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MICHELE "MISSY" YVETTE AVILA - MURDERED BY "FRIENDS" KAREN SEVERSON & LAURA DOYLE

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Aug 3 10 11:31 PM

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                                    CHILDHOOD FRIENDS
Michele (Missy) Avila (Ah-bee-la) has three brothers, Ernie, Chris and Mark.
The family is Hispanic - American and their home, where they live with their
parents, is in a quiet neighborhood of Arleta. (20 miles N. of Los Angeles)

When Missy is 8, a new girl moves into a house around the corner.
She's shy and but Missy approaches Karen Severson as a friend.
Soon they are  "playing Barbies," and sharing secrets as best friends do. 
Laura Doyle lives around the block close by, and all three girls are close friends.

Anonymous "Missy wasn't the sweet innocent angel she was portrayed to be,
                    which she definitely WAS NOT. I grew up with Missy and I knew
                    Karen in school as well. I never met Laura, but the few times I
                    saw her with Missy and Karen, she gave me the creeps. As for
                    Missy, she was one of the meanest people I ever knew. She
                    was the worst bully I ever encountered as a child and I never saw
                    any other side to her. She was just as awful as the friends that
                    killed her. There were a lot of people that couldn't stand her
."

                                    JUNIOR HIGH
 
The three are enrolled in Junior High and their interests have moved far beyond
little dolls. They dress like their peers (and each other), create the same 80's
hairstyles, rock and headbang  to the Scorpions and Motley Crue.... and
discover boys. But they also discover drugs. Soon all three girls are emersed
in a tough, drinking and drug-using crowd.
                            
                                   HIGH SCHOOL
 
Missy, Karen and Laura attend San Fernando High School and Missy
is increasingly becoming popular among some of their peers.

All three have family issues and pressures in their lives.
Missy's parents are going through a divorce.
Laura (some say) is being abused at home.
Karen is spoiled and allowed too much freedom for a teen,
even being left alone while her parents go away on trips. 
Karen's parents give her anything she wants, even a motorcycle.

Because of "behavior problems" in school, Missy and Laura are transferred to
San Fernando Mission (a continuation school).

Irene Avila "She (Missy) made great lasagna, and dreamed of becoming a physical
                    therapist. And she was fiercely loyal to her childhood friends."

                                    SOPHMORE YEAR

Karen Severson hasn't blossomed, she's ballooned. She is 5'2" and
weighs 200 pounds and desperately wants boys to like her.

                   
                           Karen Severson

Laura Doyle is thin, has red hair (crooked teeth) and has a liking
for drugs and boys. Friends say she's actually pretty cute when
she has makeup on.


                   
                                    Laura Doyle

Michele "Missy" Avila is thin, petite and pretty, green-eyed and with a
liking for boys... and they like her.

                   
                                 Michele "Missy" Avila

Michele begins spending much less of her time with Karen, who becomes
jealous of her friend's popularity... and of the attention boys give her.


                                   A SET UP

Missy Avila is accosted by a group of girls who accuse her of "sleeping
with their boyfriends." They administer a beating to Missy.

Later Missy is approached by a girl who tells her "Karen's the one spreading
the rumor about you."
 
Irene Avila (Michele's mother) "Missy was so mad at the girl for telling her it was 
                                                 Karen's fault. Missy "knew" Karen would never do a
                                                 thing like that."

 
Colby Canyon, a teen party campground 45 minutes from Arleta is
known as Wicky Up.  That's where local teens go to party and like
many of their peers, the three girls are quite familiar with the place.


                                     JUNIOR YEAR
        
Michele Avila and a boy named Randi Fernandez are dating,
but Randi likes to party too much for Missy's liking. She
breaks up with him after a month.

Randi and Karen begin dating and move into an apartment together.
Karen becomes pregnant, but has an abortion.

Karen will later give birth to another child, Stephanie, (who is now an adult)

Irene Avila "One afternoon, Missy told me that Randi pulled her (Missy)
                    onto his lap just as Karen walked into the room. Missy told
                    Randi she wasn't interested.

                   Later she suggested that Karen dump Randi. 
Karen was
                   really upset because the guy she wanted, didn't want her."
          
C Good "I went to school with Missy, Karen and Laura. Missy was an
             incredibly sweet  girl and it was very noticeable, even in jr. high,
             that Karen was insanely jealous of Missy. It was a mystery to
             everyone why Missy was friends with Karen.
 
             I have personally dealt with the hateful & revengeful personality
             of Karen Severson. Karen WAS manipulative, mean, nasty,
             vindictive, Karen beat me up outside the school one day
             because I was talking to her boyfriend!
             Laura was a follower and Karen's puppet.

 
             Losing Missy was a great loss for everyone who ever came in
             contact with her. She was one of those people that everyone
             loved. A great asset to this world and a tremendous loss.
             She was a sweet, good natured, well liked, beautiful girl."
 
 
Anonymous "I lived in California when this happened,and my sister
                    was a friend of her's from home room class and it was
                   very devastating for all in the school because she was
                   a kind, sweet, popular girl."
 
 
                                    LOVE TRIANGLES & QUARRELS
 
Victor Amaya (Hispanic-American) attends Catholic school and sports
a tattoo of a leaf with the inscription "stoner" across it, dates Missy briefly.
They have a sexual relationship. Her friend Laura is aware of this.

Amaya later becomes Laura Doyle's boyfriend but he dumps her.

