Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

Last year, at this time Raymond and I turned our daughter’s former bedroom, into a prayer & meditation room. This room has saved my mental state on many occasions, this past year. I also started using it as my art room too. I love having a quiet retreat in my own home.

We also completed a labyrinth in our backyard. It really means a lot to me to have this labyrinth. Raymond and I began to make the backyard labyrinth the very day that Matt was shot, Sept. 1, 2008. We never completed it until this year. I’m so very grateful to have this sacred space.

February 2014 came with more obstacles and heartache for our family and loved ones.  Matt’s killer was brought back to Solano County to fight for a new trial for himself. We continue to be baffled by our Justice system and the constitution, which allows all of this insanity to continue year after year. It is a blatant waste of time and taxpayers money. We will NOT STOP ADVOCATING for VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

March 2014 brought on more insanity. Matt’s killer makes the decision he wants to represent himself in court. Once again, everything is put on hold, so that Matt’s murderer can prepare his case. We continue to work and do what is in front of us all the while our hearts never get a reprieve from the devastating impact that Matt’s death has had on each of us.

April 2014 April is Victims Rights Week. Myself, Briana and Kathy drove to Sacramento and marched to the capital with our murdered loved ones faces on our shirts and signs It was a very emotional day for everyone but we were grateful to be a part of it.

May 2014 My oldest daughter, Briana got engaged. Oh my goodness we are all so happy and excited. Our focus has been on Matt’s murderer and all the drama he continues to bring.

 We are extremely excited to have a beautiful wedding to plan.  September 5, 2015 is the date that Briana and William picked for their wedding day. The month of September will be a happy month filled with love and celebration. I am so happy.

June 2014 Matt’s killer now decides that he no longer wants to represent himself. He is appointed his public defender. Once again, the hearing is delayed.

July 2014 Matt would have turned 28.

 I was asked if I would be willing to go into California State Prison Solano in Vacaville and speak to a group of lifers, mainly murderers. These men are taking classes in prison to improve their lives and help them take responsibility for their actions.

I was asked to give my impact statement. I talked about how Matt’s murder has devastated our lives forever. I shared how his murderer is STILL dragging us through HELL. I also shared how Matt’s murderer refuses to accept any responsibility for his actions. This experience has changed my life for the better.

August 2014 the scheduled court hearing was once again delayed because the murderer’s wife didn't show up. Also the investigators were unable to locate the juror in question.  Next court hearing is scheduled for October.

September 2014 my only son has been gone for six years. Our hearts will be forever broken by the absence of Matt. My mind is swirling uncontrollably by the insanity of our system.

 MY girlfriend took me to Hawaii for 10 days. It felt so good to get away. It didn't last long. We were again not notified of a court appearance.
 I felt terrible for putting such a dark cloud over this special time for my friend. Her daughter had just gotten engaged in Hawaii a couple days before.

October 2014 we were not notified that the Judge’s courtroom had moved.  We finally make it to the new courtroom to find out that the hearing will be delayed once more. We go back Jan. 16, 2015. 

The murderer’s wife comes up to us in the hall after court and begins to tell me how sorry that she is for bringing all of this on us. She admitted that everything she said before was a lie. She assures us that she has already signed a declaration stating the truth, which is, that the juror did nothing wrong.

 Oh My God, Was this really happening? Can all of this be over now that she finally admitted to the truth? NOPE! Now the murderer’s attorney wants to bring up myself and Raymond.  He wants us to answer questions about what we saw when the juror was speaking to the killer’s wife during a recess in the trial.

I spoke at the prison again. This has been a life saving experience for me to hear murderers take responsibility for their crimes. For the murderer’s to realize the devastation and destruction that they have caused so many, forever, is healing for me.

November 2014 we had a meeting with the DA and ended up having to give separate statements to the investigator because apparently the murderer’s wife never told her attorney the truth. Our prosecutor knew nothing about the hallway conversation that the wife shared with us, about her previous lies.

Briana, her bridesmaids and I, went to a wedding fair. It was a great time to focus on Briana and her upcoming wedding.

One of Matt’s dreams was to meet Oprah. He believed that he would be on her show one day. That day would never happen. I did however get to meet Oprah and tell her about Matt. I felt Matt there too. His dream came true that November day.

December 2014 Here we are on the very last day of 2014. Again, we were not informed of a court appearance last week. Today, December 31, 2014 I was served a subpoena, at my job, for the court hearing on Jan. 16 for the murderer of Matt.

I know that God has a plan. I know that many, many, great and wonderful things are also happening in our lives. I will place my heart and soul into every amazing adventure that comes my way. I will continue to speak my truth regarding the justice system and victims’ rights or lack thereof. I will be there for my daughters every step of the way. I will do all of this with God, my family and my friends.

Our journeys are our own. We will connect with the people we are supposed to connect with. When we ask, we will be given EVERYTHING we need for this life journey.  I am so truly grateful for the amazing people in our lives. Thank you, you who continue to lift us up in prayer. You, who show up EVERY TIME for us, you who have reminded me that God is the answer.  Thank you!  2014 has been another year of living, loving and learning. I am willing and ready to do it again, even better!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Looking ahead while staying in the moment

I want to start this 26th day of December 2014, expressing my extreme gratitude for everyone who has touched my life this past year. I not only feel blessed for the lovely people but also for the challenging folks who continue to teach me so much.

Learning to live with a grateful heart, especially in the midst of injustice, has been an ongoing life teacher. I have learned that I can have happiness, peace and love even when situations arise that I am powerless over. I haven't mastered this yet. Although, I am getting better at it. I receive a bunch of opportunities, for practice.

My life, thus far, has been about loving and learning. As long as I am still here physically, and am open to the opportunities that God has for me, I can do anything! My daily prayer is for God to lead me to where I am to go and what I am to do. Help me on this journey of life.

