Looking into the eyes of evil, a father was overcome with anger towards the man who took his little girl away from him forever – but was there something specific that set him off?
In 2016, a sex offender and killer, 38-year-old Michael Madison, was on trial in the Cuyahoga County courtroom for murdering three women in Ohio.
The victims were 38-year-old Angela Deskins, 28-year-old Shetisha Sheeley, and lastly, daughter to father Van Terry, 18-year-old Shirellda Terry.
Van Terry lunging himself at Michael Madison [left]; Michael Madison [right]. ┃Source: youtube.com/wsj
Already found guilty, the trial focused on whether Madison should serve life or receive the death penalty. The defense didn’t claim that the murderer’s abusive upbringing excused his actions but implied it warranted mercy. Arguably, the prosecutor said:
“[The death penalty] will send a message to the community that the strongest possible sentence will be imposed upon crimes of this nature.”
Ultimately, the judge passed a death sentence on behalf of the jury – the first she had given in her entire career.
Van Terry speaking at the podium in court.┃Source: youtube.com/cleveland.com
Following this official declaration by the jury and a few minutes later, Terry stepped up to give a victim impact statement – the beginning of a raucous yet heartbreaking scene. Standing at the podium, he expressed:
“Right now, I guess we’re supposed to, in our hearts, forgive this clown, who has touched our families, taken my child.”
He slowly turned to look straight into the eyes of the man who had murdered his baby girl, and suddenly, something in Terry snapped.
Van Terry standing at the podium while looking at Michael Madison.┃Source: youtube.com/wsj
In a moment, he claims he doesn’t even remember, he ran and lunged directly at the criminal over the defense table as shouting and screaming erupted through the courtroom.
Bailiffs and court officials managed to pull him off, preventing him from striking the murderer. A look of absolute anguish crossed over the grieving father’s face. The judge called a 15-minute break, after which they reconvened.
Bailiffs and court officials holding onto Van Terry as he looks confused and anguished.┃ Source: youtube.com/wsj
“When I turned around to look at him, with that grin, I lost my mind.”
Prosecutors are still deliberating on whether to charge the dad. While Terry understands this, the father does not feel remorse and stands by his actions.
What do you think? Do you believe this mourning father deserves to be charged and prosecuted for what he did? Do you think that Madison did truly deserve the death penalty?
Whatever our opinions may be, it is always wise to remember that people, especially victims, are involved in these heart-wrenching cases.
One of these victims was named Shirellda Terry, and when her father spoke about her, he remembers the way she showed her affection, saying, “Her hugs – that’s what I’ll miss about her.”