The day the trial started it was cold and raining. I remember thinking that the day reflected how everyone, especially Tina, was feeling with the trial about to start. The months leading up to this were not any easier, especially since the mistrial in June and the postponement of the second trial from October to November.
I spent the first couple days in a small room in the courthouse waiting my turn to testify. I had a very small part to collaborate Tina’s story of how Daniel had asked us for his forgiveness about ten years ago. I was very nervous about it. I can only imagine how drastically worse Tina’s anticipation was leading up to her testimony.
I was able to watch Tina’s mom testify. I never saw her acknowledge or even glance at Tina. Her thoughts were for herself and her husband. She was distraught over situation but not what Tina had been through.
Watching Chuck Phelps on the stand was just disgusting. The lying that poured out of that man was incomprehensible. He denied being in charge of the church, especially the money. Most of his answers were, “I don’t recall that.” He hemmed and hawed and tried to come up with answers without taking any responsibility for his actions, or in-actions. I have nothing kind I can say about him or the people that respect him or call him pastor and so I’ll just keep quiet. His true lack of character was demonstrated to everyone involved in this court case and he did more harm to the name of God than even Daniel Leaf.
Closing arguments was the most interesting part to me. It was interesting to hear the defense spin their tale. I was really impressed with the prosecutor and his skill of laying out the facts and presenting his argument. The prosecutor really had his hands tied in what he could and couldn’t say throughout the trial and his carefulness, deliberateness, and professionalism in and out of the courtroom was impressive.
I loved hearing the words of the judge as he praised Tina for the awesome woman that she is and what she had to overcome to become a successful, intelligent, capable woman overcame the odds of her abusive past. The prosecutor, when it was all done and behind closed doors, started to express his admiration for Tina and was very emotional and almost lost his composure in expressing himself to her but he was interrupted before he could finish.
The greatest encouragement was Tina’s friends who came out to see her. Some came to the courtroom and sat with her. Fran, one of her biggest supporters, was there every day, along with Tina’s uncle, Girouard. We had a big gathering at a local restaurant. We even had one friend, Jeffrey, drive up from New York to show his support. We know more would have like to come if it had been possible and we appreciated everyone’s love and support throughout this trial.