1985 - July - August - Amaya breaks up with Laura Doyle (20).
          
Victor Amaya "I broke off the relationship because she (Laura) was
                       jealous of me talking to other girls, including Missy.
                      Laura refused to accept the breakup and became bitter."
 
6 Weeks before the murder -

Victor Amaya  "We (he and Missy) argued with Laura at my house in Arleta. 
                       Me, my brother Noah and Missy had been standing in front
                       of the house when Laura drove up. Laura wanted to know
                       "Why is Missy here?" and I ordered Laura to leave. Before
                       she drove away she said "I'm going to kill that bitch!"
                       I didn't take the threat seriously and I never reported it
                       to police."
 
 
3 Weeks before the murder -

Outside Victor Amaya's home, Victor, Missy and Karen are hanging out.
Laura Doyle passes by the home and becomes angry because Victor
and Missy begin to kiss and hug.

1985 - September 21 - Karen attacks Michele with a beer bottle at a local park.
                                   She pushes and slaps Missy before friends separate them.

 Irene Avila "They'd quarreled often during their friendship."
                    "I'd heard about this, but didn't connect it to Missy's murder."

Laura Doyle is working in a supermarket bakery.
Eva Chirumbolo is living with Karen Severson.

1985 - October 1 - Afteroon - Missy tells her mother "I'm going out with Laura." 
                            "We're going to Stonehurst Park. I promise to be home by
                            8:00." Before she goes out of the house she turns to her
                            mother "I love you!" Then she hurries to the car.


                            
                                   Michele "Missy" Avila (17)

Irene Avila "When Laura got to the house, the girls were laughing and talking about
                   boys. As they drove off, they seemed very carefree. I remember how
                   especially pretty Missy looked that day. She was all excited to go.
                   She even turned to me and said "I love you" which is something she
                   did not ordinarily do. That scene haunts me even today."

                                      ACCUSATIONS, TERROR & MURDER
 
That afternoon Eva Chirumbolo accompanies Karen Severson on a ride
to Stonehurst Park in Sun Valley. They meet up with Laura Doyle and
Missy Avila who are already there in Laura's car.

The girls decide they're going to the National Forest. Laura (18) and
Missy (17) begin driving to the forest, with Karen (17) and Eva (17)
following behind.

Eva Chirumbolo "Karen said that she and Laura "planned to scare Avila."
                          "I didn't know what they had planned. I didn't know how far
                           this was going to go."

 
In the National Forest they park in a dirt lot located near the creek
in Colby Canyon.

Laura and Karen get out of their cars and begin yelling at Missy (still
sitting in the car) about all the boys "she'd been to bed with" and
accusing her of having sex with "their boyfriends."
 
Missy, upset, is crying. Laura Doyle grabs her by the wrist, and pulling
her from the car says "Let's go for a walk." She continues to pull Missy
along with her.

Eva Chirumbolo "All four of us walked down an embankment to the creek.
                           creek, Laura and Karen continued screaming at Missy."
 
Laura Doyle grabs Michele Avila by her hair and pulling it, accuses her
of having slept with her boyfriend, Victor Amaya. Laura steps into the
creek and Karen pushes Missy towards Laura.

 Laura Doyle is shouting "You're going to pay for what you've done!
                                       You're going to pay for sleeping with our
                                       boyfriends!"

 Eva Chirumbolo "I was scared so I ran back to where the cars were parked."
 
Missy's denim purse has fallen to the ground.

                                    ASSAULT - BATTERY - MURDER
 
                     Karen and Laura beat and batter Michele Avila's face.
                     The beating is so severe, one of her earrings ends up
                     pulled out of her ear and is entangled into her hair.
                     Michele cries and screams. She pleads for them
                     to stop.

                    One of them has something...perhaps a knife, a rock,  
                    and hacks at Michele's long waist length brown hair.
                    Clumps of her beautiful brown hair fall to the ground.

                    Karen and Laura carry a very terrified Michele,
                    who weighs only 98 pounds. One carries her feet,
                    the other Missy's arms bent behind her back, and
                    bent at the elbows.

                    Michele Avila is carried to shallow water by her
                   "friends" and her head is held down into the water
                    until she drowns.

                   Michele "Missy" Yvette Avila (17) is dead.

                   Not satisfied just to murder, they decide to hold
                   her down in the water. They find a log 4 feet in
                   length, 100 pounds in  weight. They place it onto
                   the back of her neck.

The two murderers Karen Severson and Laura Doyle calmly walk
back to their cars.

                  Missy Avila's body lies flat and still in the ankle deep
                  water, face down. One foot lies placed over the other
                  and her gold anklet reflects the afternoon sunlight. 
                  One arm is bent back behind her, bent at the elbow.

Eva Chirumbolo "A few minutes later, Karen and Laura joined me.  
                          KarenSeverson jumped into her car and drove away. 
                          When I got into the car with Laura, she said "We

                          killed Missy."
      
                          "I asked Laura "are you sure she's dead?" 
                          Laura said "she is." Then she said "
                          Missy deserved to die because she slept
                          with Victor (Amaya)."
 
                   Laura drives them back to town from the remote park area.

                                  A MOTHER'S FEARS
 
3 Hours after the murder -                   

                   Irene Avila receives a phone call from Laura Doyle.
                 "Is Missy home yet?" "Could I speak with Missy?"

