just needs to face his charges, that they shouldn't keep prolonging this and on and on. The truth is that while we hate the delays, the news of the new trial date was hard to take, they do have that right. The POS murderer is entitled to adequate representation and if he felt (or his parents) that the public defender was not adequate they (he and his parents) have every right to hire an attorney...and they did. That attorney has to be afforded adequate time to get up to speed with the case (he's 10+ months behind us all) and build his case for his client. Do we like it - hell no! Do we understand it - yes we do. The biggest part is that we want to make sure that everything is done correctly - no room for a mistrial, no technicalities and no appeals for whatever reason (biggest one being inadequate representation). So they have hired an attorney - and we got a delay.
It is still hard to swallow this morning but now we just keep marching on - there is still a light at the end of this tunnel - it's just a little further down the track than we had hoped. And we know, as much as we hate to think of it, that there are still chances for more delays. I pray that doesn't happen, but if it does, we will accept it and carry on. We always keep in the forefront of our minds and hearts that this is about justice....JUSTICE for JOEY....and we will never stop until we have it.
I long for the day that I can stand before the court and give my victim impact statement and tell the Judge and the POS muderer and the POS murderer's parents how what he did affected and impacted so many people and in so many ways.
This afternoon we will head back to Mountain Home for another court session. Last month the parents of the murderer hired an attorney for him. So of course there is a new delay but we won't know how long that delay will be until today. And of course there is always the chance of more delays later on. I have often wondered why murder trials can take upwards of a few years, now we know firsthand why.
I have been patiently waiting, that was until this past two weeks - now I am just angry.
Angry that Joey was taken from us.
Angry that the murderer is still not taking accountability.
Angry that he doesn't even seem human and shows no remorse for what he did.
Angry that my daughter has to go through the rest of her life without her precious son.
Angry that Gus will never know his brother, only stories and pictures.
Angry that my family has been torn apart as a result of the stress and sometimes lack of understanding.'
Angry that the mother of that piece of scum sits in the courtroom acting all smug and like this is a freaking game.
Angry that my daughter has to deal with people that do and say incredibly hurtful things.
Angry that my youngest child is suffering from PTSD because of what that scum did to our Joey and fears that someone will hurt him or others that he loves. (A five year old child (at the time) should not be able to comprehend this - I tell him that I will protect him and I will never let someone hurt him like Ryan hurt Joey and his response was "Erin protected Joey but Ryan still killed him")
Angry that he understands this.
Angry that we have to remain pretty quiet about everything so as not to jeopardize the case when all I want to do is shout to the world what this man did, the brutal way our Joey died.
Angry that the piece of scum still breathes air and this his delusional mother whines about his being in jail and all the crap she has to say regarding any and all of this situation. (Hey lady, at least your child is still breathing!)
Angry at so many other things. Most days it is a struggle to stay positive, to not bite the head off of anyone that says anything about this case or how we should or should not act.
But there are positives as well, and every day I try to remind myself of those positives, especially when the anger is boiling so fast and furious.
Thankful for my daughter Erin and her strength ( she takes after her momma)
Thankful for Aiden and all of my grandchildren - that they are the shining lights in my life
Thankful for my son Stan and my daughter-in-law Kasandra - two of the most grounded people I know and the get away from it all they give me at times
Thankful for my step-son Lawrence and my daughter-in-law Jaime - for their support and for their craziness that gives me laughter from time to time
Thankful for my daughter Crystal and son-in-law Richie - although we are far apart in many ways right now they are so close to my heart and knowing the relationship once shared can be once again
Thankful for my sister Brenda and brother-in-law Troy - I could never imagine going through everything without my sister, she is my shoulder to lean on, and without them Aiden and I would be homeless at this point in time.
Thankful for so many incredible friends - Michele and John C., Clairisa, Jennifer B, Janet and Richard G., Tim and Kim B., Kim N., Cindy and Richard W., Jill Z., Beth L., Kristi W., Shanna and Rex D., and so many others - without you all I think I would have fallen over the edge several months ago
Thankful for Lisa CC and June P - the friendships that have developed over the past several months is amazing and when the three of us do not get to chat for a given day I am lost
Thankful for my crafts and shows because besides bringing me in some money to help support Aiden and I they keep me sane!
