I never knew that court could be so interesting!
Last week, I was at the Essex County Courthouse to cover the sentencing of Thomas Collard, who is currently serving between eight and 24 years after he admitted to killing his wife 30 years ago.
Getting to the court early, I had the chance to watch a few of the other cases on the docket. At first, I was in and out of what was going on, checking in with Don from the Post Star about how things down south were going and looking at who was in the courtroom.
Not much later, I was on the edge of my seat.
The four cases that preceded the Collard sentencing were filled with drama. I watched each one, thinking the whole time that I was glad that I was not the person on the defense side of the room. Each case had some element of guilt involved, whether it was trying to get a current jail sentence turned into probation, finding out that a sentence would be extended six months on a technicality, or walking into the courthouse freely and walking out in handcuffs.
Then, there was the Collard case. Emotions ran high during and after the sentencing, as daughter Tammy Vanderwerker addressed the court, another daughter addressed the court through a letter and both District Attorney Kristy Sprague and Judge Richard Meyer had very harsh things to say about the man who was about to be placed in the hands of the New York State Department of Corrections for the rest of his life, most likely.
The DA and the judge also gave kudos to the officers who worked the cold case to resolution, which is well deserved as they were able to bring some element of peace to the family.