While I normally do not address anyone on here that supports and defends the actions of the monster that murdered my grandson I will take a moment to say this - If you come to this Facebook Event page and try to start one iota of problems I will obtain your IP address and report you to the police. This is not about anyone or anything other than remembering a very sweet and innocent little boy.
Let's "Light Up the Night for Joey" on March 12th and 13th! Turn on your porch lights those two nights and show Joey how much he is loved! You can join us and share pictures of your lights on our Facebook Event here -- https://www.facebook.com/events/1400154340294247/
Some people may wonder why these two nights - A quick explanation - On March 12, 2013 my grandson Joey W. Graham III was brutally beaten by his step-father. Joey was flown to Boise and we were informed that there was no brain activity, life support was keeping our baby boy alive. On March 13, 2013 after the second series of brain death tests were completed our beautiful Joey was officially declared deceased. So to honor him we want to light up the sky on both nights.
While I normally do not address anyone on here that supports and defends the actions of the monster that murdered my grandson I will take a moment to say this - If you come to this Facebook Event page and try to start one iota of problems I will obtain your IP address and report you to the police. This is not about anyone or anything other than remembering a very sweet and innocent little boy.
This year has been full of ups and downs, tears and laughter, heartache and heart touching times but we have made it through it. Joey's precious memory, his smile, his laugh, his funny antics, and his infamous "shupp" live on with us in our minds, in our hearts, in pictures and videos. But nothing takes away from the fact that once again we face this holiday without him. I have had many blessings this past week and am so incredibly thankful to those who did these amazing things for us, and praise God above for bringing these blessings upon us but the sadness, the pain, the inability to get excited about this holiday remains.
As many of you know my seven year old son has many mental health issues, all which were overwhelmingly escalated by Joey's death. Recently there was a "Stranger Danger" drill at his school - even though he knew it was a drill he couldn't handle it, his mind told him that Ryan got out of jail and was there to get him, to hurt him like he hurt Joey. Thank God for the staff at his school, his teacher and the school psychologist, that got him through it. This fear, this pain, this sadness ripples through all of us, some days worse than others but not a day goes by that we don't feel that pain, miss that smile, long to hear that laugh.
So here we are, Christmas Eve 2014. Joey's little brother is growing by leaps and bounds and learning so much. But each time I look at him I wonder what it would like in that home with the two boys playing together, getting into things together, and growing together.
The loss of a loved one is a pain no one can explain, we each feel it in different ways, we grieve in different ways, we find comfort in different ways, we cope in different ways, but it doesn't mean we forgot, or we aren't sad, or that we don't care - because really - do we talk about it openly? No we don't. And others don't know what to say except "sorry" and that's OK because really, what else can we be but sorry for their pain, for their sorrow.
One of my ways of dealing with Joey's murder is to write in this blog. To put down what is in my heart.
This is in my heart tonight: My children - Lawrence, Crystal, Stan, Melissa, Erin and Aiden - I will always be there for you and I pray that you know this. We may not have the relationships we have had in the past, we may not see or speak much but there isn't a day that goes by that I do not pray for you and your families and wish you nothing but the best. I love you all beyond what words I can find to put down here.
My remaining grandchildren, even those I do not know, Ethan, Jacob, Bonnie, Reece, Mason, Brenton, Jadon, Kayley, Augustus and Lily - I love each of you so very much, you each are a huge piece of my heart. (I need a Grandma shirt for all these grandkids LOL). While I may not see you often, or may have never met you, you will always be a part of who I am.
For my grandson Joey, you were a solid piece of sunshine in my heart. No matter what you were doing, even when you said "Shupp" to me you made me giggle. There is a piece of my heart that was shattered and ripped from my chest the day you were taken from us, it remains tattered and bruised but it is held together by the memories of you. Not a day goes by that I do not think of you, that I do not ask God to hug you for me. I look forward to the day that I can hug you once again.
There are many things I want to write about, many things that are not pretty, that are not so calm, that are harsh and difficult but I will leave those for another time.
For tonight - take a moment to say a prayer for those kids that can't speak for themselves, that suffer and hurt, and then please hug your little ones, play with them, enjoy this holiday and give thanks for their health and their happiness. Remember, it's not what is under the tree that matters.
