Anatomy of Murder

A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.

A Dad like Santa (Steven Gerecke)

A Dad like Santa (Steven Gerecke)

Wed, 22 Dec 2021 08:00

Albuquerque, New Mexico. One night. Multiple crimes. Would the homicide of a beloved bartender be connected to the rest?

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If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Hi everyone, Ashley Flowers here and I have exciting news to share. My debut novel, all good people here is officially out now. Our fans are blowing up our social talking about it. You do not want to be left out and the worst thing that could happen is for someone else to spoil it for you because there are some wild twists in this book. If you love true crime content, mysteries, and a grown up Nancy Drew style detective work then I have a good feeling you won't be able to put this book down. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold. Albuquerque now Mama, what is your emergency? I would walk into a grocery store. I heard something and it woke me up and people would come up to me and go. Your dad was one of the most amazing humans I've ever met in my life, and I'm so sorry. He looks like he's been hit and he's lying in the driveway face up. And I'd be in there crying in front of the eggs, you know, just. I'm Scott Weinberger's, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Palazzi former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction, and this is anatomy of murder. High anatomy of murder listeners 2022 is right around the corner, and with the New Year comes a new day for a OM. Beginning January 4th, anatomy of Murder will be coming to you one day earlier. We are moving to Tuesdays. As we approach the holiday season, we wanted to profile a story that, while tragic, there are moments of warmth and loved shared between people. And it's, in the truest sense of the Word family. Today's story actually comes from an AOM listener. The executive producer of our show had reached out to a survivor of homicide, Heather Alter, and while I was interviewing her for today's story, I actually found out that she was a regular listener to this podcast. I listen to you all the time. You have the most wonderful voice. The way you tell a story, it's very soothing. So when Summit asked if I wanted to do this, I was like, yes, I would love to talk to her. You know, Scott, I was completely and honestly taken aback. I don't know why, but that still gets me every time when I hear it. You know, we always love to hear feedback about our mission on AO. MI recently got a comment from someone. They said my voice helps them fall asleep, so I guess that's pretty good. I feel like your program, the way you tell the story, is very well-rounded. I think that you tell the story in its entirety. And in your conversation with Heather Anasia, she was really willing to share her story about her father, Stephen Garrick. And this is where the love story begins. My parents met when my dad was 19 and my mom was a couple years older. She was 21 at the time. I was a year old, maybe six months old. So Steven was not actually Heather's biological father, but he was in every other way. Her dad, Stephen, actually met Heather's mom because her best friend was Stevens's brother, and he followed my mom around like a puppy dog for many years, and she never batted an eye at him. You know, we talk about their relationship and picture it like the movies first one part Easy Rider, two-part love story mixed with a bit of the Grateful Dead. And then he came back up on his motorcycle. He's a Harley rider, and those two were making googly eyes at each other. He just stole her heart. They're a magical couple and people gravitate to them and they're so positive and have so much love to give that being around them makes your life better. You know, Steven constantly put his love for Vinny. That's what Heather's moms name was, Vinny, which was short for Veneta. He always put her first and easily seen by the way he treated her for Valentine's Day. They fell on hard times and he went out on Valentine's Day and bought this most beautiful, extravagant vase and put flowers in it. And my mom was so mad that he spent the money on that. And he said, and tomorrow we'll pay the bills. That was always his thing, and tomorrow we'll pay the bills. For this man that even in tough times he was going to make sure that the love of his life, that he always showed her that love came first. As their love for each other grew stronger, the family bond was tighter than ever. Stephen went from love interest to husband and to dad. You know, we would have Daddy daughter dates and I would always tell him that our relationship is more special than a father daughter like blood relationship because you chose me and I always thought that that was special. Now, while they didn't start there, as the years went by, the couple and their family ultimately settled in Albuquerque, NM. Pulling into Albuquerque was not by chance. It almost appeared that Stevens personality and the desert state were meant for each other. Rode his motorcycle across America and all the way up to Alaska and back down. And when he came through the southwest, he absolutely fell in love with the color schemes, the mountains, you know, realizing how alive the desert is. It's the vibe of open deserts, the mountains, the art community, which was something that was near and dear to Stevens heart. He painted a lot of jackets, plus he did murals around town for businesses. As a matter of fact, he painted my river raft. We named it the grateful Red because I have red hair. But last but not least, the