My girls are doing well. Growing up and learning their own lessons. It has been amazing to watch them transform into the amazing women that they are today. Thank you God for giving me the gift of raising three awesome people.

I know that 2015 is going to be another year filled with lots of happiness, peace and love. I will remain open to the many new opportunities and lessons that I will receive.

 God, help me to be the woman that you have called me to be. Clear my mind and heal my heart. Give me the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the words to speak, with dignity and grace. Help me to be of help to whomever you place on my path. God, thank you for all the beautiful people that you have surrounded me with. Amen

Saturday, November 29, 2014

NOVEMBER 2014 What a month it has been!

First things First  I turned 48 years old on November 2nd. This is the first incredible event that happened. I had a wonderful birthday. The entire day and evening was shared with my awesome and amazing family and friends. I'm extremely grateful for all the LOVE that I have in my life.
Still my question is, how did I get to be in my late 40's? WOW, talk about sneaky. I am shocked to find myself here. Time really does move faster as I age. It's up to me to really LIVE in and CHERISH each and every moment. my48thbday
This brings me to the 3rd weekend in November. November 14th & 15th. I met Oprah Winfrey at her, The Life You Want Weekend Tour in San Jose. I had the amazing opportunity to tell her about Matt. This experience was definitely at the top of my bucket list. 
Matt believed he would meet Oprah after he was elected to the Fairfield City Council in 2007 at age 21. He never got the chance. He was murdered on Labor Day 2008. I could feel Matt's presence as Oprah ask about my t-shirt with Matt's face. I shared with her about Matt's passion and hope for our community and especially our young people. Don't ever give up on your dreams. MATT, YOU MADE IT TO OPRAH!
I made another important decision in November. I needed to change my attitude with our newly elected Solano county District Attorney. My being angry at her was not going to help our situation regarding Matt’s murderer. I apologized for my rude behavior and asked her if we could meet to talk?
When we met in her office on Nov. 17th, I was informed that she was unaware of the situation that happened between myself, Raymond and the killers girlfriend/wife/ex-wife, in the court hallway, following the Oct. 24th hearing. After telling her about what took place that day, Raymond and I were separated and we each had to give our statement regarding that hallway encounter, to the investigator. We will be back in court on January 16, 2015 THIS INSANITY CONTINUES……
I have had the opportunity to speak to a group of prison inmates serving life sentences at the California State Prison Solano, Vacaville. I was a little less terrified this last time I went. Most of these men are sincere about changing their lives, even though, they may never get out of prison. What I know to be fact for myself, is that I do not need to be behind bars to feel like I am imprisoned. What I’ve heard several times from incarcerated people is that they can feel FREE even though they are behind bars.
Here is a letter one of the inmates wrote to The Matt Garcia Foundation Several of these men have donated over $80.00 and 5 books of stamps! AMAZING! inmatedonations
Conclusion: It’s all a matter of perception. I must continue to be present within myself. Atone for my wrongs and help others always.
Last weekend I got to hang out with my two daughters. Our oldest daughter is getting married next summer. We went to a wedding fair in Pleasanton. We all had a great time. It was a beautiful day spent with my amazing daughters and their friends.2014teresa 498
Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for all the amazing people, places and things in my life today and everyday. Our hearts hurt more during the holiday's as we miss our loved ones. We cherish the time we all spend with each other even more now. My beautiful sister came for a bit. Briana, Will and my grand dog Oreo came over too. Raymond and T helped serve the homeless at Mission Solano. We even stopped by my sister-in law Nichole’s house to visit with the family. It was great to see my sis-in-laws’, the kids and of course Mom and her family. TRULY GRATEFUL!
2014teresa 575
Moving into December things look bright for our family. We are healthy and grateful I will continue to be grateful for the many blessings in my life. God, guide me to where you would have me go. Give me the eye’s to see, the ear’s to hear and the words to speak. Clear my mind and heal my heart. Amen

Monday, October 27, 2014

System of Insanity

My mind is still reeling from last Friday's court appearance. The blatant disregard for victims and their families by the people who are paid to be victim advocates and our elected official is simply insane. I can not wrap my mind around any of this!

I have been writing about all of this "JUSTICE" insanity for many years. I am sure I will be writing about it for many more to come.

Let me give a quick run down of last Fridays encounter at our second home...Solano County Courts.
The hearing was scheduled for 1:30PM in Dept. 15 room 202. We were there at 1:20PM sitting outside the courtroom waiting for the doors to be unlocked. It seemed strange that none of our other family members or friends were there waiting with us.

When the bailiff finally opened the doors at 1:30PM he mentioned that it was traffic court. What? Traffic Court? We then noticed that the name next to the courtroom door was NOT Judge Bowers. Omg! we are in the wrong place. Judge Bowers court room had moved to the third floor! Why didn't our Victim Advocate call us and tell us that the courtrooms have moved? Isn't that part of her job?

We rushed to get up the stairs since now we are late to the hearing. As we were going upstairs, we ran into our prosecutor who is also our newly elected Solano County District Attorney. I was justifiably irritated and voiced my irritation at not being informed of the court room move. Our prosecutor just gave me a dirty look and never approached me again. I still have not heard from her or our Court Victim Advocate! I am very disturbed by this.

The long drawn out court hearing date lasted less than 5 minutes and it was over until Jan. 16, 2015. I was livid. My heart was pounding and I wanted answers from our District Attorney. Well, she never came out to talk to us. In fact, after the hearing her investigator came out to inform us that if we were waiting for her she had to leave early and would not be able to talk with us. This is our Prosecutor! I believe this is the person who is supposed to inform us of what is going on. My heart hurts for my boy and for all of the many victims and families that are being victimized again by this insanity.

