'All you stole, I now reclaim'

December 19, 2003 

A few forgave him. Many told him to burn in hell. Some families of the Green River Killer's victims said Gary Leon Ridgway did not matter at all, and refused to include him in their thoughts.

Members of 20 families spoke in King County Superior Court on Thursday, each condensing years of grief

into their allotted 10 minutes. Here are excerpts from their statements.

Sherry Garrett, sister of Cynthia Hinds, 17

"Today is not about Gary Ridgway, but about my sister, Cynthia Jean Hinds. ... I will not cower as others may. I am not captive to your other sins. I am staring down the sorrow."

"All you stole, I now reclaim with force. I have learned to harness winds and thunder. I am here to take everything you kept. I am taking back my yesterdays."

Kathy Mills, mother of Opal Mills, 16

"It won't bring back Opal. You have held us in bondage these last few years. I am through with you. I want to say goodbye, Gary Leon Ridgway."

Garrett Mills, older brother of Opal Mills

"Little Opal talked about the children she would have some day. We would all live together in the huge house she bought. ... I cried for my mother who never got to see her daughter grow up."

Carol Estes, mother of Debra Estes, 15

"Debra Estes was my daughter. She had just turned 15 years old. She was trying to find her way in life, before she was snuffed out by Gary Ridgway. I will never forgive him for that. He's going to hell, and that's where he belongs."

Virginia Graham, sister of Debra Estes

"Why did you kill my sister? Did you know her? Or was she just in the wrong place? She was not the trash you said she was. Debra had a bright smile. ... She loved horses and was well-liked by her friends. ... It was not her first choice to live on the streets. She could not stay where she was."

"I am glad that you did not have the guts to look into my sister's eyes when you were choking the life out of her."

"You are going to die of something. Then I will have closure. I'm content to know your hell is constant and never-ending."

Sarah King, daughter of Carol Ann Christensen, 21

"I was only 5 years old when my mother died and my dad told me I would never see her again. I found out on Mother's Day."

"I am glad I have family. You don't have anyone. You are going to wake up alone and one day you are going to miss your family like we miss ours."

"I will never ever forgive you."

Michelle Blair, sister of Gisele Lovvorn, 19

"Gisele was very much loved by her family, and very much missed. Gisele was only 17. She was murdered by that animal over there that we have to call a man. ... It is impossible to tell how much her murder has devastated and destroyed our family."

Nancy Gabbert, mother of Sandra Kay Gabbert, 17

"When Gary Ridgway killed my daughter, Sandra Kay Gabbert, on April 17, 1983, he destroyed the lives of three people and caused permanent, immeasurable damage to at least three more lives."

"I am deeply grateful to the King County Explorer Search and Rescue people. If it had not been for them, my daughter's remains may never have been found."

Dennis Meehan, brother of Mary Meehan, 19

"My sister, Mary Meehan, is a wonderful sister. She is also a mother and an aunt. I have no doubt that she would have been as vivacious and active and happy as I remember her."

"I know for myself, there is a certain amount of closure that comes today. Years ago, I stayed up late one night when another individual with ties to the Northwest (serial killer Ted Bundy) was executed in Florida. It reminded me that my sister's time and her day would come. I only regret that my mother did not live to see this day."

Tim Meehan, brother of Mary Meehan

"Gary Ridgway doesn't care. He couldn't care less. He has shed no tears for my sister, Mary, or for that matter, the unborn child she was carrying. If he has shed any tears, they are for himself."

"I'm done with you, Gary - finished. It's my turn to put you, the garbage, out and throw away the key. I can only hope that someday, someone gets the opportunity to choke you unconscious 48 times. To me, you are already dead. ... May God have no mercy on your soul."

Helen Dexter, mother of Constance Naon, 20

"She was born June 29, 1962. She was murdered June 8, 1983. She was survived by myself and her six brothers."

"I don't know how to describe the pain. It's inside. I believe had the investigation gone right in the last 20 years, many of us would not be in this court today.

"There is no closure. It goes on forever. I cannot forgive this man. It's not within my power. It's up to God. I feel very sorry for his son and the legacy he has bestowed upon him."

Vicky Ware, sister of Kelly Ware, 22

"She was a beautiful sister, and loved very much. ... I don't wish for him to die. I wish for him to have a long, suffering death - hopefully terminal cancer. This will not be the last time I see you. Because I'll see you in hell."

Robert Rule, father of Linda Rule, 16

"Mr. Ridgway, there are people here that hate you. I am not one of them. I forgive you for what you have done. You are forgiven, sir."

"She was 16 at the time you killed her."

"She was still my daughter. She was still a little girl in my eyes."

"I pity you, sir. You won't have a Christmas. You won't have the love around you that everyone needs at Christmas time."

Rosemary Fries, mother of Shirley Sherrill, 18

"He figured no one cared about them. They were human beings, like everyone else. You took from me my firstborn child. May her soul and the souls of the other victims rest in peace - and I hope you never find peace."

Michele Andrews, sister of Shirley Sherrill

"I have unwillingly waited for this day since I was 15 years old. You have said your memory when it comes to victims is gone. Our memory is not. It is never justifiable for the heartless, cruel act that you did. I hope you rot in hell."