freedom to ride the open roads on his Harley without a helmet. To him that was pure joy. He was the craziest sense of humor, and he was always pulling practical jokes. Heather told us it's where Steven worked that showed his true personality. He spent more than 1/4 of a century in the very same workplace. The bar may have changed names over the years, but Steven was the staple that kept people coming back. In fact, it's been said when regular customers walked into the bar, Stephen would start to pour their drink of choice without even having to ask. He spent 27 years at the sports bar. I actually worked with him when I was in nursing school. Sounds like the type of a place that you'd always hear a loud music and glasses clanking in good times, but that the party really got started often after the bar closed. It was a blast. There was lots of ice fights, crazy parties after the bar closed, lots of dancing on the bar. We could get away with anything. He really made work fun. You know, one thing was clear in talking to Heather is that she wasn't only chock full of stories. It was the type of stories that she told about her and her dad that really speaks to the relationship to me. You know, everybody that went in there, they would go in there to see him because he was kind and he listened intently. And boy, he had a gift for the gab, a real gift. In June 2015, Heather remembers vividly the last day she saw her father. It was Father's Day, and the plans were to have an early dinner altogether. It was an early dinner and I was giving him his Reese's pieces ice cream cake and the last thing we did was we played a prank on him and we wrapped up a box and there was nothing in it. And then we did an air horn and scared the out of him. Because that's the kind of family we are, he laughed. So hard. We were laughing and I caught it on video and I'd like to send it to you. I call it the last laugh. And in hearing his laugh, there is this easygoing genuineness about it. He had this distinct laugh and you always knew it was him. I mean, you could certainly hear his incredible belly laugh, the type you go out of your way to make someone laugh just so you could hear it again and again. I hugged him and I kissed him and I said I love you, daddy, see you next time. And he said I love you too, when he got into the car and that was the last time I saw him. But a few days later, the laughter stopped. That day, the bar lately at that time period was not doing very well, so he got home about 3:00 o'clock in the morning when he normally doesn't get home until 4. It's when he got home early that morning, the unthinkable would happen. From Heather's perspective, it was a night like any other. But then the phone started to ring. And I was laying next to my partner, Julie. I was like, who is calling me at this ungodly hour? Because I go to bed at 9:00 o'clock I had to be at work at 7:00 o'clock. It's a 12 hour shift. You know, I was a nurse at the time, and I just heard lots of voices, and I didn't recognize the number. And I was like, and I hung up the phone and I was irritated. And then a couple of minutes later, it happened again. And I heard more chaos and lots of voices again. So just picture it. You're in bed, of course, your Jared. And now she hears something, she hears loud noises. And I was like, who is this? And I'm like, hello, hello? And nobody would answer me. When the phone rang in the middle of the night, Heather quickly thought it was a prank call or a wrong number. And so I hung up the phone again, and I thought to myself, when I get up at 5:00 AM to go to work, I'm calling that number back just to wake them up. But then, a little while later, her doorbell rang. And I jump up, throw on my robe, and Julie's like, you can't answer the door at 4:00 AM and you know, we have her son is in bed asleep. My youngest daughter does in bed asleep. I go running up to the door because I'm like, who is knocking at our door at this time? This is crazy. Phone calls. And now this. There's two people at the door, someone that looks clearly like a police officer and her mom. And then I look over at my mom. And she has the longest expression on her face that I've ever seen. I've never seen her look like that before. And it is the look on her mother's face that tells her everything she needed to know. And just the longness of her face. I'll never forget it. It haunts me sometimes and I kept looking at her and it felt like 10 minutes had gone by and it probably only been 10 seconds, but I was panicking. And she had his wallet and an item of clothing in her hands that she was clutching. And then I looked over at the gentleman standing next to her and it wasn't an actual police officer, it, said chaplain. And I looked at her and I shook my head. And I said no, no. No. In the early morning hours of Friday, June 26, Stephen Goraka father and a beloved member of the community was killed when returning home from his work at a local bar. While the details of his murder weren't revealed to the family immediately, this is how it was reported to police. Albuquerque now Mama an operator 2434 what is the address to your emergency? At about 3:00 o'clock in the morning, one of Stevens neighbors heard something outside, and it was alarming enough that he called 911. I heard something and it woke me up, and I was concerned for what it was, and I wasn't sure, but did you hear? What was you at? I I heard some kind of loud pounding or some loud noise. It's the middle of the night. They hear what sounds like gunfire, but the thing that really gets the neighbor to call the police is what they hear next. Noise woke you up. It was