 Irene Avila "I was puzzled. I told her I thought Missy was with her."
                   "Laura told me that she had dropped Missy off to talk
                    with three boys in a blue Camaro while she drove off
                    to get gas. When she returned, Missy, the boys and
                    the car were gone."

8:00 P.M. October 1 - Missy hasn't shown up as she'd promised.
                
2:00 A.M. October 2 - Missy isn't home and her mother is waiting up.

   Irene Avila "I waited up all night for her to come home.
                      At 2 o'clock in the morning, I thought, 'Boy,
                      are you going to get it.' But I was so scared, 
                      though.I knew something had happened to her.

                      I knew it."
 
 
                                   MISSING PERSONS REPORT
 
    When Missy doesn't show by morning, Irene notifies police
    and files a missing persons report.

    For two days Missy's body lies in the water. Rigor mortis has set in.
    Bruises on her face and arms have appeared. As her body begins to
    decompose, flies begin to swarm. Small minnows swim across and
    begin to feed.


                                      HIKERS DISCOVER A BODY
 
1985 - October 4 - Two hikers in the Angeles National Forest walk by the 
                            creek near Colby Canyon Road. When they get to an
                            area of the creek, they see something in the water.
                            At first, they think it might be a small animal. But as
                            they get closer, they can tell it's the body of a young
                            woman, with a heavy log on top of her in about 8 inches
                            of shallow water. Flies are swarming and minnows are
                            feeding on the body.
                            ,
                          
Hikers "Her eyes were partially opened. She had a fearful frozen look
           of horror on her face."
 
                          There are strands of hair nearby and a denim purse.


                                   INVESTIGATION
 
                          The hikers notifiy authorities.

Police find the young woman's body as the hikers have found it.
From the position of her body, with the arm bent and the one foot
on top of the other, investigators believe it indicates two people
carried her to her watery grave.

Inside the denim purse, among the red lip balm, purple compact,
perfume, comb is an orange wallet. Inside is a school identification
card in the name of Michele Avila. The Missing Persons is
cancelled and a Homicide Investigation begins.

                                    AUTOPSY
 
The coroner conductsthe autopsy and finds no drugs or alcohol
in Avila's body. It's determined that the girl was on her monthly
cycle from a tampon found inserted. The time of death is
determined by the remains of the breakfast she had eaten the
morning she died. 
                                      HORRIFIC NEWS
 
Sheriff's Deputies drive up to the Avila's house.

Irene Avila "I knew the news would be bad. I'd feared the worst."
 
Before the Sheriff's Deputies could finish informing Irene Avila they'd
found Missy, Irene faints onto the living room floor.


                                     POLICE SPEAK TO CLOSE FRIENDS
 
Both Karen Severson and Laura Doyle cooperate with investigators.

Laura Doyle tells detectives "I dropped Michele off at Branford Park
in Arleta before going to get gas. She was talking with two young men.
When I returned, Michelle, the car and the two young men were gone."

                                         FUNERAL
      
October 7 -  Irene Avila faints during the funeral service. She's rushed to the
                   emergency room while the family sees Missy's rose covered
                   casket lowered into the gravesite.

            


Laura Doyle sends Irene Avila a card with a $20 dollar bill with the message
      ``I'm sorry she's gone, but she's not really gone. She's right here with all
       of us. Irene, you were Missy's mom and you were mine."

                                     OBSESSIVE BEHAVIOUR    

          After the funeral Victor Amayo stays at the Avila house for a night
          or two to help comfort Irene and Missy's brothers, and then leaves.

         Karen asks Irene if she and her 2 year old daughter Stephanie could
         move in with Irene (who is living with 2 of her3 sons), Irene welcomes
         her because she finds comfort in having Missy's friends around. She
         is with the family through Thanksgiving.

         Irene Avila has need to talk about Missy and Karen encourages her.

         Irene Avila "Karen was my daughter's best friend, and like a second
                            daughter to me."

         In their grief, Irene and her sons don't see that Karen is morbidlly
         obsessed with Missy.

         Karen Severson "I'm going to find the animal who killed Missy."

        Many nights Irene and Karen sit up speaking of Missy and memories
        of her.

       Irene Avila "I might not have survived Missy's death if not for Karen.
                         She became like a daughter to me."
 
                        "It was like a bad dream, and I kept hoping I would
                         wake up. It is still difficult to accept that Missy is
                         gone. "It was really rough at Christmas because
                         I'd go to the mall, and I'd see the back of a girl
                         that looked like her . . . and I'd think, 'Oh, my God,' "
 
 
                                  MIND GAMES
 
      Karen and Stephanie live with the Avila's for 3 months. Karen
      "helps" Irene try to find clues to who murdered Missy. 

             Karen is feeding Irene's anguish. Stoking it.

      Irene Avila lashes out at anyone she thinks  might have killed Missy.
      She stops cars in the street and  once shoves a biker through a
      storefront window. She even attacks a roomful of cocaine dealers
      looking for a suspect. Irene drives the streets frequently, looking
      for blue Camaro cars that fit the description Laura Doyle has given
      her and police.


          From the book "Missy's Murder by Karen Kingsley -
     "For two years, Karen (like Iago) determines events and drives
      Missy's mother and brothers to pursue people Karen feels are
      in involved in the crime. One friend, Karen's former boyfriend,
      Randi Fernandez, is severely beaten by Missy's friends, and,
      later on, nearly shot to death, after Karen "determines" that
      he is guilty of the crime."
 