We sat in Judge Bowers new court room #303 for nearly an hour before he and the two attorneys came in. Then Matt's killer was brought in. The judge notified both parties that he will be unavailable from Nov thru Jan. 6th. WOW! The next hearing is set for Jan. 16, 2015. That makes it nearly an entire year that Matt's killer will have been able to have visits from family a couple times a week and he does not have to pay any restitution. In other words, he gets all the extra snacks and whatever else he wants because he is not held responsible because he is not actually in prison. While my son is dead and buried.

Here's the kicker, After the hearing, the woman who started the latest insanity, you know, the killers wife/girlfriend/ex-wife, came up to our family and apologized to us, for the harm that she has caused. She told us that the truth will be revealed on Jan. 16th. So, instead of putting an end to it all, right then and there we have to wait 3 months to have a hearing still. Our system of Insanity!

I decided that I needed to pick up my journals and begin to re-read my entries beginning back in April of 1999, when my cousin, Kathleen Sue O'Brien was murdered. I wanted to reacquaint myself with the treatment that our family received even way back then. Kathy was stabbed over 50 times with a sharpened screwdriver, Afterward her body was dumped onto Cherry Glen Road. Her murderer goes up for a parole hearing on Jan. 28, 2015 We will be there!

I feel powerless over the situation regarding my son Matt’s murderer, Henry Don Williams. Not only was Matt our son and a friend to many. He was an elected official in the city of Fairfield, CA. This fact also seems to mean NOTHING within our SYSTEM! The killers ex, signed a declaration last year, claiming that one of the murder trial jurors propositioned her for sex in exchange for a not-guilty vote. In 2008, the then-DA Paulson, elected not to charge the pregnant getaway driver, Nicole Stewart (heartbreaking) and now, years later, the murderer works the system through endless court dates/postponements.

 We, the family, take time off work to relive the nightmare of 9-1-2008, seeing this monsters face constantly, subjected to a judge who seems bothered by our irritation, and having to constantly call/email our DA/victim advocates because they don’t inform us. Lewis should’ve been arrested after the 9-19-14 hearing   (“no-show”) but WASN’T. When finally arrested after two missed court dates, she spent less than 24 hours in jail before being appointed a private attorney (the killer was also) and released.

 I was notified of this hearing 10 minutes before because our advocate “does not get her county emails on her phone.” I check court-connect constantly because I cannot count on those “helping” us. This is the treatment of victims and their families in our justice system.

 I in no way feel that we are the only victims of this system.  I HURT for the countless families who suffer also. Our hearts break for the families of the victims who are unable, financially, to attend the numerous hearings. Last Friday, the women in question came to us and apologized about everything. She says the truth will be told at the Jan. 16 hearing.

 After the hearing our prosecutor never did come out to speak with us. We also have not heard from our court appointed victim advocate since Sept. 29.   I’m grateful for the prayers and support of friends and know God has a plan, but I also believe that the public should be aware of the insanity/our justice system. If I could “Let go and Let God”, I would. But, my son is dead, murdered. I can’t bring him back. I CAN raise awareness to a system that victimizes victims. There’s not a minute that goes by when I don’t think about my boy. Matt never ages He will always be 22. Matt’s voice was silenced by a bullet to his head. I’m still here. I will not be silent. 

Just so you know, Not much has changed. And it won't change unless WE take a stand.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Every day brings new choices. ~ Martha Beck

My morning started with prayer and coffee. I'm very hopeful that the outcome of the hearing tomorrow afternoon will be the end to Matt's killer trying to get a re-trial. I understand desperate people do desperate things and that hurt people hurt people. I was that person as a young adult. It's time to move on Henry Don Williams.

In every moment of my life, I have choices. I can choose to be fearful and hateful or I can choose to 
breathe in the beauty that is all around me. So... in this moment I am choosing beauty and hope.
Life is too short to live in the negative. This does not mean that I will stop looking in to ways to change some of the insane things that are happening. It simply means that I will move in a way that does not harm myself or anyone else mentally, physically or spiritually. The choice is mine in every moment!

The gratitude that I feel in my heart for all of our amazing family and friends is what keeps us all moving forward. Thank you 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The sixth September without you

It was 6 years ago this morning, we were told by the doctors that you would not recover from the bullet that severed your brain stem. I could not believe what I was hearing. How could this be happening? Nothing could ever keep you down. You were filled with so much hope,energy and life. Now you lay there quiet and motionless.

Our hearts were forever changed that September. The grief that your sister's carry with them daily is hard for me to watch. I'm powerless! This fact haunts me. I can't help them and I couldn't help you.
 But we keep moving forward.

This year we went away with friends, to a cabin in the woods. Briana didn't want to go. I didn't like that we were not all together. We made the best of it. Dad, T and our friends took off to Calavaras Big Trees for the day. I decided to stay behind. I prayed, cried and painted some rocks to leave behind. I always leave something of Matt, wherever I go.

When we returned home, we were greeted with so many messages of love, thoughts and prayers from all our family and friends who have carried us for these past 6 years. Thank you! I have watched intently at how GOD blesses us in amazing ways. For all the beautiful people that HE continues to place in our lives perfectly, we are forever grateful.

Matt is no longer here physically but his beautiful spirit has never left us.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The morning after ANOTHER hearing

 I want to take time to talk about ALL of the amazing, loving, supportive family and friends who have been here for us constantly. I appreciate each and every one of you so much. I can't express enough just how much your support, prayers and love mean to us. We love you all and thank you for everything!

We arrived yesterday at the Fairfield, Solano County Courthouse for "the hearing" which was schedule to take place at 1:30PM.
Yes, this same hearing that has been postponed since February. This same hearing that myself, Raymond, my Sister in laws', the convicted murderers girlfriend/wife and several others were subpoenaed to testify at. Yes, this same hearing that is to take place only because the convicted murderer's wife/girlfriend claims the juror propositioned her for sex, although she never mentioned this alleged incident until recently. This is the hearing that the convicted murderer is banking on to get himself a re-trial. This is the same hearing that the murderer's girlfriend/wife, who is the defenses star witness, DID NOT SHOW up to yesterday and testify for her man.