just a loud noise and in some kind of anguish sound when you said you heard anguish, meaning of of a vocal. OK, maybe, you know, maybe it might have been him, my neighbor. It wasn't an actual word. It's what the neighbor described as ah, and it just, based on what we now know, says everything about what those last moments must have been like. So I looked out my front door and I couldn't see anything and I went out my garage door and I saw him lying in his driveway. He described the scene to the 911 operator as Stephen lying on his back, apparently unconscious at that point, with at least one wound bleeding from his chest. He looks like he's been hit. What do you mean, hit by a car or what? Builders around stone that is on the ground right next to his truck and he's lying in the driveway face up and there seems to be some kind of liquid like blood or something coming from him. What could possibly have happened? It is the middle of the night. This is a very residential neighborhood, so. Is it someone lying in wait there for him? Was he followed home from work? Was he ambushed when he got home? Or just something so random that it's almost hard to wrap your head around the what? But all the things we're saying, it's all just speculation at this point, and Needless to say. The news was devastating to Heather. My mom couldn't even tell me. She couldn't even say it. She just sat there and just. With that look on her face, staring at me. And then he told me that my dad was shot and he's dead, and I screamed. I ran into the pantry and shut the door, and Julie came in and. We just fell to the floor. I laid there for a long time, just sobbing. And then I got the guts to come up to the kitchen out of the pantry and. And sit at the table with the chaplain and my mom. And trying to recall what happened and she said that she just woke up and she didn't hear anything because of her fan. I have to stop for a moment there to just talk about his wife without knowing her, never even spoken her. Just think about that. How did I not hear it? Just is an extra level of difficulty, I must think for her. Throughout the whole incident, Stevens wife lies sleeping within their house, only to be woken up shortly after the shooting by police incessantly banging on the door. When they began to question her, she realized that Steven had been shot and killed. Why it happened and who pulled the trigger, well, that was still a mystery. So we just stayed there and tried to figure out what to do next. And I just remember being completely lost. I was going crazy, like I couldn't concentrate. I had to tell myself to sit up and put my feet on the floor, take a step towards the bathroom. How do you get in the shower? You smell. You know, I was so depressed. I just couldn't move. Sometimes people are able to flush it out in their words that it is so clear, I think, and almost visual. And to me, that's exactly the way Heather talks about. This grief, and I almost picture it. I hate to say this like your body's on fire because it sounds like her mind was on fire. In that time period, I feel like I had a traumatic brain injury. And looking back, when you go through trauma like that, it is a trauma to your brain. And the five days after he died, I tried to go back to work. And one of my favorite surgeons, he came up to me and he said, why are you here, Heather? And I told him because I had nowhere else to go. So he kept me busy. Losing him? Would have been hard if it came naturally, but losing him the way we lost him? It's just. I don't know how we're ever going to recover. It's been six years and it still feels like yesterday. Every person experiences their pain and their grief in a different way. I call it walking through the smoky room and feeling your way through, and every once in a while you get a glimpse of light, and you reach for the light and sometimes you can capture it, and there are days where you just can't and you have to sit in your smoky room. You really can picture that, right? Is that she is stuck in pain inside of her own head. I almost picture it. Like for those of you that know Charlie Brown, like, that, everything around you is just that one. And you know life is happening, but you're in this fog and this cloud. And that's exactly what she was in, and just so much pain that she really almost couldn't function. I've heard it described several different ways, but in some cases it's a process that, in a sense, your brain doesn't allow you to go someplace. It's almost a way of protecting itself, if that's possible. It also shows how incredibly painful this event was for Heather. And the pain? Remains to this day. It was time for crime scene investigators to get to work. Steven's body was found on the driveway, lying on his back near his truck. 3 shell casings from a semi automatic handgun were found on the ground about 15 to 20 feet from his body. I'm looking at the crime scene photos and that's sort of an estimate, but investigators needed to determine a timeline of events from the moment he came home until he was shot. What was his movements in the House and where could the killer or killers either hid or what was their method of escape? He couldn't give any details because it's a homicide. They wouldn't let us know the house until they were done with all of the investigating. For the investigators, there is a definite plan about how much information early on, especially in gathering evidence at a crime scene, of how much information to share even with family members, because this is an act of homicide investigation. So while there are so many questions by so many, people's information is being held closely