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Chelsea’s Law (Updated)

Cindy on May 14, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Update: Below are the individual statements read by both Kelly and Brent King, Chelsea’s parents, in court today during the “Victim Impact Phase” of the sentencing of John Gardner.

Brent King’s Statement:
On July 1st 1992 God gave Kelly and me the gift of Chelsea.  We almost lost her during the pregnancy but she came through born healthy and very happy.  From her earliest days she had a joy and zest for life few of us ever know.  Chelsea and I were extremely close.  I loved feeding her, playing with her, changing her dirty diapers, just being her Dad.  I would sing to her.  I remember one of our favourites was patterned after the band-aid commercial.  I would sing “I am stuck on Chelsea like Chelsea’s stuck on me.”  And she would respond “I am stuck on Daddy like Daddy’s stuck on me.”  And then we would both hug each other and laugh.  Chelsea had a great sense of humor.  She was extremely smart, a great writer and a diligent student.  We raised Chelsea to embrace life’s joys, believe in the good, and always give her best effort.  We talked and joked around all the time.  We talked about how to handle life’s pressures, about competition, about people, global issues, and her dreams.  We spoke about the power of words, critical thinking, the beauty of nature and the wonderment of why God designed the different plants, animals, and birds.  We both laughed about His sense of humour in creating the platypus. We both agreed that a tree, which by its very nature gives much more than it takes, was a perfect creation. Chelsea knew who she was. She was comfortable with herself. She was self-assured enough to be goofy in public and with her friends.  She loved to give a smile to change your mood and invite you to smile back.  If you read her writings you would be amazed by the maturity of her thinking and the wisdom of someone so young.  She played volleyball, the French Horn and all games with passion, focus, and balance. She had limitless energy, and always pushed herself to give her best. She made those around her better. We are so proud of her acceptance to all 11 colleges to which she applied.  You have no idea how bittersweet the receipt of each admissions letter was knowing Chelsea had been denied the prize for all of her hard work and dedication.

Chelsea looked for the good in others.  I am not sure she would have been able to comprehend the example of pure evil that sits before us today.  Chelsea was everything this man was not.  She was as good as he is evil.  I am so proud of who she had become.  The world does not realize it lost one its best, most promising young adults when Chelsea was ruthlessly taken from us.  But I do. My family does. Chelsea’s friends do. The world is not as good without Chelsea in it.  I miss her terribly.  I am not sure how Kelly, Tyler and I are going to recover from our loss.

I hope everyone but this confessed murderer and rapist understands that what I am about to say comes from a place of hurt, anguish and pain that is very raw and incredibly deep.  My bright beautiful daughter Chelsea was with us less than three months ago, ready to finish her senior year, embark on the adventure of college and live a life of promise and purpose.  I am filled with a rage I did not realize I could possess against this man.  I hate him with all my soul for what he did to Chelsea, what he did to Kelly and Tyler, what he did to my family and what he did to me.

John since I learned of your arrest for Chelsea’s murder I refused to speak your name.  I have called you “monster,” “sociopath,” “serial killer,” “animal.” You are all of those things.  In my view until today you did not deserve a name because your acts were not human.  But as I thought about what I would say to you today I realized that names like “monster” and “animal” in a perverse way let you off the hook.  You knew what you were doing when you chose to wait for and corner Chelsea.  You could have prevented yourself from committing this crime.  You had plenty of lucid moments after you so viciously beat that 13 year old girl 10 years ago.  You knew who you were and what you were capable of, but you did nothing to prevent a repeat of that crime and much much worse.  You had many lucid moments after you abducted and killed Amber, but you did not turn yourself in.  Instead, you indulged your evil thoughts, choosing to satisfy your rage rather than having the courage to admit what you had done and suffer the consequences.

The most fitting name for you is “coward.”  You are not a man.  You are just a weak, pathetic coward who preys on unsuspecting young girls half your size.  You are evil not because of some sickness or disease so don’t blame anything or anyone for your crimes.  You intentionally chose evil and now you have to live with that evil festering inside you and eating you up as you rot in a prison cell for the rest of your life.

Kelly and I wanted the death penalty for you.  You do not deserve to live another day on this earth after what you have done.  But you live in a State where the death penalty remains an empty promise.  You live in a state where a twice convicted child rapist and murderer like yourself is safer on death row than in any other part of the prison system. If there is a silver lining to this deal you struck to avoid the death penalty it will be that you will be much less safe now than if you had gone to death row. I know you think that your time in prison will be hell on earth. I hope you are right. I hope that you spend every waking moment looking over your shoulder in fear of the murderer who is going to end your life.  I know that for the rest of your life you will be forced to sleep with one eye open in fear of losing it to your cell mate. I want you to feel every day every moment that same fear Chelsea must have felt when you surprised her, out of breath and vulnerable in the middle of her run.  I want you to feel every day the same pain you inflicted on my daughter. That would be justice.  Unlike you, Chelsea was no coward.  I can assure you she showed more courage in her last moments than you have shown in your entire life.

