|Posted on February 23, 2016 at 5:55 PM|
This morning, in live time, the public heard the excruciating, agonizing account of what the Neville-Lake family went through when they lost their three children in a senseless drunk driving crash.
The criminal was Marco Muzzo.
The victims were Millie, Harry, Daniel and their grandfather - and of course their parents, Jennifer and Edward, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, relatives, employers, teachers, friends, neighbors - I could go on, but you get the point. The community grieved for the outstanding loss of these parents; in their mom's own words as she faced Muzzo in court today, "I'm going to show you how your choices became my consequences."
What followed was a gut wrenching account of what she and her husband have been through.
For example, she remembered asking the police in bewildered disbelief if all of her children were gone: "All of them...? Not one left?"
We learned that she often paces her empty home - once a loud, joyful place - looking for her children, wondering where they are.
We discovered that she watched her dying daughter's cervical collar fill with blood as she lay beside her in the hospital bed; the doctors keeping her remaining two kids alive on life support so that she and their dad could say goodbye.
She explained, in a courtroom in front of a judge and Mr. Muzzo, that she needed 20 pallbearers for the mass devastation wrought on her family.
We learned that the children's father, Edward, said his life was destroyed "beyond repair;" so much was this stay-at-home dad's pain excruciating that he surrendered his gun license to police because of how he felt.
Jennifer and Edward told us that their own existence, now, was pointless, as they struggle with their pain; the thought of suicide an option, but their faith in God holding them back.
I say all of these things, which make us uncomfortable, because we already know so much about Marco Muzzo and everything that he lost, but very little of the Neville-Lake's staggering loss, their everyday existence - a stark contrast to what Marco Muzzo's life could have been. We know he was about to get married; was young, wealthy, the entire world in front of him and all of it lost in a matter of seconds.
The media has a habit of focusing on the crime and the criminal, rarely the victim.
And though Mr. Muzzo's lawyer spoke to the media defending his client in the past during court hearings, today, after 15 victim impact statements, he said nothing, declining to talk to reporters.
Today's play by play account of what this family has been condemned to should be a wake -up call for all of us.
They are owed everything. Our laws, our community, our sanctity for human life should shield and protect this family.
When asked by the press if Jennifer Neville hated Marco Muzzo, she replied it wasn't a path she wanted to go down.
While it's easy for the rest of us to feel contempt and hatred for Marco Muzzo, for Jennifer and Edward that emotion would be like facing the devil himself.
Please keep this family in your prayers tonight.
Please don't forget them, ever.