                                  CREEPY BEHAVIOUR
 
     Karen sits in Missy's chair. She wears some Missy's clothing.
     She dresses up her two-year-old Stephanie to look like Missy.
     Several times a week, Karen visits Missy's grave two or three
     times a week and talks to her headstone. She leaves flowers
     and balloons as a tribute to her friend.

    Karen comes to believe that Missy is haunting her.
    She claims to have seen Missy's ghost and to have
    felt a weird presence she insists is Michele.


                                  AN UNNATURAL OBSESSION
 
   Karen moves out of the Avila's and enrolls in beauty school.
   There she makes a friend through classes. But she scares
   the friend, who becomes more frighted and "scared to death
   of her."

   She observes Karen's obsession with Missy. The last straw
   is when she finds out Karen has been calling her house and
   saying "I know you killed Missy."
 
   The walls of Karen's bedroom are covered with photos of   
   Michele and newspaper articles about the murder.

   Karen begins to revisit the crime scene at Colby Ranch creek
   where she sits and drinks beer at the spot where they
   murdered Michele.

                                  MORE MIND GAMES
 
           Karen tells Irene Avila  "Laura" wants to tell the truth."

           Laura tells Irene Avila "I lied. There had been no blue Camaro,
           the truth was that I had dropped Missy off near a Los Angeles
           church to deliver $500.00 to a drug dealer."

                                  RAMPING UP THE DRAMA

          Karen tells Irene "I've been having visions of Missy, and 
          that sometimes her ghost floats over my bed at night."
 
 
          Karen ramps up the drama. She's visiting Irene one day   
          and gasps and cries out "Missy's sitting on the sofa!"

         After a visit to Missy's grave, Karen's van won't start.
         Karen screams "Missy, let me go!"

                                      INVESTIGATION
 
Since Michele "Missy" Avila's death, police have tracked and checked
leads on owners of Blue Camaro vehicles.

For three years police investigators search for leads and speak with
Karen Severson and Laura Doyle. Over time they both give conflicting
stories.

Investigators "We suspected the girls knew something they were not
                      telling, though we didn't suspect they were the actual
                      killers."

Bill Patterson (Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff) "We talked to Karen
                       several times during the investigation and not once,
                       I mean never did we suspect she was in on the murder."
                               
                     NEW LEADS - A WITNESS COMES FORWARD
 
1988 - For nearly 3 years Eva Chirumbolo has lived with the knowledge
          that two of her friends killed another friend.

                   Eva Chirumbolo "I was in fear for my life."
 
                   Eva's brother (18) commits suicide. She claims her and
                   her family's grief makes her realize the grief the Avila
                   family has been experiencing over Michele's death.
 
                  Others claim it was rumors about her involvement
                  that made her turn the other two in lest she be
                  charged.

                 Either way, Eva Chirumbolo tells investigators what happened
                 the day Michelle "Missy" Avila was murdered.

Tamia L. Hope (Deputy District Attorney) "I think she's telling the truth.
                                           There wasn't a case until Eva came forward."
 

                                       ARRESTS
 
1988 June 27 - Karen Severson (20) and Laura Doyle (21) are arrested.

      After Laura Doyle's arrest, Doyle told investigators she participated in
      the slaying.

      Ellery S. Sorkin (Laura Doyle's attorney) "My client was not capable
                                of killing someone whom she had been "good friends
                                with since elementary school. My client has never
                                caused trouble before this particular incident. I believe
                                the facts will show my client did not commit murder in
                               the first degree."
 

 Deputy Eric Smith "Karen Severson, 20, and Laura Doyle, 21, were arrested
                              on suspicion of killing Michele Avila. The two suspects
                              and Avila were acquaintances."

                              "Severson and Doyle, are being held without bail at the
                               Sybil Brand Institute for Women in East Los Angeles."
 
 
 Attorney Harold Vites (Karen Severson's attorney) "There are going to be
                                    things that come out that didn't come out before. The
                                    prosecution has taken the view that Eva has had
                                    nothing to do with any of this. If Karen and Laura had
                                    this big elaborate plan to kill Missy, why would they
                                    take Eva along if she was not part of the plan? That
                                    doesn't make a whole lot of sense."
 
                                      ADDITIONAL CHARGES


August 18, 1988 - Prosecutors file additional charges in Pasadena   
                           Juvenile Court.

                           Karen Severson, now 20, was a minor of 17 when Michele
                           Avila, also 17 at the time, was found murdered.

Stephen Mazur (Deputy District Attorney) "In addition to one count of Murder,
                         Severson is charged with one count Kidnapping, False
                         Imprisonment and Aiding in the Commission of a Felony
                         after the fact."
 
                        "A hearing to determine whether Severson will stand trial as
                         an adult or a juvenile is scheduled for Aug. 29."


Attorney Harold Vites "Karen Severson denies all the charges."

                      Laura Doyle, will be tried as an adult on one count of Murder. 

                   Karen Severson pleads Not Guilty. Laura Doyle pleads Not Guilty
                   Severson also pleads Not Guilty to kidnapping, false imprisonment
                   and aiding in the commission of a felony after the fact.


                                   PRELIMINARY HEARING - DOYLE

1988 - November - Glendale Municipal Court.
 
           Victor Amaya testifies "Laura Doyle threatened to kill Michele
                                 Avila 6 weeks before Missy's body was found."
 
