"Put an end to this cycle of non-forgiveness"

According to the Bay City Tribune, Justin Wayne Smith pleaded guilty to capital murder Friday for the December 2004 shooting deaths of his parents, Thomas Henry (Bubba) Smith and Toni K. (T.K.) Smith. Judge Craig Estlinbaum sentenced Smith to life in prison.”

What had to be one of the most powerful moments that day came when Bubba Smith’s sister (this would be Justin Smith’s aunt), LaWanda Mikulenka, delivered a victim-impact statement on behalf of her family. She said:

“It’s time to put an end to this cycle of non-forgiveness. We do not think you should be put to death, but you do have to face the consequences for what you’ve done.”

This is the voice of a family that understands the pain of having loved ones murdered at the hands of other family members. They spoke out for justice and accountability, not for vengeance.

Let us keep them and all those who suffer the loss of loved ones to violence in our thoughts as we continue to build our movement for a more just society.