Coward:  Look around at all these cameras and media.  I want the world to see your face one more time.  This is the face of a coward.  If you choose to speak at this hearing, I want the world to hear again the voice of a coward.  I want your future prison mates to see the face and hear the voice of a coward.  And they know, they know a snivelling coward is on his way to them.  I’m sure they can’t wait to get their hands on you.

Chelsea loved the classics and she was an especially big fan of Virgil.  In Dante’s Inferno, Virgil takes Dante through the many circles of Hell.  Dante, in his description of Hell, stuck murderers in the Seventh Circle of Hell. This is where you will go. Standing up to your eyebrows for eternity in a boiling river of blood.  As certain as I am of Chelsea’s goodness, I am certain that you will not have peace in the next life.  You will go from the hell of prison on earth to the real Hell.  You should fear death. You should fear Hell far more than living the rest of your life among convicted murderers aching to torment you.  You do not deserve a peaceful moment on this earth or in the next life for what you chose to do.

You are not the only one I blame for what you did to Chelsea.  I also blame your parents. I blame your father for being absent in your life. Your mother, Cathy Osborne, knew what you were capable of and did nothing to protect us from you.  She knew who you were after you violently beat and tried to rape that poor 13 year old girl a decade ago.  She certainly knew after Amber went missing that you were capable of the crime and yet did nothing. She knew where Amber was last seen. A year later she heard the helicopters circling in the park, calling my daughter’s name.  She read the papers. She knew. There was plenty she could have done.  She did not even take the most basic step to ensure you were registered at her address, or inform the police that you were living in her home when Chelsea went missing.  She harboured you, indulged you and put every child in our community at risk.  As a psychiatric nurse she of all people cannot claim ignorance that she did not understand what you had done to earn your first stay in prison or what you were capable of after your release.  Ms. Osborne, you have Chelsea’s rape and murder and our pain on your soul.  I am not sure where Dante would put you, I leave that to God, but you have much to account for as a mother and a member of our community.

The pain my family is suffering has only been made worse as the thirst for ratings by a particular media organization caused them to choose profits over basic human decency.  I am not so naïve as to think at some point someone in the media would not interview the defendant.  But the manner in which CBS promoted and presented the disgusting banter between its reporter and this admitted serial killer, giving the coward a platform to spread his lies and foster discontent, did not serve the public and exacerbated our pain. When profit becomes the primary motive for the media it is no longer journalism. It is sensationalism at a terrible cost to the victim’s family, friends and community.

As I said after the plea agreement hearing, today brings me no satisfaction.  I want justice for Chelsea but justice has been stymied.  I am not alone in my frustration with a justice system that does not immediately put to death a coward who admits, so that there can be no doubt, to these brutal crimes.  I am not alone in my frustration with a justice system that 10 years ago identified this coward as a serious and violent threat to young girls and failed to imprison him and monitor him for the rest of his life.  I am angry at the so-called experts who repeatedly tell us that cowards like him, violent sexual predators who target children, can be rehabilitated when all of us with an ounce of common sense know that our children are not safe and that these cowards pose an untenable risk to our kids.  I am not alone in questioning the justice in a justice system that gives by right a convicted murderer and rapist unlimited access to a phone. Are we to accept the argument that it is cruel and unusual punishment to limit this freedom after he has so ruthlessly forever taken it from his victims?

You were physically large enough to damage Chelsea’s body, but you did not touch her soul.  Her powerful spirit lives on and she is guiding Kelly, Tyler, me and thousands of other good people to eliminate the likes of you from our society.  It’s time for you to go to your permanent cage.  You are irrelevant to all people of good will and I encourage this community, including those in the media, to treat you as such by working to erase your name forever from our collective consciousness.

I mean this quite literally, you can go straight to Hell and I pray every night that God shows no mercy on your soul.

I love you Chelsea. I love you Tyler. I love you Kelly.

* * * * *

Kelly King’s Statement:
What I feel is so much deeper than I ever dare to express in a public forum. There are things I’d like to say but to protect my son and to maintain the dignity with which we live our lives, my words will be far too mild to adequately speak the disgusting truth about you.  Chelsea was a sweet, loving & innocent soul who could not have fathomed the wretched piece of evil that ended her beautiful life on that day.

You have taken a life that was worth an infinite number of yours.  You have made your own life literally worthless.  You have earned the hatred of millions of people.  You now have to prepare yourself to spend eternity in the worst and deepest parts of hell.  Nothing, nor no one, can save you.

In deafening contrast, Chelsea’s light shines bright.  She has earned the admiration and adoration of millions of people.  My pride as her mother grows with each painful day.  Chelsea’s beauty, her grace, her intellect, her love of life and never ending desire to make this a better world have overshadowed and overpowered you.  She was and is far stronger than you could ever imagine or hope to be.  You have been eclipsed by Chelsea.  Your name means nothing.  Her name means everything.

