In November, Debbie addresses the court at Richard’s sentencing and gives a “victim impact statement.” Standing in front of Richard, Debbie says, “You attacked our child as they slept on a bus.” She doesn’t understand why he did it, but she believes “hatred only leads to more hatred.” Sasha has “a right not to be bullied or harassed,” Debbie says, and she tells Richard she hopes he will “gain some understanding and empathy in the years to come.”
Debbie is less concerned with Richard spending time in prison and is more concerned with positive redemption, which she believes he can achieve by becoming an advocate for those who are bullied. Debbie is convinced that prison will only cause Richard more hate, which will ultimately be counterproductive to his true rehabilitation.
Debbie feels better after addressing Richard directly, but Karl can’t get over how young Richard looked. “Poor Jasmine,” Debbie says. “She lost her son for years to come. […] I hope they can make it. I hope they don’t get crushed.” Karl immediately corrects her. “He,” he says. “Yeah,” Debbie says. “I hope he doesn’t get crushed.”
Ironically, had Debbie been more open to restorative justice, she would have been able to directly address Richard much earlier, and she would have begun the healing process that much sooner. Additionally, Richard looks young because he is young, and Karl’s comment draws attention to this.