 It is the defenses burden of proof to show cause for a new trial. The girlfriend/wife was subpoenaed to be there and testify "under oath" AGAIN. To testify about what and how the juror allegedly propositioned her for sex in the court hallway 3 1/2 years ago.  She has already been sworn under oath, regarding what she said happened in the courthouse hallway. She swore then, that this juror propositioned her for sex in exchange for a not guilty vote by him.

Why didn't she show up for "THE HEARING" that could get her boyfriend/husband a possible new trial? Why did the judge set another date for her to show up to? Shouldn't this all be thrown out because she refused to show up and because it is the defenses burden to prove?

Is this how it all works? The convicted murderer who was sentenced to 50 years to life for 1st degree murder, in the state of California Court of  law, by 12 of his peers, over 3 1/2 years ago, has the right to continue to have hearings postponed, delayed, while we wait for his girlfriend/wife to show up to court even after she has been subpoenaed to be there? What if she doesn't show up again? Do they set another date?

Why did I have to call the D.A's office when I saw on court connect, that the convicted killer had filed 2 new motions? Why did I just find out on Thursday morning when I called them,on the day before "THE HEARING" that  the D.A investigators have not been able to locate the juror in question to serve him his subpoena? What the Hell is wrong with this system?

It's not just Matt's murderer or our so called, insurers of justice, that I am talking about here. I have continued to witness the injustices in which this system has poured out on to innocent victims and their families for many years now. I have witnessed my friends and family being re-victimized again and again by a "JUST" system. It is heartbreaking and let me add, very frightening to watch and be a victim of myself.

 My cousin Kathy was murdered here in Fairfield in 1999. She was stabbed over 50 times with a sharpened screwdriver. Her murderer was allowed to play games within our "system" for over 8 years before he was finally sentenced to 15 years to life in 2007. Matt was murdered in 2008. Here we still sit in 2014!

 The same statements that I still hear today is "well, at least he is in jail" Really? Is that supposed to comfort us? We have to constantly take time out of our lives, jobs, families to show up for these court dates that the murderer and his public defender have the constitutional right, to postpone for days, months, and years. How is that supposed to make us or any other victims or their families feel better?  It is all so Twisted! I'm so sorry Matt and the other countless victims of crime.

I feel like I could possibly be shunned by our " leaders" or in some kind of trouble for writing all of this. What does that say about our system that I would even consider that this could happen? What have I got to lose? I have been a law abiding citizen. I pay my taxes I vote and I have been a juror. We see it all the time, innocent people who voice their concerns and/or question the decisions or ethics of our Judges, DA's, authorities/leaders, are then scrutinized. Meanwhile, the criminals and law breakers seem to call the shots.
 God help us.

I'm so angry, sad, devastated, hurt and baffled by all of this. To see my daughter's cry and question why all of this allowed to happen when their innocent brother is dead because this convicted murderer decided to have an illegal gun and shoot Matt in the head, it's almost unbearable.

Why are we being talked to like we are stupid for not understanding this process of the law? Why isn't our prosecutor more aggressive? Why isn't she questioning any of this nonsense?  Why didn't she say something about how the subpoenaed defenses STAR Witness, the murderers girlfriend/wife, didn't show up and this entire fiasco should be dismissed? NOPE, Our prosecutor just agreed to another date 2 weeks from now.

 My daughter said to our prosecutor,  OK then,can you just do a re-trial, he will still be found guilty? Guess what our prosecutor said? She said, "Not necessarily". Wow! How are we supposed to have any comfort in our prosecutor with an answer like that? I would think that she would be very confident in her ability to prosecute this murderer, Again! Why would she say, Not necessarily? What is going on?

I will not stop speaking up about what I see in this backward, upside down and crazy system. I take responsibility for my actions and when I'm wrong I can say sorry. I will be mindful of my actions so that I don't make that same mistake again, I will try to do the next right thing for the next right reason. This is not what I witness in our justice system. No one wants to admit that they may have made a mistake or that they should have done something differently. It's always somebody else job or responsibility. They just say, "That's the law" or "We have done everything that we are supposed to do".

 Matthew, I am so sorry that this is the kind of justice that you are receiving for being an innocent victim.

Let us all be very mindful of who we vote into every office and then we must hold our leaders accountable from the very top on down.

Stay tuned I'm positive that there will be more insanity to write about real soon.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Injustice on so many levels

What is really going on here?

First of all, saying that the murder of my son was a case of mistaken identity, is just simply ludicrous.

Next is that the shooters pregnant girlfriend being the driver of the getaway car, SHE WAS NEVER CHARGED WITH ANY CRIME, Why is that? She also never told anyone what had happened until she was arrested, 2 weeks later, and still, she lied for several hours. And they say that they needed her testimony to convict the killer, but if that's the case, shouldn't she have been given immunity. Well, she wasn't given immunity because she was NEVER charged with any Crime!

Then of course next is the trial of the shooter. This is when the jurors and the general public, which also included the shooters new girlfriend, are all intermingled in the hallway at the Vallejo courthouse. So the girlfriend decides to speak to one of the jurors.
 Makes me wonder if his girlfriend planned this from the beginning?

 If our jurors had a separate place to recess to. that would have never happened! Again, I don't get it?

But wait, there is more, The judge decides that he WILL NOT replaced the juror in question even though there are 2 alternates! I can't wrap my mind around any of this?

And then the appeal process begin. And you guessed it...The killer is claiming, 2 1/2 years after the alleged incident, that his girlfriend/wife was propositioned by the juror, who by the way, became the jury foreman at the trial.  Huh?

