BONNERS FERRY — On Feb. 16, the family of victim Jesseka Musson came up from Spokane to hold the event, “Write for Justice for Jesseka.”
The idea for the letter writing campaign came when the family received overwhelming responses when, on Dec. 21, Eric Dante pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of Jesseka Frazer-Musson. Dante had originally been charged with first-degree murder, but accepted a plea for which he will spend at least five years in prison.
Many people expressed interest in writing letters, in hopes that it could impact the sentencing that is to take place on March 8.
“This is an opportunity to come together and write letters to the Judge Barbara Buchanan, the prosecutor Tevis Hull, and the Attorney General Lawrence Wasden,” the family wrote on the Facebook event page.
Despite the snowy weather, the family, consisting of sisters Shauna Carr and Amanda Frazer, and their mother Judy Gullidge, arrived at the University of Idaho Extension Annex Building, fully ready for the letter writing campaign.
“Why we made this trip all the way up here is because we felt like the community had something to say,” said Carr, “We thought, why not come here to this community. I mean, he is going to be on the streets here, with these people.”
The family set up tables and filled them with hand written stamped and addresses purple envelopes, purple stationery, and tin cans filled with pens. The purple theme was to honor domestic violence awareness.
The tables were then adorned by hundreds of photos of Musson to be included in the envelopes with the letters. Some photos were just her, some showed her with her family, with her children, and even with Dante. Every photo had a hand written explanation, or story to go along with it, written by Carr on the back.
“When they see these photos, they don’t have any way to relate who Jesse is with in these pictures, like what has been taken away from these people, and from her and from our lives,” explained Carr. “So I decided to write a little note on the back of each one and just say who it was.”
Carr picked up one of the photos as an example and read it out loud, tearing up as she did.
“Our sister Amanda won’t ever have a chance to hug her sister again, sing with her sister, laugh with her sister. Eric Dante gets to hug his family in five years?”
Musson’s mother, Judy Gullidge, sat at a table as they prepared, writing out bullet points to aid people when writing the letters. She talked about how the whole experience had affected her.
“I just don’t know people who do horrific things like that. I’ve never met anyone that has ever done anything like that,” said Gullidge. “I’ll have a flag make a shadow behind me and I’ll jump. I’ll be looking for something in my closet and the door will close behind me and I’ll just get weak in the knees. I don’t feel safe anymore.”
Gullidge’s daughter, the youngest of the three sisters, Amanda Frazer, stood behind her mom, rubbing her back.
“There was a lot of love given to him freely. And a lot of support. So it’s not that he just took her from us, he pulled the wool over all of our eyes ... and then did it,” explained Frazer. “That’s typical of psychiatric issues that are potentially harmful to the public.”
The family is coping with their loss by trying to prevent the same thing from happening to someone else. Their hope is not just to raise awareness through their campaign “Stop the Silence”, but also by hoping to help influence tougher sentencing on those that commit domestic violence crimes.
With the tables set up, the envelopes addressed and stamped, the family awaited the community that they had listened to, hoping to help with the letter writing campaign. The hours were set to be from 4-6 p.m. With photos of Jesseka staring up at them, they waited, wondering if the weather had kept people at home.
In the end, only one person showed up to write a letter.
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For those interested in the “Justice for Jesseka Rally,” it will be held on March 3, at 11 a.m. at the Boundary County Fairgrounds.