to the vest so investigators could really gather their information to make early determinations on where is the next stream the investigation will go. And after they locked down the crime scene, one of the first things they did, obviously, was go through and document the house. And by looking at the pictures and by talking to Heather, some of the things that investigators found is very clear. Car door was open. There were items strewn about, not in a way that you would expect if someone had placed them there themselves. In the car, there were drawers open. There was just a mess in various rooms where no one in the home had caused them. Her purse was strummed all over the place in the living room. Things were kind of disheveled in there and she said that her laptop was missing and the car door was open and it was ransacked. And investigators quickly pieced together certain things about Stevens actions when he came home that night, partially from things they saw, but also knowing his habits and the way things that were in the home and outside. And this is what some of they came up with. This is what we think he did. He leaves the garage door open. We think he went through the garage, and then there's like the laundry room in the kitchen. And so he kind of walked through there and I he removed his shorts that he had worn that night and put them on the washer because they were soiled from him, washing dishes and stuff. You know, the glasses that bartenders wash. And he laid them there. And the reason why I know is because I still have those shorts and I took them off of. The washer and I folded them up and I keep them in my closet and I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's like the last thing he wore. Once he would take those clothes off, he would go into the bedroom, which is what he must have done where his wife was sleeping, and put on now his home clothes to go out into the yard to walk the dog. So he was preparing to walk Scully and he went into the back part of the house where my mom was sleeping, and she's got this big, loud airplane band that you can't hear anything. I mean, that thing is loud, and that's how she sleeps. And going through all the evidence, this is exactly the story that investigators pieced together. When Steven walked into that back bedroom, he was confronted by several intruders. They were in the process of burglarizing his home with the items still in their hands. They fled towards the garage door, which was still in the opposition, and he chased them out. And just as they reached the door, he kept running through the garage after them and I wish he would have stopped. One turned around, raised the handgun and fired 3 rounds. Steve collapsed in the driveway wearing only shorts, socks and a Harley-Davidson T-shirt. Shot three times laying on the ground, it appears unfortunately clear that those wounds very quickly cost Steven his life. I read the autopsy report. He was shot in the right upper arm and twice in the chest, and one nicked his aorta and basically it seeped into his right lung and he drowned in his own blood. And I just remember asking the chaplain, I said, can you tell me if he suffered? That's what I wanted to know because I just, if it had to happen, I wanted it to happen back. I just didn't want him to feel it. I want to pause on this investigation for a moment to just give you a bit more of a bird's eye view of what's happening in Albuquerque that very same day. Because in that same day, it isn't just Stephen Gorek that's murdered, there is another homicide that happens in Albuquerque that very much ups the complexity of this investigation. I just remember I had a cup of tea and I was sitting in front of the TV because I knew that they were going to put on a story about my dad and then I heard what happened to Jayden. His name was Jayden Chavez silver. He was 17 years old. He was a star athlete, a football player. He was a wrestler and he also wanted to be a pilot. Jaden was at a house party with a group of friends sitting at the kitchen counter when all of a sudden a bullet pierced through the window and struck him, and this was clearly a drive by shooting. These are the type of murderers that they're everyone's worst fear, and I've unfortunately seen too many of them. I mean, just picture, it's not like you're even in the middle of a random altercation on the street. You were in the sanctity of a home within those walls that are supposed to be our safe havens, and a bullet comes through those walls and strikes someone inside. And I just remember thinking. This is madness and I'm living in a nightmare and I just want to wake up. Heather was a nurse and she had colleagues that were actually treating Jayden that same day at the hospital. And when I talked to my friends at work they told me how rough a shape he was in. And I remember dropping to my knees when I saw his picture and I said this has to be connected in some way. It's not only just within 24 hours, these two homicides occurred within a mile of one another. And I'm almost just starting to wonder, is there someone out there or people out there just looking for trouble and committing shootings, homicides? This has got to be the same people. They did it again and now they killed a young man who had his whole life ahead of him. We laid out why they could possibly be connected, but there is another side to it. You know, the way police go through their investigation is try to connect the evidence, yes, geographical or proximity to both. Shooting, that's a clue. Time of incident. That's also very important method of a homicide. This case shootings, that's part of it too. But