Oh I forgot to tell you about the sentencing surprise… There’s always a surprise…

I still don’t understand exactly what happened or  exactly what this means, but I guess I know as much as the County Attorney’s office, so that’s… well I guess that’s really nothing….

I think I mentioned that shockingly enough I was late to the sentencing . I was really only four to five minutes late, which in my world means I was early, but we can just say I was on time(ish).  It didn’t matter though because the judge hadn’t read the letters yet.

Have I mentioned that I really liked the judge?  And yes I am being serious, there was something I really liked about her.  I would have liked her regardless of if she chose to pre-read those letters, but I have to say I appreciated that move and maybe not at first, but it was the right thing to do.

Why?  Because the letters were important to us and even more important to Madi and Tyler.  When she took time before the hearing and we were all aware of what that time was being used for it gave that moment the significance it deserved.  It was a form of respect.  With the letters being fresh on her mind she was able to say a few things that I felt sent a message  to the Gardner’s and their attorney.  In my opinion it felt like we finally had someone on our side and after being so violated by this whole situation I will say it was noticed and appreciated.   But even without all of that if you are a diva boss woman judge you should be late to everything no matter what .  You should also show up wherever you go with a bedazzled Gavel, but she wouldn’t do that, she just knew how to make a statement.  Don’t get me wrong the district court judge has also made us wait, but I think his stalling was more of a;  What the hell are you guys pulling?  Nope, hold on, wait a damn minute, type of making us wait.

So here’s a fun fact… Did you guys know Marilee’s Lawyer  was also one of Warren Jeffs’ defense attorney’s?  Sorry I know that is way off the subject and placed here randomly for no apparent reason, but I am getting to our surprise.   I have known about this odd selection since the beginning of this legal process and I have never been able to wrap my head around it.

Let’s think this through for a minute.  She was representing Warren Jeffs’, hmm odd, but ok.   Let’s see who else she has represented?  Well there’s this guy .   Wait isn’t that the same guy that ??… Oh yep it is it’s the same guy.. How fun!!   I wonder how they all know each other?  I  actually don’t know the answer to that question, but don’t worry I am going to delve into it.  Wait one more… where are my laughing emoji’s?  You all better be clicking on these links, I worked hard to find the perfect pictures of this circus.

I guess perhaps it worked out for them, but I am not a good one to ask.  I Googled every possible thing related to Marilee’s case to see if that firm came up and never once did they come up as an option.  And yes I know he probably didn’t Google defense attorneys for his daughter, but I do know they were called in the middle of the night, so where did this recommendation or “great find” come from?  Just odd if you ask me.

Oh and while I’m completely off subject and talking about odd selections …Dr. Gardner did speak on sentencing day.  I would usually say that I don’t want to sound mean, but I don’t care if I sound mean.  He stood up, he was crying, I braced myself and for a brief second thought a sincere apology was coming.   As soon as I heard “Our Heavenly Father” I started crying, not because it was such an emotional outpouring, but because it didn’t mean anything at that point, it was not sincere .  There was no meaning behind his words and I didn’t want or need his memorized, recycled prayers.  I blocked him out, but one of my best friends told me he actually said “time heals all wounds”..  Are you kidding me?  My brain knows when to start blocking that’s for sure.

I’m still confused about our surprise,  there was no presentation and a  surprise should have a presentation right?  It shouldn’t just be randomly brought up, right?  Now you can see that I tried to create the same effect with the Gardner’s polygamy lawyer thing, did it work?  Oh wait, we don’t know what it was intended for and can’t answer yes or no, but we can answer if it sounds like a fun thing or not.

This surprise is not something I couldn’t have imagined getting, but it turns out every 90 days Marilee Gardner will get a parole hearing in the juvenile system.  What?? (I know that was our reaction). It was just randomly dropped here and there during sentencing, kind of mentioned in passing like we were aware.  Granted I wouldn’t have known regardless because I was fired by our advocate, but one would think the others knew about this new development, but nope they did not.

This was frustrating when we first found out.  Marnie has been on it as far as communicating with the juvenile court and I think we will make the most of it.  We get to be there every 90 days, we get to show that we are not going anywhere, and we have been told this is a first for them.  They have not had to deal with anything like this.   We should probably apologize in advance…

Uncle Lee vs. The Prosecutor and my “we were not treated right” rant to follow

Madi’s uncle Lee surprised me on 10/25/2017 (Sentencing Date).  I am going to let you read his words explaining what happened that day, I think he explains it best.  I will just say it was rapid fire…

“What a rough morning. I didn’t know I was going to give a statement until I was at the court house this morning. Today Marilee Gardner was sentenced for taking the lives of Madi Mariah Haan and her friend Tyler. I’ve spoken in juvenile court so many times before but this time was different. I was shaking. I was terrified.

