For a mom who has lost her little girl, life is all about the little things.
"She used to call me at work and she would be like, 'Mom, I have a question.' And it would be something silly that she could easily wait until I got home," said Cassandra Adams, Brooke's Mom.
Brooke Bennett was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered in June of 2008. She was just 12-years-old.Her accused killer, her uncle -- 47-year-old Michael Jacques.
"She is not coming home," Adams said. "He will never endure the pain that myself and her father and everybody involved has been through, so it is really hard to see the justice of it."
Federal prosecutors were seeking the death penalty against Jacques. But in an unexpected twist, five years after the crime, officials from the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday that they had struck a deal. In return for pleading guilty to all counts against him, Jacques, would not face the possibility of being put to death.
"What is justice?" Adams said. "Even if he was to be put to death, that is not going to make me feel better. Nothing is going to make me feel better. So I feel that he did the worst thing that anybody could possibly do and he deserves the worst punishment."
"His actions warrant that," added Jim Bennett, Brooke's Dad. "Everything he has done in this case and leading up to this case -- It's just he is a monster. He doesn't deserve to breathe the air we do."
Jacques was already a registered sex offender at the time of the crime. A guilty plea means he will spend the rest of his life behind bars and forfeit any right to appeal. But for a father enduring the unthinkable, the decision to make a deal is hard to swallow. "Frustrating I guess. I mean if they were going to accept a plea agreement, why has it been dragged out for five years telling us that they were going to get the death penalty?" Bennett said.
Though Bennett acknowledges that a long, drawn out trial and multiple possible appeals could be painful, it's something he's still trying to comprehend. "I haven't really digested it all yet. I haven't really decided just how I feel about it," he said.
But what gives him strength -- a pin of his daughter that he never takes off, and a message on the back of his pickup that follows him wherever he goes. "Yup, she helps me get through the days," Bennett said.
A father and a mother living a parent's worst nightmare. "Love your kids as much as you can while they are around," Cassandra Adams said.
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