Victim Impact Statements
The following Victim Impact Statements were written and read to the court by the families of Amanda, Angie, Megan, Shana, and Mike. The statements provided an opportunity to express to the court the impact the crime had on their lives. It is often the only time to participate in the criminal justice process and/or address the offender directly.
Statement by Mike Geiger – Amanda’s father
Judge Tillet: There is no greater impact on a family than the loss of a child. We loved Amanda, and in an instant she was taken from us. Amanda was the youngest in our family of 5. She was bright, outgoing, sensitive, caring, and adventurous. These past nine months without her have been very hard to handle, as the enormous space she left behind has forever changed us. Amanda was a dynamic young lady who kept our household lively. Since her death the healing process has been slow. All of us find it hard to concentrate on much of anything. Some days everything is fine, and on others we fall backwards. Birthdays, holidays, and family events now feel strange. As a parent, one of the nicest sounds you will ever hear is your child calling you Dad or Mom, or calling her brother and sister, Michael and Kelly. We miss her cheery announcement, “I’m home!” Once in awhile she called me Pops, and her mom, Sugar. We miss that every day. Now we have visits from her friends, who come to share their experiences as well as their memories of better times. We have Amanda’s paintings, pictures, and different souvenirs around the house, but no Amanda. You can’t believe the pain that shoots through you when a police officer tells you your child has been killed. We don’t want other families to experience the pain that all of our families have felt. There are a lot of things in life that you have no control over, but this senseless crash didn’t have to happen. Amanda will always be a precious gem to her family and everyone who knew her.
Statement by Kathy McGrady – Angela’s Mother
Your Honor, Nine months ago my family’s life and mine drastically changed. Two Medford Township Police officers came to our door to tell us our daughter Angela was killed in a car crash by a drunk driver. The first thing was disbelief and shock for all of us. All I wanted to do was go to her and hold her in my arms and tell her I loved her. This should have never happened to Angela. She didn’t deserve to die this way. When I saw her body for the first time her face and chest were badly bruised. Her head rested on her chest and she was three times the size she should have been. When I close my eyes at night sometimes it is the only thing I can vision. Angela would never have hurt anyone. She was loved by many. She was so sweet and innocent, and loved just being with family and friends. The first thing people remember about her is her big beautiful smile. Angela was just starting to really live her life. She worked as a clerk in a grocery store. She was deciding what college to go to, looking forward to going to her prom, and then graduation. Her family will never see her accomplish these things. Some of her dreams were to get married, have children, and live on a big farm with lots of animals. That has all been taken from her and her family. Now I visit a grave with a small cross, an angel, and notes left by loved ones. I miss her so much. I see the pain it has brought to my husband, my son, and myself. There are no words to describe this pain. Angela and her friends Shana, Amanda, Megan, and Mike, will never get the chance to laugh, sing, talk, or share a special moment together. That all ended for them April 6, 1999, due to the actions of Melissa Marvin. Now our home is so empty. There is no more laughter, no more teenagers coming in and out, and no more, “I love you mom.” “I’ll be safe, mom.” No more, “I’m home, good night.”
Statement by Jim Blong – Megan’s Father
Our family wishes to thank the members of the jury for their time and effort in reaching their difficult decision. We would like to thank both the state and defense attorneys for the professional manner in which this case was presented and the witnesses for their honest and sincere testimony this week. Finally, we want to thank the police and fire departments, EMTs, and everyone else who provided help to our children at the crash site and medical centers. Although Megan accomplished so much, her life was only just beginning; a new horizon was out there to accomplish. On April 6th, 1999, tragically, in such a violent and abrupt way, Megan was killed. In eighth grade, Megan was class president and she ended her speech with “We will be the graduating Class of 2000.” Megan had planned to run for class president in her senior year and address her classmates again. Yet due to Miss Marvin’s selfless act, we will be remembering her tragic death instead of celebrating her high school graduation. At her funeral we had many people tell us of the kind acts she had done for their children at school; acts far beyond her years. These are only a few of the things our family and others will never get to experience again from Megan. Instead, our lives have been forever changed and we are now faced with constant daily reminders of our loss. We receive endless college applications for Megan in the mail daily; we now have one less name to sign on our holiday cards; one less spot to set at the kitchen table; one less person on our family vacations; her empty bedroom. We still celebrated her 18th birthday on July 26th this past summer by bringing her cake to the cemetery. Nothing will bring our Megan, Angie, Shana, or Amanda back. And Michael will always have to live with the horror of the crash. But today, we are asking in our Megan’s name for our society to realize that this was not an accident, it was a totally avoidable crime. It is a crime of murder. Your Honor, we ask that the deaths of our Megan, Amanda, Angela, and Shana not to have been in vain. No other family should have to experience the pain and heartache we are now living with every day without our children. We believe your imposition of a long incarceration will deter others from repeating the actions of Miss Marvin. We believe a long incarceration will prevent other families and other communities from feeling the pain and suffering our family and this community are enduring and will continue to endure. Thank you.