Thankful for Tina - the Elmore County Prosecutor - an incredible woman who has such amazing compassion in her heart and fights hard for truth. She is the force in the fight to make sure Justice happens for Joey, for my family.
Thankful for Penny and Nicole - Tina's assistants - for answering all of our questions, listening to our anger, being there beside us in every courtroom appearance and resting that hand on our shoulders when things get a little tense - reminding us they are right there.
Thankful for the memories of Joey - of the pictures and videos, of the stories we all share, but most importantly for being the little man that he was - he brought smiles and laughter to everyone he crossed paths with - he was such a beautiful soul.
Thankful for my parents - although no longer living the things they taught me, the strength they gave me, and the thoughts of "If Dad/Mom were here...." statements I often make
Thankful for the Lord - without Him the anger would control me, instead it just slips in front once in a while and I ask Him for help.
Hug your children, get down on the floor and play with them and always take time to hug - ask anyone that knows me personally - HUGS are important!
Over the past ten months I have learned a great deal about our Justice System and I have been in the courtroom at Elmore County Courthouse numerous times, watching other cases being discussed, watched prosecutors and defense lawyers do their jobs. We've been summoned back to court because of a new move by the defense side of the case. "New" evidence (wrong), new lawyers (great another delay) and wonder what will be next. But something has been eating at me for a while now.
On multiple occasions I have heard and seen people discuss Jury Duty and the oh so many ways to get out of it or thankful they didn't get selected for a certain trial. For years I have wanted to serve on a jury - I find the process fascinating and it intrigues me. Would I necessarily want to be on a murder trial, probably not but I would not lie during the selection process to purposely get out of it. I never got selected for the few trials that I was questioned for - because of where I worked or because I knew the officers involved personally.
Now our Judicial System may not be perfect but it is what we have - to be judged by a panel of our peers. It's our duty as a citizen of this country to serve this system. It's also our duty as human beings to ensure a fair and impartial judgement is given. So I wonder - if people are purposefully finding ways to not get selected for a jury are there others that are doing the opposite? Why do so many people not want to serve? Because it interferes with their life? Because they just don't want to? Because deciding the fate of another human being is too much to live with?
There are two sides to every criminal case - the person on trial and the victims of the situation that brought this whole thing together. How about rethinking Jury Duty for a moment.
A hit and run motor vehicle crash - vehicle A failed to stop for a stop sign and turned out onto the other road right in front of another vehicle. Vehicle B cannot stop in time and crashes into the back/side of Vehicle A. The driver of Vehicle A has been drinking, his license is suspended and he takes off. The front seat passenger in Vehicle B is hurt in the crash, nothing serious but requires medical attention and there is significant damage to the front end of Vehicle B. EMS and law enforcement arrive, law enforcement gets a great description and a partial plate of Vehicle A from the driver and passenger of Vehicle B. They soon locate Vehicle B and it's owner a few miles away in the driveway of his residence. The hood is still warm, the owner is sitting on the front steps of his home smoking a cigarette, there is damage to the back/side of Vehicle A that is in line with the damage on Vehicle B.
This is the basics of the case set before you during Jury selection. Would you do everything you can to get out of being selected? Or would you be OK with being on that Jury? Could you decide (after hearing all the evidence from both sides) whether the man that owns Vehicle A is responsible for this crash, for the damage done to Vehicle B, for the injuries to the passenger in Vehicle B?
Now, how long ago do you think this crash happened? A month? Six months? A year? You may be surprised to learn how long it takes to even get to the point of jury selection. But now, after countless court appearances, continuances, investigations, etc, it's finally time to select a jury. Maybe this is a one or two day trial. That's not too much to ask of a citizen of that county to give up to decide if this man is guilty or not right? Can you live with your decision? Well I would think you could if you listened objectively, were not biased and are not allowed to be swayed by others of your own decision based on facts.
Now let's take a look at another case. It's March 12, 2013 - A 22 month old child is home alone with his step-father. As his mother is driving home from Boise she is told by her husband that the child fell and they are going to the hospital. EMS is called to the home and the child is flown to St. Al's, he is hurt badly and is unresponsive. At the hospital the doctor's say he is brain dead. He is transported to St. Luke's and over the next two days his family goes through pure hell. The injuries are not accidental the doctors say. And the step-father is taken in for questioning while the child's mother and grandmother are escorted back to see his battered body laying on a hospital bed. When questioned at the scene and at the sheriff's office the step-father's story changes numerous times. On the morning of March 13, 2013 the child is officially declared dead.
