When you lose a family member or loved one at the hands of another person it can be extremely difficult to find peace. It is even harder still when you don’t feel that the justice system has worked to punish the individual responsible.
I’ve always found it futile to interview family member’s a victim. Of course they feel grief, sadness, despair and probably angry. What can I possibly ask? Up until recently I couldn’t put myself in their shoes. But on Easter Sunday that all changed when my beautiful cousin Valeria Salinas was murdered. Suddenly I and the rest of my family were the victims. We were the ones cursing at a complete stranger, a name we are horrifically now familiar with. However, this is merely the beginning because everyone accused also has rights through our justice system. It will take about two years for the evidence to processed. It is possible the suspect will not be charged with the murder until the evidence has been analyzed. Then we have to wait for arraignment, indictment, pretrial, bond hearing, status hearings and a trial. It’s gut wrenching to even imagine the lengthy process.
What if, heaven forbid, the suspect is found not guilty?
What if the person is not indicted?
What if they are out on bond?
Those are questions I hope to never have to consider but they are realistic possibilities in any case. Many factors play a role in reaching a verdict. Evidence, prosecutors, defense, witnesses, the judge but ultimately it is the jury that decides. Much like the court reported the role of El Tejano has largely been to report the facts, what occurred. It wasn’t until I was standing outside the crime scene of Valeria’s murder in the middle of the night looking for a picture that did her smile justice to release with a write up that I realized how much I’ve neglected to convey feelings of victims. Let it be known that with us victims have a venue to speak their feelings within appropriate perimeters that invoke respectful dialogue.