Closure for some, wounds remain open for others after sentencing in Waukesha parade attack

NOW: Closure for some, wounds remain open for others after sentencing in Waukesha parade attack


WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- After the convicted killer was sentenced for the Waukesha parade tragedy Wednesday, we spoke with some of the families that were impacted directly and indirectly. Some spoke of closure, but others said the healing process could take longer.

As people quietly left the courthouse Wednesday evening, relief was visible on some of the faces, but others clearly showed the pain and loss still run deep.

The final phase of the trial is now over, but people throughout Waukesha are processing it in different ways.

Yeliana Torres is the older sister of injured dancer Jessalyn Torres. She said, "I was just really nervous to see his reaction, and everybody else's reaction, too."

The outcome of Wednesday's sentencing hearing was never really in doubt, but there were still some nerves for Yeliana. She said, "It just brings a lot of closure to everybody in the community, and even my family."

Yeliana said it's been really hard for her family lately, but her sister is doing well in her recovery.

It was important she be there Wednesday, as it was for Brad Plaumann of Milwaukee, who attended most of the trial.

Plaumann said Wednesday, "I kind of wanted to see how this all played out to the very last day."

Despite a long day that included more than two hours of rambling remarks from the convicted killer, Brad said it was very emotional in the courtroom, especially for Judge Jennifer Dorow.

Plaumann said she was "Noticeably wiping her eyes because of the trauma the people had to endure. She was noticeably moved, quite emotional."

Judge Dorow read aloud every single name of the victims that were killed and injured, and recounted the severity of those injuries before handing down her sentence.

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, she said of various survivors, "Her sister was in a coma for two weeks." "She has survivor's guilt and issues like that. Panic attacks, PTSD." "The road rash on her face was horrific." "All of the surgeries, the toll it took on their family." "The emotional and mental injuries are significant and severe."

After the sentencing, the city of Waukesha issued a statement that read in part:

"Today marks another step on our community’s journey following last year’s Christmas Parade. Justice has prevailed. For some in our community, the end of the trial and sentencing will offer some sense of closure."

But it continued: "we know that for many the pain, heartache, physical and emotional scars will never go away."

That's the case for some of the affected families struggling lately to focus on something other than the trial. But Yeliana Torres said, "You can't really do that because they're talking about it 24/7 and you see it everywhere."

But that may change now that it's over.

The city of Waukesha's statement acknowledges difficult days may lie ahead as the anniversary of the attack approaches.

The city is making help available for anyone in the community, including free help through the newly created United for Waukesha Resiliency Center.

That information can be accessed at this website.

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