To Whom It May Concern:
I think I have written this letter a million times waiting for months to address the court on behalf of my brother, Jeffrey. By the time this is all said and done, it’ll be multiple years. I am supposed to explain to you how this has affected me, how it’s impacted my life. In all honesty, I don’t think it is possible. I’ve wasted multiple notebooks trying to write this. Everything I write doesn’t seem enough. I shouldn’t even have to write something like this. How do I describe how much my brother meant to me, and to my family? How do I get you to understand the pain, the constant lump in my throat feeling, or the constant hell that I live in?
Growing up it was always the three of us siblings. We live in the country, so we were all we had. I am the oldest, and I have always been the “protector”. My brother had a laugh that was contagious. He would always make jokes. His heart was so big and cared so much for others. He would give his shirt off his back to a stranger in need, and he did once when he came upon a lady who got into an accident. He had nephews who thought the world of him, who looked forward to him coming over. He was one of those people who others were drawn to. I wrestle every day with guilt. That week was the week of Thanksgiving. The time we are supposed to be with family, not bury them. My son asked me if Uncle Jeff was coming, I replied I believe so, and he wanted me to call him and double-check. I never got a chance to. I think about that all the time. What if I had called that day like I was supposed to? Would he be sitting across the table from me if I had? Instead, that weekend was spent with my parents making funeral arrangements to bury my little brother. Since then, I have lived a nightmare.
Imagine having to call your own mother and telling her that her son is dead. I had to do that. I had to scream it to her, all the while my body is completely numb. I am a contact point between my mom and dad, so I got the call from my uncle and was told to call my mom. I have to live with that. I have to live with being the one that told that news to her, that broke her heart.
If someone says grief doesn’t hurt, they are lying. The physical pain is unbearable. There is a split second in the morning where you are still half asleep and it’s nice, then it hits. Everything floods to your head, and you would rather crawl back under the blankets that face the day. I feel I have a good understanding of how to process grief, but I can’t even begin to process this. How am I supposed to help my two children process this, if I can’t help myself? How do I help my children understand the monsters are not the ones under the bed, they are the ones that walk beside you? I have had more anxiety attacks in the last couple years throughout this than I have any other time in my life. Fear-based anxiety attacks are crippling and hard to reason your way out of.
Having a sibling murdered changes you. It changes you so deeply, so permanently. It changes your soul; every fiber of your existence is molded into something unrecognizable. I feel like I have lived two lives, the one before this and who I am now. I have guilt that never stops. I have questioned my life, the people, and things around me, even my faith. My husband has picked me up out of the darkest places too many times I lost count. I have become someone different than the person before this. He grieves his own way, and I feel guilty about needing so much from him when it comes to this. He watches as some days I get frustrated over the littlest things, that I feel turns into the biggest. He brings me out of the mindset that somedays I feel will just keep going on.
The nightmares that come along with it are the ones that jolt you awake, where your body is stiff from fear, then you ache the rest of the day. Your body is always on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Sometimes I ask myself if it’s a dream, this didn’t really happen. My children are 5 and 11. They are terrified that Matt Gilbert is going to come and hurt them in their own home, because he hurt Uncle Jeff.
I have never thought about wishing death on a person, until now. It makes me sick to my stomach to have that thought, but I’ve thought it a thousand times over. Although death would be too easy of a sentence for him. He has no remorse for the things he has done. He has a criminal background, pages long. His own family is afraid of him. That says a lot about a person, and what they contribute to society. He has no value in this world.
I have worked in a local law office; I know the process. However, now I am living the situation instead of drafting the court documents. I am sick of the victims losing and getting the short end of the stick. It seems like it’s happening more often in today’s world. The pieces of shit like Matt Gilbert need more than a slap on the wrist. Especially since this isn’t his first time being in trouble. That’s not justice. You don’t get to play God and kill someone, serve minimal time, then go back to your life as if nothing happened. We don’t get to do that. If we want to see my brother, we go to a gravesite. The life we had, the people we were before this, doesn’t exist anymore. He deserves to rot in prison. My brother deserves more justice from this than a minimal sentence. My family and I live in hell and will for the rest of our lives, so should the man who forced us into this! He has shown his motives in this life, and a leopard doesn’t change his spots, as he has clearly demonstrated throughout his lifetime.
Your Honor, I beg you that you give him the maximum sentence for each charge. That his sentences run consecutive NOT CONCURRENT, and no chance for early parole. This will make it so this man is unable to hurt anyone else for the longest amount of time. It will give a sliver of peace to our lives knowing that he is away. Please for the sake of me and my family, give Matt Gilbert the longest at the disposal of the court.