one is a home invasion robbery potentially, and the other one is a drive by shooting completely different events, and even the victimology is completely different for investigators. Not only is the pressure now on you have two homicides, 2 innocents happening within 24 hours, but because of the nature of these homicides, they are getting tips and information is coming in in a bit of a firestorm, but it's actually starting to cross wires because they're getting calls on one case, but they think maybe it's another and it's confusing. Are they talking about? Jayden shooting or Steven shooting? It's all becoming a bit of a cluster initially. Albuquerque 911, Albuquerque police operator what's the address of your emergency? So while all that's going on, there's yet another layer to this investigation that's complicating it all the more. Around the same time as Stevens murder, there was a flurry of 911 calls coming in about break INS. Somebody walked into our house, all in the same neighborhood. They turned around and went running, and there was another person, I believe I heard two gunshots who was shot. So while investigators are on OverDrive trying to solve The Who took Stevens life, Stephen's family is honoring his life for Heather and her mom and their family and friends. This wasn't going to be a funeral for Steven. This was going to be a celebration of his life. Everybody came in tie dye cause we're tie dye family. And I made huge banners of him and my mom sitting on the Harley with a tie dye background. And then I made buttons that had a beautiful picture of him with a tie dye background and it said what a long strange trip it's been because we're dead heads people. There was a big outpouring, like we couldn't even have his celebration of life in a building because over 400 people showed up. So we headed at Balloon Fiesta Park. Outside because there were so many people that wanted to come and pay their respects. Stevens family, unfortunately, was not the only one in mourning, because remember, there's also the murder of 17 year old jade, and that happened that same day also. But there is additional mayhem going on in Albuquerque at the very same time. On the very same night that Stephen was gunned down in his driveway, 911 operators received other calls that were unrelated to his murder. Or were they? Just laying here watching some TV and somebody walks into our house and I couldn't see really who it was, so I was like hello and they turned around and went running. To me, this young couple were probably an attempted break in right before they moved to Stevens House, and about 10 minutes ago, I believe I heard two gunshots and a man's voice might just need to report that to you and maybe have someone come out here and check the street out. While we don't know The Who and exactly how many that there is clearly a group of people roaming around Albuquerque causing mayhem, break INS and shooting all the same night. You know, I often talk about connective tissue in investigations and how cases can be related. It was more than just a burglary or a break in. In this next event, there was another man that was shot at. There was a gentleman that was almost 80 years old around the corner and they had gotten into their house and he shot at him and missed. And it happened like maybe 1/2 an hour before my dad was killed, just right around the corner, like not even a block away. One thing you have now that's different is you have a survivor, so that is a possible eyewitness, which may do everything to change the course of these investigations. And he got a look at him. Because while this eyewitness cannot make identifications, they can make clear that it's not one that it's a group. If he hadn't come forward, I don't know if we would have known the magnitude of how many people were in our House gaming Intel, or information from that person could potentially connect all of these crimes together. But now for investigators, let's think about what they're going to do. We know that certain items are gone from the correct household, so they're going to now start to look for everything from surveillance. Footage to what about things that were inside Steven's wife's purse, right? What are the things that would normally be there? You have your wallet, you have credit cards, bank cards, things that people that had stolen these items might potentially use? One investigative track is to check local pawnshops to determine if anything that was stolen had been brought in to exchange for cash. And now pawn shops have specific rules. You need an ID to pawn something, and for investigators going to a pawn shop and recovering an item that was stolen in a burglary, especially one that's now a homicide. That really is a great lead. The reason why they got caught is because they took my mom's credit card and went to McDonald's and bought some food, and then they went to Walmart and tried to use it again. We've talked about Walmart many times as far as their surveillance footage, and this case is no exception because their images were clearly captured on Walmart surveillance. Walmart is probably one of the biggest places that has the most surveillance out of any store you'll ever meet. They got them all on. The opera and they were all together. So what did police uncover? A group of teenagers. Six teenagers aged 14 to 17, were behind this crime spree. I was surprised. These images, these photographs of the kids that use these credit cards were passed around the schools and then they were quickly identified and one by one, they got them all. They got all six of them. You know, when I've looked at their mug shots, the