I haven't posted here in some time. Trying to come to terms with the sentencing, being able to grieve finally without court cases hanging over our heads and helping my young son get all the services he is entitled to have kept me away from posting here.
Originally I was just going to post the following on Facebook but decided to write a post instead.
Comments have been made in the recent days/weeks to the tone of "it's been a year and a half, time to move on" and other things. SERIOUSLY???
So does this mean that since the murderer has been sentence to prison (although still waiting for him to actually be transferred to said prison) we should just be done and over with everything? Just pack up all things related to Joey, all pictures, memories, etc and put him on a shelf and forget it?
You see, one does not simply "move on" when their child (or for me - grandchild) dies. On top of the grief from his death is the added trauma that someone that was supposed to care for him, someone that was supposed to be a husband, a son-in-law, an uncle, a brother-in-law, someone that was trained to save lives and protect others,etc beat our Joey to death.
There is no "moving on"!
There is time
There is grief
There is sorrow
There is depression
There is anxiety
There is fear
There is lack of trust
There is so much
But there is no "moving on"
As years go by his death will not be as hard to deal with as it is now but it will always be a part of his mother's life, his little brother's life, of my life, my young son's life. His death was tragic. The behavior of the murderers family appalling, and the attitudes of many mind blowing. Yes over time things will get "easier" (for a lack of better words) to deal with, but the pain will always be there and he will forever be a part of our lives.
Today I began the process of going through the case file with the amazing Nicole at the Elmore County Prosecutor's Office. She sat by my side the entire day. We talked, we got angry together, we cried together and we laughed together.
So next time you want to say "Move On" to someone that has gone through a horrific experience - please don't. It's like telling that person that what they went through doesn't matter any more.
JOSEPH WAYNE GRAHAM III WILL ALWAYS MATTER!
Be kind to one another, play with your children, hug them tight, tell them you love them and help them grow, learn and thrive!
On Friday, September 19, 2014 my family and many friends gathered at the Elmore County Courthouse for the final hearing in our journey for Justice for Joey.
It was wonderful to see so many people travel to Mountain Home to be beside us for this day. And to know so many others from the valley and across the country were with us in spirit. The most amazing sight to see for this Grandma though was seeing all the officers - Mountain Home Police Department and the two officers from Ada County Sheriff's Department come into the courtroom. Our Angels in Uniform. I never got a chance to talk to or hug the Ada County officer who was such an amazing gentle soul at the hospital, helping my daughter through her first sight of Joey at St. Alphonsus, for standing guard for hours outside Joey's room at St. Luke's. I hope to hug each and every officer involved in this case eventually and to thank them. And the other wonderful sight was to see Candy Man - an incredible man with a heart of gold from Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA).
There was a potential that the sentencing would get delayed because of a request made by the Pre Sentence Investigator, however the Judge decided that she was not going to order that request. So we knew very early into the day that we would have a sentence handed down that day! Justice was close!!!!
After some administrative items that needed to be handled, a discussion from the judge to the people in the gallery as to how the day would go and her sincere conversation to both families (while she tried to contain her own emotions) the day got under way.
Tina, our amazing Prosecutor, called only one witness - Detective Nelson of the Mountain Home Police Department. A family friend, a great police officer and a man that took time away from his own family situation to be there in court for Joey and Erin. It broke my heart and made this Grandma want to just go up and hug him while he was testifying and looking at two pictures of Joey laying on the living room floor that awful day.
The Defense put on (I believe the final count was:) 17 character witnesses! One by one they were sworn in and got on the stand to talk about Mr. Laubach and his good nature, never aggressive, never having a temper, so kind hearted and helpful to everyone. Loved everyone, great with kids, great with animals, and had such an incredible bond with Joey. Was so great with Joey. Loved Joey as his own son. On and on and on and on and on.................................. yes it dragged on from early morning to the lunch hour, broke for lunch and then started back up again at 1:00 for the last six character witnesses.
But because these people were sworn in and were placed on the stand as witnesses this meant that the Prosecutor got to cross examine them if she so desired. And she did desire to do just that on some of them. And when she did ask "just a couple" questions she rocked it! Such a pro, it was amazing to watch her in action.
