I am Krystal’s eldest sister (Kina Long-Rewis), and this is the victim impact statement that I read to the judge (at the sentencing hearing):
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To The Honorable Judge Dearing,
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share how the death of my sister, Krystal Long-Duss, has affected my life. I will try my best to find the words that properly describe the pain I am feeling for the tremendous loss of my little sister. For over eighteen months now; I have tried so hard to make sense of this situation, but I haven’t been able to do so. I never imagined that I would lose my little sister to a drunk driver. Krystal is dead; because Ms. Johnson made the decision to drink and drive.
The lives of every member of my family have been forever affected by Krystal’s death. My parents have suffered the ultimate loss, the death of a child. When I look into the eyes of my mom and dad, there is a spark that is missing. That spark has been replaced with a painful sadness. None of us can understand why this has happened. Krystal had her whole life ahead of her. She was bright, beautiful, and talented in so many ways. She touched the hearts of people with her love and generosity. She was active with her family, in the church, and in the community. With Krystal’s death; there is an empty space in our family, and in our hearts. Krystal was taken away from so many people who love and respect her.
As a direct result of Krystal being killed; because Ms. Johnson made the decision to drink and drive, I have had to seek professional help. I have been in a depression so deep, that it seemed like there was no way out. It is like being in a dark tunnel, which has no end in sight. Krystal’s death is the first thought I have of when I wake up, and the last thought I have when I go to bed. There are times when I am in such pain, that I can’t see past that moment. At times I have thoughts about how much I want to join her; but I know that I can not do that to myself, my children, or my family. I have had to see a psychiatrist on a regular basis, and I continue to do so. He has me in therapy and on medication for severe depression. After Krystal was killed; I also developed high blood pressure, and my family physician has had to put me on medication for it. I literally have to make myself; live day to day, just to survive. The future seems too painful to face; knowing that I will never see Krystal on this earth again.
It has taken over eighteen months; from the time Krystal was killed, until Ms. Johnson was convicted for the crimes that she committed. During that time; Ms. Johnson has showed absolutely no remorse or regret for killing my little sister. I attended several of the pre-trial hearings; and when I would leave the courtroom, I would literally be sick to my stomach. On my way home from the courthouse; all I could think about was Krystal being dead, how Ms. Johnson would not tell the truth and accept responsibility for what she has done. Although she was offered a plea bargain during the pre-trial process, she would not accept it. Ms. Johnson knew that her decision to drink and drive; killed an innocent woman and injured an innocent man. But she did not care, and she was still not willing to tell the truth. I feel that she did not care about how a trial would further affect my family. I feel that her actions demonstrate that all she cared about was protecting her self. The lies told by Ms. Johnson; not only made this ordeal a great deal worse for my family, but it also cost the state of Florida a great deal of money. When the time came for the actual trial; I could not believe that Ms. Johnson was still lying and not accepting responsibility for killing my little sister. Not only was she not accepting responsibility for her actions, but she was still trying to blame it on her husband. I have thought to myself, How can Ms. Johnson lie and blame her own husband for what she has done? She killed an innocent woman, and expects her husband to take the blame for it. Every time the defense would lie and twist the truth; it was like having salt rubbed into an open wound. I do thank the Lord, for letting the jury see past the lies told by Ms. Johnson and her attorney. I am grateful that the jury was able to see the truth; past all the lies told by the defense.
I know that nothing will bring my little sister back; and that hurts my heart, more than words could possibly express. In order for me to find a way to cope with the senseless death of my little sister, Krystal, I know that I have to see justice served by the court. Justice for Krystal is what I am seeking. Krystal can not speak for herself, and that is why I am writing this letter to you. Krystal was a real person, not a statistic. Although forgiveness can come later; right now is the time for justice. Without justice; I know that I will not be able to find the peace in my heart, to help me cope with the loss of my little sister.
I have strong feelings about the sentence that Ms. Johnson will be serving. It is important to show her that there are severe consequences for making the decision to drink and drive. I do not want my sister’s death to be in vain; I do not want the situation to be swept under the rug, like it never happened. Ms. Johnson did spend the night of December 9, 2003; drinking and driving, and her decision to do that is why my little sister is dead. That is why I am asking the court for the following things; in memory of my little sister. I feel that Ms. Johnson should serve the maximum number of years in prison that the law allows, with no chance of early release. Ms. Johnson made the decision to drink and drive which killed my little sister, and I feel that she should never be given the privilege to operate another motor vehicle. I would also like to see a marker placed in memory of Krystal; at the scene of the crash, it should be paid for and maintained by Ms. Johnson.
Krystal’s death will have a life long impact on my family. I feel that for justice to be served; Ms. Johnson must be held accountable for what she has done. My family has already lost so much; Krystal was taken from us, and all we can do now is hope and pray for justice.
I have tried to help my family through this ordeal; it has been my way of not dealing with my own feelings about losing my little sister. I know in my mind that I have to deal with my feelings, but I do not know how to do that. I think of Krystal all the time, and I want her back. Although I do know she is dead; and that she can not come back, I just can not accept it in my heart. I want my sister back! I do not know how to tell my heart, what my mind already knows. My mind knows Krystal is gone, but my heart just can not accept that. The thought of never seeing her again, on this earth, is just too much for me to deal with.
(Eldest sister of Krystal Long-Duss)