Thursday, July 09, 2009

Justice!

The last picture taken of Nick Markowitz


Today, a jury convicted Jesse James Hollywood of first degree murder and kidnapping.

This conviction comes nine years after the crime: the murder of 15-year-old Nick Markowitz.

He will be sentenced next week, and the only options are life in prison, or the death penalty.

Given those options, I can say just one thing:

YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All the way on the opposite end of the country from the courtroom in California, I couldn't be there. Instead, I stayed on the computer, with 85 tabs open so I could refresh, refresh, refresh every potential source that might break the news first. A woman on the Honoring Nick Markowitz group announced it first... I cried when I saw the word "Guilty."

Nick's parents, Susan and Jeff, have had to wait nine long years to talk about this publicly; all that time, either a judge or the DA's office had asked them to remain silent. There were four other trials before this one, all resulting in convictions. The shooter, Ryan Hoyt, is on death row. The gag order will be lifted as soon as the sentence is pronounced. It will mark the final trial, the final step in the quest for justice for Nick.

Now they get to move on to the rest of their lives. Now that the "justice" part is done, they get to honor Nick's memory without the constant weight of courtroom trials hanging over them. I'm not sure that Susan even knows what "normal" feels like anymore-- I hope it's a time of positive rediscovery for her.

Sharlene Martin is representing the book deal for Susan's story. I'm hopeful that we'll have the manuscript finished in a few months. You'd think that this would be such a depressing subject to write about, but Susan is such an upbeat and funny person that it makes it much easier. Even though I make her talk about difficult things a lot, we still spend most of our conversations laughing.

I'm just thrilled to have a bit of my faith restored in the justice system. The jury got it.

So in case any of them read this post at some point, I want to thank the person who informed police about Jesse's whereabouts in Brazil, the DA's office, the detectives who were there in the courtroom nine years later, the victim's advocate who has been so good to Susan, Susan and Jeff's family and friends who've been there with them in court and in spirit, and everyone who works to keep Nick's memory alive.

I hope today brings you all a sense of peace.

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