            Irene Avila testifies "Karen Severson moved in with me 2 weeks
                              after my daughter's death to console me. During the
                              6 weeks she stayed at the house, she aided me
                              with my own investigation of Michele's death.
                              Karen suggested names of individuals who might
                              have been involved in the killing. Karen tried to
                              two other boys."


Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. Investigators "Neither of the teen-age boys
                                                            mentioned were implicated in the slaying.
 
 "Laura Doyle drove Michele Avila to the forest and was followed in another car by
  Severson and Eva Chirumbolo (who has not been charged).The four walked to the
 creek, an argument ensued between Doyle and Avila, and Avila wound up drowned."


           Eva Chirumbolo (20) testifies "Laura Doyle admitted that she and Karen
                                    Severson, killed Michele "Missy" Avila. I she accompanied
                                    Laura Doyle, Karen Severson and Missy Avila to the forest
                                    on Oct. 1, 1985, but was not present at the creek near Colby
                                   Canyon Road when the killing occurred."
 
          She further testies to events that occurred by the creek and in the car afterwards.

        
         Ellery S. Sorkin (Doyle's attorney) "Why did you wait nearly three years to
                                   tell authorities about the crime?"

         Eva Chirumbolo "I was afraid for myself, that my life would be in danger."


        Ellery S. Sorkin "Why did you not try to break up the argument among the girls?

        Eva Chirumbolo  "I don't know why I didn't. I wish I had."

        Eva Chirumbolo "Laura admitted that she and Karen had killed Missy.
                                   "Laura's boyfriend had recently left her."

Irene Avila "I think that, once again, Karen had planted the idea that Missy
                   was to blame."

             While incarcerated, Karen Severson puts on more weight.

            Karen Severson "I know the details of what happened to Missy.
                                      But I'm not going to say."

                                      "A lot of people were upset that Missy had
                                      horned in on their boyfriends. Missy wasn't
                                      as innocent as everyone thinks. When she
                                      moved in on my territory (Randi Fernandez)
                                      I just couldn't take it anymore. But no matter
                                      what, I couldn't kill her."


 Irene Avila (48) "My grief is compounded by the shock of having intimately
                          shared it with a girl implicated in my daughter's death.
                         She was Missy's best friend, but she was jealous of Missy's
                          family, Missy's looks, Missy's popularity and even Missy's
                          relationship with me."

 Mark Avila (24) "Karen wanted to be Missy."


Irene Avila "Who knows, maybe Missy was haunting Karen to make her pay
                    for what she did. If it's possible, then I hope to God she's haunting
                    her each night in prison."

1988 - November 22-  Pasadena Superior Court - Judge Rose Horn rules
                                  Karen Severson will stand trial as an adult.

Stephen H. Mazur "Karen Severson will be held for trial in Superior Court in the
                             drowning of Michele (Missy) Avila. No arraignment has been
                             set for Severson."
 
1988 - November 23 - Karen Severson pleads Not Guilty to one count of Murder.
 

1988  December 2 -
Judge Joseph F. De Vanon orderes Laura Doyle to appear
                               for arraignment in Pasadena Superior Court on Dec. 2.

1989 - January 24 -  Karen Severson is scheduled to appear for a preliminary
                              hearing in the Pasadena Superior Court.

                                    MURDER TRIAL

 1990 - January 8 -  Trial begins.

  Deputy District Attorney Tamia Hope "Both Karen Severson and Laura Doyle
                                        should be convicted of First Degree Murder as charged,
                                        because evidence showed that they had planned to kill
                                        Michele Avila when they drove her to the forest.

   Eva Chirumbolo testifies to the drive to the Forest, the shouting and screaming
                             Laura Doyle and Karen Severson did at Michele Avila; to Karen
                             They were going to "scare" Michele Avila; The accusations of
                             Doyle and Severson against Avila that she'd had sex with their
                             boyfriends; Laura Doyle pulling Michele into the creek and
                             Karen Severson pushing her; Laura's shouts of "You're going
                             to pay for what you've done. You're going to pay for sleeping
                             with our boyfriends"; her own scared flight away from the fight
                             to the cars; Severson's words "We killed Missy." "She
                             deserved to die because she had sex with my boyfriend."

   Eva Chirumbolo testifes"I didn't report the crime sooner because "I feared for 
                             my life." "I changed her mind after the 1988 suicide of my 18-
                             year-old brother made merealize the grief the Avila family was
                             experiencing."


    Victor Amaya testifies regarding his relationship with Laura Doyle, and the one
                          he shared with Michele Avila; the threats Laura made towards
                          Missy.

     Ellery S. Sorkin (Doyle's attorney) "Were you aware that Michele Avila and
                              Doyle had been friends since childhood?"

     Victor Amaya "As far as I knew, they didn't really get along,"

      Other witnesses testify "Laura Doyle and Karen Severson had
                                        quarreled with Avila and angrily accused
                                        her of having sex with their boyfriends.
                                        Both Laura Doyle and Karen Severson
                                        were jealous of Avila because of her looks
                                        looks and popularity with boys."

     Kymi Reel (another friend of the girls) testifies "Eva lied on the witness stand."
                      Eva Chirumbolo and Michele Avila had been in a fight weeks before
                      over Michele Avila's popularity with Chirumbolo's boyfriend, John Avril."
 
    
                                   CLOSING ARGUMENTS
 
Charles Lloyd (Laura Doyle's attorney) "The testimony of Eva Chirumbolo, 
                       the key prosecution witness in the case against Karen Severson
                       and Laura Doyle, was designed to divert attention from her own
                       involvement in the death.