two words that come to mind to me right away is babyface, because that is exactly what they are. There is nothing adult about how these young men, and I say young men based on the fact that they are teens looked and they really look baby face. So to think that they could cause such destruction is really a headtaker. You know, in my days in uniform, I would come across these type of young criminals all the time. You know, the street drug trade employs lookouts as young as nine years old. And, you know, gangs also utilize teens often because the majority of them won't be prosecuted as an adult. If they're caught, they'll be in the juvenile justice system and their records eventually would be sealed. It's another way for criminals to work the system. Here's the thing that we talk about in homicide when it comes to young perpetrators, is that sometimes, unfortunately, they are the most dangerous. And here's why they don't yet appreciate the preciousness of life. They don't have that life experience to understand, to feel, to really get how incredibly precious our lives are, and so it makes them less apt to be mindful or think out their actions. And they are much more. Impulsive when they are younger than as they age and get older. My dad died over $35.26. We were like one of the first victims of the new crime wave in Albuquerque called mobbing, and it's where the kids get together and they hit a bunch of houses all at the same time. Modeling is a crime of opportunity. Where a group or band of criminals hit a block, each going up to cars rifling through them. They have a car, have money or jewelry or whatever they could get their hands on. They weren't choosy. Here's an aside for some of you who park your car in your driveway or outside a new street. Do not leave remote garage door openers inside the car, because if they get into that car, they can get access to your house with a push of the button. They stole multiple cars that night, robbed multiple houses, shot at that gentleman, and then killed my dad. Investigators ultimately determined that these six had nothing to do with Jaden Chavez's murder. It was actually a completely different group of people that was responsible for his murder. But now that police had the teenagers in custody and charged him with the murder of Stephen, the story isn't over. Not until the held accountable in the courtroom. And that is a whole different ball game. Certain ages can be tried as adults, but others based on the age or based on the decision by a particular prosecuting office, they are handled in family court. Now, I have never worked in family court and I am thankful for that because there's a whole host of complications and issues arise and, you know, even just headspace issues that you need to figure out how you feel about that, right? Because we are talking about people that are sometimes as young as 1213, in this case 14 years old with the most serious of crimes. That they are facing. But, you know, for prosecutors there's a lot of different challenges. And that means for families too, it can be all the more frustrating because the rules are different. They've never seen a case like this before. For one. The DA's office didn't even know what to do with my mom and I. You know, we were bouncing in between juvenile court and adult court, and sometimes court was all at the same time, so we had to divide and conquer. It actually is the most stressful thing I've ever had to endure. On top of already. Losing him was horrendous, and it really it it tore us apart. I wanted to go to trial with all of them. I wanted to nail them to the wall. Heather made it clear she wanted justice and she took her concerns to the District Attorney. She laid out all six cases on her desk. She waves her hand over it like it's nothing, and she said we can't afford this. We're playing out all of them. We're not going to trial for any of this. I was like what? It wasn't just the age of the six charge that was difficult on Heather and her family and dealing with the ramifications of the crime itself, but things got much more tumultuous in this case, in the courtroom and out the case had gotten. Lot of press attention and that would bring our packed courtroom to the proceedings, which included family members of the victim and family members of the six defendants. We are sitting in pews next to the people, their family members who have killed our loved one. I had people break my window out. I had death threats. The children's parents would come after me. One of the members of one of the families came up to me and he said, I hope that your dad's enjoying the maggots eating his eyes. That's what he said to me. And then he lunged for me in the courtroom. And my husband was standing there and he grabbed him by the neck and said, what do you think you're doing? That was definitely a very difficult part to listen to. The fact that she needed protection just to go to the courthouse into the courtroom was horrible. I couldn't go to court without an entourage because these people are crazy. And I just don't get it. I get the friends and loved ones of the accused, loving them, feeling the need to support them out of their relationships. But I don't understand that anger towards people that have lost so much. And we're clearly so innocent in this case. And for Heather and his family, it only made their pain and their anger grow. I went to court. I quit counting after 126 times I can court. I courted for years and fought really hard for justice. You know, while we never focus on the actual perpetrators of homicide, we don't want to give them anymore attention that they've already