I’m very glad I had a chance to look her in the eye and say what I felt- even if it didn’t come out exactly how I wanted it. I’m disgusted in the prosecuting attorney smirking while Tyler’s grandfather read his victim statement. I called him out on it in court and am glad I did. I’d say it again, “I find it offensive for the prosecutor to smile and smirk during a victim’s statement.”

Before I had a chance to see what Lee had posted I had posted this…

“I just want to thank everyone who came to support justice for Madi and Tyler today, it was intense and emotional and I needed you there so thank you. I am so proud of my daughter for standing up and saying something, she at one point didn’t even think she could go, so I am very very proud and I know that what she said was straight from her broken heart.   To my brother- in- law Lee I loved you before, I respected you before, but today you were a hero (it can be wonder woman), you stood up for something and did it with conviction. Lee I get you so much more now then ever before. I get it I really do… You get strong and you do what is right and you say something and you say it with confidence because you know that you are right, I get that now and unless you have had to fight like hell for what you know is right you don’t get that, and there is a certain confidence that comes with that. I have that confidence now, and when I saw you today I knew exactly why you do the things that you do, which are the right things. I can’t put it in your words so I will put it in mine… Now that I have had to fight for the thing that has been the very most horrific and important thing in my life no one is going to disrespect me. I will say what is right and wrong and with confidence because I know that I am right and that no one is going to belittle or bully me into thinking otherwise. Not ever again!  I love you, Madi Mariah Haan loves you, and as you said and as you know all of your nieces and nephews love you as well, you inspire people 

I would like to express my opinion about the prosecutor as well as my previous advocate and their actions.

I get that it is human nature to get defensive when you feel attacked, I really do, but to be dramatic about something you  caused while dealing with families who have been through such a tragedy is petty to say the least.

Why do we say the things we do?  The things that make us mad and make us speak out… These are said because we have not been treated right.  We were not treated right when you made the decision that Dr. Gardner’s position with the Weber County Sheriff’s office was not a conflict of interest in this case.  We were not treated right the numerous times we were not contacted or called back as we were told we would be.  We were not treated right when we showed up after a sleepless night thinking we are going to a preliminary hearing and it ends up only being a hearing to ask for a new court date.

We were not treated right when the notification for Madi’s car being available for the insurance company to inspect was not properly relayed to anyone, not the insurance company, not me, not my attorney, no one.  I made car payments on the car my daughter and Tyler were killed in for 10 months.  Do you think that is acceptable?  Also on this same subject again promises to call back were not kept.

We were not treated right when Tyler’s Grandpa from out of state came down for a meeting that he had not been notified of by the attorney’s office and  because of this he asked questions.  He had completed all of the required paperwork to be on the list of victims for this crime, he asked you why he had not been notified about anything up until that point.  That point was  in February.  This means 8 months after our kids were killed and he had not been notified of anything.  Your reply to him was and I am paraphrasing, but this is what was said ;

“My responsibility is to contact the parents and siblings, I have no obligation to contact anyone else on the list, if the parents and siblings want to funnel that information to others that is their choice, but that is not my responsibility and not my offices responsibility either.”

First of all if I could go back in time I would have told you to “F” off right then.  I believe I was in shock and hadn’t realized what was to come.  Second there were quite a few times when siblings were not notified either.  And third let’s not forget when you called Madi’s Grandpa only, not Madi’s mom or Dad or sister. Was alphabetical order used? Nope… I can’t really figure out what order your contact list is based off of, but that is your bad not ours.

After I wrote the letter to the judge I feel an apology should have happened, I was not in the wrong.  An apology is not a hard thing to do unless you are a very egotistical person.  Did I get an apology?  Nope not even close, instead I got fired by my advocate.  I got singled out and separated from our group for sending a letter about my concerns… oh and for writing in my blog my very valid concerns.

And that leads to the sentencing date and the disrespectful treatment to some of us.  My former advocate made it a point to come directly up to me and tell me that my own “personal” advocate was present, and also gave me some dirty looks in the process.  The prosecutor was smirking at Tyler’s Grandpa’s victims impact statement, again this is unacceptable.  I am so thankful for what Madi’s uncle Lee did when he saw with his own two eyes another example of this horrible treatment.  And what you and everyone else does not know is that Lee didn’t know about all of the previous examples.  I am not a lawyer, but to me that proves something.

 

 

Sometimes the rules don’t apply….A tribute to Madi and Tyler… We love you

I guess technically this really isn’t a tribute to Madi and Tyler, technically it was justice, but I don’t know that Justice exists or if it ever has.