                      Chirumbolo came forward with her story after hearing rumors tying
                      her to Avila's death. Kymi Keel, a mutual friend of the women, testified
                      that Chirumbolo and Avila had been in a fight weeks before. The fight,
                      centered on Avila's popularity with Chirumbolo's boyfriend, John Avril.
                      It is obscene that Eva Chirumbolo is not charged with this killing."

 Harold Vites (Karen Severson's attorney) "Because Chirumbolo had not 
                      witnessed the killing, it was impossible for the jury to find the
                      defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."


Deputy Dist. Atty. Tamia Hope "Chirumbolo had no reason to lie. She was not
                                                an accomplice to this crime. If she was really
                                                involved, why didn't she just keep quiet? Eva
                                                Chirumbolo was touched and traumatized by
                                                the death of her brother and finally decided to
                                                come forward and tell what she knew."

                                     JURY DELIBERATES
 
January 30 - Deliberations begin.

Irene Avila  "For the past four years I've kept her alive, and now I really have
                   to let her go." I hope that the trial will at last bring an end to my
                   family's suffering. I'm going to feel good that finally my family
                   can get on with their lives. We won't have this hanging over us,
                   we won't have to go to court anymore. I won't have to see my
                   sons and my daughter-in-laws suffer anymore."


Barbara Doyle (Laura's mother) "My family has also suffered and wants to
                       get the trial over with. It's been a hardship on all of us. But
                       you have to feel what other people are going through. I just
                      wish they understood too. I believe my daughter is innocent."
 
                      "I wouldn't be a mother if I didn't. Like the Avilas -- they love
                       their daughter, I love my daughter too. But no matter if she's
                       found innocent or guilty, there has been a lot lost already."

Harold S. Vites (Karen Severson's attorney)  "My client's family is "very
                        supportive of her. Obviously, they are right behind her 1,000%."


                                                    CONVICTION

1990 - January 31 - The jury finds Karen Severson and Laura Doyle, 
                              GUILTY of Second Degree Murder in the drowning
                              death of Michele "Missy" Avila.
 
 

Karen Severson dabs tears from her eyes with tissues as the verdict is read.
Laura Doyle, seated next to her, shows no emotion

Judge Jack B. Tso orders Severson and Doyle to return for sentencing March 9.

Both Severson and Doyle are shackled and handcuffed and taken back to jail.


Deputy Dist. Attorney Hope "The usual sentence for a second-degree murder
                                            conviction is 15 years to life in state prison.

Both attorneys are considering appeals.

The Avila family hug each other and cried.

Shaking and with tears, Irene Avila speaks to the press:
Irene Avila "I am disappointed with the jury's verdict but relieved that the trial
                   has ended. "But it's never going to be over because I don't have
                   my daughter. When they killed her, they killed a part of me.
                   If it wasn't for my family, I would not have survived this."
 
                  "I never suspected Laura Doyle or Karen Severson until after their
                   arrest. Both had attended Michele's funeral, and Karen Severson
                   even moved in with us for a short time afterward."
 
                   "She was close to me, like another daughter. Karen was my
                   daughter's best friend. They grew up together."


Mark Avila "The jury's verdict was unfair. Second-degree murder just doesn't
                   make us feel any better. They deserved a first-degree murder
                   conviction, which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years to life
                   in prison."
 
                           SENTENCING

1990 - March 9 -  VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT

  Irene Avila "I urge you to give my daughter Michele's killers the maximum penalty.
                    My life has been shattered forever because of this cold-blooded and
                    senseless act. They left my daughter to die in the woods like an animal."

 Mark Avila "Karen Severson and Laura Doyle not only killed my sister but "a part of
                    all our lives as well."

 Charles Lloyd, and Harold S. Vites 

Both attorneys "asked the judge  for leniency becauseof the women's age
and because they said their childhoods had been troubled.

Harold Vites "Karen Severson "at some point" wants to rebuild her life.
                    "For the rest of her days, she will live with the memory of
                    this crime,"

 Deputy Dist. Atty. Tamia Hope "People "are still waiting for Laura Doyle
                                                  and Karen Severson to show some remorse.
                                  When are they going to face the seriousness of this crime?"
 
Pasadena Superior Court Judge Jack B. Tso sentences both Karen Severson
and Laura Doyle to the maximum penalty for second degree murder, a minimum
of 15 years in state prison. With credit for the time they have already served in
Los Angeles County Jail, they will be eligible for parole in about seven years.

Judge Tso "The maximum sentence is warranted because of the violent nature
                  of the crime."

Karen Severson and Laura Doyle stared straight ahead, showing no emotion.

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#1 [url]

Aug 4 10 11:20 AM

Does anyone know if those two animals have been released??? I sure hope not. I have seen the movie & read the book, and my heart hurt so bad for Missy & her family. I have never, ever forgotten her. I think about her from time to time, and wonder why people had to be so cruel. The lives of Missy's family have been forever changed. RIP Missy

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#2 [url]

Aug 4 10 11:38 AM

Does anyone know if those two animals have been released??? I sure hope not. I have seen the movie & read the book, and my heart hurt so bad for Missy & her family. I have never, ever forgotten her. I think about her from time to time, and wonder why people had to be so cruel. The lives of Missy's family have been forever changed. RIP Missy

-guest_guest


No, neither has been released and their paroles denied.