Statement by Paul Lawler – Shana’s Father
Dear Judge Tillet, I am Shana’s dad . Do you have children, Your Honor? I am sure you love your children more than your own life and would do all you could to protect them from harm. Our children are a gift from the Lord and are most precious. I remember sitting next to my Shana in Sentara Hospital’s trauma unit holding her hand and praying to the Lord Jesus to spare her precious life. Shana’s sisters, her Mom, and I, were on our knees to God praying for a miracle to come. Our Shan Shan would open her eyes and we would take her home with us. The last memory I have of my Shana is lying in a coma on her hospital bed. I would wipe the tears from her eyes when the pain would increase, sing to her for encouragement, and kissing her good-bye for the last time. My God chose not to answer our prayers according to our desires. He did take my Shana home to be with Him for all eternity. That is a miracle by His grace. Why do I bring the Lord into my statement? Because we are all accountable to Him for our actions during our life time. Your Honor, you have been chosen by God to minister the law of the land in Dare County. Where lawlessness resides, the people will suffer. The disregard for the drunk driving laws of our county have had a devastating effect on our lives. I have spoken to many EMTs, police officers and emergency care workers on the banks. Their frustration in witnessing time and again DWI crash scenes has taken its toll. One fireman has resigned his position as a direct result of this crash. Our county cannot afford to lose such dedicated people. An individual who is apprehended for a DWI only to have the charge reduced or dropped is very frustrating. These people continue to drink and drive. The penalty for a reduced charge of reckless driving is almost always a $100 fine and a suspended sentence. Littering seems to bring a more serious penalty. Miss Marvin will drink and drive again if she is permitted to escape her debt to our society. You have the power to prevent her from driving by incarceration. A maximum sentence will not bring back my Shana, my Amanda, my Angie, my Megan. It may perhaps, discourage another Miss Marvin from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and killing someone you love, Judge. A liberal attitude towards Drunk Driving does and will one day effect each one of us. Please consider the message being sent to our community and nation when you pass sentence on Miss Marvin. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Shana’s Dad, Paul Lawler.
Statement by Mike’s Father – Doug Horner
I put them on the bus. Four beautiful teenagers. They were filled with life, they were filled with joy, they were filled with hope. Their lives stretched out before them as far as the horizon. They couldn’t see that, though; they were all just looking forward to visiting their good friend Shana whom they hadn’t seen in almost a year. They were so excited to go. Amanda with her golden hair and demure countenance. Angela in sandals and with her mile wide smile. Mike and Megan off to the side and engrossed in some intense conversation. They were so alive. I had been so worried about doing the responsible Dad thing – I called the other parents, I called the bus station for schedules, I called Paul Lawler to make sure he knew when to be there to pick up the kids I figured that if I could just get them on the right bus, at the right time, pointed in the right direction, and another Dad was at the receiving end to get them off, well, then the worst of my worries would be over. The next time I saw my son he had tubes sticking out of his face. And his abdomen was being held together with steel staples. I never saw the girls again. Because Angie and I had to stay with Mike at the hospital, and I had to stay with him when we got home, I never got to be at Megan’s funeral, and I never got to be at Angela’s funeral, and I never got to be at Amanda’s funeral. But I did get to go to Shana’s funeral. The Lawlers had graciously brought Shana back home to New Jersey, because she had so many friends there. Unfortunately I had never met Shana before then. The first time I got to meet her, she was wearing her blue jean overalls and was lying in her casket. And when I lie in my bed, awake at night, I wonder how all of this could have happened. How could all of this be allowed to happen? Who could just one person, in one drunken, murderous moment, cause so much carnage?? When I see my son Mike at home with us, I thank God that somehow, He saw fit to give Mike back to his mother and me. But when I stare into the vacant eyes of eight other parents, and their surviving children, I see their pain. When I meet with them over coffee at their houses and we talk about next week’s MADD meeting, or how to plan a charity fund raiser, I know their pain. When I put my arms around their shoulders and hug them, I feel their pain. And, I feel their pain because I put their children on the bus.
For additional support and information, see the Victim Impact Statements MADD Booklet.