It is indeed hard deciding a man's life.
Tony stood up, and addressed the court. He said that he’d always maintained his innocence and that he would never hurt a child. He said he had three daughters of his own and he loved children.
Yeah, a little too much, I thought to myself. We had already come to a verdict at this point, and I had formed my opinion.
The judge said two things had stuck out to her during the trial. One was STUPID, she said she had never seen anything like that, and it was sad. She said the other thing was when the defendant said he had three daughters of his own. She said he had three daughters and he had done this.
She sentenced him to TWENTY years.
I have to admit, my heart sank just a bit. I did believe that Tony had done everything that Grace had said he’d done. One of the things that we had wanted to ask the judge was if Tony could get some counseling while he was in prison. We guessed that he had urges that he had problems dealing with and that maybe these two girls were the first time he had acted on them.
We were wrong.
After the court, the two lawyers spoke with us, asking us questions about the case.
The prosecutor said there was SO much that we didn’t know. He said that there were SIX children in Tony and STUPID’s house and there had been charges against him with two older daughters as well, but Kelly had been the only one he had plead guilty on. He said that Tony had been accused of raping STUPID’s sister before they had met, and she STILL went out with him.
The defense said that to be fair, the sister was a drug addict, so wouldn’t have made a creditable witness. He said, however, there was a “VERY POWERFUL” videotape of Grace at twelve, where she described what had happened to her in great detail. He asked the prosecution why he didn’t use it, and the man just shrugged.
In the end, I feel that the system did work for this man. We did everything we could to remain unbiased and fair. We looked at the evidence, and made judgments only on what was given us.
I walked out of the courthouse with two of the courtroom assistants. “It was hard, wasn’t it?” the man said to me, “deciding a man’s life.”
“It was,” I agreed.
“People think it’s easy. You go in there and just sit down and make a judgment. But you have twelve people with twelve different opinions. “ I nodded.
The women who had been there outside the jury door, helping us with anything we needed, the whole time, said: “Don’t feel bad. He would have gotten twenty years for one count or twenty for all three anyway. You did good.”