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Stephanie Edwards victim impact statement

Stephanie Edwards victim impact statement

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Published by: The Hamilton Spectator on Jul 08, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/08/2011

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the Parole Board:I do not believe there are words to even begin to describe the pain, agony,and fear that my family and I have been forced to live with since March 21,1991. Seeing that the only weapon I can use currently is my words, I willcertainly do my best to convey what has been lost, and continues to bevulnerable since that life-altering day.I was only nine years old when I came home from school and to my surprise,found my mother’s parents at our home to take care of us until my mom anddad got home. I immediately knew something was wrong, but I had no idea itinvolved my grandparents being murdered and my aunt hurt and abused.Life went from being safe and carefree to being scared and cautious in aninstant. I went from being a child to an adult overnight. Now life is filled withconstantly looking over my shoulder, waking up in the middle of the night tothe smallest noise, and having to be much more wary of people than a youngadult should have to be. Everyday is a challenge to not have this memory atthe forefront of my mind, yet it continues to happen.I remember the peach coat my mom was wearing when she came home thatnight, and the way she hugged and kissed me like she thought she wouldnever see us again. I remember my dad’s tearful eyes while he tried toexplain why they were gone so late. The utter confusion and anger as to whysomeone would want to murder two special, loving people has never fully beresolved, at least without a sane and logical explanation. It is not as thoughthey died in a car accident, or because of cancer or some other naturalcause. No, they were brutally killed by George Harding Lovie, with absolutelyno reason. A murderer that should have been kept behind bars when he firstassaulted my aunt, but was released on a ‘promise’ that he will not go nearher or the rest of the family. Due to someone else’s mistake and shortfalling, I now have to live my life constantly on guard that history will repeatitself and the offender will murder again if he is ever released from prison.
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What you may not understand is my grandparents were the rock of myfamily. Every Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter were spent at their home,with my entire family crowded around tables, laughing, telling stories, andspending precious time together. It is so difficult to look back on thosememories and not be able to make more of them. The taste of mygrandmother’s applesauce will never be replaced. The pink Cinderella booknow sits on the shelf, triggering memories of being read to before fallingasleep at my grandparents’ house. The race to find my chocolate bunny withmy name on it and all my chocolate eggs is just a sweet moment from thepast. The race to find grandpa at the fair to take a ride on his steam engineis something that I cannot share with my own family; I can only try andexplain what life was like before this tragedy. The sound of the woodenswing outside their house that my cousins and I took turns swinging on, thetea parties inside with grandma, and the smell of their barn are part of mypast, not my future.I now have the challenge of explaining to my own family why holidays andspecial events are hard on me, and why I always light a candle to remembermy grandparents. I have lost more than just two exceptional people that Iloved very much. I have lost my sense of freedom, knowing that heinousmurders can take place in your own backyard. I have to live with the terror of being hunted down, cut up and mailed home, as the offender stated hewould do in the trial courtroom. I have the constant underlying feeling of helpless outrage that so little was done for such a monstrous and violentcrime. It is exhausting, physically grueling, and beyond stressful to not sleepwell at night due to being awakened wondering what the future will bringand whether my family and I will be safe. It is a horrible feeling to try andwork with a nerve-racking feeling, unsure of what will happen if George Lovieis ever released. This is what I wake up and deal with each and every day. This is just not about me anymore….this is not only my past; it becomessomeone else’s crisis. Recently I was in a serious relationship, and my fiancébegan to ask more questions about what had happened to my grandparents
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and then he started to fully realize and comprehend the seriousness of thissituation. He did not take my need for security seriously—the automaticlocking of doors immediately after returning home, turning on the alarmevery time I left home or went to bed, or locking the car even if it was beingleft in the driveway for a moment. It is a lot for an outsider to take on, andthere are so few people that are willing to accept this part of my life, andtake it on as their own. It is one thing to meet someone and get married, butit’s a whole different situation trying to explain to someone you love whathas happened and what the future could possibly be. It’s so very frighteningfor me…. I just want to have a normal life, get married and raise a family of my own, but that dream and reality was taken away from me long ago by theoffender. My intense phobia for secure surroundings was one of theprominent factors that lead to our break up and cancellation of our Julywedding with this decision being made less than six weeks before the date.It is unfathomable that a double murderer was only sentenced to a 25 yearprison term, with parole being an option after only 15 years. How is this justifiable? Why is this happening now? How many more parole hearings willmy family and I have to endure? The offender has no reason to be let out of prison. Is it worth risking your own family and community? I would certainlythink not.I hope and pray for the day that life will be fully rebuilt without the fear,without waking up in the middle of the night, and without the guardedness Imust front presently. Perhaps one day this will occur, but for now, I willcontinue to look over my shoulder. By keeping the offender in prison anddenying his request, justice can be served in its own way. Enough mistakeshave been made by the Canadian judicial system. This is the time to try andmake up for the errors that happened in the past and keep my family and Isafe. Please stop the cycle of anguish and distress my family constantlyendures.
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