Of course the appellate court wants the juror issue brought back to Solano County to be heard by a Judge for possible juror misconduct.

Here we are, 3 years and 4 months after the murderer was sentenced to 50 years to life
The killer has been here in the Solano County jail since Feb. where is gets regular visits from his family. He gets to continually ask for delays. He has even decided to represent himself twice now. Today he wants to AGAIN get rid of his public defender.

Oh Yeah I almost forgot...the public defender had me subpoenaed for today's court hearing. REALLY? Oh and the best part is that the process server gave me my husbands subpoena too. Umm I don't think that is Legal? When I phoned my advocate to ask about the legality of this, she didn't know? Wow!

There are so many things that are clearly NOT RIGHT in this entire fiasco!

Oh yeah, when I called my advocate yesterday morning to find out about the 2 new motions that the murderer filed.and what that will mean for us at court today, she mentioned that investigators have been unable to locate and serve a subpoena to this juror in question?
Yep, I Just found that out yesterday!  Did I mention that I called THEM they DIDN'T Call me!

 To top it all off, our newspaper decides to do a jailhouse interview with Matt's killer! Wow, yeah lets give this murdering sociopath more Attention. REALLY? Again, WHY?

We will be there in that courtroom again today. Wearing our Matt shirts and praying for the best but also knowing that this system is so broken. People tell me it's not a broken system its the people that are broken? Huh? I say, these people would not be able to do all of these things if the system worked.

We will keep moving forward and speaking out for change in our laws and the way that the constitution protects the accused and convicted but continues to victimize the victims and their families!

We love you Matt. I am so sorry that this happened to you baby. We  REFUSE to ALLOW this Murderer to take any more of us!

I have more to point out but I have to get ready for court now. God, Please Clear our minds and Heal our Hearts.

Friday, July 25, 2014


It's been a week since I spoke to a group of men, who are sentenced to life at California State Prison Vacaville.  I am still processing the visit and knew that I must get this unexpected visit out of my mind and on to the computer.

A friend of mine works at CSP as a counselor. She asked me if I would be willing to come to the prison and talk to murderers and kidnappers about what happened to my son and how his murder has affected so many lives forever. At first, I was a bit hesitant. I felt afraid, not afraid for myself, more so for them. I thought to myself, What if I just go off in there? What if I freak out on all of them? Will I end up incarcerated too? These are just some of the thoughts that were swirling around in my mind.

When I arrived at the prison at exactly 8:30AM on Thursday July 17th, I was directed by the officer at the entrance gate, to drive forward a ways, and park in the lot on the left. Well, there were two lots to my left and they both said, STAFF PARKING. My anxiety was growing at this point, I am now 5 minutes late to meet with the director of the program I would be speaking in front of.

As I turned the car around twice, trying to figure out where I should park, another correctional officer stopped me and said, "Good morning Ms. Courtemanche. I said hi but I was shocked that this officer knew my name. Did he know I was coming, and that I would be driving a black Cadillac? He then said, that he had worked with Matt at the Lucky's grocery store years earlier. I felt a warm feeling come over me. I knew that God and Matt had sent this particular officer to guide me.

 I parked the car and met Kim inside the visitor center. I went through the required steps to enter the prison. They gave me a badge with a whistle attached to it. I was told not to blow the whistle unless I was really in danger! I kind of laughed at the instruction. Do visitors actually blow the whistle just for the fun of it? I guess so, why else would they have to tell me that?

Once we were on the grounds of the prison, we had to go through several locked gates that can only be opened by a guard in one of the towers. The sound of the gates coupled with the wind, felt eerie. I wasn't sure what to do? Do I keep my head down while walking through? Do I look at the inmates? Are they going to start yelling and screaming like they do on Scared Straight? I didn't ask those questions though. I just kept them in my mind and walked on.

 As we began to walk through the yard. I was so surprised at how polite everyone was. Almost every inmate we passed said good morning. I certainly did not expect that!

Coming toward us was a correctional officer with a shackled inmate who was dressed in all white prison clothes. As we were approaching them, I witnessed them both smiling. The guard said something to his prisoner like, "Do you want me to carry you there on my back?"They both started laughing. Again, this was not what I had expected.

As we entered the building where I would tell the story of what happened to my boy, I was overwhelmed with the number of people in the room. There were people from Sacramento to represent the different government agencies. There were people from the state. There were also about 50-60 inmates. I immediately felt an overwhelming urge to cry, so I did.

I was introduced to the people in suits. One man told me that his son had went to high school with our youngest daughter. This now makes two connections made at CSP that morning.

As I was led up to the front of the large room, I began to look around at all of these men. They were sitting in their chairs, some chatting together and others just looking around at all the activity. Oh yes, there was also a TV camera in the room, along with a reporter and the camera and microphone crew. It all was a bit overwhelming. Yet again, it was very unexpected.

I remember bits and pieces as I was describing that horrific Sept. 1, 2008. I do know that I cried a lot. I talked about my pain and anger. I talked about forgiveness and compassion. I talked about taking responsibility and hope. I shared how Matt;s killer continues to drag us through this nightmare again and again because he can, those are his rights.  I saw many of these men wiping away their tears. Once again UNEXPECTED

After I was done speaking, it was now the inmates turn to tell their stories. They talked about how wonderful the program has been and what they have learned. They shared about the never ending hurt and pain they have caused the victims and their families I was not prepared for the emotion and compassion that I felt. Totally unexpected.

I would say that this has been another turning point in my life. Some of these men shook my hand, with tears in their eyes and they apologized for the pain they have caused. Some of the men knew about Matt and his senseless murder. One man said to me, "You could have looked at us as though we were your son's murderer, but you didn't," I didn't because they are not. My son's murderer refuses to take any responsibility for his actions on that Sept. night when he killed our son, brother, grandson and friend.