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#3 [url]

Aug 4 10 12:12 PM

                                   JURORS

Several on the jury stated that they were not convinced the murder had been planned.
Some said stated there was insufficient evidence to justify a First degree murder
conviction.
 
Juror "There was no disagreement that they had participated in the murder.  However,
          there just wasn't any proof to show that it was premeditated. We thought
          they just got carried away and didn't know when to stop..
 
          Several other jurors didn't find Eva Chirumbolo's testimony entirely credible.
          I didn't find her believable. I felt she knew more, and was probably holding
          something back to protect herself."
 
                                    REACTION

Irene Avila (holding photo of Michele) "Thank God, justice has been served."

Jury Foreman Bruce Campbell (present in the courtroom for sentencing) 
 "I just had to see this through. I now think justice has been served."


                                   AFTERMATH 
 
Irene Avila "I now wish I had never known who the killers were.
                  They made fools out of all of us."
 
                  I plan to move. There are too many memories here. Karen
                  Severson's parents still live on the same street and Laura
                  Doyle's parents live just a few blocks away.
 
                  It's been so long (Michele's death). I keep thiking finally, finally,
                  she'll be able to rest. Finally, something will be resolved. But
                  for me, it will never be over. You can't get over losing a child.
                  That just doesn't happen."

1990 - May  - Irene Avila starts a Victims group. The Avila's moved away from Arleta.
                     Irene moved around a lot since the trial. 
 
Irene Avila "I've had a hard time settling down."
 
1991 - December - Karen Kingsbury (who covered the trial) releases her
                            book "Missy's Murder."

Later on, a made for tv movie based on Michele "Missy" Avila's murder,
and the book "Missy's Murder" is made. "A Killer Among Friends" 
starring Tiffani-Amber Theissen and renowned actress Patty Duke. 

 

Victor Amaya - lives in Arleta-Pacoima area of California.
                        He quit drugs and hanging with a rough crowd.
                        Amaya has worked as a dispatcher for the same
                        company for over 10 years. He has 2 children and
                        a 2 year old granddaughter. He is divorced, but has
                        a girlfriend.

 Victor Amaya "Irene and her sons have had some severe emotional
                        and behavioral problems since Missy's death."

                                    SEVERSON FAMILY

 Karen Severson's parents still live in the same home inArleta, California
 (near the Avila's old home).

                                      ROBERT BLAKE CIVIL COURT TRIAL
 
Paula Severson was a juror on the jury in Robert Blake's civil court trial - the jury
that found him liable in his wife's death.

Paula Severson failed to disclose the fact that she had been in a high profile
murder case, or that her daughter was convicted of murder.

A postman who also sat on the jury recognized address, and told Paula that she
remembered that the murderer of Missy Avila lived there. She said that Paula
Severson turned stone faced. The postman reported the incident.

2006 - Robert Blake motioned for a new trial  based on Paula Severson's failure to
          report her involvement in the Avila case, or the fact that her daughter was
          convicted of the murder.

Karen Severson's sister lives and works in her own business in California. 

                                                


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#4 [url]

Aug 4 10 12:54 PM

                                    APPEALS - PAROLE

 
 
January 1994 - Laura Doyle and Karen Severson submit motions asking the
                       courts to reverse their convictions.
                                     DENIED
 
                                 
                            KAREN SEVERSON
        
                           PAROLE HEARING

1997 - June - Karen Severson's first attempt at parole.
                                     DENIED

 Karen Severson (29) has served 12 years of her 15 years to life sentence.

 Parole-review process - 3 member commission examines Karen Severson's
                                   conduct in prison. 

           Shavaun Sullivan-Avila (Michele Avila's sister in law)
        "We want to keep her in prison and have her continue to serve the
         time because we are no way done suffering.  My gut feeling gut feeling   
         intuition, visceral sensation  is that (Severson) will stay in jail, that she
         won't be released. If not, the family would freak.''

Lt. Robert Sebald (Assistant Warden, Frontera) "Severson's release is a long  
shot. I just talked to people next door - the Board of Prison Terms - and this is

just  a review coming up. There's a very, very small chance, if any, of her being
released.''

Deputy District Attorney Tamia Hope "I plan to argue against Severson's release
`based on the seriousness of the crime and her unwillingness to accept the full
responsibility.

   Severson's family are present in "full support."
 
                   KAREN SEVERSON STATEMENT TO PAROLE BOARD
 
Karen Severson ``My participation was horrific. I was an insane, rebellious,
                          mean- spirited teenager and put myself in a position to be
                          a big shot and a show- off. ``In my sick, twisted mind,
                          belittling Missy Avila was a show of power - and ended in
                          death."
 
                          I did arrange for the walk in the woods with Missy, but I 
                          had planned only to torment her. ``I wanted to see Missy
                          go through these things. I wanted her to suffer. I wanted 
                          to see her ridiculed. But I never intended to kill her - never."
 
                          I was not present during Missy's murder. I never laid a
                          hand on my friend.


                          ``I have hurt the Avila family, have betrayed them and caused
                          them great grief. I have caused my family great grief. The only
                          thing I can do is change the person I am today.''
 
          Severson did not admit to tying Missy's hands, shearing off her hair,
          beating her, shoving her face into a shallow creek or dragging a
          100-pound log onto Michele Avila's neck.


