Friday, January 29, 2016

Familiar room, unfamiliar seat

I HAD TO testify at a murder trial Wednesday. I wasn't going to write about it, but a lot of people have asked. So here it is.

If you are from Quincy, you know about the case. The defendant is accused of smothering his wife to death in 2006. Click here for my thoughts the day after he was arrested a year and a half ago. It's one thing when you have no connection. It's another when you know the people involved.

I was on the stand for four minutes, and I'm sure that will be the least time of anybody to testify. I saw the defendant the day his wife died. My testimony wasn't very newsworthy and won't convict or free the defendant, but it's part of the prosecution setting the table and telling the overall story.

Click here and here if you want more detail. The courtroom was familiar, but the seat wasn't. I was nervous. I looked right at the prosecutor asking the questions, and didn't dare look at the jury or the defendant and his lawyers.

At first, part of me was angry because I had a chance to write about the trial for the Quincy Journal. When I was subpoenaed, that went out the window - I'm sure I could have been fair and just reported on what was going on, but a reporter can't testify and cover the same trial.

But another part of me is relieved. It would have been tough to sit through. I am tracking it and of course have a huge interest in the outcome. I pray justice is served, and jurors have their work cut out for them.

I think Don O'Brien of The Herald-Whig has it correctly pegged. Sadly, the four children will have a huge role in the trial. And it breaks my heart. There is so much pain and distress already, and now everybody will hear about it.

Think about it - your own family has heavy burdens, and dark secrets, and I know it may not be as dramatic as a murder, but still .... you want that all out for the world to see? The national media is here and the victim's mother was already interviewed in People Magazine.

So I go back to my original thoughts the day after the defendant was arrested. I am praying for his wife, his four children, and Cory Lovelace's family. Strength and peace to them.

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