It was hard to watch and listen to a lot of the testimonies given because they were all working for the same script, saying the same things over and over again and taking their opportunity to look directly at Mr. Laubach and say "I love you" or "We're so proud of you". I get it, I really do, this is their family member, their friend, and he's going to prison. But it wasn't the "Richard Ryan Laubach, A Star is Born" show. IT WAS A SENTENCING HEARING FOR A CHILD MURDERER!
I did feel compassion and my heart hurt for the grandparents as they took the stand and spoke about their grandson. While listening to them my heart hurt even more because they only know what they have been told by Mr. Laubach's parents. So of course they believe it was a tragic accident. And the same for all those other people filling up their side of the courtroom. But I also wondered, when Tina made her argument for sentencing would any of these people soak it in and take a step backwards, realizing what they have been told for the last 18 months versus what they heard in court about Joey's injuries were vastly different? I don't think we'll ever know.
Mr. Laubach's parents were the last two to testify. I won't go into details of either of their testimony but let me say this of Mrs. Laubach's testimony, both while being questioned by the Defense Attorney and by the Prosecutor, I cannot fathom how any parent could make their other child, the one NOT being sentenced to prison for murdering a child, as the evil seed. To place blame on that son for everything negative that was said about Ryan. My heart ached for Ryan's brother while listening to her trying to place blame on him over and over again. School records must have gotten mixed up, Ryan would never do something like that, it must have been the "other" Laubach kid, they were confused. I was shocked and sad.
The defense finally rested - it was now after 2 p.m., we took a short recess and then it would be my and Erin's turn on the stand - not as witnesses, but to read our victim impact statements. It was overwhelming and difficult to listen to Leanna and Richard Laubach testify, thank God we were given a little time to calm down and prepare ourselves to get up and read our statements.
I have never been more proud of my daughter then that moment she sat on the stand and read her statement to the Judge. I know it was one of the hardest things she has had to do since saying goodbye to her son. But she did it, she got through it, with tears and emotions overflowing she did it, for herself and for Joey!! And then holy smokes now I had to wipe the tears and go read mine! Through my tears and a throat that felt like it had been rubbed with the roughest sandpaper ever made I read my statement. Looking primarily at the Judge, but also to our amazing Prosecutor Tina and a couple of times to my daughters, son and daughter-in-law. When I sat down I felt the comfort of the Lord wrapping his arms around me and giving me the ability to speak.
Did our pain and destroyed lives come through? Did the Judge understand how this man while yes admitting guilt by pleading guilty to First Degree Murder still took no real accountability for his actions and causing severe injuries to our Joey. Not just tossing him in the air and one time he fell and hit his head and died. Not one time Joey fell from the arm of the couch and hit his head and died. Not one time Joey jumped off the coffee table, or the arm of the couch and fell and hit his head and died. Not one time that Ryan was holding him and Joey jumped backwards out of his arms and fell and hit his head and died. See these are some, but no means all, of the stories Ryan gave to what happened to cause Joey to die.
After Erin and I gave our statements the Prosecutor - the wonderful and amazing Tina, stood up and addressed the court. So composed and direct. She was impressive to say the least. She spoke of Joey's injuries - not one impact to the back of his skull but three -- THREE distinct impacts to the back of his skull, the brain stem severed, the swelling of his brain, the severe damage to his retinas, the bruises to his hips, his back, his abdomen, his rib cage, his arms, his leg, his throat, his jawline, the scrape on the front of his chin, the previous healing abrasion and knot to Joey's forehead now gaping with a deep laceration, the bruises to his face among other injuries. I couldn't take my eyes off of her, even though her back was to us mostly as she spoke directly to the Judge. She spoke at great length about many things and walked through the guidelines for sentencing giving her input to each of these items, describing in detail how specific sections pertained to this case. When she finished she asked the Judge to hand down a sentence of Indeterminate Life with 15 years fixed.
Then it was the Defense's turn to argue their points for sentencing recommendations. Talking at length about the people that testified about Ryan's character, his love for others and so forth. He talked at length about how their two experts showed how our two doctors (forensic pathologist and child abuse expert) used antiquated science to reach their conclusions about Joey's injuries. He argued that the 589 page Pre Sentence Investigation Report was slanted and painted his client in a negative way, (My son Stan summed it up best in his statement "... couldn't get over the defense attorney saying that the 600 page document painted the defendant in an unfair/slanted light. People that murder toddlers typically aren't painted to be outstanding citizens".) But the biggest thing was how he explained that Ryan is a good man and he asked the Judge not to sentence Ryan based on a window of a few minutes of his life when something bad happened. And finally asked the Judge to sentence him to the minimum the statute allowed which is 10 years fixed on a life sentence.
