UPDATED WITH VIDEO OF PARENTS AFTER COURTROOM APPEARANCE: Richard Jones addressed the courtroom today to give his victim impact statement regarding the death of his 27-year old daughter Sarah Jones. Facing the defendants, Richard Jones, said, “a beautiful human being and a bright life source was stripped away by what I believe was routed in selfishness — the single-minded idea that getting ‘the shot’ was worth risking the safety and lives of the cast and crew.
“I do not seek revenge, but rather I seek healing for all involved, including those responsible for my daughter’s death. At the same time, we cannot send a signal to the film industry that it is okay to disrespect life … there needs to be accountability. It’s not about payback. It’s about drawing boundaries. It’s not giving permission to the film industry to be so careless with the safety and lives of their cast and crew. It is about sending a strong and powerful message to the industry that, if you are so careless with the safety and the lives you control, you will be held fully accountable.”
In addition, Sarah’s sister Rebecca Elaine Jones and brother Eric Jones also gave statements about the death of their beloved sibling, having already experienced a year without their confidante and having to suffer through their first holidays and birthday without her. September 22 would have been her late sister’s 28th birthday. The statements were read by their father and mother in court.
Sarah Jones’ sister Rebecca Elaine said: “I have sat down countless times to tell how I feel about my sister’s death. I have no idea how to tell about my feelings with this. I still feel like I will see Sarah at our next family gathering, or that she will come to me, or I to her, to visit.
“I know that is isn’t true but it is part of my lack of comprehension, perhaps a protective mechanism. Those days that I have to tell her something, something that happened or that I know she would find hilarious, my chest constricts and I feel that the hole in my heart metaphor is a real thing. When I want to talk to her about something that only she would get, and realize that I can’t now, nor will I ever, I feel like I’ve lost my best friend.
“We all play different roles, have different personalities and relationships. Sarah balanced things in a way that became unwelcomingly clear. It goes unsaid that she played a role that can’t be replaced.
“I believe in her spirit beyond life on Earth. I still want her here. I miss tickling her arm, as we used to do laying in her bed until she fell asleep, asking about her experience and advice with friends, and later, with work and life. I miss collaborating on the best way to cook the Brussels sprouts and bacon. I have a degree of numbness until I realize this: that my life will never be the same. It is an impossible feeling to explain.
“She will always live beside me in spirit but I will never know her influence, or get advice from or cuddle with. My children will never know their ‘Aunt Say,’ the name Sarah and I decided the last time we were together. I will have only memories of my sister until my own death. How easily her future could still be, as sure as it seemed before, is disheartening.”
Jones’ older brother, Eric, parents and cast and crew members from The Vampire Diaries and The Originals last year led a Walk-A-Thon in Atlanta, GA with all proceeds going to benefit the Sarah Jones Film Foundation.
Here is Eric’s victim impact statement:
“Sarah was happy, and she liked making other people happy. She was inspired, and she was inspiring. She was gregarious. Despite her busy life, she always made time for friends and family, but she also make time for herself. I don’t know how she did it. She was honest. I could always expect an honest answer from her, but she always told me delicately if it was something I didn’t wanted to hear. When I was down, she’d try to cheer me up with a Seinfeld quote, or a funny face, or just a good hug. She was a great hugger.
“She loved to laugh. Our favorite movie to watch together was The Big Lebowski. We went to comedy shows together and had a great time. We laughed so hard together.
“She was curious, and she was wise. She questioned everything. She was very smart, especially when it came to people. Often, I think she knew me better than I know myself.
“She was creative. She wrote poetry, she painted, and she made movies. We’d make movies together, growing up. She liked to have a good time, and she liked to meditate. She was very balanced. And focused. And passionate.
“he loved her job and the people she worked with. And they loved her. Everybody did. And she was beautiful, inside and out. She was my sister, my best friend. I cannot sum up, in words, all the characteristics of Sarah, because she was just so much. So full of life and potential and love, that I have a hard time processing what the world is like without her. It just doesn’t feel right.
“Sarah and I grew up together. She was 19 months younger than me, but it was close enough in age that we would often have a lot of the same interest. So we were always very close. We also looked a lot alike. When people first me us together, they would inevitably exclaim how much we resembled each other. I sort of always thought of her as my younger twin sister. Now that she is gone, people still hell me how much I look like her, but it’s only from a photo, or a distant memory of her. I can no longer share that knowing little glance we’d give each other when hearing this. I miss that. I miss her so much. I’d say it hurts, and I do get overwhelming pangs of sadness oftentimes, but mostly I just feel numb. It’s like I can’t face the pain of losing her, for fear of breaking completely. Like I can’t comprehend the void her death has left.”
“She was almost always the good kid. She saved her money, made good grades, and pursued a career she enjoyed. I get angry at how unfair it is that she was killed. I think about how trusting she was, how much faith she put in others, and it makes me furious that there are those that would take advantage of that trust.
“I find myself trusting people a little less now. I am more cynical and more cautious about certain things. And I’m depressed. Not to the point of debilitation, because life must go on, but I have a sadness in me. It prevents me from living the life I know Sarah wanted for me. I should be living life to the fullest like she did, but I just can’t. I hope it gets better, it just has to. It’s a weird felling being consumed by the memories of someone, while simultaneously trying to push down the thoughts because the sadness of knowing you will never, ever see them. again is too much bear.
“She was also a great sister to Rebecca, our younger sibling, and an amazing daughter. My parents put on a brave face, but I know that they, and my sister, are just as sad as I am. The public nature of Sarah’s death has forced us all into a crimson spotlight. It’s not something I would wish on anyone, but we feel it is our duty to see that what happened to Sarah never happens to anyone else. I am extremely grateful for the time and closeness we had together as a family. But now our family is incomplete, and we will never be the same.”
Kelly Robb contributed to this report.