Editor’s note: The following is a first-person news account from Associated Content CP Rosa Hayes, who lost her son in an auto accident. Hayes lives in Oklahoma City. NewsOK.com has a full account of the accident.
As we sat outside waiting impatiently for the time to come in which Elsie Margiretta Murguia would be sentenced, all I could think about was our son. Gaje Jeffrey Florence was only six years old at the time of his death and now we were waiting for the moment in which his killer would be put to justice.
The court was set for nine in the morning and yet I had been up since four with only about three hours of sleep. Who could sleep at a time like this? I had sat up all the night the night before wondering why this had happened to us and how I might feel a little bit of ease once the court process was over. I was wrong, even after Murguia was sentenced for the death of Gaje, I still felt a longing that had been there this entire time.
As we walked into the court room that smelt musky, I sat in a bench that was closest to the judge. The District Attorney, David Prater, walked in and greeted us and went over the process with us so that we would be better prepared for what was about to come.
Murguia was pleading guilty to negligent homicide and breaking her probation. She would stand there and admit her guilt in front of all of us for the first time.
It was our time now and we stood up in front of the judge. I had never been so close to Murguia and yet I felt no sympathy for her. I remember the Honorable Judge Hall asking how she pleaded. Murguia hesitated and then abruptly said, guilty your Honor.
This was the first time that she had admitted to what she had done. I felt tears starting to flow from my eyes. My husband grasped my hand firmly and began to cry. Guilty….. it was something that I had hoped for all along and yet I couldn’t make myself believe what she had said or what she had done.
Murguia was sentenced to one year for negligent homicide, which is the maximum allowed by law for this charge, and three years probation. She is not able to drive for the term of her sentence. Murguia now has a felony charge on her for breaking her probation.
Murguia would have been able to get out of jail because in the state of Oklahoma she would have only had to do six months of the one year term but the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not release her due to a pending deportation. Murguia may be deported due to this incident and her past history.
I couldn’t help but to look at Murguia as we walked out of the court room. I had to see the look in her eye when she realized what she had done. The look on her face was nothing like what I had expected. She didn’t cry, she didn’t smile. She had a plain look but smirked ever now and then. It is hard to control yourself at a moment like this but it has to be done.
As I walked out of the court room, I flashed back to that day that I had found Gaje lying on the ground with my husband laying over him covered in blood. This was the same image that I see most nights when I try to drift off to sleep. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night, I can hear my husband calling out his name. I don’t dare mention this to him for fear that he will slip back into the way that he was after the funeral.
Is it ever going to get easier? It has been six months since our little boy was killed and it still feels like yesterday. The pain is unbearable and the drama that comes with it makes you want to run away from everything. You wake up each morning reaching out for something that is no longer there and each night that you close your eyes, you pray that he will come walking through the door.
On May 19, 2007 our lives changed forever. I can’t begin to tell you about the true pain of loosing a child but I will say that the love of a child is greater than anything in the world.