Did they run to him with open arms?
He was their father, after all. The man who gave them life.
Did they feel safe enough around him that they felt no need to let their mother know they were going with him?
He was their father, after all. The man who should love them with all his heart.
Did they feel they were safe in his arms?
He was their father, after all. The man who should do everything in his power to protect them.
Did they think twice about leaving with him?
He was their father, after all. And it was Father's Day. The day where we celebrate all those wonderful qualities of a father, and thank him for encouraging, loving, and protecting us as we grow into adulthood.
But on Father's Day of 2008, whatever feelings of safety, attachment, and love that 7-year-old Randy Sylvester, Jr. and his 3-year-old sister, Denim Sylvester, felt for their father, Randy Terrell Sylvester, it is now most assuredly safe to say that those feelings were very much misplaced.
On Father's Day of 2008, when Randy, Jr. and Denim ran to their father's arm, they ran to the arms of a monster who would betray them.
Desecrate their bodies.
They were kidnapped from their mother's apartment complex, and a community joined together to search for them.
But the search was futile. Randy Terrell Sylvester had already murdered his own children and burned their bodies to the point that the Medical Examiner's Office could only determine that they had been murdered -- but couldn't tell anyone how specifically.
What went through their minds when they realized what he was doing?
Confusion? Sadness? Terror?
My mind leads me away from even thinking about what the last moments of their short lives were like.
As Sylvester lied to the police and said drug dealers kidnapped and murdered his children, he ultimately admitted to community activist Quanell X that he had done the killings himself.
And by admitting that, he showed us all that he was a monster.
He was charged with Capital Murder under the Old Administration, and in reality, he could have been tried for that four times over:
-murder in the course of committing the kidnapping of Randy Sylvester, Jr.
-murder in the course of committing the kidnapping of Denim Sylvester.
-murder of Denim Sylvester, a child under six years of age.
-the murder of two individuals, Randy Sylvester, Jr. and Denim Sylvester in the same occurrence.
If the standard for whether or not a District Attorney's Office should seek death is whether or not the crime they have committed "shocked the conscience", then surely there would be no better candidate for lethal injection than a monster such as Randy Sylvester.
A crime that united a community in horror and outrage deserved nothing less than the ultimate punishment, wouldn't you agree?
Certainly, those of us who follow death penalty cases felt that Mr. Sylvester was absolutely a sure-fire lock for receiving lethal injection. Twelve reasonable minds could never disagree on such a certainty, could they?
We'll never know.
Today, the Pat Lykos Administration allowed the murderer of 7-year-old Randy Sylvester, Jr. and his 3-year-old sister, Denim, to plead to life in prison.
A monster's life was spared.
I'm at a complete loss to even begin to think of reasons why Pat Lykos thought it was a life-worthy case.
How do you ever seek the death penalty again in Harris County with any credibility after a decision like that? Was it because the children were black? Was it because Sylvester claimed he was insane? Were you just scared of losing a big case?
Lykos never thought very highly of this case. If you'll remember, she snubbed prosecutor Stephen St. Martin when the FBI presented him with an award for his work on it.
The Lykos Administration has violated the Public's Trust with this decision.
It's a dereliction of duty that proves that Pat Lykos and anyone else involved with encouraging the decision to not seek the death penalty on Sylvester have absolutely no business calling themselves prosecutors.
As you go to sleep tonight, say a prayer for Denim and Randy Sylvester, Jr.
Hug your children if you have them.
Tell them they are safe and you'll never let anyone hurt them.
If you are of the forgiving mind, say a prayer for the soul of Randy Sylvester, Sr.
And maybe even one for Pat Lykos, too.