Friday, April 23, 2010
A judge has lifted a gag order on the investigations into the murders of local teens Amber Dubois and Chelsea King. K-P-B-S Reporter Amita Sharma spoke to Chelsea's parents, Brent and Kelly King, this week about their grief. They described their daughter as a girl with big hopes and big dreams.
SAN DIEGO PAMELA DAVIS (Anchor): A judge has lifted a gag order on the investigations into the murders of local teens Amber Dubois and Chelsea King. KPBS reporter Amita Sharma spoke to Chelsea’s parents, Brent and Kelly King, this week about their grief. They described their daughter as a girl with big hopes and big dreams.
BRENT KING: She was always full of positive energy, wanting to change the world. She couldn’t wait to go to college. She couldn’t wait for the next test, believe it or not. She couldn’t wait for the next morning.
AMITA SHARMA (Reporter): How are you coping on a day-to-day basis with your loss?
KELLY KING: This is the most horrific thing that can happen to you as a parent. So we get up in the morning. We remember what we have to be thankful for. We know what Chelsea would want us to do. And that’s to move forward and try and do everything in our power to prevent this kind of horrible thing to happen again to other kids and to raise our son Ty.
SHARMA: Many in the community who’ve watched you advocate for tougher laws against sex offenders these past two months have marveled over your ability to put one foot in front of the other so soon after your loss. What is propelling you forward?
BRENT KING: Our daughter, Chelsea. It’s focus. Every time I see a picture of her, every time I hear something that reminds me of her, I need to try to and make positive change. I need to. That’s how we honor our daughter.
SHARMA: Chelsea’s law would have a one-strike provision for the worst sex offenders and require GPS monitoring for those on parole. But the John Gardner case shows that, had existing laws been applied properly dealing with his molestation of a 13-year-old girl in 2000, his subsequent incarceration, his parole, Gardner could have been sent to prison for far longer than the six year sentence he served. How has this case affected your view of the criminal justice system?
BRENT KING: As a parent you assume that the system’s there to protect. You never assume that your daughter is going to be taken by a predator while she’s on a run in a park. You don’t assume that. You worry about terrible things but you don’t worry about that. You trust. We know that there are gigantic holes inside of the laws that are currently there. And part of Chelsea’s Law is to address the ones that we see that are most glaring.
SHARMA: Are you angry?
BRENT KING: Oh yeah.
KELLY KING: Oh yeah.
SHARMA: Brent, you had said last week that both you and Kelly unequivocally support the death penalty. And you acknowledged that because of decades of appeals the death penalty is an empty promise. But what does the loss of even the slight possibility of having the death penalty applied to John Gardner mean for you?
BRENT KING: You just said it. In California it’s an empty promise. So we could have gone through a trial, gone through a terrible amount of pain, put our son through a terrible amount of pain, our community through a terrible amount of pain, only to watch appeal after appeal after appeal. We chose not to do that.
SHARMA: You’ve asked a judge to keep documents containing details of your daughter’s final moments, final hour out of public view. Tell me about that.
KELLY KING: There’s no one that can convince me that the brutal details of what happened to Chelsea is necessary, is relevant, is something that the public needs to be aware of. Honor our daughter in a way that respects her dignity.
BRENT KING: And as parents, there’s not a minute that goes by that Kelly and I don’t play some terrible, vivid thing in our minds. We don’t need the details.
SHARMA: You both will have the opportunity to address John Gardner at his sentencing hearing on June 1. What do you plan to say to him?
KELLY KING: I think about it on a daily basis. And quite honestly, I probably won’t know until I’m standing there in front of him. There’s a lot of rage, there’s a lot of anger, there’s a lot of sorrow in my heart.
BRENT KING: Every night when I go to bed I’m writing my words. I have not put any on paper, they’re in my mind. I can’t wait for the day that I can stand in front of the sentence and bring my words out. My words will reflect Chelsea.
PAMELA DAVIS: And hear more of Amita Sharma’s interview with Chelsea King’s parents tonight at 8 o’clock on San Diego Week on KPBS TV.