Our Justice system seems to be taking something that has been shattered and trying to make it as whole again as you can.  And sometimes you have all  the pieces and you can glue everything back, but it will always have those visible scars showing where the broken parts  were glued back in place.  Sometimes the missing pieces are under the fridge and you can’t reach them nor do you have the strength to move the fridge and of course you have no one to help to move it.  And sometimes all you have left is ceramic dust.   As part of Madi and Tyler’s family I believe what we have left is the  equivalent of ceramic dust…but we still do what we can.

That morning October 25th 2017 the sentencing for Marilee Gardner was to take place at 9:00 AM and of course I got there late.  While arriving I was told that I had missed the instructions, to which I replied  “I don’t listen to those anyways” , well that part is true but I would soon be seeing that I was not the only one, actually I kind of did listen this time around… well as far as the sentencing instructions and what I was aloud to say goes.  I followed the rules (address only the judge, don’t look at Marilee directly or say her name while talking, talk directly to the judge), but others knew instinctively what they needed to say for all of us, and what they needed to say did not fall in line with the rules.  I don’t want to say they broke the rules, because how dare they put rules on us, so I will say these family members felt so passionate about their thoughts and feelings that the rules didn’t apply.

At the very bottom of this post I placed what I said to the judge on Wednesday,  what I said was  from a blog post I had written at the beginning of the week it’s my What Madi Missed list.  There are so many stories to tell from this day, and I will get to them, but first I need to share what some of the family said that day to the judge and to Marilee herself.

Do what is right even if you stand alone.  This is how I would explain what Madi’s uncle Lee did on that day, with conviction he got up and said the raw unfiltered truth.  Here is what he told her.

” You are a murderer but not only a murderer you are a thief. You stole something from me and my family and Tyler’s family. Your selfish actions robbed us. Through out my life many people have judged me because of their own perceptions of who I am. This was never the case for my nieces and nephews. Maddison said one day how proud she was of me and that she looked up to me for things I’ve done- you’ve stolen that from me. You stole my niece, their cousins, their daughter, their granddaughter and friend. Our hearts are broken and I don’t even know if you care or feel what you’ve done. You are a thief and I don’t forgive you today and I won’t forgive you tomorrow but eventually I’ll have to if I expect to be forgiven by the Heavenly Father. We will be there in court when you turn 21 to make sure you remember those that you stole from and the lives you took. Your attorney said to the judge to take into consideration Of how Significantly detrimental this is to Miss Gardner but I don’t buy that. This is not about feeling bad for you it’s about those you killed.”

I will never give up fighting for you Madi and Tyler’s Grandpa’s both went for the jugular, as my friends put it “they were savage”.  They were both interrupted during what they were saying, but it was obvious to all that they were going to get their points across.

Tyler’s Grandpa talked about his relationship with his two grandsons, and I must say that when he talks about his grandsons I can tell they are his life.

He addressed the fact that from an outsider looking in it seems Marilee was maybe more privileged than our kids, but not more loved and that there may have been a lack of love from her parents.

He pointed out something I had also been told about which was a Facebook post from the 4th of July last year (4 days after the crash) from Marilee’s mother that said something about Marilee having a bad day, he also brought up Marilee’s father working for the Weber County Sheriff’s department and the disappointing way the case was handled.  He said Madi and Tyler deserved better, and they did.

Madi’s Grandpa was full of rage, he talked about how he didn’t write anything because he couldn’t get everything in writing.  He talked about how his life has stopped since Madi has been gone, he told Marilee that she robbed herself when she killed Madi because Madi would have been a friend to her, he called her a terrorist and told her that he hates terrorists.  He said he will never forgive her.

Madi’s Grandpa got to talk for a few minutes, but Marilee’s lawyer stopped him, they asked him for a copy of his letter , they said they needed that if he were to continue, since he had already stated there was no letter he obviously wouldn’t be able to continue and the microphone was taken from him.

You took my sister.  This one hurt me, not in a personal attack kind of way, but because I know and I see the reality of this, but what was said by Zoey was something I hadn’t had to hear prior to sentencing day.

My daughter Zoey had told me that she was not going to go to the sentencing, she had been saying it for months.  I really felt that she needed to be there, but I wouldn’t and didn’t pressure her about it.  I knew why she didn’t want to go, this is an incredibly hard thing to do.

Zoey and Madi were so ridiculously close and I feel that as far as day-to-day life goes Zoey’s life was the most affected by the loss of  Madi’s

Zoey got up and told Marilee ” I hate you! You took my sister and I will never forgive you.   My sister was my world and I don’t forgive you  now and I won’t forgive you ever”.