We were then given a few minutes break before Mr. Laubach would be allowed to speak to the court before the Judge made her decision. When court resumed Mr. Laubach was allowed to speak to the court before his sentence was handed down. It was pretty dramatic to start because of his standing and spinning around to look directly at my daughter and begin to speak. The Judge stopped him as soon as she saw what was happening (she had been looking down as he began to stand). He said his piece about hoping Erin and Joseph could some day accept his apology and that he has regretted every day what happened. And then he went on to thank his mother for moving there, quitting her job that she went to school for and moving here to support him, thanking his family and friends for coming today and how he was sorry that their "gathering together" was under these circumstances -- really this wasn't a "gathering together" -- it was a SENTENCING HEARING!!!!
The Judge then spoke. She took time to go through everything and eventually got to the heart of the matter. She even used the defense attorney's statement that this was a small window of a few minutes in Ryan's life - but, she said, that small window of a few minutes of his life ended Joey's life. And then she got to how he should have known from previous admissions of handling Joey to roughly, holding his face to harshly, that injuries, even worse injuries could happen. And she talked about the severe injuries that Joey suffered. That this was not a one time hands on injury. But that this was multiple hands on injuries to Joey. And sentenced him to Indeterminate Life with 15 years fixed. With having served 18 months in the county jail he would eligible for parole in 13 1/2 years. She address both families again, expressing her sadness for both sides. And how she hoped that we could begin to grieve for Joey now and that we could begin to move forward. And with that court was dismissed and the officers removed Mr.Laubach from the courtroom.
It was over! It was late in the afternoon. I was ready to collapse. The emotional roller coaster and my mind spinning were still going though. The adrenaline still coursing through my body but JUSTICE FOR JOSEPH WAYNE GRAHAM III had happened!
Erin and I hugged and talked with family and friends outside of the courthouse. We hugged Nicole and Penny, the Prosecutor's Assistants and we waited for Tina so we could head over to her office to decompress as we typically did after many of the hearings.
I know in the Laubach and friends blogs. FB posts and such there will be many comments and derogatory statements made about myself, Erin and our family and friends, against the Prosecutor and her assistants, against the officers and anyone else involved in this case. Say what you want, say what you will. You stalked my daughter's house the few days before court (and previously we know, we just never caught you then) but you didn't scare us. I pray that some day you will be able to accept and truly understand what your son did to my grandson. And that nothing he says, no matter how long he spends in prison it will never change the fact that 22 month old Joseph "Joey" Wayne Graham III's life ended at the hands of Richard Ryan Laubach on March 12, 2013.
To my friends, the friends of Erin's, Stan and Kasandra's, Melissa and Morgan's, Crystal and Richie's, Lawrence and Jaime's, Joseph's, Kim's, Stevie's, Steve and Jordan's, Debbie's, Alexander's, Derrick's and Dana's - thank you for being there, for standing beside us and helping us through the last 18 months. We all know that sometimes it's hard to hear, that it's hard to know what to say - just being a friend, talking, laughing and crying and just knowing someone is there even without talking, has helped immensely.
To the Paramedics from Mountain Home, the flight crew of Air St. Luke's, the doctor's and staff at St. Alphonsus and St. Luke's Children's hospital thank you for taking such amazing care of my grandson and for your compassion and caring of my family during our time at your facilities.
To the law enforcement officers of Mountain Home Police Department and Ada County Sheriff Department - I have always had a love and admiration for law enforcement officers and the work they do. I pray you never have to have another ride like this one but I am so thankful you were on this one for us. You mean the absolute world to Erin, me and my family. Stay safe and stay proud of the work you do, you are all amazing and will forever hold a place in our hearts.
To Tina, Nicole, and Penny - words will never be able to express my gratitude and love for each of you. You are three solid rocks which we were able to rest upon. We could not have gotten through every single day without you and you will ALWAYS and FOREVER be a part of our lives.
