JUDICIAL PROCESS STATUS REPORT
All reports prior to the date below are archived on a separate web page. [CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ARCHIVED REPORTS OF THE TRIALS OF PENA AND CABRERA]
July 22, 2002
Demetrio Cabrera was sentenced to consecutive sentences of life without parole and nineteen years eight months for his role in the murder and robberies. The family gave a victims' impact statement which is set out below:
I sit in front of the computer trying to write yet a second victim's impact statement. I tried to write this before we got on the plane to again return to LA. So many thoughts go through my mind when I am going through life's daily activities. So many thoughts of what life was like before October 28, 2000. So many thoughts of what life is like today. So many thoughts of what our life SHOULD be like today. We stand together here today, one statement, one voice but 3 people feeling immense loss.
We were an earthly family of 4 plus the animals we actually got -- and the ones Wendy found and brought home! Wendy and her sister, Karen, were as close as sisters could be. As young children, they played together, cried together if the other one was hurt or sad, they laughed together at something funny, they planned surprises for us, they shared "sisterly secrets" , they liked many of the same TV shows and went to movies together. They seldom had arguments -- they simply manipulated each other to get what they wanted and not have a confrontation. They did chores together -- often turning them into fun. One wonderful memory I will always have was when I asked them to clean the kitchen floor after they had made a mess. Well, they did -- they poured liquid ivory on the floor, added quite a bit of water and then scooted around on the floor in their bathing suits -- thus polishing the floor, making lots and lots of bubbles and an absolute mess! We have home movies of Christmas morning, easter egg hunts, swim meets, birthday parties and family gatherings and various other special moments.
Now we are an earthy family of 3 with unending memories of our cherished Wendy because you and Pena decided that you had the right to go out and terrorize people -- good people. You not only chose to terrorize people -- you chose to use a loaded guns with the trigger cocked in the ready position to shoot. I guess that was suppose to make you a big, powerful, strong man and woman. Well, it makes you a criminal and a coward who kills and robs people. You had the ability to stop the chaos of the crimes -- but you chose to send Pena out with the loaded gun when you were not man enough to commit the crime. While Pena may have pulled the trigger on Wendy, you made no attempt to stop the crime. You encouraged the crime! The other victims of the crimes are fortunate to have escaped with their lives. You further show how cold blooded you are by the commission of two more crimes within 30 minutes of the murder of Wendy.
I believe that you have biological children. If that is so, your crimes are even more heinous. It is easy to sire a child -- it is something else again to raise a child and raise a child with love for humanity and respect for others. When you decided to be with Pena in motels and terrorize and murder people, you had no thoughts of your children. Your crime spree included killing Wendy while she was helping a friends. While my heart goes out to any children you may have, the only gift you can possibly give them now is for them to realize that you chose to do what you did and now you deserve and will spend everyday of the rest of your life incarcerated behind bars with no freedom nor chance of freedom. While Wendy cannot be given back to us, you need to be kept where you can take nothing more from us or from society. Hopefully, your children will choose a different lifestyle. We hope your children follow Wendy's memory and not yours! If you have any feelings of remorse (though you have shown none) you may consider telling the authorities what you did with the other guns you used that night.
I went to Wendy's grave Thursday evening, I watered the grass, tended the flowers, cursed the bugs that nibbled on my symbolic petunias, shared my thoughts with her spirit, and tried to leave without crying. I cannot do that -- I touch my fingers to my lips and transfer the kiss to the ground -- and know that none of this should have happened. I watch her sister kneel and have a silent moment of whatever thoughts she has. My heart breaks for her loss and the pain in her heart. I know her Daddy (she frequently called him Daddy) stops by for moments with Wendy. I have moments of feeling "broken". I listen to Wendy's voice singing an original song she composed while accompanying herself on the guitar from a tape that she recorded shortly before her death. Our future is changed forever because of 2 evil people and one bullet. We all have moments when the shock comes back quickly, viciously and without warning like a knife through our hearts. Anything can trigger it -- an animal, a dream, a memory, a word, a picture, any given moment in time. When those moments happen, the remainder of the day is often profoundly sad. We still cannot write down the words of the horror of being notified of the murder of Wendy. I think of all the people who have gone through this before us and those that will come after us and suffer the pains we now know because of people like you -- and my heart grows heavy.
We have been asked if we would make the same statements that we did at Pena's trial. My answer has been--I don't know -- I will sit down at the computer and see what comes out of my heart. Well, the statement is different, the heart just as raw, the pain just as real and the reality impossible to fully explain. Our pleading to anyone in the future who should think that Pena and Cabrera deserve any leniency under any conditions, we pray that they read our statements. We plead that they try to walk in our shoes. The pain in our hearts -- we wish on no man, woman or child. We ask that people remember Wendy and not the two people who chose to murder Wendy.
Know Wendy by the words of her lifelong best friend, Elizabeth, who said in her speech at Wendy's memorial service attended by approximately 850 people, "Wendy was the most amazing person I will ever know. There isn't a day that goes by where I'm not in awe of her talent, her personality and our amazing friendship. She was so generous, so special--so wonderfully Wendy. I couldn't be more proud or more honored to have been her friend for the last 20 years. Know Wendy by her own words to her Daddy in an email…hello daddy-kins! It's me, Wendy! Anyway, I hope momma is doing well. I got your message today and was very happy to hear your voice. I even saved it so I can hear it whenever I want to. But my affection for you is not why I am writing. I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to you. Got back, school stuff, had a boy break my heart, you know, things get busy. I love you. And boys suck …love your littlest girl. Know Wendy by her sister's words from her previous impact statement. "The last time I saw my sister was at about 7 in the evening the night before she was murdered. She was curled up with my dog on the couch in my apartment watching TV. The last time I spoke to my sister was at about nine-thirty or ten at night before I went to bed. I went to sleep that night with a sister who was also by best friend. When I woke up in the morning, she was gone. You took away one of the most precious things in my life, but you did not beat me, you did not break me down.
Allow me to close this statement with some of my thoughts from the previous statement. We have all lost so much. Wendy had a special light that when you were around her, she encircled you with warmth and love. She was not perfect, she had overcome health problems, she was generous to a fault with everything she had, she was a soulmate and best friend to her sister and we as their parents were blessed with two daughters we dearly loved and were always proud of. Wendy loved to bring people together in life and she continues to do that even now. Her spirit is strong and will give us strength. She will be forever on our minds and in our hearts. To our families, friends and Wendy's friends, your hugs, thoughts and deeds give us a measure of comfort and we all thank you for that. Sharing your thoughts, memories and pictures of Wendy gives us comfort. Your messages on the website often bring a smile to our faces -- and we are grateful. To my husband and daughter Karen -- you are my solid foundation when the building gets shaky. We will find a way through this to go on perhaps because of Wendy. We miss her wonderful hugs, her laughter (Wendy knew how to laugh), her words. Our Wendy, our petunia, we love you.