I was asked to come and speak again, and I will. I am also not naive. I understand that these men have been locked up for many many years. I understand that after so many years of incarceration and structure, it would be very difficult to return to society and not get caught up in the drugs/alcohol and crime/violence again. But, even if just one man can accept responsibility and begin to live a life totally different from the one he had prior to prison, maybe just maybe...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What does it all mean?

This July 14th my only son would be turning 28 years old. But, instead we will mourn another birthday without him. He was senselessly and violently taken from us on Sept. 1, 2008 Less than 2 months after his 22nd birthday. I believe that I am still in shock. I don't think I will ever get used to him not being here with us. Especially, due to the fact that this horrific nightmare never seems to end.

We went to court twice last month to sit and listen to the murderer of our son, brother, grandson and friend to so many, talk about how unfair this has all been for him. He spewed his unbelievable reasons why he thinks he will not get a fair hearing here in Solano County. This murderer was convicted over 3 years ago for shooting Matt in the back of the head on Silverado Drive in Cordelia, Labor day evening nearly 6 years ago.

This murderer, Henry Don Williams, was in prison scheming and plotting ways to have his conviction overturned, turned around, changed, deleted...whatever you want to call it! It's his right to do so!
And to do it Over and Over again.

This all leaves us with more court hearings. The devastating memory of the night we lost Matt is always forefront in my mind. But, to have this narcissistic sociopath continue to not take responsibility for his actions and on top of that, drag us through all of this...AGAIN... all because he can, IS INSANE!

 Our constitution of the United States of America gives this convicted and sentenced murderer all the rights and the victims and their families are left to, not only relive the nightmare, but also to have this very sick murderer Henry Don William's, Public Defender subpoena me! What kind of individual does this?

I respect most public defenders. I understand that they have a job to do. I get it! But, Oh My God, what type of person are you? The public defender already has several witnesses to testify regarding what they witnessed in the court hallway with the juror speaking to the murderers girlfriend during a recess in the trial. WHY in HELL would this public defender want to have the mother of her murdered child, subpoenaed to testify in his clients HEARING on August 15th?  How low will a public defender go?  Apparently, he is willing to go very LOW!

We won't give up calling on the leadership of the USA to help change the way that jurors and the general public are intermingled in the hallways of many, many courthouses throughout our country. We will continue putting people and situations on BLAST, for their many injustices to victims and their families, after already suffering the initial loss of their loved ones.

We will be there, in court, in Fairfield Judge Bowers Courtroom Dept. #15 on August 15, 2014 @ 1:30
I will not allow YOU to take anything more from ME! I believe God will have the final say in everything. It is just very difficult sometimes to sort through all this madness!

I'm forever grateful for the love and support that we continue to receive from so many awesome people. Thank all of you who continue to show up to court hearings with us. It means so much. We hope to see you all at the hearing in August.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We feel them. God, clear our minds and heal our hearts. Give us the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the words to speak. Amen

Friday, June 6, 2014


Update: The recent court hearing was once again, ridiculous! Matt's killer has now asked to have a public defender appointed to him. HE has DECIDED, that he no longer wishes to defend himself. Matt's murderer told the judge that HE feels like he is being backed up against a wall. He stated he is being treated unfairly! It took everything I have to not jump up and scream at the top of my lungs about what is "Unfair"! Matt is dead! You murdered him! How UNFAIR is that? We,Matt's family and friends have to be subjected to YOU playing the system over and over again. WE have to listen to you whine about how, not one investigator in Solano County will take your case. REALLY? Why do you think that is? It's because you are a convicted MURDERER! You were sentenced in 2010 to 50 years to life. We should not have had to ever hear your name or see your face from the day you were sentenced over 3 years ago. But, our Justice System doesn't work like that! So, here we are Again and Still! We will return to court next Tuesday at 8:30 in Dept 15 where a NEW hearing date will be set. The murderer has asked for another delay for the evidence hearing. I'm sure he will be granted a continuance. After all, that is a convicted murderers Constitutional Right! I do know that God will have the final say. I am only human and my boy is dead because of this POS! My entire life has been forever altered. Our family's entire lives for that matter. I try and show up for others and still I continue to witness the pain and devastation of not only their losses from these violent crimes but then the insanity of the crimes against the victims and their families that happens after the loss. The crime in the court system that have the victims and their families constantly grasping for ANY sense of JUSTICE for our murdered loved ones. This is where things really need to change. My heart hurts. There is no changing what has already happened. But I can't pretend that I can simply just let this all go! God does have a plan I believe that God continues to shine a light on the horrific crimes in our JUSTICE SYSTEM. If Nothing Changes then Nothing changes! I'm in this for the long haul..what else do I have to lose? Thank you for all the letters you have been writing to our lawmakers Please keep them coming! Please let us pray for our broken system. The justice system which allows victims and their families to be victimized over and over again. WE Will NOT back down. We will continue to send letters and make phone calls to our elected lawmakers and our campaigning lawmakers to help amend the constitution for victims rights! Thank you all for being here for our family. The prayers, love and support that you all have given to us over these last 5 years and 9 months have been our saving grace. God Bless You

Friday, April 11, 2014


 My spiritual journey took a sudden devastating detour on the night of September 1, 2008. My only son was visiting a friend. She and Matt were talking outside of her home in a quiet neighborhood, when all of a sudden several shots rang out and Matt was hit.
There are no words to describe what transpired within me as I was faced with the knowledge that my child had been a victim of violence.

After all, helping to decrease violence in our city had been Matt’s passion. Just 10 months before Matt was shot, he was elected to a seat on the Fairfield city council in December of 2007 at the age of 21. He was the youngest person to have ever been elected to public office at that time. We were beyond proud.
The horrible call that night had to be a mistake. This could not be happening – it could not be our son, not Briana and TeaRae’s big brother. It had to be someone else. I prayed that this was a nightmare that I would soon awaken from.