To my children, my grandchildren, and every member of our extended family - you all amaze me and I am so thankful for each and every one of you. This has been the worst nightmare anyone can ever imagine happening in their lives and while we have had some rocky points along the way we are strong and I love each of you more than you will ever know.
To the Lord above - I have asked many times "Just how big do you think my shoulders are?" because everyone says you never give us more than we can handle. I guess they were big enough. Thank you for lightening the load on them and I know final justice will be in your time.
Hug your children, kiss them. Cherish every moment. Get down on the floor and see the world from their perspective. Laugh with them, play with them, love them, teach them. And give them an extra squeeze from me.
Rest in Peace Joey. You are loved and dearly missed. I will forever tell your story and try to make a difference in other children's lives in your name.
The clock seems to drag the last few days. My heart is hurting and my anxiety increases as we move closer and closer to the Sentencing Hearing next week. I have prepared my Victim Impact Statement and submitted it to the Prosecutor's Office for review. I have read it and re-read it to try and prepare myself for standing in that courtroom and reading it to the judge. How do you hold back the flood of emotions while doing that? I know there will be tears but can I control myself enough to be able to speak and be understood.
Wow - I had just finished writing that first paragraph on Monday (two days ago) when the phone rang and it was the Prosecutor's Office. New twists in the case. Why was I so shocked? Why didn't I see it coming? The news settled in and we'll be fine, we'll know more come the 19th and then go from there. Now we wait and see....again.
And now here it is the following Monday, a week has passed. I have sat at this computer, staring at this screen so many times over the past seven days. Originally this post was going to be about the sentencing hearing, about the hole in my heart that seems to be getting larger and larger as the minutes pass by. Then it was going to take a turn and focus on putting some facts out regarding some stories that have been floating around thanks to the parents and friends of the monster who murdered my precious grandson Joey. (See that beautiful sleeping boy - the first picture taken by Grandma Kim when he was not quite two months old, the second taken just days before his death). Now I'm just a rambling Grandma who wants Justice done and wants to shout from the rooftops what this monster did to my grandson.
First and foremost I want people to stop and think - WHY would a man plead GUILTY to FIRST DEGREE MURDER if the cause of Joey's death was a "tragic accident" as he and his supporters continue to say? A person innocent of murder, a person that happened to be caring for a child that died from a "tragic accident" would NOT plead guilty. This person would also not change the story of what happened MULTIPLE times as Mr. Laubach did. Heck even the Judge said "So THAT's the story your going with!" at the Preliminary Hearing when the defense presented their case as to why he should not be bound over to district court for murder. Why would the Judge say something like that? Because in the all the testimonies it was shown how Mr. Laubach changed his story some many times that we all lost count in the courtroom. If this was truly a "Tragic Accident" the defense would have the credible experts to back up Mr. Laubach's story and he would not have pled GUILTY!
Now we are only three full days and a wake up to the hearing. The twists that could be coming were hard to take at first but then we were able to see how they can actually be a benefit to us in the long run...we'll know more on Friday.
The criminal justice system is sure a game - a suspenseful game at that. Waiting for the next move, waiting to see what legal issue, rights of the defendant, delays because of new attorneys or wanting to test a piece of evidence again and again, reports to be filed and decisions to be made. With each twist comes a delay of some sort. With each delay or move comes more stress, more nightmares, more thoughts of everything Joey will never have a chance to do, more tears for the loss of such a sweet little boy.
I have the fortune of having some amazing friends that will listen whenever I call, will help me to laugh and let me get lost in conversation with them and to put this whole business to the side for a few minutes at least. But believe me it's only a few minutes because my every day is consumed with this entire ordeal, with missing my grandson, praying for my daughter and trying to keep the images of Joey in that hospital bed out of my head and replaced with the fun images and memories. But it's hard to replace those images, they always reappear. Even during conversations that have nothing to do with the case, with Joey, the thoughts still come into my head. Watching my son and his grandpa play in the park yesterday, I am smiling and loving seeing them play but then I think about Joey, how he will never have days like this.
One great thing last week was the chance I had to meet up with the Detective Broughton and give her a hug. I have wanted to catch up with her for a while now and do just that and to thank her. She was the first person on scene the day this all began. She is an angel in uniform and I thank the Lord every day for her.
