My Letter to the Court
My dad and I are Amman bound today. Tomorrow is the final verdict in the trial of the murderer who killed Jimmy, Matt and Kevin. We were given the opportunity to write what they call a "Victim Impact Statement". My sister and I wrote one and submitted it to the presiding judge last week, you can read mine below:
July 7, 2017
Judge Col. Mohammad Afeef
Head of the State Security Court
Chief Judge of the Military Court
Dear Judge Afeef,
My name is Melissa Moriarty and I am one of Jimmy's older sisters. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our perspective by submitting a victim impact statement.
There aren't enough words in all the languages in the world to properly describe the extreme anguish and darkness that losing my brother has provoked, but I will attempt to paint a picture for you.
The pain is very real and very physical. It subsides some days, but it never goes away. I feel it tighten in my heart and constrict my lungs as I write this letter to you now.
I was texting with Jimmy and my sister on November 3rd, the day before he was killed by Ma’arek Abu Tayeh, about his upcoming trip to visit me in Bogota, Colombia. My siblings and I were going to spend the Thanksgiving holiday together in Colombia, a country where I lived for the past five years. They were scheduled to arrive on November 20th. 16 days. There were only 16 days left before I would get to hug my brother and see him again. He was such a happy, outgoing person. I was planning to surprise him at the airport with a mariachi band, a joyful and exciting welcome to a beautiful country that I used to call home. I had the entire trip planned for their vacation, filling up every hour with fun activities, meals and events.
All of these plans have been permanently cancelled because of the actions of Ma’arek Abu Tayeh and the inaction of the seven Jordanian soldiers that stood by and did nothing to save my brother's life.
I watched the video of the incident. Ma’arek Abu Tayeh's actions are no example of how a soldier, let alone a human should act. His murderous actions are deliberate. His actions are aggressive. His actions demonstrate intent to kill for over five minutes, during which time my brother waves his arms in the air, shouting in both English and Arabic, "We are Americans! We are friends!"
The forensics investigation has concluded that Ma’arek Abu Tayeh fired approximately 60 rounds while my brother and the only living survivor of the incident fired 19 rounds combined. Ma’arek Abu Tayeh's weapon was a powerful assault rifle and he was protected with body armor. My brother and his comrade were armed with just pistols and were not wearing body armor. They employed multiple tactics to de-escalate the situation and retreat, as Ma’arek Abu Tayeh continued to advance upon their position and fire at them for over five minutes. I saw it all with my own eyes, in horror.
I am an entrepreneur and I run my own business. I have missed hundreds of opportunities since November 4th simply because I am not my normal, focused self. After living in South America for five years to pursue my dreams to support remote artisan communities, I moved back home to Houston, Texas. Needless to say, it has been extraordinarily impactful economically. But that's the least of it.
At the doctor's office when they ask about your level of pain, they ask for you to provide a number between 1 and 10. It is impossible to give a number for this type of loss. You cannot measure it. It is so blinding and deep that you become numb to reality. You wake up and hope that your nightmare isn't reality, but when you realize it is it jolts your entire soul and breaks your heart in half. This cycle happens daily. It is exhausting both emotionally and physically.
Jimmy was such an incredible, happy, thoughtful and kind person. He was everyone's best friend. He was extremely smart. He was a good person. I have no doubts that he had a brilliant future ahead of him not only in his career but also in his life. I was so excited for him to marry and have children some day. I was equally as excited for him to be an uncle to my future children.
Jimmy never made it to Colombia to visit me. We would not spend Thanksgiving together. Nor Christmas. Nor his birthday, or my birthday, or any future birthdays. All plans have been cancelled, forever. It is my personal belief that Ma’arek Abu Tayeh should receive the death penalty for the deliberate and intentional murder of these three American soldiers.
Melissa Kay Moriarty