A police officer was dispatched to pick our family up and drive us to John Muir Trauma Hospital miles away from where we lived in Fairfield. It was approximately 9:00 pm by the time the officer arrived. Our youngest daughter had already left to head to the hospital with another family member.

Word was spreading fast that Matt had been shot. Our cell phones were ringing nonstop as my husband Raymond, my oldest daughter Briana, and I sat in the cramped back seat of the police car. The seat felt like I was sitting on hard and slippery ceramic. My message to everyone that called was to Pray! Pray! Pray!

It was Monday, September 1, 2008 on  Labor Day night. We were inching slowly forward in massive traffic as folks were returning home from their Labor Day weekend festivities.

 The only thing that I could think of at the time was that I needed to get word to my boss that I would not be coming into work the next day. It is strange to look back now and notice how the mind works when faced with a horrifying situation.

 At this point we had no idea what part of Matt’s body was hit by gunfire. It never even occurred to me that we were being driven to a trauma hospital.
 The last time I had been to John Muir Hospital was seven years earlier. My friend Melissa’s father had been in a terrible car accident on interstate 80. Tom was in a coma. Many of us stayed several nights on the floor of the John Muir ICU waiting room. We waited with Melissa praying for a miracle. We prayed that Tom would heal and wake up. Tom died 12 days later.

It did not seem to us that he officer driving us to the hospital was using all the resources he had available to get us to the hospital quickly. We started yelling at him to turn his sirens on and get us there already! My God, my son has been shot! I will never forget my question and the officer’s answer as we were driving over the Benicia Bridge.   I asked him, “Do you know what happened to my boy?” His reply will forever echo in my mind: “All that I know is that he was shot in the head.”  Everything from that moment on until we reached the emergency room is a blur to me.

Upon arriving at the hospital our family waited in the crowded but eerily quiet emergency room.  It was filled with city, county and law enforcement officials. I felt like a vacuum had sucked everything out of my mind, body and spirit. I was an empty shell sitting there waiting for word about my son.  In that silent space, I literally felt God’s arms around wrap around me.

When I finally was led to the area where my son was, I was horrified to see him with tubes running through every part of his body. The image that I have of him laying there will never leave me. I can still remember the blood that was in his ear. I wanted someone to wipe it away from him.

 I was hysterical and horrified. Our beautiful Matt had been so alive just hours earlier when I stopped by to see him at his grandmother’s house. My son, who was doing so much with his life by helping others, was now lying there motionless. 

When I asked the emergency room doctor about Matt’s condition, he just said that Matt’s wound was “devastating.” What did that mean? Could he recover from devastation? My mind was flailing. I was confused and shocked. I just could not comprehend this situation.

 Being in a place of complete and utter powerlessness is both frightening and humbling. People began arriving at the hospital in droves. Matt’s friends were angry and wanted to find whoever did this to their friend. We all held hands and prayed.  As our prayers lifted, everyone came to a quiet agreement that Matt would not want more violence to come from this.

 Our friends came wanting to support us. The news media was there for a story. It was all so surreal.
 I remember telling my friend Laura, “This is why I have been working on all that forgiveness stuff.” In that moment of clarity I understood that God was preparing and carrying me. That moment was fleeting.

Nothing could be done for Matt. He was on a ventilator. We would know nothing more until the neurologist came in at 9:00 the following morning.
I was thinking of our daughters. How are they going to get through all of this? Tearae has already shut down at this point. Briana was hysterical.
Like a mantra, I repeated in my mind, “God, Please clear our minds and heal our hearts.”

 After several hours, Matt was transferred to the ICU. Armed detectives were assigned to him. The shooter had not been caught. It wasn't clear if Matt had been targeted and they couldn't take the chance of someone coming to finish him off. I never had the opportunity to sit with my boy alone. I am still so sad about that.

I thought, “How ironic, my friends and I are again sitting together, just like years before in that same ICU waiting room.” Only now our prayers for a miracle were for Matt.

There was no sleeping for me. I went in to see Matt several times. Nothing had changed. He didn't squeeze my hand when I asked him to. He didn't blink his eyes. He was just laying there, with the detective beside him, the loud sounds of the machines surrounding us. The blood in his ear was gone now. Someone must have cleaned him.Deep in my soul, in that quiet place inside, I knew that he was already gone.

At 9:15 the next morning, the doctor called us into the ICU. He informed us that Matt had zero brain activity. He showed us the X-Ray of Matt’s brain. The bullet had severed his brain stem and was still in his head. There would be no surgery. Matt would never wake up.

 Even though I had felt that Matt had already left us, I was not prepared to hear the finality in the doctor’s words. I am sure that no parent is prepared to hear that.Oh My God, Oh My God! How could this be happening? Why? What did I do? This is so crazy! God, please I will give anything. Please, let my boy live. My pleas went unanswered.

Everything went so fast. The next thing that I knew, we were in an office and the donor network people were there to talk with us about donating Matthew’s organs. Matt liked the fact that he was a donor.  He was also proud that he had the much needed 0 negative blood. He donated his blood often.

Knowing all of this about my boy didn't make this discussion any easier. I was still completely in shock from everything that had already happened. And now I am expected to have a conversation regarding which one of my son’s organs will be donated. They asked if we would consider the donation of his eyes and his skin. It was all just too much to even try to wrap my mind around.

Matt was a very handsome young man. He was also a bit vain. We teased him often about how he had to have his hair cut twice a week. The answer to the donor network was No! Matt’s eyes and skin was not negotiable.

