Closure and Justice

I debated on actually posting all of the details from the courtroom, but in the end, I want to share them with yall. You’ve been with me from the assault, through each update, and I feel like this is my final piece in the chapter.

I purposefully scheduled a work event for Thursday morning to keep my mind busy. My letter to the judge was written, all I had to do was show up at 2pm. As time drew closer, the more anxious I got. I was on edge. I know I snapped at my loved ones more times than I should’ve, but we all handle things differently. I am a very independent person, I don’t like being needy, and for some reason, handling this alone seemed right.

I wasn’t really alone. My mom, dad, and sister all came with me to court. I just didn’t want to talk to them. I wanted to be left in quiet. Without opinions and thoughts. I needed to process things on my own.

Seeing Martell Malone always shakes my nerves. I saw him before the court room opened, along with the other 2 victims and their families. The assistant DA came and told us our options. We could go for 10 years and hope that he serves at least 18 months, or go for 10 years served on 3 different terms which means he would get 3 years for sure behind bars with probation. We all agreed to the latter. It would keep him in prison longer. Before I knew it, it was time to go into the court room.

We were asked to speak before we heard Martell’s case. I ended up being first. I thought I would be able to hold it together, but I sobbed and shook through the entire letter.

Judge,

I am here to plea that Martell Malone be given the maximum sentence that he can be given for my case. From what I understand about my assailant, he has been arrested/charged 6 times on public lewdness, indecent exposure, and harassment. His punishment was to go to counseling. This obviously has not helped. You cannot seek therapy to help control sexual abuse issues.

I have often been told how strong I have been for how I’ve handled myself through this case. What people don’t realize is how much this has affected me. EVERY day.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not see Martell Malones face in my head. Not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t see his creepy grin and hear his footsteps coming after me. There is no feeling like helplessness and the fear of your life, and that is what I felt on that day. There are many days that they feeling comes back to me.Running is my joy. It is what I do to stay healthy, clear my mind, have goals, and to be free. Unfortunately, my one constant happy in my life has forever been scarred by this man. I cannot go on a run (unless in a race) without looking over my shoulder every quarter of a mile. I think everyone is coming to attack me.

I am scared to walk to my car. I live in a walking neighborhood in Atlanta and I’m scared to walk to restaurants and stores alone. I always considered myself aware before and put my safety first but now it is to an extreme. My dad bought me a taser to walk with and I now carry pepper spray when I run.

What makes all of this even harder for me is knowing that this is in my hometown. The one place that you should feel safe, not to mention safer than the city of Atlanta…especially in the area of town that I was running in.

Martell Malone doesn’t deserve to be on the streets of Mobile. He doesn’t deserve to be out in the city with his freedom. That is not fair to the many women that live here. He’s done this too many times to think that he will not do it again.

The only thing that makes me feel better is knowing that I actually don’t live here at the moment. I can put this out of my mind more than the other victims in this case.

I ask that Mr.Malone really think about what he’s done. I know he has a daughter. A mother. What if this was one of his loved ones? How would he feel if someone did this to them?

I ask that Mr.Malone be given the maximum sentence for the charges against him. His patterns show that he is escalating, and no one should have to go through what I’ve gone through.

Thank you.

The other victims stated their case and then it was Martell’s turn. It made me ill. His lawyer stated he was better, along with his therapist, because he was now on antidepressants and didn’t have the urge to streak anymore. They also said he cut out his 3 hours of porn a day. They continued to discuss his streaking issues, when the ADA finally made it clear that what he did wasn’t streaking.

His fiance spoke and admitted she didn’t really know how bad it was until she heard our side in the courtroom. Her mother spoke. Several people made it out to sound like he was a changed man. Until, another counselor/examiner said that when she interviewed him post-arrest, he had no sense of sorrow or feelings towards what he had done. I lost it.

Martell read a letter apologizing to the victims, but I don’t believe he wrote it. It was too well written. He spoke about his daughter and family and how he was different since being on medication, but it just sounded like a scam to me.

I was nervous to hear what the judge had to say, but thank God, he gave him the max sentence. 3 years in prison with 5 years probation. If he violates his probation in those 5 years, he goes back to jail for 7 years. He is also now a registered sex offender.

I left the courtroom feeling emotionally exhausted. This man didn’t deserve another tear from me. IMG_6907The outreach and support I received on social media has been amazing. As I said in my letter to the judge, I have been told I’ve been brave and strong through this whole thing. I think I just did what I had to do. No man has the right to do what he did to a female and get away with it. Not seeing the process through the justice system did even seem like an option to me.

I decided on Saturday that it was only appropriate to run the same loop I ran the day it happened. Back in November of 2012, I never made it to the end of that street. I did on Saturday, only to realize it was a culdesac. For some reason, running that same loop and finishing it unharmed was a piece of closure for me. I way for me to really close this chapter and finally move on.

Yall know the old saying that everything happens for a reason? And God gives you what you can handle? Well, I think I they are both true. If I had to go through it to help save another person, to get this man off the streets, or to simply remind people/women of ways to stay safe, then I am glad it happened to me. I handled it all to the best of my abilities.

Will the fear go away? I hope so. I hope with time I forget about him and I see his face in my head less and less. I hope that over time I can run without checking over my shoulder. I hope that I can continue to move forward and that one day I will find a way to forgive him.

 

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Elizabeth

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15 Comments

  • I’ve followed this with you and I’m so glad to hear that justice has been served. Perhaps knowing he is behind bars will help dull the vividness of your memories and make your runs a little easier over time. Wishing you the best!

  • I am so sorry that you had to go through this. You are such a strong woman. Thank you for getting him off the streets and behind bars where he should be. It shows amazing strength to run that loop again. I am glad you found some closure in this truly terrifying experience.

  • Wow. I can’t even imagine having to go through this whole entire process. You ARE strong and I’m so sorry this happened, but you’re right, maybe you saved another person or several other women from something like this! So glad there is closure and justice for you!

  • I just found your blog so I’m just learning all about this, but WOW – good for you for standing up & stating your case on it. So glad the judge had a clear head on the decision. Sounds like he needs to be have that much time alone. That’s not really a long time in the scheme of things. Hopefully it will be put to good use.

  • I’m so proud of you for having the courage to read you letter out loud, sobs and all. I know its probably not been easy being so vocal about the details of everything that happened, but truly believe you’ve left an impression on a lot of us female runners in steps to safety. I believe that this along with recovering from your hip injury has made you into such a stronger runner and person – dont forget that.

  • You have endured this with such grace and dignity. And you have written about it with such strength and honesty and clarity. Speaking about your experience can only help us all. Your courage and generosity in this regard is both inspiring and humbling. Sending you so much love!

  • That’s some powerful writing, both your letter to the court and the blog post itself. I’m so impressed by all you have done, using this experience to spread awareness, being willing to go through everything involved in reporting this crime and seeing it through the justice system, and sharing your experience here. I hope along with you that your efforts serve the greater good.

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