Sleep has been an impossible thing this past week, Deep sleep is a thing of the past, but at least I have been able to stay in bed all night until now. Some day I hope some kind of peaceful sleep will return to my life.
For now I ask you all to keep my family in your thoughts and prayers as we head into court on Friday morning. Many things will be said by both sides and while Erin and I get to stand before the Judge and say our pieces the defense will have people stand and speak in the monster's behalf as well. I know it's going to be an emotional day for all of us.
Get down on the floor, hug your kids and play with them. Cherish every moment and even when they upset you remember they are learning, watching and growing every minute of every day. Help them, teach them, enjoy them and love them. See the world from their perspective. And take lots of pictures!!!
God Bless you all
The past few weeks have been difficult for me, trying to keep up the smiles and not let things show. But at night, alone in my thoughts, in the quiet stillness of the darkness the tears flow, the thoughts race through my head, the images vividly recalled without even thinking of them. I know this is more intense now than it has been the past few months because of the progress that is being made and because of a document I must finish writing.
Today, August 19, 2014, was supposed to be the start of the trial - well actually the first few days were to be the finalization of jury selection with the actual trial starting right after that (Friday or Monday). From March 15, 2013 until last month when Richard Ryan Laubach pled guilty we have been preparing for this day. Granted there were a couple of trial dates set and extensions given but this was always the path we were on. But now today is just another day.
In some aspects it feels like we were robbed of what we were marching towards - while his pleading guilty is a great thing in many aspects - I know I for one struggle with the fact that there is now no trial. The bastard drug this out for so long, KNOWING he was guilty, KNOWING he was putting our family through hell and then as we get close enough to actually feel like we are going to get our day in court he changed his plea because he knew he didn't stand a chance in trial.
Yes the trial would have been extremely hard to deal with, to see those pictures, to listen to the experts go into detail of ALL of the injuries Joey suffered, to listen to the defense try and convince the jury it was an accident, etc. But we also would have gotten to see 12 people listen to this case, see EVERYTHING not just what has been released to the public to date and watch as the verdict was read. Yes I know there was always a chance they would come back with a Not Guilty verdict but realistically, knowing everything we know, knowing the TRUTH of injuries and things that took place I have no doubt in my mind the verdict would have been Guilty.
On the other hand, by him changing his plea to Guilty there are no grounds for appeals because there was no trial and because he admitted guilt. Although the guilt he admitted to in court made me furious, still trying to play it off as an accident. REALLY? Yeah, so you were playing with Joey and he accidentally fell and that is how he died but you are going to admit to First Degree Murder! Hmmm, what's wrong with that picture? (lots)
Last week we celebrated my granddaughter's second birthday and it was such a treat to watch her get so excited about the people there and watching her reaction to our singing Happy Birthday and the joy of opening presents. But throughout the party I would catch myself looking at her and wondering what Joey would be doing at this party. And thinking about how there are still unopened birthday presents in the garage because his second birthday was just two months away when he was so brutally taken from us.
The sentencing hearing is a month from today and I have to prepare a Victim's Impact Statement to read at that hearing. To tell the Judge how the murder of my grandson has affected me, my seven year old son, my family. How he robbed us of such a sweet. precious little boy to watch grow up. In trying to put my words down on paper I realized that I could not work on it at night after my son went to sleep because then the nightmares started back up and in full swing like the days and weeks following Joey's death. So now I work on it during the day when my little one is at school. It doesn't make things easier but it does help the nightmares because it's not the last thing I was doing before going to sleep.
The hardest part of writing this statement is there is so much - so many feelings, so much anger, so much pain. How do you put it down into words that you can then stand in front of a courtroom full of people and read it to the judge? But it is a necessity and while I know that both Erin and I are struggling with writing these it will also help each of us to get it down on paper and then get the chance to speak it in the courtroom. The judge has seen me sitting in the "audience" for every hearing, she has heard Erin speak during the Preliminary Hearing and watched her sitting in the the "audience" at all the other hearings. But now we will get to have a voice in the case finally.
