By Marc Klaas
The family is pleased. The sun has risen and the vampire is burning. Following three days of deliberation, the jury convicted the killer on all counts. If this was not enough, the killer opened a little window and allowed the world a glimpse into his vacuum of a soul.
It took Tonya Hunter, the court clerk, approximately fifteen minutes to read the verdict. Every time she said guilty she recited the specific charge against this monster in a man’s skin. Sadness tempered our satisfaction at this just rendering of justice as specific charges were repeated in cold clinical terms. The terror she withstood during a two hour nightmare on October 1, 1993, still causes sleepless nights.
As the jury filed into the courtroom, tension was thick and anticipation was palpable. Juror number two, the smiling lady, looked directly at my father and beamed. This is when we realized that justice was served. Vindication is sweet, but too long in coming. The knowledge that this little piece of slime will never victimize again removes a tremendous burden from my shoulders.
With the verdict read, the courtroom standing and all eyes turned toward Polly’s killer, he gave us a gift. In one of the most ill conceived moves in courtroom history Polly’s killer slowly turned, winked, pursed his lips into a kiss and raised both hands to his chest, middle fingers extended in the air. The gesture lasted no more than five seconds, yet the unyielding eyes of video and still photography captured the profanity for all eternity.
Too hot to ignore, network newscasts broadcast the gesture and newspapers across the country published it on page one above the fold the next day. Viewers and readers were aghast at the audacity of this double insult. "Who is this monster flipping off society, and how dare the media invade our existence with the gross reproduction of his act?" Emotions ran high as protests poured in from everywhere. "What do I tell my children?" "This is taking the first amendment to extremes." "The media is tasteless and panders to the lowest common denominator." Tell your children that if they put up their middle finger they will look just like Davis. Tell them that they are lucky that he was in Petaluma and not your town. This is reality and now you know what I have known for more than two years.
Society tends to deny evil. It is difficult to explain and even more difficult to accept. Unfortunately, it is everywhere. Polly’s killer is in jail, but there are many more just like him in your town. We have designed a society that creates, nurtures and returns monsters to the street time and time again. Until recently, we stuck our head in the sand and pretended that it was not so. Wake up and scrape the crap off your shoe. If we do not do something about the monsters in our midst today it may be too late tomorrow.
KlaasKids Foundation P.O. Box 925, Sausalito, CA 94966
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