She was a daughter beyond a parent’s dream, a friend everyone dreams of knowing, a sister anyone would be blessed to have, a student every teacher yearns for.  She was a funny and fun-loving person full of life and energy. She was a gifted musician and felt music was a universal language that surpassed all differences.  She was a fiercely competitive athlete, an ardent protector of the environment and an intensely passionate young woman with a thirst for life that was unquenchable.  She couldn’t wait to start college.  She stayed up until all hours of the night studying, learning, questioning, celebrating the acquisition of knowledge and inspiration.

I could never adequately articulate what you plundered from our family, from our community, from our present and from our future.  You have stolen from a magnificent 13-year-old boy his magnificent sister and his ever-present best friend.  You have stolen future memories he would have made with his sister but never the precious memories he already has.  That he should be deprived of a future with Chelsea is cause enough for you to burn in hell.  You sabotaged his trust in the world around him.  You robbed him of his mental and emotional security.  You dismantled a family life that was built on love, trust and faith but you did not destroy it. We will rebuild it with Chelsea’s help from above and all those who have gathered around us: family, friends, communities and yes, people from all over the country and the world who will not forgive what you have done.

Brent and I will have to fight every day to bring joy to our days, comfort and hope to our son, strength to our marriage and stability to our family.  People we have known all our lives will not recognize us at times. Not in the physical sense of the word but in theway we navigate our way through our new life without Chelsea. Even the simplest of things, like getting together for dinner or a casual conversation on the phone, will be altered by our pain and our grief.  We don’t recognize each other.  We don’t even recognize ourselves.  We evaluated our own value and success by who we were as a family. Our family is now shattered and we must somehow find a way to piece it back together.  We have to re-learn how to live in the world we have been thrust into and I resent having to do this with every ounce of my being.  But I will do it.

I have endlessly wondered about the mother who shaped you.  I have been unable to understand how she could have possibly withheld the knowledge she possessed about you. She knew that you were not permitted to live where you were yet she did nothing.  She knew what you were capable of and did nothing.  She did not come forward when Amber went missing.  She did nothing.  She did not come forward when Chelsea was taken in her own neighborhood.  She did nothing.  She lacked the humanity and human decency to do the right thing.  To possibly keep Chelsea alive.  Your mother will always be intertwined with your horrific crime because she did nothing.

I also want to make perfectly clear my profound disappointment in a public safety system that failed Chelsea, Amber and all the other innocent children whose lives have been lost.  Ineffective and worthless laws are to blame in equal proportion to the politicians who refuse to step up and put human life, particularly those of our children, above all else.

I miss and mourn for Chelsea more deeply than one can ever imagine except for my son and husband.  The three of us, and millions of others, will never let Chelsea’s light go out.  You no longer exist, my daughter will always exist.  While your name will be quickly forgotten, hers won’t.  You have not defeated me.  I will carry on my daughter’s beautiful spirit with pride and purpose.

*******

Back in Feb., Chelsea King, 17 year old, straight-A student, athlete and musician, was kidnapped, brutally raped and murdered, while jogging in a park near her home in San Diego, California, by John Albert Gardner III, 30.

Gardner had already spent five years in prison after he was convicted 10 years previously for molesting and brutally beating a 13-year-old neighbor girl. Since Gardner’s arrest in Chelsea’s case, state corrections officials revealed that Gardner racked up seven parole violations during the three years he was on parole from the 2000 attack but none were “significant” enough to send him back to prison.

After being caught, and confessing to Chelsea’s rape and murder, Gardner also confessed to raping and stabbing 14-year-old Amber Dubois, while in front of the two sobbing mothers and families in court.

Since March, when Chelsea’s body was found in a 5′ shallow grave, her parents Brent and Kelly King began a crusade to change current law so that all of our children are protected against sexual predators, especially from repeat offenders, which their Chelsea was not protected from. The Kings are hoping this will be the final bill to be passed that will be named after a child, it is called “Chelsea’s Law”.

Assembly Bill 1844, Chelsea’s Law, was introduced by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and it calls for life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for any forcible sex crime against minors that include one or more aggravating factors, including the age of the victim, whether a kidnapping substantially increased the risk of harm, the perpetrator has a previous forcible sex crime conviction, and whether he tied, bound or drugged the child.

The measure would also double the maximum penalty for a forcible sex crime to 16 years in prison, prohibit a convicted sex offender from entering a public park where children regularly congregate without prior approval of a parole agent, double the period of parole to 10 years for all forcible sex crimes, and establish lifetime parole and GPS monitoring for offenders who commit such crimes against children under 14 years old.

The law would increase penalties for sexual predators, including adding a one-strike provision for the worst crimes that would put an attacker behind bars for life without parole.

The Kings are asking for support on their “Chelsea’s Light” FB page, and to write, email, and telephone senators asking for their support for the Chelsea’s Law bill as well, or thanking them if they are already supporting it, which many in fact are.

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Chelsea happened to be the family member of a friend of mine. The pain I see in my friend’s eyes runs deep, and let me tell you, it’s a pain you never want to witness…

Please find five minutes to become an activist for our children.  Both senator Ron Calderon and Chuck Calderon have signed on and supported this bill.  Write them, email them, or call them and show support.

Full Text of Chelsea’s Law AB 1844 in this article.

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