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Caffey family's statement

Feb. 1, 2001

Thank you Your Honor for this opportunity,

Mr. Fischel:

When I speak for our family, its not just Malisa's mother, sister and me. It is Malisa's grandparents, aunts, Godparents, best friends, our extended family of friends and the entire Baylor family. I wanted to start by showing you a picture of our daughter. I believe that you would agree with my family if I refer to Malisa as beautiful. Since you did not know our daughter, you will have to trust me that Malisa was just as beautiful on the inside; in the way that she dealt with her God, her family, and her friends - and to be honest - she counted everyone as a friend and treated everyone the same. To know our daughter was to love her. Fortunately for my family, we believe in salvation and with that belief we know that Malisa is today safe in the arms of our God, looking down on us from a far better place. What I want to discuss with you today are the effects of Malisa's death for those of us remaining on earth. It has devastated us. I don't know what hell holds for those who do not choose salvation, but I can describe to you the living Hell on earth that my family has experienced since Malisa's death. I'll start by referring you once again to this picture of Malisa. I hope in preparation for your trial, your attorney showed you pictures of Malisa both at the scene and her autopsy. When her mother, sister and I saw Malisa after her death, we could recognize two things - one of her eyebrows was always a little crooked, - you can see it here in the picture - and when she was in third grade, she broke her little finger. The doctor in the emergency room set it wrong and it was always a little crooked. Other than those two memories, there was little left to recognize. Since Malisa's death our family has gone from one of happiness and joy to one of loneliness and heartache. My wife has become a recluse. She sits in our living room and will only go outside the home when family or friends force her. She no longer goes to the grocery store because when she does, she sees other young people Malisa's age and wonders why her daughter was taken from her. Our other daughter, Michele, is so concerned about being careful that she has altered her lifestyle, knowing that if something happens to her, it will be the end of both Becky and me. Malisa's grandparents still to this day cannot speak of Malisa without crying. And my mother - who after 82 years of good health - has chosen not to fight her cancer with the vigor that she has all her life because she is ready to join 'her Malisa.' I wake up nightly with a recurring nightmare, most of the time screaming out loud with my wife trying to shake me awake, seeing Malisa run over and then left in the street like someone would after they had run over a rabbit or a squirrel. I wonder if she suffered; I wonder how she felt after you hit her and then left her in the middle of the road. Time does not permit me to tell you the effects on the rest of Malisa's family, her Godparents, her friends. They were each equally impacted. You are given very few treasures in life that are worth anything - our family lost one of its very few. I never before really understood the meaning of the word heartache; believe me, our family can define that word for you now. You see, you have gotten to celebrate your birthday since Malisa's death. We had to go to the cemetery on March 17 to celebrate Malisa's. We are blessed with nearly twenty years of wonderful memories of Malisa. And for that we are truly thankful. But think of the memories we will be denied. Malisa had already planned her wedding. An event in the country by a pond where she would be in a beautiful bridal gown barefoot. When you look at the pictures from Michele's wedding, every picture shows happy, smiling people. What an opportunity we will miss. Malisa had already picked out the names for her children, our grandchildren we will never get to love, hold, and teach. By the way, our grandchildren's names were going to be Autumn, Easton, and Austin. Due to the way the scene had to be preserved after Malisa's death and her body treated as a piece of evidence, several other people died that night along with several more who suffer today. Their lives could have been greatly improved. You see, my daughter was an organ donor as is my entire family. I was blessed with an organ transplant. Due to the length of time Malisa lay in the street while police investigated this crime and due to transporting her to Dallas for an autopsy, our family was even denied the ability to see some good come of her death. And somewhere, someone dropped off a waiting list without ever receiving the gift of life that Malisa could have provided. I could go on and tell you about all the people Malisa would have helped in the future. Both our daughters grew up wanting to go into a field where they could help others. Michele became a speech pathologist; Malisa planned on being a social worker or psychologist. She seldom failed in anything she tried. But I doubt you really care. It has been 377 days since Malisa's death. Since that time we have had over three thousand people call, write, email us, send something, come by, join us at a reception at Baylor, and so on. Not once have we heard from you; not once have you told us you are sorry for our loss. You could have done that without admitting the guilt you finally confessed to 15 days ago. Even then you could have turned around to our family and said you were sorry. Reading about your remorse in the paper from quotes of your lawyer really does not satisfy the obligation. We never heard of Frank Fischel before January 19, 2000, but believe me when we say we will never forget you. So I would like to leave you with three final thoughts. Our goal has always been not about vengeance, but about justice - for you to be held accountable for your actions. For that reason we asked the court for you to receive five years of probation. We have given you a five-year window to prove yourself. Your fate hangs on your actions. You can change and stay out of prison. It is up to you. However, from our hearts, we hope you don't. We hope you violate the terms of this probation and that this good judge or one just like him sentences you to five years in the Texas Prison System - a sentence we believe you richly deserve. We hope this happens before another family goes through what our family continues to endure. While our God is a forgiving God, he is also an awesome God, one you should fear. He holds your ultimate accountability. From the bottom of our souls we hope that you repent of your ways, and stop the path that you are on, that you find God and salvation, and that some day you get to hug Malisa in heaven. We also hope you do so before you hit someone else. But finally, from our hearts, based on what I have seen of your attitude - I don't believe you will repent, I don't believe you will find salvation, and I fear that you will burn in Hell for all eternity. Thank you, your Honor.