The Union Leader ran the story of a young woman’s funeral yesterday. Brandi Bernard was 19 and 2 1/2 months pregnant when she was beaten to death — allegedly by her boyfriend and father of the baby, 35-year-old Robert Lopez.
At Brandi’s funeral, both mothers attended. Brandi’s mother was in utter shock, barely functional. And Lopez’ mother was grief-stricken, too — she shouted “I’m so sorry my son did that to you! I’ll make sure he pays! I promise…”
That’s a very fine sentiment, madam. But you had one chance to bring him up right, when he was a boy. You failed then.
You had a second chance back in 1994, when he savagely beat and stabbed his girlfriend in Pennsylvania. For that, he went to jail for 11 years.
And six months after being released, he came to New Hampshire, met a girl almost half his age, got her pregnant, and then killed her.
You had your chances with your son, Ms. Torres, and now a young woman and her baby are dead, and her family are dealing with that. You had your chances, madam, and you failed. You don’t get another chance to punish him for his misdeeds. Now it’s our turn, as the State of New Hampshire, to see that justice is done.
It’s just a goddamned pity that the state is only charging him with 2nd degree murder. I’d like to see the son of a bitch get the death penalty — something that hasn’t happened since 1939, but we still have it on the books.
Update: this morning’s Union Leader has a followup story. Apparently the woman Lopez stabbed and nearly killed 11 years ago has heard about Brandi suffering the fate she barely avoided, and is willing to come to New Hampshire to help put him behind bars for as long as possible.
Considering that Olivia Williams is still suffering from Lopez’ attack (he stabbed her in the head, face, neck, arms, hands, and body, and that she was left partially paralyzed and had to re-learn how to walk, talk, and move her arms all over again), it shows just how strong she is that she’s willing to re-live it all if it’ll help keep Lopez from killing again.
Update 2: I hate it when I have to go back and explain what I meant to say. It usually means that I didn’t write the piece clearly enough in the first place.
My “hook” on this piece was the mother’s offering to “punish” the murderer. What I was attempting to say was that it’s too late for Mommy to fix his problems; it’s the state of New Hampshire’s place now to see that justice is done.
I was not attempting to “blame” her for her son’s crimes; my focus was saying that she can NOT take responsibility for them and attempt to “fix” things.
My apologies to those who misunderstood. When one person misunderstands you, it’s easy to blame them. But when a whole bunch of people all come to the same “wrong” interpretation, it’s pretty obvious on which end of the keyboard the mistake was made.
Dammit, I gotta give these things one last re-read before I hit “publish…”