I have longed for this day for 5 years! Ever since Jose was arrested in 2013, I have been following his case not only through Cinnamon Shirk our Victim Witness Advocate but also through an automated system called MOVANS. By signing up for this I receive notices whenever anything is happening in the case against Jose Huckleberry. Just a few minutes ago I received this notice from them:
This e-mail is to inform you that a motion has been filed about the defendant JOSE HUCKLEBERRY and court case number 1331CR00576. The case status is now: Closed
Woo hoo! Finally! The final arguments took place this morning. The prosecuting attorneys did an excellent job! I could feel the passion arise in them as they spoke. This case was personal to them after living it for 5 years! The judge put the case into the hands of the jury around 10:30. After just over 5 nerve wracking hours of deliberations, the jury came back with a verdict. Before the jurors were brought into the courtroom, the judge told us not to show any emotion when the verdict was read. Really? I didn't know if I could do that!
The jurors filed in and the foreman stated they had reached a verdict and handed the file over to the bailiff to give to the judge. The judge then read through the verdict without showing any reaction. He then read the verdict.
In the murder of Donald Willingham in the second degree, guilty. In the murder of Helen Willingham in the second degree, guilty. In the burglary, guilty.
I know I haven't stated those exactly in the correct legal terminology but I didn't get the full description written down. The bottom line is that they declared him guilty on all counts. What a relief! We all did pretty good in holding ourselves together but when the jury had been dismissed and the judge had settled things out with the attorneys about setting a date for the sentencing hearing, I looked at my brother and said, "Ok, can we show emotion now?" I looked over at my sweet niece, Anna Johnsen and although she wasn't making a sound, the tears were flowing down her cheeks! How can you hold back 5 years of emotions?
As the verdicts were read, one of the jurors began sobbing. I can't imagine what this week has been like for them! They had to see horrible pictures, including the autopsy photos. They had to hear over 7 hours of confession as this messed up young man described stabbing 2 elderly people in cold blood in a very brutal fashion. I am grateful to these individuals who gave up a week of their lives, focused on hours and hours of testimony, and came back with a just verdict! I wish I could talk to each one of them and say thank you!
I have tons of notes from the trial this week and I need to get my head wrapped around it all before I can begin to convey it to you but I will do my best to get it done in a timely manner! Right now, I feel so relieved, emotionally spent, and physically exhausted! Thank you to all of you who have supported our family with your prayers! God has sustained us and brought justice to our family as well as to Mom and Dad.
Job 8:3 (Good News Translation)
God never twists justice;
He never fails to do what is right.
Thank you, Lord that You never leave us or forsake us!