I appear before the Court on behalf of my husband and myself, to represent our daughter -- Christina Marie "Chrissie" Cubenas. More than anything else, however, I do this to honor her, because if the roles were reversed, she would be standing here today. Five months and 11 days ago, our only child, Chrissie was admittedly murdered by Jason Matthew Wallace, who she considered a friend. How can one summarize 21 years of life, love, joy, shared laughter, hugs, tears, "I love you Mom and Dad and thanks for all you do?"
Chrissie was a loving and caring and giving young woman with a heart as big as the world. She was a friend to everyone she met; including Jason Matthew Wallace. She would give you the last dollar in her wallet, the shirt off her back, or a place to stay if needed. She was intelligent, reliable, perceptive, sensitive to other's needs, compassionate, caring, and nonjudgmental. She cared about people, all people, especially children. She looked for the good in everyone she met. Chrissie was just starting to plan and build for her future. She dreamed of becoming a teacher to first and second grade children, of getting married, having a big house, and two children. She had plans for her life. We looked forward to sharing the future of our only child.
Chrissie's story has been stopped at the threshold of her adult life, cut off deliberately by Jason Matthew Wallace, in her own apartment on June 5, 2000. Chrissie's most basic right, her right to life, was cruelly and unjustly taken from her.
When Jason Matthew Wallace took her life, my life and that of her Dad, was shattered.
Words seem trite in describing what follows when your only child is murdered -- stripped from your life. I can, however, give you some idea of what we went through:
In the time while she's missing....
.... it's starts with a phone call on Monday, June 5th, 2000, at 6:00 pm, from her roommate, Angie, asking if we have seen or heard from Chrissie and telling us something is wrong in the apartment, as there were a couple of things knocked over, a slat from the blinds in Chrissie's room was sticking out, and there were Clorox stains on the carpet in her room and Chrissie's room;
.... it's another phone call telling that your daughter's car is gone and since Chrissie was supposed to take Jason Matthew Wallace to the airport, (Chrissie had told Angie that Jason Matthew Wallace had missed a return flight to Puerto Rico, so she was letting him stay at her apartment for the weekend) perhaps that's what she was doing;
.... it's another phone call an hour later, asking if you've heard from Chrissie and telling you that her pocketbook and beeper were in the apartment and that something really seemed wrong as their was a knife, wrapped in a pair of Angie's underwear with a towel around it on the kitchen counter;
.... it's another phone call telling you that people who had plans with Chrissie for that day were never able to reach her and now you begin to feel scared;
.... it's about getting a phone call from Angie telling you that she is convinced that there is definitely something wrong, because she asked a neighbor to look at the stains and he told her that he believed they were bloodstains;
....it's about a Dad going over to her apartment and finding more blood stains on Chrissie's bed and calling the police because he knew that something was wrong;
... it's about being told that a person has to be missing for 24 hours before the police can do anything
.... it's about a roommate going everywhere she could think of that your daughter may be;
.... it's about not finding her;
.... it's about a phone call that never comes;
.... it's about a roommate spending the night in their apartment hoping that Chrissie would either call or come home;
.... it's about parents waiting all night for a phone call that never comes;
.... it's about praying to God, please let her be ok;
.... it's so many phone calls, more desperate as each hour passes;
.... it's a conversation with Angie at 7:30 am on June 6, 2000, letting you know that Chrissie never came home or called and she was now going to call the police as Chrissie would not just disappear;
.... it's a phone call to the police;
.... it's about their apartment becoming a crime scene and Angie having to file a police report;
.... it's about knowing that something is definitely wrong;
.... it's about going over to your daughter's apartment and seeing the "crime scene tape"'
.... it's walking up to an officer and asking, "Have you found my daughter?";
.... it's about being told that someone would speak with you;
.... it's about asking again, "Have you found my daughter?" and, again being told someone would speak with you;
.... it's about finally DEMANDING that someone tell you if they have found my daughter and being told, "Yes, the coroner will talk with you in a few minutes";
.... it's about connecting coroner with death;
.... it's about stepping back and telling your husband, "No, her car is missing, you tell them to stop lying";
.... it's about your husband telling the officer that he's mistaken;
.... it's about the coroner telling you that YES, they have found your daughter; YES, she is dead;
.... it's about a Mom and Dad, whose lives have just shattered;
.... it's about a roommate collapsing on the ground when she realizes what we had just been told;
.... it's about not knowing what to say or do or ask;
.... HOW, WHEN, WHY;
.... it's about being told that an autopsy will have to be performed, but it appears to be STRANGULATION;
.... it's about saying, "NO this cannot be happening";
.... it's about being taken to a police department to be kept out of reach by the press;
.... it's about making phone calls to loved ones and choking on the words, "Chrissie has been murdered";
.... it's about hearing people scream on the other end of the phone, NO, IT CAN'T BE TRUE;
