Sorry is a word that can mean so much when it is sincere. However, I have my doubts to the sincerity of Justin Thurber’s apology (http://www.kwch.com/global/story.asp?s=9850979) as he left the courtroom today. Having over two years to feel regret for his actions on January 5, 2007 he waited until he was backed into a corner with no other options to express any remorse for his actions. This leads me to believe that his sorrow is for himself and the punishment he is yet to receive rather than for his actions towards Jodi.
Over the last two years Thurber has had many opportunities to express remorse and sorrow over the actions he chose on the day he murdered Jodi, but he chose not to do so. Not until January 9, 2009 did he realize he had no other options in the case, but to try to secure a plea deal. It was at this time that he signed the confession discussed in court today. My opinion is this was only done in an effort to save his life rather than a true realization of the wrong-doing of that day. His game of power and control is over now. He has been found guilty of capital murder and the jury has the power to decide his fate.
The defense team made their case around Thurber’s IQ (10 points from mental retardation according to the defense) and his childhood. At one point defense attorney Ron Evans stated, “You can take a look at Justin Thurber and see there’s something wrong with him.” I haven’t heard anyone question the fact that something is wrong with Thurber; however, now it is up to the jury to decide if he should face lethal injection.
The defense also placed Justin Thurber’s family on the stand. His mother looked at the Sanderholms and stated, “I’m so, so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I can’t imagine what your daughter went through.” She went on to state that she had lost people too and understood their pain.
There is no one that can understand the pain the Sanderholms must feel. I mourn for Jodi as well. I mourn and feel disgust over the fear she must have felt as she walked into the woods in the Kaw Wildlife Area. However, to me Jodi was a friend. To the Sanderholms she was a daughter and sister. That pain is no doubt different.
The pain you feel when someone you care for is murdered is different than losing someone in other ways. You know that the person you care about was targeted. And tortured. And ultimately killed. With every phase of the trial – pre-trial hearings, statements of confession, the trial and the penalty phase you go through the five stages of grief all over again. Details you have heard before hurt as much as the first time you heard them.
I am certain the Thurber family is feeling their own pain throughout this process; however, they still have their son and brother, don’t they. Even if sentenced to the death penalty they will still have their son and brother for years. They would say goodbye. Then he would not be tortured for more than five hours. He would be given an injection that would cause him to fall to sleep. A drastic contrast to Jodi’s more than five hours of torture.
As the penalty phase closes, I ask that everyone remember Jodi for the wonderful life she led rather than the death she suffered at Justin Thurber’s hands.