It’s been a while since I have spoken directly about what is happening in the State’s case against Luc. Anyone who follows my blog is aware that since the murder of my son, I have spent nearly all of my waking hours (when not in my full-time job trying to stay afloat financially) fighting for justice. Though the justice system moves much slower than most victims would like, this past Monday was a small victory for justice in what is sure to be a long and tiresome journey. While I have taken on a lot of issues lately on this blog related to child welfare, domestic violence, and family law, for today’s post I want to share with you what the pre-trial was like for me. I hope this will allow you all to see a small window into what our “justice” system is like for the victims.
The night before the trial, I couldn’t sleep. I spent hours wondering how I would feel when I would have to come face to face with my son’s murderer. I also wondered how I would be able to contain myself from flying over the witness stand and slapping both him and his attorney across the face. After spending months attempting to properly grieve for my son, while making sure all of the people involved in signing my son’s death papers (attorneys, judges, police, fraudulent therapists) couldn’t hide from their role in this horrible situation, I was left to think about how to deal with something that might seem like a fairly simple task – walking into a court room and telling the story all over again to a judge.
The morning of the trial, I woke up in a Manassas hotel and looked over the clothes I had packed. ’What do I even wear to the trial for my son’s murderer,’ I thought as I stared down at my clothes. I immediately remembered having a similar feeling when I was forced to decide what to wear to my 15 month old son’s funeral. ’Was this really my life,’ I thought in disbelief. ’Who does this?!?!’
I arrived to the court in full on mafia-like style. I have a huge family (who some jokingly refer to as “The Catholic Mafia”) walking along side me. We were a force to be reckoned with – several angry Mamas who had nothing to lose. My father joined us later in the day as well as Shawn Mason’s family who were also out to see Justice served. Walking in with all these people beside me, I felt so proud. I thought to myself, ‘this is how we roll Luc…you had no idea what you messed with here.’
Shortly after I arrived, the media started rolling in. I took that opportunity to point them in the direction of Luc’s supporters (all two of them). For the purpose of this blog, we will just refer to his main supporter as “the boyfriend”. Luc’s boyfriend, in true psychopath fashion, saw me pointing him out to the media and immediately called for police protection as if I was going to bother touching him. This display of ridiculousness made me chuckle as it reminded me of the pathetic antics Luc used to play in Family Court when he tried to make the world believe he was the victim. The boyfriend was terrified. He was not terrified that I would hit him, but he was terrified at my power to expose him for his involvement in this whole nightmare.
The Entrance Of The Monkey In The Orange Jumpsuit:
As the judge entered the room, my heart started beating faster as I anticipated the arrival of the devil himself. A few minutes later, Luc was led into the room in an orange jump suit by a police officer. To my surprise, he didn’t look much like I had remembered at all. His hair was matted to his head and frizzy, his skin a grayish tint, and his face was puffy as if he had been eating a few too many donuts while in prison. At first I had to do a double take to even make sure it was him, but then I saw the menacing look in his eye and the familiar smirk that came across his face as he noticed a full courtroom. He looked like a caged monkey who had just been taken for a walk by the prison guards.
While I had been worried about how I would feel in this moment, I immediately felt a huge sense of relief as I realized that I would walk out of this courthouse at the end of the day without Luc in my life. I would leave his pathetic existence behind me in that courthouse – the fight would end here. This wasn’t even my fight – now it was the State who had the job of exposing the horror to the court.
After being sworn in, me and the other witnesses were told to leave the courtroom and wait for our turn to be called to the witness stand. I walked out of the courtroom confident that this day would be miserable for Luc as he would finally have to face the reality of what he had done. Family Court had been full of second chances and lies, however, I had a sinking suspicion that criminal court might play out a little differently.
On The Witness Stand:
My testimony seemed to be simple. I explained my last morning with Prince and how he had been feeling. I told the judge about how I had let Prince sleep in that morning, and how he followed me around the house saying “Mama, Mama…” in his quiet voice. I talked about how I brought him to the grocery store right before the visit and let him run around and get out some energy. We played tag that morning as he laughed, sang, and spoke to all the grocery store employees.
When it was time for cross-examination, Luc’s attorney was clearly full of misinformation and intent on filling the room with smoke and clouds. His line of questioning was such that he seemed to be trying to set the stage to say that my son had been sick and that somehow I had hidden this fact from Luc. After setting the record straight, and informing the judge that I had provided Luc will all the necessary information on how to care for a baby (in writing and via the supervisor of the exchanges), it seemed as though Luc’s attorney had nowhere to go. He fidgeted with his notes and stuttered that he had no further questions. His questions about seizures annoyed me. I wanted to scream and inform him of the large elephant in the room by saying, “Sir – I hate to state the obvious here, but seizures don’t cause drowning.” As I walked past the defense table, I turned and looked straight at Luc (who was actively avoiding eye contact as he looked down at his bright orange attire) and said, “ugh…baby killer…good riddance.”
Once all of the witnesses had been called, we were all allowed back in the courtroom to hear the judge’s ruling. Since it was only a hearing to establish probable cause and whether or not the case should go to trial, I wasn’t too worried about the judge setting Luc free that day. (Though I am sure that Luc believed he would be going home with his boyfriend that very afternoon) Oddly, as I walked back into the courtroom, one of the police officers warned me not to have an outburst once the verdict was read. In that moment, I think my jaw might have dropped a little as I gave the officer a confused look. I wondered if in my stressful morning I had dressed in Jerry Springer guest type attire or if this was a common warning given to all victims of such a hideous crime.
After shaking my head and assuring the man that I would not release my inner “angry black woman”, I came back to my seat to listen to Luc’s fate. The defense lawyer muddled through his closing statement and tried to make it appear as though he had more medical experience than the medical examiner. The prosecution, however, was not phased by his feeble attempts to shift the focus and hijack the discourse. She elegantly and simply spoke to the judge and reminded the court of why we were there, and that the judge was only supposed to determine that a crime had occurred and that Luc was likely the person who committed the crime.
Luckily, this did not appear hard for the judge as he quickly noted his belief that the threshold had been met, and that this matter should be sent onward to the grand jury. Of course, in true Luc fashion, he began his monkey like dance in his chair and a scorned look came across his face as if he had been the person wronged by the system. For all the sane people in the room, excluding Luc’s boyfriend of course, a wave of relief overcame us all.
Upon my exit from the courtroom, Luc’s boyfriend decided to make an attempt to show his dismay by starting toward me as if he had something he wanted to say. As he opened his mouth to verbally abuse me (likely in an attempt to defend his man), I simply said to him, “you are next to be in that orange suit *****”. I walked out of the courtroom with my head held high – happy that I would not be followed by the monkey wearing the orange jump suit.