Those words were heartbreaking to hear, they were what I already knew, but to hear them being said out loud was like a punch to the stomach.

You took my brother.  Tyler”s brother did a really good job, it was pointed out to me that he was the only one who followed “the rules”,  he  sent a definite message. He let Marilee know that her selfish actions caused this, he also said the following which is exactly true.  It’s something you can’t explain in words, but he did.

“There isn’t one specific thing you miss about a person that you have lost, you miss the person as a whole, who they were to you, in your eyes, Tyler was my brother. I miss Tyler, I miss my brother everyday, and I will everyday until the day I die.”

 

If you only knew how much those little moments meant to me.  This is Marnie’s letter to the judge, Marnie did not read this out loud on Wednesday, but she does want everyone to know what Tyler meant to her.  Marnie truly loved Tyler and he was hers.  She will always fight for him and has been at every court hearing…. every single one…and I am so grateful for that.

Your honor, my name is Marnie. Tyler Christianson became my step son when he was around six months old. He came into my life with red hair and adorable chubby cheeks. Tyler called me Mom #2, a title I will always cherish. Tyler had a quiet demeanor about him and a great sense of humor, famous for his practical jokes. He loved working on cars, skate boarding and hanging with his friends.

He has a younger brother by three years Hunter who looked up to his older brother. They always looked forward to their boys trips with their grandpa and the all nighters they would have playing Xbox or PlayStation. Telling hunter his brother had been killed, watching the pain my son has gone through, has been the hardest thing as a parent I’ve had to endure. On June 30, 2016 our life’s changed because of one persons selfish choice.

I’m not sure what has been more difficult. For Tyler’s funeral trying to find the words to share with people, to put on paper words that could describe the love and emotions I have for Tyler. Choosing the right memories to share, so everyone could see how much he means to me. Or sitting here now trying to express the raw emotions of the constant pain of missing Tyler, knowing I will never see him again. To explain the loss, the hole that his death has left in my heart. The impact his murder has had on my life and my sons life. It would be like trying to describe a color to someone, it’s impossible to do, you can’t use words to describe this pain.

Having someone you love taken from you, in such a horrific, careless, selfish way. Seeing no remorse from Marilee Gardner for her actions, that have devastated our lives is heartbreaking and disturbing. She has robbed Tyler of his life. Losing a child is a different kind of grief. Hearing people talk about their children growing up, about their children’s experiences, knowing Tyler will never experience these. Collage, dating, marriage, children of his own, grandkids, holidays, growing old, birthdays. Tyler’s last birthday he celebrated was May 22, 2016 he turned 19. Tyler has no future, that was taken from him and our future with Tyler was also taken from us.

For the rest of my life I will have to visit my sons grave, on his birthday and holidays. I can only look at old pictures and watch old home movies from when he was little and the few recordings and videos his friends have sent, I will always cherish. It’s the only way I’ll hear his laugh or voice again. I only have the past and memories. There will be no more Silly texts, or those great big hugs he would give me. No more I love you’s. When we have family gatherings, vacations, Tyler should be with us. In pictures I can see where he should be standing. I feel like I have to put a mask of lies on, to get through those days. They are so emotional, it feels like a great weight sitting on my chest and I can’t breathe. But I have to smile and get through them for my other children and make everyone feel ok around me. But inside the sadness is over whelming. It’s sad, life does move on in the world, but my emotional mind is stuck on June 30 the the day he was taken from us.

Your honor, two irreplaceable lives were taken carelessly, selfishly on June 30, 2016. No remorse has been shown or heard, I hope justice is served and Marilee Gardner serves the full extent of punishment of her two sentences.
Sincerely,
Marnie

What Madi Missed

Family statement released 6/30/2016

Today our family lost our beautiful blue eyed girl with a heart of gold. She had big ambitions, loved music, enjoyed going to Bear Lake with her grandparents, and was a kind and loving soul.  She accomplished a lot in her 20 years but now the world will never know the good she could have accomplished because she was taken from us too soon.  We are grateful for the 20 years we had with her and thankful for the outpour of love and prayers for our families as we process this new reality for us, a world without her.
As we mourn for Madi we also see and feel many people mourning with us.  We also mourn the loss of her friend who lost his life in the accident and for his family and their loss. We are sorry for your loss.  In our sorrow, in time, we will find forgiveness for the driver that caused this senseless act that forever changed many lives.  Our hearts also go out to her family.
Written by Uncle Lee

I started with the statement from that day 6/30/2016,  I saw this yesterday for the first time since that day and started to reflect on it a bit.  I still have not written my victim impact statement for Wednesday, I am really struggling, not because of the words, but because I am so disappointed in so many people and I do not know how to make my statement not be full of rage.  Every time I start it goes immediately to my most angry place and I don’t honestly at this point think it is the time to share that, I feel off guard and that I am not ready.  But one thing I can say that I have learned from this is that life doesn’t care if you are ready and some people seem to care even less than life does.