.... it's about being told that the daughter you have cherished all your life had been found stuffed inside a utility shed with a plastic bag over her head and a belt tightened around her neck;
... it's realizing that the last person who was known to be seen with Chrissie, Jason Matthew Wallace, is missing and presumably has her car;
IN THE FOLLOWING DAYS
.... it's the continued difficulty comprehending how someone can murder another;
.... it's staying away from newspapers, televisions, and phones;
.... it's about having to make decisions for a funeral, but you can't, because parents are not supposed to bury their children; children are supposed to outlive their parents but not in our case;
.... it's about flowers being delivered to your home making it more real;
... it's about wondering will they catch Jason Matthew Wallace;
... it's about being told that the alleged murderer, Jason Matthew Wallace, is in police custody;
... it's about the horror of learning that Jason Matthew Wallace has allegedly killed another woman in Florida and used your daughter's car to dispose of her body;
.... it's about falling to the floor on your knees and thanking God he's in custody;
.... it's about the word "MURDER";
.... it's about having to make funeral arrangements;
.... it's about thinking about what you want to dress your daughter in for her service;
.... it's about asking the funeral director to let you see your daughter so that you know this is not just a bad dream and being told no and not understanding why;
.... it's about being told that due to the length of time before she was discovered stuffed in a hot utility shed, that her body had already begun to decompose;
.... it's about running out of the building and collapsing on the ground - NOT ONLY DID HE KILL MY DAUGHTER BUT HE ROBBED US OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE AND HOLD AND KISS HER GOOD-BYE;
.... it's about going back into the building and asking someone to verify it's really her;
.... it's about seeing your brother-in-law's face after seeing her and finally knowing the truth;
.... it's about falling apart;
.... it's about praying and asking God for the strength to get through the next few hours;
.... it's about having to have a closed casket service;
.... it's about seeing so many, many sad people, knowing that they too are mourning our daughter's loss;
.... it's about a church service where 500 people attended, young and old, black and white, rich and poor;
... it's about a priest, who was stunned by the amount of people mourning the loss of a 21 year old young woman, my daughter, Chrissie;
.... it's about a priest reminding us all that Chrissie's death was not God's will, but an act of violence;
.... it's about going to your daughter's apartment to pack her belongings and seeing the evidence that your daughter struggled;
.... it's about wanting and NOT wanting to see the utility shed;
.... it's about wishing to die, while air continues to fill your lungs;
....it's also about THE FUTURE;
... 365 days of nothing;
When Jason Matthew Wallace murdered our daughter he robbed us of not only our daughter, but of our family life. Not a day would go by without our seeing or hearing from her in some way, and hearing her say I love you. Even though she had her own apartment, our family life was just the same as when she was home. Two days before her murder, she brought over a Father's Day gift; she said she would be by to wrap it later. Her murder not only took away a daughter, but a granddaughter, niece,cousin, and a friend who was greatly loved. Chrissie was our future, our legacy to the world. The days of joyful, whole family celebration are over. The home, a place of refuge from the world has been invaded by violence. We go thru the motions of living, but there is no joy, peace, rest, or closure. Now all we have are years of accumulated photos from birth thru 4 days before her murder and cards and letters thru the years. We will never have grandchildren.
Jason Matthew Wallace deserves to die for murdering my daughter, 30 years to life in prison is more mercy than he deserves, but will bring justice to Chrissie and our family. He showed no mercy when he struck Chrissie, nor when he put a plastic bag over her head, nor when he put a belt around her neck and strangled her. He showed no mercy when he stuffed her body into a utility shed. He showed no mercy when he stole her car, stole her money, and fled the scene. He showed his deliberate intent to hide his crime by trying to clean up the crime scene. When an eye for an eye means giving up one's soul to anger, you are best to turn it over to the justice system and to God. So instead of vengeance, we ask for Jason Matthew Wallace to be blessed with a conscience so he can feel for himself ALL the pain he has created.
We ask you to sentence Jason Matthew Wallace to life. Chrissie deserves justice. Chrissie's family and friends deserve justice. I honestly believe with my entire being, that if Jason Matthew Wallace is ever free to live in society again, there will be another victim, another family shattered; and, in fact, he has already proven this to be true as he has admitted to killing Shantal, his girlfriend, the day after he murdered my daughter. You can prevent this by sentencing him to the maximum penalty.
Jason Matthew Wallace was sentenced on November 16, 2000, to life without the possibility of parole, for the murder of our daughter, Chrissie, on June 5, 2000. We were fortunate in that he wanted to plead guilty to murder and whatever sentence we wanted he wouldn't fight, even the death penalty. My husband and I thought that we were death penalty supporters, till put in this position, and while we had the special circumstances to pursue it, we realized that we trusted God, and we chose what we felt would be best for us - not going thru a death penalty trial and all the appeals that that would entail. Also, by having a conviction in this state for murder, the state of Florida will have a death penalty case.