Our worlds have forever changed and even after the sentencing is over and done life will not return to "normal". We are still struggling to find our new "normal". Death is difficult no matter who or how. My father died from leukemia, my mother died a few years later of many health issues. It was difficult to adjust for a while to them being gone. I had a still born child many many years ago and that took quite some time to come to terms with. I have lost friends and other family members over the years, each one coming with it's own surge or emotions. I am 51 years old and always considered myself pretty rock solid, a strong woman. I still am....most of the time. But to feel the pain, the anger....I can't even put it into words how it feels....I don't feel so strong or rock solid many days and nights. I see a little boy about Joey's age, with hair and features similar to his and I feel that twinge in my heart and my eyes begin to swell with tears. I am turned in an instant from a good mood and being productive to a blubbering, shaking, emotional wreck because a picture pops up on my computer, or a certain song comes on, or I see certain toys (or the unopened birthday presents). I suffer from depression now, something that I never had to deal with before - oh sure I could get down in the dumps but I would pull myself out of it and march on...I couldn't do that without help this time. I suffered my first panic attack a couple of months ago. This is our world now, I'm a grandma missing her grandson. I'm a mom mourning over the loss of her daughter because a piece of her died that day as well.
And soon we will let Joey's story be told because Joseph Wayne Graham III lived, he was a son, he was a grandson, he was ready to be a big brother, he was a nephew and a cousin. He was a joy to our family and he will always be loved and missed.
So get down on the floor and play with the children in your life, see the world from their view, walk slowly with them and enjoy every minute you have with them. Relish in their accomplishments, watch as they feel a new texture and laugh at the funny things they do and say. And when you think about it, give them an extra hug for this grandma.
The guilty plea was entered two days ago and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all. Until it was published in the newspaper I did not want to say a lot about what the murderer said in court but now that the newspaper article is out I will say a little bit about that.
Richard Ryan Laubach still does not take accountability for his actions against my grandson Joey. During the plea entry he stated that he threw Joey into the air and could not catch him and that Joey's head hit the floor. While we do not know what exactly happened we know this is not what caused Joey's multiple injuries. We have known for a long time that we will never know what exactly took place on March 12, 2013 and we have accepted that.
The past few days have been bittersweet, emotional and tiring. While the ugliness of some starts up again on websites and Facebook pages, we have our moments of anger and then move beyond these cruel people and back to our fight that is still before us. The divorce case is still ongoing (http://www.gofundme.com/hopingforjustice ) and we must begin preparing for the sentencing hearing.
The Mountain Home News article came out today and I am very pleased with this reporter's article once again.
Hug your kids, get down on the floor and play with them, cherish every moment.
Today started like any other day that we have a Status Hearing scheduled, routine stuff. I anticipated the hearing wouldn't take very long as it would primarily be discussions about the upcoming Jury things that would be taking place next week.
A little more than an hour before the Status Hearing was to begin the phone rang and it was the wonderful assistant from the prosecutor's office. She informed me that there was a very good probability that the judge would be taking up the matter of a Plea Agreement in the hearing today as the prosecution and defense were about 95% in agreement on the deal. My stomach immediately got knots in it and I started calling family members to let them know.
Of course today we walk into the courtroom and it's the first time the court has been running late - they were still on the morning docket and here it was 1:20. A brief lunch break for court staff gave us time to talk with the assistant over in the prosecutor's office away from everyone and everything, then it was back upstairs. We listened to a few other cases get wrapped up and in walks the local newspaper reporter, whom we met during the preliminary hearing all those months ago. In walks the attorney that my daughter is preparing to put on retainer for the divorce battle she has to endure with this murdering monster and in the hall way we see the public defender that was originally defending Mr. Laubach.
The case is called and the judge immediately takes up the plea agreement. I can't go into a lot of details as we still have a pre-sentencing investigation to go through and then a sentencing hearing in September. But to make it short and simple - He PLEAD GUILTY TO FIRST DEGREE MURDER!
As the judge discussed things with Mr. Laubach the tears began to flow for each of us (myself, my daughter Erin and my daughter Melissa). So many emotions crashing in on my heart like the pounding waves in an ocean storm. I could feel some tension release from my body knowing we would not have to endure the jury trial and all the agony that would bring. My heart was so heavy, while Justice is what we needed and what we deserved it doesn't bring back our Joey. It doesn't fill the emptiness in our hearts that will forever be there.