The beautiful correspondence that we have received from the donor recipients has been amazing. The gratitude they share with us for the gift of life that Matt gave to them is so humbling. I know that God is here.
Since Matt’s death I have been on a journey of seeking. I have reached out and attended many different spiritual and religious teachings.

 On my journey I became friends with baseball Hall of Farmer. He is Buddhist. I began to attend Buddhist meetings with him and his wife on Monday evenings. We chanted for an hour and then ate wonderful Japanese food.

During this time a woman named Jenni sent me a message in regards to Matt’s gift to her. She mentioned that she corresponded with me a couple years before but I had no recollection. The email stated that she felt the need to write me and tell me that she is Buddhist, and when she meditates, she and Matt breathe together. Jenni had received Matt’s lungs. My heart smiled reading that and I knew that my seeking was exactly what I was guided to do.

 I don’t know that I will ever get used to Matt not being here. Learning how to find a life of hope, love, and forgiveness after the murder of my son has become the quest of my life.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Becoming fearless

I am having a hard time comprehending so many things lately. One of these many things is that we are already near the end of March. Where is the time going? I must be mindful of each moment.

I have found this mindfulness to sit in each moment very difficult in these last 5 1/2 years. It feels like I have been in terrible nightmare. But then, in another moment, I  feel the immense love of my family and friends. The support, compassion and empathy from so many, lifts me up again.

 So, I guess it feels more like a roller coaster of emotions. Whatever the feelings, I want to be present and fearless to walk through them all.

Being reminded lately that whatever is happening in my life at this moment, is an opportunity. I get to control how I'm going to react. These last few months I have felt powerless. I have felt victimized and I have felt SCARED.

In this moment I truly believe that I can move forward in a positive way. I can help create change without harming myself in any way. I can be full of love and compassion and still be a voice for the voiceless. I am becoming FEARLESS!

Thanks be to God and my amazing family and friends

Sunday, February 9, 2014

1,953 Days Ago

 One thousand nine hundred fifty three days ago my son, Matt was shot and killed.
 Oh my God, how I would do ANYTHING to go back to that day and change EVERYTHING about it. Although, there is no going back. This is our reality.

Our new normal is going to court to make sure the murderer of our Matt, has to live with the consequences of his decision on  Labor Day night of 2008. We don't get a second chance or a "right to an appeal".
 No, We are forced to live with the consequences of Henry Don Williams decision 1,953 days ago. Matthew is not coming back.

Our hearts are forever broken and our minds are never free from the thoughts of what could have been. Although, we continue to move forward because we have to. We want to be sure that these horrible acts of violence and injustices STOP! Why is it that the victims and their families are forced to suffer the nightmare over and over again? We are forced to make sure that the murderers of our loved ones rights are not violated! It really doesn't make any sense.

We must keep moving forward though. Holding our heads up and demanding change for victims, families and loved ones.

We will be back in court tomorrow morning. We will, again, have to face the person who stole from us. He robbed us all. He took away our boy. He shattered our lives and took a piece of each one of us. We must sit there and pray that the people who have been unaffected by Matt's murder, determine if this person gets to have a new trial because he believes his last one was unfair due to juror misconduct.

What is unfair is, you took our Matt over a $50 drug deal, in which Matt knew nothing about, he just happened to be visiting a young lady, 2 doors down. We have had to sit and listen to you, Henry Don Williams. We have had to run into your sons mother at Target. You know your  9 month pregnant girlfriend who drove you to shoot our boy and drove you home and never told anyone, until she was told on, almost 2 weeks later. That one!

 We are forced to write letters and talk with anyone who will listen, to come up with ways to change the way jurors are seated in hallways with the general public. To help eliminate the possibility of the defendants family members/friends speaking to jurors. There is really not much that can be done because there is "NO MONEY" to fix the hallways or add rooms for the jurors to be recessed into instead of the hallways.

We will be in Dept. 15 at 9:00AM tomorrow Feb. 10, 14 to hear all of this, again. Once again, there will be another reason to postpone and another hearing will be set. We already know that Henry Don Williams, who has been convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life, for the murder of Matthew Garcia, now wants a new public defender, because he is no longer satisfied with the one he has. And you guessed it, He has that RIGHT!  This will be another long and painful ordeal, that our family/friends will endure together.

We will be leaning on God and all of our friends for strength, guidance and comfort.
Thank you all for always being there.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My quiet space

With this new year has come a new room for myself. I call it my prayer/meditation/writing and quiet room.
Most mornings I awaken with negativity blaring inside my mind. I immediately begin repeating my daily mantra: God, clear my mind and heal my heart. It usually works. But I also needed to have a place to go to, where I can sit in quiet. A place within my reach. A sacred space that has no cost to get to or to enter. Welcome to my quiet space!

This room has a calming energy within its walls. I have been mindful with the things that I have placed here. It is filled with beautiful items from around the world. Its like an aromatherapy room as well with the smells of  incense and candles.

I am so grateful for this quiet space. These past 5+ years since my son's murder have been devastating, difficult, heartbreaking but also I have found hope, faith and a peace that I still find hard to believe could ever be possible.

As we are learning to live our lives without Matt, we are also learning how to maneuver through a legal system that is so in need of repair. I know that Matt would be encouraging us to continue to help with this process.

 I do also understand the need to forgive others, Not for Them, but for myself!

 We all have consequences for our actions. The murderer of my son is unwilling to accept those consequences due to his actions on September 1, 2008 and is trying to work his way through the legal system to help him get out of his sentence. I am praying that this doesn't happen.
I'm also going to see that this type of injustice doesn't happen to another family. We will meet again with a few lawmakers on Feb 6th. We must secure a "Path of travel" for our jurors.

This is much of the reason that I love my quiet space. I can sort through the stuff swirling around in my mind and ask God to guide me on this journey. He continues to give me the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the words to speak and write.
I am truly grateful in this moment