On the day of the verdict, getting inside the Miami Dade courthouse was interesting. I had to dodge a man and a woman bumping and grinding on the courthouse steps. My guess: a pimp and his prostitute. They looked and talked the part.
I opened the front door and waited in line, like the rest of the cattle. The screener made me take off my belt for security, to ensure that I was not carrying a gun or a knife; but I noticed other men going right through, because they told screeners they were lawyers and didn't have to take off their belt.
I asked the screener, “how do you know they're really lawyers?" He responded, "I don't know, they look like lawyers'.”
Today is the day after the jurors found John Couey guilty. When I woke up, I thought about Mark Lunsford.
For the past two years, that man has gone to bed each night knowing he would never see his daughter Jessie again. Not here on Earth anyway. She was only 9-years-old.
I remember Mark's gaze; his glare in court was hard and piercing and aimed right at Couey. On-air, I've said, “If looks could kill, John Couey would be dead.”
Mark Lunsford was sitting all of 12 feet or so from Couey, the man who stole his daughter away in the middle of the night, from her home in Central Florida. I have to be honest; there were times when I looked at him and could see myself jumping over that rail, holding a pen or something sharp in my hand, and hurting him.
I'm a reporter, and that may not be the right thing to say — But I'm also a dad. If someone did to my children, what Couey did to Jessie, I would pray that I would have the strength to NOT do anything stupid.
I've heard other reporters talk about closure ... as if a trial and a guilty verdict can somehow make everything ok. What a bunch of crap — I cant even begin to imagine what Mark Lunsford lives every day, every night, and every second for the rest of his life.
Orlando Salinas is a Miami-based reporter for FOX News.