When all was said and done we quickly left the courtroom and headed to the prosecutor's office. As soon as we were in the hallway it was HUGGING time. Time to hold my daughter and tell her how much I love her. At the prosecutor's office it was more hugging .. hugs for Penny, one of the assistants who has helped us in this journey, for Detective Griggs who has been amazing through this all, for Nicole our assistant who has been an amazing breath of fresh air every step of the way and for Tina, the prosecutor who I have the utmost respect for and thank the Lord for every day. There are so many more hugs to give too and I will get to them one by one as the next few days and weeks come along.
We may be in a small town in Idaho but these people - from the medics to the officers to the prosecutor's team are AMAZING and we are so thankful for everything they have done for us.
We have a ways to go to finalize this journey but it is nice knowing that he isn't going to be able to appeal this conviction (there are other things he may be able to appeal but that's for another time if it comes to it). Now it's time to focus on sentencing and presenting to the judge our victim's impact statements.
To our friends and family - THANK YOU for being there, for supporting us through this, for letting us vent, for holding our hands and wiping our tears.
September 19, 2014 will be our day in court, our day to be heard.
Get down on the floor and play with your kids, laugh with them, love them, cherish every moment with them and take lots of pictures.
As we draw closer to trial we have to focus on it and the divorce case. My daughter Erin remained married to the murderer based on information she was given by high ranking officials in the USAF. She needed to protect her rights and her son Gus' rights to support from the USAF. Once the USAF decided to pursue discharge proceedings on Mr. Laubach she was then given the monthly support and insurance coverage her and her son are entitled to. Once the "Less than Honorable" discharge was completed she was able to move forward with divorce proceedings. She filed all the necessary paperwork and had a default hearing scheduled when his parents hired a divorce attorney for him and they began the steps to contest the divorce.
In order to protect herself and her child from this man and his family she now must hire an attorney to go head to head with his attorney. This means a large retainer fee for the attorney and on going expenses and payments. We have a "Go Fund Me" account set up for this and truly appreciate any and all donations no matter the size because every penny counts.
I'm asking everyone to please read her story and share the link where ever you can. We have only a week to raise the $2000 needed for the retainer and then still will need additional monies to cover the remainder of the expenses involved in this case.
Thank you all,
I have been doing a lot of research and a lot of reading the past few weeks and I just cannot get over the number of children that are killed every year by a so called "loved one", someone that is supposed to protect the child, to keep them from harm, to love them and cherish them.
In many of the articles regarding cases of child murders I am also astonished at the men and women who will testify as an expert for the defense to try and say the injuries sustained are not indicative of intentional injury (AKA child abuse) and how the injuries could be caused by a short fall onto a carpeted floor or how the child suffered from an undiagnosed seizure disorder with absolutely no proof whatsoever that the child had such a disorder.
I know every person accused of a crime has a right to defend themselves against the charges but I do not get how the people that defend them - the lawyers, the "experts" - can do what they do. How can you look at the evidence and know that everything is there to prove the guilt of the accused yet still perform their job to defend or refute other experts? "It's their job" many will say and I get that. But what made them go into that "job" in the first place?
The days are coming where we will be sitting in the courtroom for hours each day listening to testimony of doctors, law enforcement officers, EMS personnel and others explain the scene at my daughter's house on March 12, 2013 and about the injuries to Joey. We will listen with great pain in our hearts as they describe the injuries and show pictures of those injuries to the jury and to the courtroom audience. We'll listen to the defense team's witnesses and have to keep our calm while we listen to the lies of some and the B.S. "expertise" of others.
We cannot wear our Joey bracelets during the trial, nor any thing that will depict him in any way. Why? Because we do not want to provide any means whatsoever that the murdered can appeal the trial later using the excuse that our wearing the blue bracelets (or whatever else) helped to influence the jury. But I hope on the day that the verdict comes back friends will join us in wearing blue - blue to show we defend and speak up for those children that cannot defend and speak up for themselves and that we are there to be a presence and a voice for Joey.
And -- apparently I do not know how to count -- my last post said 70 days -- oops. We are now at 68 days - here's the countdown to justice clock - http://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/generic?p0=42&year=2014&month=8&day=19&hour=9&min=0&sec=0&msg=Justice+For+Joey&fg2=80c2da&csz=1
Play with your little ones, enjoy every moment, get down on the floor and see the world from their view and play, play, play. Never forget to say "I Love You".
Love from this old Grandma who is sorely missing her Grandson Joey tonight