"In the case of Jesse Hoffman, it was a no-win situation. We had 15 mitigating witnesses, all African-American, on the stand for Hoffman's defense. The jury's eyes glazed over during the testimony of each one. An all-white jury? In Republican St. Tammany Parish? What chance does a black boy have against that?"
Molly Murphy Elliott was my cousin. I was a flower girl in her wedding when I was 8 years old. Two years later we had to bury her. On Thanksgiving morning in 1996 I returned from a paddle boat ride on the lake to find my Father sitting on a bench with his older brother and their 80 year old Mother in-between them. They were all asking "why?". They were all weeping. My two sisters and I stared in disbelief. My Mother ushered us into a bedroom. There on a bed with my family my father told us that our cousin, Molly had been killed. I was 8. My little sister was 3. My elder sister was 13. Our cousin was 28. That is one of my first memories. The ache in my chest that seemed to fill up my whole heart and then the entire room. I remember watching my parents collapse into our pain. Our Thanksgiving meal untouched. What was there to be thankful for? Our Aunt , My fathers sister, Molly's mother was in the airport when she found out. She was in a fucking airport on a layover rushing to New Orleans to try and find her missing child when she was told that her only daughter had been found on a grassy field, dead of a single gunshot wound to the head. It was Thanksgiving Day. She was surrounded by families. She would never see her child again. We would never see our cousin again. It makes me absolutely sick that you would try to imply that race had anything to do with the filth that murdered our Molly's sentence. My cousin was abducted from her place of her. My cousin was robbed at gunpoint. My cousin was taken to a dump. My cousin was raped. Court records show that Jesse testified that My cousin begged for her life. My cousin was ordered to march down to the end of the dock. My cousin was shot in the head. My cousin didn't die instantly, records show she was likely alive for up to 10 minutes after the wound was inflicted. My cousin laid there and bled to death alone at the end of a dock at the age of 28 because of Jesse Hoffman. Jesse Hoffman was convicted for his crime. He then appealed his death penalty sentence stating LETHAL INJECTION was CRUEL AND UNUSAL PUNISHMENT. After all he had done, he has still learned nothing from his heinous act of evil. Cruel and unusual? I think of that day. I think of that dock. I think of my beautiful cousin and what she must have thought as her life was turning into vapor. As she lost consciousness. As she died. There is probably a better way to say this. A more polite one in fact. But I hope you never feel the kind of pain that comes from losing someone you love in an act so senseless and then having to defend their memory 17 years later to fucking idiots who try and make it sound like the monster who took our Molly was punished because of the color of his skin. To that I say FUCK YOU. Today would have been her 45th birthday. Did you know that? Do you think Jesse knows that? We do. We miss her. Every single day.
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