The 12-day trial of one of the men responsible for shooting and paralyzing my husband Greg ended just a few days before Christmas. After approximately a three-hour deliberation, the jury found the defendant guilty on all charges. The judge sentenced him to 23 years in a North Carolina state prison. At his sentencing, immediately after the jury's verdict was read, I was given the opportunity to say a statement on behalf of my family and I. This is that statement.
The past two years have been the hardest of our lives. Not only have Greg and I, and our children, have had to deal with the physical, emotional, and mental ramifications, but our family and friends have been affected as well.
The two defendants in the shooting...will eventually be released from prison. They will go about their lives. Meanwhile, my husband will be in a wheelchair – paralyzed – for his entire life.
The dreams we had before November 28, 2015 – to have a working farm, to provide respite for families of special needs children, to welcome our home to foster children – were shattered because of the shooting. We are still trying to wrap our heads around what the Lord would have us do in this season of pain and struggle.
Although (the defendants) left empty-handed the night of the shooting does not mean they did not steal from us. Because of Greg’s medical needs, wheelchair maintenance, and a sharp increase in doctor co-pays -- every time we have to spend money on his paraplegia, it’s as though (they) are stealing from us time and time and time again. We are not wealthy, your Honor. We exist on Greg’s income which, frankly, is not enough to cover the normal family expenses plus his medical needs. Our oldest son has autism and lives at home, which means I am his caregiver as well as Greg’s and am unable to work.
Yet, your Honor, in just a week, we will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who came to this earth as a baby to die for our sins and to be raised to life so that we too may live.
In that spirit, Your Honor, in the power of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God, we forgive (them) for what they did to us. We forgive them. They still must deal with the ramifications of the shooting, like we have to, every single day. But in the name of Jesus, we forgive them.
It is our fervent prayer that they will seek out a prison chaplain and ask about salvation in Jesus Christ, for it is only through Jesus that they will know peace. Not through stealing, not through gangs, not through crime – but only through Jesus Christ.
Your Honor, thank you for this time to speak before the court. Merry Christmas.
I removed the names of the defendants as I believe nothing good can come out of publishing -- or publicizing -- their names.
What is next for us? The same as before the trial: to continue writing the book about the shooting and Christ's power, presence, and peace in the midst of it. Greg will continue to play wheelchair basketball. Life didn't stop -- and doesn't stop -- just because Greg's legs stopped working. For us to continue to live is a testimony to Christ working in our lives and in this situation. He is Sovereign.
(C) 2018 Terrie McKee
This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services, including those available on Amazon.com, as Near Your Altar is a participating member in the Amazon Affiliate Program in addition to other retail affiliates. These affiliate links help provide for this website as well as a small income to my family and I. Please consider clicking on the links to purchase or to browse the affiliate's website, which will open in a new window. We thank you for your support. ~ Terrie
Read Disclosure Policy here