I have never spoken to the court, aside from my testimony at trial, until today. I have never had the strength to do so until today. As you know, the defendant was sentenced to death but in 1986, Lame-duck Governor Toney Anaya commuted his sentence to life, without ever speaking to me or even asking me anything about the crime or its after-math, or doing anything to make sure Julie’s family or I would be okay. If not for the actions of the lame-duck Governor, the defendant probably wouldn’t even be here today.
No one in the criminal justice process has ever asked what it’s been like for me, as the victim in this case, to survive the defendant’s requests for new hearings over the last 25 years. It is excruciating, Your Honor. To go through delay after delay has been torture for me. The defendant has been asking the court for many years to review the legality of his continued incarceration. Here we are, with another habeas corpus petition.
Your Honor, the habeas corpus procedures in New Mexico need to be reformed to prevent continuing state-sanctioned psychological brutalization of victims of horrific crimes like me – and this case is a perfect example of why. I know this isn’t happening just to me but also to others.
He was convicted of first degree murder, and other first-degree felonies, which were premeditated. This man kidnapped, raped and murdered my best friend, who was a kind and gentle person, and he thought he had done the same to me. This was a brutal crime, Your Honor. There is no doubt in my mind that Julie and I were singled out by him.
As a victim of a violent crime, I have rights too – the right to be treated with fairness and respect for my dignity. I have the right to timely disposition. Where is the fairness, where is the dignity, and where is the timely disposition? This needs to stop NOW.
Each continuance has been like a knife in my heart –- and, Your Honor, I’ve been stabbed enough. Please do what you can to stop this continuing assault on my dignity.
I thank the prosecutor, Todd Heisey, for continually reminding the court of the effects of the defendant’s capricious exploitation of the system as well as of the delays on Julie’s family and myself. Your Honor, I hope you take what I have to say seriously.
It has taken everything in my power just to make it here and read this statement. Thank you. -- C.B.