brought upon themselves. We do give you their names normally, but we're not giving it to you today for really a couple of reasons. One, there's six of them, but while the two that were tried and sentenced as adults have been named, the four that were sentenced as juveniles technically should not be named because of privacy laws. So with that, it almost doesn't feel right for us to name two and not 4. When they are all responsible in different ways for all the devastation that went on that night, so we're just going to list them for you as the six involved and what the various penalties were that they incurred. So the shooter, who was only 16 years old, pled guilty. He also admitted he pulled the trigger and he got 25 years in adult prison. The 2nd 16 year old who was like the number two in the group. He will spend the next 12 to 14 years in prison. The other four were sentenced as juveniles. We didn't get an apology from anyone until two weeks ago, one kid wrote in. He was one of the 14 year olds and he's trying to get time shaved off of his sentence. So part of that was that he had to write an apology letter. So it was pathetic and I just told my mom it sounds like a bunch of ******** to me. There's always a push and pull about the juvenile justice system and the adult justice system and the way the two were treated differently. Many times Filmings don't believe they get justice because the penalties are so much lighter for the younger. One is getting ready to be available for parole in two years. I'm absolutely livid because he's a bad boy #2, and for him to even be able to see the light of day. Shortly after all of this, I I it's a slap in the in our faces and it definitely is not doing a justice towards my dad. So if somebody ended up being in my club that nobody wants to belong to. My advice to them is just to make sure that they are being heard and that they're being respected because it's such a hard place to be. Heather's journey to justice did not end in that courtroom. She turned her tragedy into a mission to stop this from hopefully ever happening again. She was not only vocal then, but continues to be vocal to this day about her thoughts on juvenile offenders and the punishments they face. It's my first wrath, is what I call it. I was wearing a black dress. It was our first press conference. This is the first time that we got to speak out and. I didn't even address the juveniles. I addressed the parents. I was like, where were you? When your kids were out robbing and robbing and murdering. Where were you? I blame you. And I told them a sanami is coming. And I meant it. She, along with the mother of Jayden Chavez Silver, formed an organization called robbed ROBD repeat offenders bring devastation. We're robbed of our family members being taken from us way too early. We've fought in legislation to toughen up our laws, so I'm just trying to make this place a better place to live in for our kids sake and for our community. She's also raised funds to create a memorial, a place to go for peace and for remembrance for the victims of gun violence. Over the past six years, we raised $550,000 and put up a victims memorial of gun violence and we just unveiled it a couple of weeks ago and it's called the luminarias and it's in front of our DA's office. Often, people in Heather's position turn pain into purpose, driven to find ways that no one else could suffer on the same path she traveled. You know, there is this terrible dichotomy that I see when I think about there's two groups here, right? There's this one group of these teenagers that are this incredibly destructive force in their actions. But then on the other side of that seesaw is this group of those that have been impacted by that violence, Heather Jaden's family and those that band together with them, and they take their pain to try to turn it into a force for good. I'm still building my tsunami. And I won't stop. I'll always fight. Sometimes I dream about him, his laughter and card games. His hugs his pranks. God, his pranks were so good. When I hear the sound of a Harley going down the street and the man's got white hair. Sometimes I think I catch a glimpse of him. There is a reason why we wanted to share the story with you before the holidays. When talking with Heather, she describes her dad like Santa Claus. We missed Christmas. He always had crazy hat. Funny things and he would juggle. And he would always dress up as Santa Claus. I just pictured that incredible belly laugh and that huge grand smile. Everybody would get to sit on his lap. They they want for Christmas. And I would always tell him I want World Peace. And for plastic to go away. It was like, do you have something in your bag that will cure our oceans? So when I say he was our CNA, he really was our CNA. As we head into this time of year, we want to wish all of you the happiest of holidays. Joy, health, peace. Peace for Heather and Stevens family. Peace for Jayden's family. Peace for the families of homicide. The survivors of crime. We talk about a different murder every single week. Law enforcement, prosecutors, we work on so many every single year. So my biggest wish at this season is that we didn't have so many murders in the future to talk about. And before we go, just a reminder. Beginning January 4th, 2022, anatomy of Murder will be coming to you one day earlier. We are moving to Tuesdays. It is a new year and a new day for a OM. See you there. Anatomy of Murder is an audio Chuck original produced and created by Weinberger Media and for SETI Media. Ashley Flowers and Summit David are executive producers. So. What do you think, Chuck? Do you approve?