Fast forward to August 16, 2013. The autopsy report is completed, lab results are in, a death certificate has been issued, numerous meetings with law enforcement, prosecutor's office, court hearings for motions for one thing or another, the preliminary hearing is finally here. This is a two day hearing where the prosecutor and the defense will state their cases before the county judge to show the defendant should (or should not) be bound over to district court for 1st Degree Murder. Law enforcement officers, the coroner and a child abuse expert are called to testify. After listening to graphic details of the injuries the child sustained the judge rules there is enough evidence to bind the defendant over for trial.
Fast forward to today, January 21, 2014. The original trial date was scheduled for January 7, 2014 but due to "new" evidence that needed to be tested a continuance was given. New trial date - March 31, 2014. But on January 10, 2014 the defendant now has a new attorney so the trial must be pushed back yet again - because the new attorney needs time to catch up on the case and prepare. Now court dates are in limbo waiting to see how much time the new attorney thinks he will need.
But there's a lot taking place during all this time. Between September and January, and still continuing, decisions about jury selections have been made. The judge, prosecutor and defense attorney have worked together to create a jury questionnaire - that was still incomplete and now has to have a new attorney review it and begin working together once again to finalize it.
The trial will last five weeks - the first week is jury selection, the remaining four weeks will be the trial. Then the jury will need to deliberate and come to a decision on guilt or innocence.
You receive a letter from the Jury Commissioner - you are to report for a Jury Questionnaire. The process is expected to last four hours. You arrive and you begin the questionnaire. Will you write your answers so that one side or the other (or maybe both) will most definitely not want you on the jury or will you answer honestly? You know by the instructions given this a murder trial, a trial expected to last five weeks. What will you do?
And what if so many people think the same way - answer "correctly" so they don't get picked? Then the trial gets delayed again. A change of venue happens and another six months passes before the selection process can start again. Now both the victim's mother, infant brother and the rest of his family, along with the defendant's family, witnesses, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc have to pack up and go to another part of the state for a trial.
Yes you as a juror will decide the guilt or innocence of a man accused of murdering a 22 month old child. Can you live with it? Can you be upstanding and listen to the evidence and make an educated decision based on the facts given to you?
I'd rather be in your shoes Mr. or Miss Juror than in mine.
What's it like in Heaven?
Is the air so sweet and clean?
Are you singing?
Are you laughing?
Is Elmo there with you?
What's it like in Heaven?
Is the Christmas Story told
By people that were there?
Are you watching?
Are you helping others?
Little ones like you?
What's it like in Heaven?
Can you see us down here?
Do you see your mommy?
Do you see your little brother?
They are missing you.
Love Grandma Kathy
My daughter Erin -- Joey's mommy -- wrote this today regarding how quickly our lives can change and how we need to make sure to never take for granted our loved ones. I am so blessed to call her my daughter and so proud of her and her strength --
these words are so very true...
a lot of people take their loved ones for granted, not enjoying the moments that they have with them like they should, leaving angrily without saying goodbye or I love you, the list goes on and on.
I never once have taken my children for granted, tho. and unfortunately, I know more than a few people who do, and that breaks my heart.
9 months ago I left my Joey at home with my husband whom I trusted with my life, my children, and my children's lives. I said goodbye to him and told him that I loved him and would be back later, just like any other time I left. little did me or Joey know, that would be the last time we got that opportunity with each other. I never missed the opportunity to hug and kiss him goodbye, or just for no reason at all, i told him I loved him every single day, at least 15 times a day, and i seized and enjoyed every moment and every day that I had with him. not for any specific reason other than he's my son and I knew how truly blessed I was to call him mine and have him in my life every day.
too many people take these every day moments for granted, and refuse to open their eyes and realize that your child, your loved ones, your whole life, can be taken and shattered right in front of you in the blink of an eye.
I'm glad I never took anything for granted when it came to my baby boy, becuz thanks to that, I have tons of memories of him that I am so incredibly thankful for. I miss you every day baby boy, it hurts more and more as the time goes by, but i know I'll get to see you, hold you and kiss you again one day.
until then, rest in peace my sweet angel. mommy loves you.
So with that I will end this post with my usual thing -- love your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, play with them, cherish them and be thankful for them.