Deanna Brewer, sister of Shirley Sherrill

"I've thought a lot about what to say to you, the man who took my sister. So many angry thoughts come to mind ... and what I would do to you if I could get my hands on you.

"You stole my best friend - my sister. My sister was somebody. She was loved ... she loved to dance. You stopped all those things. Today, a door closed, but it does not bring closure.

"Shirley, I will always love you."

J. Norman, mother of Shawnda Summers, 17

"She was a gift from God. This was a hate crime that was committed on children. They want to put a label on these children, and that's what they were. They were children."

"You're nothing but the devil."

Sharse Summers-Woods, younger sister of Shawnda Summers

"I chose not to be angry anymore. I chose not to let you have that power anymore. ... After today, I will not give this parasite a thought."

Rob Rinde, brother of Kimi-Kai Pitsor, 16 (by letter)

"Mr. Ridgway, I have forgiven you concerning your acts ... Forgiveness is not simple ... You were forgiven before I even knew your name."

Anne Rinde, mother of Kimi-Kai Pitsor (by letter)

"Mr. Ridgway, you have my complete forgiveness and pity ... (The media) your jackal-like behavior forced our removal from the city that we loved. To those who have and who will write books, please get your facts straight."

Marilyn Molina, sister of Marie Malvar, 18

"Words cannot express the loss of my sister, Marie Malvar. She was my best friend. She is your victim No. 29. She's the one who fought you. My sister was not a prostitute.

"You decided for my sister whether or not she lived or died. I haven't learned to forgive you yet, but I pray for you."

Tonya Williamson, a loved one of Marie Malvar

"For years ... we knew it was you but we didn't have a body. I am going to forgive you because I am not the judge. I am not the jury."

Jose Malvar Jr., brother of Marie Malvar

"I have been waiting for this year, Gary loser Ridgway. I want you to feel what you did for these victims. I will never forgive you. You are an animal.

"You didn't give her a chance to live. I hope you rot in hell."

Candice Watt, sister of Roberta Hayes, 21

"I never believed this day would come. We knew her as Bobbi Jo. My sister, Bobbi Jo, had six siblings. Two of them never knew her. My grandmother, who died in 2001, was filled with guilt, because she wanted to protect Bobbi Jo from people like you.

"She was a smart, bright girl - blue eyes, and a smile that could light up a room. She had five children.

"There are not enough words in the dictionary to label the injustice that you have done. You were given free will like everyone else in this world. You chose to murder these young girls."

Charles Winston, father of Tracy Winston, 19

"Mr. Ridgway, I want you to look me in the face. I begged the sheriff to let me talk to you personally. And if you know what that means, you ought to be nervous."

Kevin Winston, brother of Tracy Winston

"I was 12 years old and a classmate said, 'I heard your sister is missing. She's on the Green River Killer list.' That night I asked my mom where Tracy was. She said she didn't know.

"I hope you go into the general population (in prison). It's easy to kill women, but let's see how you do against the other prisoners in the general population. Hopefully, you won't last long.

"I will be mailing you a picture of her every year on her birthday."

Merti Winston, mother of Tracy Winston, who talked about her friend, Gary, who was helping her find a job.

"You don't remember her, and she thought of you as a friend. All her defenses were down when she was with you. You took her life at her most fragile."

"I am truly sorry for your family and what you have put them through."

"Tracy was a good and loving person, and you had no right to decide she had to die."

Daryle Imburgia, son of Delise Plager, 22

"I was around when my mother went missing. I don't remember her. I never got to be a part of my mother's memorial service.

"You took her before she could accumulate anything that would have any bearing on my life. I have her name tattooed on the back of my neck. That's the only thing I have to remember her by."

Joan Mackie, mother of Cindy Smith, 17

"She went to see her brother. She went out the door. She didn't even have the suitcase unpacked (after moving back from California.) Three years later, a detective knocked on my door.

"Maybe you will remember my daughter Cindy when the door slams in your face."

Diane Soriano, sister of Patricia Barczak, 19 (reading a letter from Barczak's mother and grandmother)

"There is nothing, absolutely nothing I can say to you, Gary Ridgway, that would affect the sick and evil mind you have.

"You didn't care for those you killed. You even thought of killing your wife, your mother and your son. You must have had a very sad life to never know what love is, or how to return it.

"Patty was the baby in my family. Holidays were her favorite (time). She would always stick black olives on her fingers and run around kidding and laughing.

"You get life - and the families can look forward to the day that you die. Hell will be your home forever. Happy burning."

LuAnna Yellow Robe, sister of Patricia Yellow Robe, 38

LuAnna Yellow Robe read a letter her father, Joe, wrote to the court. In it, he described Patricia as a kind and caring person. "She had her faults and her shortcomings, like all of us do."

In her own words, LuAnna Yellow Rose said, "Trish died in 1998. You killed her. I spent five years grieving over Trish and (thinking) that she died of an overdose."

Rona Walsh, sister of Patricia Yellow Robe

"You haven't destroyed us. We are so strong that we stand beside each other. I don't hate you. This experience is going to make me stronger. It is going to make my family stronger."

Compiled by staff writers Sean Robinson and Stacey Mulick

The News Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service