KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Before he was sentenced to life in prison, Jason Dalton heard from 11 people touched by his Feb. 20, 2016 shooting spree. They included family members of the six killed and a young mother who survived multiple gunshots.
Tuesday’s sentencing hearing in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court lasted more than 90 minutes. The prosecutor and the judge also addressed Dalton, who did not speak. Below is a sampling of what was said:
Christopher C. Nye, husband of Mary Lou Nye, 62, of Baroda and brother of Mary Jo Nye, 60, of Battle Creek
“The world has lost two women whose only goal in life was to take care of children. My wife worked in the day care center and took care of little babies and my sister was a teacher.’’
Bart Nye, son of Mary Lou Nye
“She is the sunlight. And the sun is gone.’’
Penny Hawthorne, sister-in-law of Barbara Ann Hawthorne, 68, of Battle Creek
“You just decided to go with your guns, your weapons of choice, and shoot. You affected the lives of not only eight people, you affected the lives of their families, their friends, their future, their communities and the world.’'
Laura Hawthorne, niece of Barbara Ann Hawthorne
“He may have taken six lives, but he destroyed countless others.’’
Jeff Reynolds, son of Dorothy ‘Judy’ Brown, 74, of Battle Creek
“We will never have a day when we can walk free of the devastating loss that you needlessly caused. I trust that the almighty God will haunt you eternally, starting now, with the fact that you are nothing but a pile of worthless evil.’’
Emily Lemmer, daughter of Richard Smith, Jr., 53, and sister of Tyler Smith, 17, of Kalamazoo
“Seeing them laying there lifeless was absolutely heart-breaking. Hugging and holding my dad’s cold body was a nightmare that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Kissing my brother’s cold, pale forehead will never leave my mind.’’
Laurie Smith, wife of Richard Smith, Jr. and mother of Tyler Smith
“Every day I wake up to the reality that two people that I loved more than life itself are gone. I feel my heart and soul have been completely ripped out and destroyed beyond repair.’’
Tiana Carruthers, 28, shooting survivor
“I pause, replay and relive every single moment. Just can’t stop living in the past. But it feels so fresh, waking up in cold sweats. That you, Jason Dalton, might come again and empty your full clip.’’
Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey S. Getting
“I hope that every morning, you wake up seeing the faces of those you’ve killed and injured. When you lay down at night, I hope the last thought is the damage that you’ve done to this community. To those families. To your own.’’
Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge Alexander Lipsey
“By your actions, Kalamazoo has been given an opportunity to show the world, in the words of archbishop Tutu, that goodness is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Light is stronger than darkness. Life is stronger than death. And victory is ours because of Him who loves us.’’
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