A year and a half ago, this happened. Last month, there was a three day trial where the defendant was found guilty of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, etc., etc. [Admittedly, the actions of the men involved did not constitute what we traditionally think of as kidnapping, but they did fit the legal definition of the term and thus they were charged with it.] The trial was quite a bit harder to process and manage than I was expecting. It was dramatic, and I am appreciative of those who came and sat with us during those days.
Today there was a sentencing hearing in which the defendant could have been sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison (with no chance of parole) up to 25 years–just for the kidnapping charge. Other sentences could have been stacked consecutively on top of that, leading essentially to life in prison.
In the end, the defendant was sentenced to 16 years. It will be a hard road for this man, and my family will faithfully remember him in prayer.
Below is what I asked of the court today. During sentencing, the judge said he had only heard three other Victim Impact Statements in this vein in his career. My purpose sharing this is a desire to edify the saints, including those facing life as victims of crimes. My purpose in court was to prop open a door to show forth Christ, now and later I hope.
My name is Ryan Boomershine. I am the headmaster of a private school here in Nashville. I am the father of Karsten Boomershine who was the most direct victim of the crime that is being punished here this morning.
Mr. Vaughn led his friends into my home and committed these crimes. It was my son’s head that gun was directed toward. It was my wife and four other children (ages 3-9) who played and worked innocently steps away from this crime.
Uncharacteristically of me, I was pretty emotional while the verdict was read to the courtroom at the conclusion of this trial. I wept. But I don’t believe that my tears were for my family. They were for Mr. Vaughn. He gave up a lot of good things when he made the decision to right wrongs on his own. He lost access to his son (born a couple of days after this crime), to his family, to the freedom to come and go. The four men implicated in this crime have altered my family’s life a little bit. They have altered their own lives substantially. They have married themselves to solitude and darkness and captivity.
I am glad Mr. Vaughn was caught. I am glad he was tried. I am glad he was found guilty. Truth was made plain during the trial.
Generals Housel and McGregor [the Assistant District Attorneys prosecuting the case] have my highest commendations for their work seeking truth. Ms. Simmons has relentlessly pursued my family’s comfort in many ways in her role as an advocate for victims. Their work was a great comfort to us.
My compassion for Mr. Vaughn is very strong and has been since the day this happened. I said so the following day in a TV interview and meant it strongly then. I mean it strongly now.
I am for the punishment. The crime was egregious and should be punished. But I am also very much for the opportunity for Mr. Vaughn to have the opportunity after the punishment to pursue peace and productivity in this community.
For the last year-and-a-half, my intent has been to ask the court for the lightest possible punishment. My understanding is that the law says that the minimum punishment is 15 years. My family is comfortable with that. I call upon the Court to extend mercy to Mr. Vaughn in giving him the lightest sentence possible, almost.
I am grieved that Mr. Vaughn is not repentant. The story that he told on the witness stand was fable. It is presumptuous for me to assert, but I don’t believe one person in this courtroom believed his testimony, even himself. His willingness to lie under oath is a mockery to absolute truth. I don’t know why Mr. Vaughn conjured this story, but God is not mocked. Nor was this jury of his peers mocked by his lies.
Your Honor, I forgive Mr. Vaughn. I forgive his kidnapping, his assault, his burglary, his lies. Not only do I forgive him, I welcome him. He is welcome in my family’s home. He may pass into my home, eat in my home, be safe in my home.
Your Honor, it is my family’s preference that you sentence Mr. Vaughn to a minimum sentence plus 1 or 2 years–the extra years being added for the blatant lies he told. I believe a maximum or consecutive sentence would be crushing. My hope is that he would receive this correction humbly, that he would hear in me an earnest desire for his good, that he would commit his prison term to pursuing righteousness that is found only in Christ. I would welcome the opportunity to assist him, get to know him, and aid him in this.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” [Titus 2]
May Jesus Christ be praised.
There are three more defendants whose fate needs to be determined by trial(s) or plea bargains. Pray that this season would end soon and that due process would be speedy.