Today, we began with two of my fellow classmates speaking about their incredible experience at the courthouse. They thought they were walking in on a simple drug case, but it turned out to be a murder trial in which feelings were fuming and yelling, crying, and hostility coated the courtroom.
They mentioned how the victim’s family was crying and screaming during the final verdict and as bond was issued. Rather than murder, the defendant received a count of voluntary manslaughter. The courtroom was filled with 8 deputies and the defendant, or murderer, was clean shaven but extremely slim. The students had mentioned that judging by pictures from 2015, the defendant clearly lost a lot of weight.
The defendant was escorted into the courtroom handcuffed and wearing a black and white jumpsuit, this part caught my attention as I could tell the students who saw this first-hand really endured a valuable learning experience.
Dr. Dimitrova also mentioned a few courtroom rules such as no cellphones and who can enter a courtroom with a firearm. If someone is caught on their cellphone, the judge is allowed to confiscate all cellphones. In regards to firearms, a recent law allows anyone who is legally able to carry a firearm is allowed to bring it into the courtroom. This sounds bizarre, however, I believe I heard my professor correctly.
As the two students were speaking, another student spoke out and told the entire class she actually was their during the shooting. This was crazy and everyone’s attention immediately shifted. This student says this shooting was near her old home when she was driving by and saw yellow tape. She stepped out and saw tons of police and blood. She asked neighbors and those who were surrounding the crime scene. Essentially, this student claims the defendant shot the victim in broad daylight and in front of both of their kids. This truly was surprising because although I know some areas of Waterloo are dangerous, I had no idea stuff like this happens, especially at this severity.
Next, we have an in-depth class discussion on recording. The students mentioned how the family was outside in the parking lot crying, sobbing, screaming, grieving, and ultimately causing a scene. Dimitrova asked, “why didn’t you record it?”
This invoked many responses. My response was “I wasn’t there, so I have no idea, but I do know have no business recording it. If I’m just a random bystander or college student, I don’t see any reason for my to get involved and ultimately get under the skin of the grieving family. However, if it was my job and journalism is how I make a living, I probably would record it. It’s all about morals.”
Personally, I am too nice and I don’t think I could have recorded it. Then again, I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly how high the emotions were. This proved to me that it actually takes some guts to be a journalist, because sometimes recording others during their most vulnerable times is how I’d make a living, which doesn’t entirely sit right with me. This is why although I want to get into communications, marketing, and PR, I will NOT be becoming a journalist. Don’t get me wrong, I understand journalism is a lot more than recording others when they are grieving, but I do understand that not everything a journalist does is full of rainbows, bright colors, and happiness. Again, regardless if whichever way I look at this situation, it all comes down to morals.
Shortly thereafter, we looked at a news clip over the infamous Jaycee Lee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart kidnappings. Apparently, there are 20,000 kidnappings a year, most of which are returned quickly, however, of the 100 that are kidnapped longterm, only half are returned
Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped. She was paralyzed by a stun gun, and then was raped by Phillip and Nancy Garrido She was imprisoned two hours away from her home. She was held hostage for nearly 20 years. She wrote a book during her imprisonment. She also remembers looking at moonlight and hearing trains when she was inprisoned, hoping one day that would help her escape somehow. She remembers talking to her mother about which type of moon is better, full or crescent.
Dugard was raped several times, from ages 11 to her 20’s, and most of the times she was handcuffed. This made my stomach turn. Phillip Garrido, a convicted sex offender, says the demon angels advised him to kidnap her and save her. This dude is absolutely insane and, again, my stomach continued to turn.
This no doubt is among the most disgusting, heartbreaking, and stomach-turning crime cases I have ever heard. Another disgusting part was Nancy, Phillip’s wife, would go to parks with Phillip and record children. Phillip would play his guitar and she would appear to be recording him, but she was secretly tilt the camera and record children playing instead. Both eventually went to prison, Nancy for kidnapping and forceful rape, and Phillip for, well, you can imagine. Another heart-wrenching part? Dugard was impregnated at 13-years old. 3 years later, was impregnated again. As you can see, this whole case continues to get worse and worse.
We then had an very emotional and opinionated discussion in which we tried to imagine if we had 18 years taken away from our life, should the officers who searched the sex offender’s house over 60 times be punished, and ultimately what should be Nancy and Phillip Garrido’s punishment be. I could not imagine having 18 years taken away from my life, literally. That question is unable to be answered in my opinion.