What Madi Missed

Looking at the statement that Madi’s uncle Lee wrote that day I got stuck on Bear Lake of all things.  It just stood out, I started thinking about how my parents took my other two children to Bear Lake the week after Madi’s funeral.  And I remembered how it felt when I met them there a few days later, it felt empty, it felt sad, it felt forced and unnatural because we were missing someone who should have been there and who would have been there so I decided to make a list of what Madi missed.

Madi missed a balloon release in hers and Tyler’s honor

Madi missed my birthday, and only by two days, yes Madi was killed two days before my birthday

Madi missed the family dinner at my cousin Jessie’s and Nikki’s house the Sunday after she was killed and she missed seeing their dog Norman the Newfie who is always a favorite with my kids

Madi missed her funeral and the Cage the Elephant concert that she had bought tickets for that happened to be on that same night

Madi missed the 4th of July

Madi missed the trip to Bear Lake the week after her funeral and several trips since then

Madi missed her cousin Jamie’s wedding, which I also missed because I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other that soon after her death

Madi missed her cousin Talia’s wedding

Madi missed her first day at Weber State University

Madi missed her Grandpa’s birthday

Madi missed Halloween which is always our families favorite

Madi missed Thanksgiving

Madi missed mine and Zoey’s Christmas trip to Vegas, although we wouldn’t have been there if we had still had Madi.  We literally went and hid away because neither of us were ready to face a Christmas without her

Madi missed New Years

Madi missed her brother Diego’s 15th Birthday dinner

Madi missed her sister Zoey’s 18th Birthday  and our trip to the Natural History museum of Utah and the Spaghetti factory

Madi missed her Grandma’s Birthday

Madi missed our family paint night

Madi missed Bark in the Park, this was  a shared honor for her, but she still missed it

Madi missed her 21st Birthday, the one she had talked about so much in the four weeks between her birthday and when she was killed

Madi missed the horrible anniversary date of when she was killed, but we did not and I do not have or want a picture of this

Madi missed my birthday again and I spent some of it at her headstone because the two days prior was the anniversary date of her death and an overwhelming amount of flowers and gifts had been left to adorn her grave

Madi missed when her brother Diego bought his first car

Madi missed her cousin Taylor’s wedding

Madi missed her Uncle Jason’s Wedding and our big family trip  to New England that we had been planning for the two years prior to her death.

Madi missed the sleepover at Uncle Lee’s new house with Zoey and her cousin Audrie

Madi missed getting our new puppy Leo, something she would have been so happy about and she missed all of the picture taking she would have done with Leo, Moo-Shoo and Flash, no one takes doggy pictures quite like Madi did

Madi missed shopping trips, going out to eat, going to see movies, looking for a new apartment with Zoey and me.  She missed school, friends, concerts, tattoos, holidays.  She missed the trips to Mesquite with her Grandparents and Zoey and Diego.  She missed a lot, she missed too much.

This is a long list, but this is only a portion of what Madi missed.  What we missed is Madi.  She should have been  with us through all of these things and more.  When I look at the pictures we have taken since she has been gone it is plain to see what we missed and what we will always miss…. we miss Madi and she can’t be in our pictures anymore.  Our pictures will always be without Madi and I think that says it all.

National Post

OGDEN, Utah — A teen girl agreed to a plea deal Wednesday after being accused of speeding into another car and killing two people last year when police tried to pull her over on her way to carry out a suicide pact. The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to a reduced count of attempted murder and will […]

via Utah teen agrees to plea deal after crash that killed 2 — National Post

The day of Madi’s and Tyler’s bark in the park

[ooyala code=”Zhc2FhYjE6G5vLs-GNUmAXOVBrDd2jcN” player_id=”3ce6404476914e86994d87aac3e4391b” auto=”true” width=”1920″ height=”1080″ pcode=”x1b3E6uSQFrERylr1X1PdViOr0tE”] ROY, Utah — Two friends killed in a car accident last summer were remembered through a special fundraiser Saturday. From cheering on dogs as they strut the runway, to checking out engines under the hoods of antique cars: The inaugural Bark in the Park was more than just […]

via ‘Bark in the Park’ raises funds for animals in honor of two young Utahns killed in crash — fox13now.com