                  AVILA FAMILY STATEMENTS TO PAROLE BOARD
 
                Avila family members spoke against the release

Irene Avila (68) addresses Karen Severson and the Parole Board.
She stares directly at Karen Severson while she speaks.

Irene Avila "The callous nature of the. person I see sitting in front of me now
                   had the audacity to move in with me after she took my daughter's
                   life, promising me we would find who did this,''
 
As he spoke, Ernie Avila heaved with grief and tears.
Ernie Avila (42) " It's been 18 years and 22 days since my sister Missy was
                          murdered. They killed her, and one of them is here today.
                          Karen must never be allowed to hurt another family."

Chris Avila (30) is also present. He also is in tears.

                                  PAROLE BOARD DECISION

Severson's denials have a great bearing on the commissioners decision.

Al Angle (Commissioner from Sun Valley - parole board panel member)
`The facts of this case indicate that the inmate was directly involved in the killing,
 The inmate has not come to proper terms with the crime.''
          "Karen Severson is still a danger to society."
                           
Lt. Robert Sebald (Assistant Warden, California Institution for Women

at Frontera) "The decision was based on the seriousness of her crime.
The board's concern was that the crime was calculated."

                     PAROLE DENIED - Parole Eligibility - 4 years.


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#5 [url]

Aug 4 10 1:11 PM

                                   APPEALS - PAROLE

                                     LAURA DOYLE
 
                                  PAROLE HEARING                
  
1998 - October - Laura Doyle's first parole hearing.

                                   DENIED

                         Parole Eligibility - 4 years.


                                   PAROLE HEARING

2002 - April -  Laura Doyle admits to "coaxing" Michele Avila into the
                     water and killing her.

                      Laura Doyle accuses Karen Severson of being the
                      "ringleader" and of participating in the murder.

                                     DENIED


2003 - October 1 - Parole Hearing scheduled for October 1- the 12th anniversary
                            of Michele Avila's murder.

                            Postponed until the 24th.

                                   PAROLE HEARING

2003 - October 24 -  Laura Doyle (34) is incarcerated at the California
                               Institution for Women (CIW)

                                        DENIED

 Joseph Farman (Appellate Attorney)
 "The jury should have been given the option of finding my client guilty
  of involuntary manslaughter. The absence of the lement of intent
  is the key distinguishing factor between voluntary and involuntary
  manslaughter. Laura Doyle and Karen Severson may have intended
  to hurt or scare MIssy, but "it got out of hand and she died as a result."

Joseph Farman declined to comment to media before or after the
Parole Hearing.

 A 3 member commission from the State Board of Prison Terms will consider
 Laura Doyle's conduct in prison, her efforts at Rehabilitation and her future
 plans before rendering a decision.                         

The Avila famly, Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) and the District
Attorney's office (a Deputy Attorney is present), are opposed to Doyle's release.
 
David Dahle (Acting Head of the Lifer Hearings Division for the County
District Attorney's Office)
``I believe we are opposed to her release. In the vast majority of our cases, we
find that the inmates still pose an unreasonable risk to society."
 
 Pat Callahan (Valley State Prison Spokesman) ``It's not likely she'll get paroled. 
 It'll likely be after 2005, the full 15 years.''


                        Laura Doyle is allowed to address the panel.

 
Irene Avila addresses the parole board.

Irene Avila "She was a good girl, my only daughter. She was everything
                  to me. They didn't just take away my daughter, they took
                  away my heart.' For years, I was unable to go to the mall,
                  lest seeing mothers and daughters remind me of my loss.
 
                  For the past six years, I've moved from place to place, unable
                  to settle down. If I hear the phone ring, sometimes I still think
                  it may be my daughter. (Irene's voice breaks)
 
                  I don't want anybody to forget my daughter; I don't want anyone
                  to forget the hate I feel for Laura. My daughter, she never got to
                  graduate, go to the prom, get married, have children, smile and
                  laugh again."


The parole board finds Laura Doyle is not suitable for parole. 

After the hearing:

 Irene Avila "I will do everything in my power to prevent Doyle's release.
                    She's sentenced me to a life of hell, and she's only behind
                    bars now. If she gets out, I'll come apart. What right does
                    she have for freedom? She's nothing but a monster, a
                    demon - she's inhuman.''


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#6 [url]

Aug 4 10 1:51 PM

                                    APPEALS - PAROLE
 
                                    KAREN SEVERSON
 
                                    PAROLE HEARING
 
2003 - October - Karen Severson faces the parole board.
                                     DENIED
 
                     Karen Severson has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
 
Rich Pfeiffer (Karen Severson's Attorney) "This lady is incredible.
She got off to a bad start in life, as many people do, and going to
prison has been a very positive thing for her.''
 
 
                          Prison Psychologists and co-workers "laud" 
                          Karen Severson as a "model inmate."
 
                         Severson is noted as being active in:
                         Numerous self-help groups
                         Multiple Bible courses
                         Tutors other inmates
                         Her paintings being hung in the prison visiting room.

      Karen Severson, now a heavysetwoman addresses the parole board.
      Her statement is a reiteration that she is remorseful, did not commit
      the murder.
 
Irene Avila addresses Karen Severson and the parole board.

Parole Commissioners again deny Karen Severson parole.
 
After the parole hearing:
 
Al Angle tells the Avila family "She's coldblooded. We watched her.
                                             She sniffled twice, but we didn't see
                                             a single tear when you were talking."

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#7 [url]

Aug 4 10 2:02 PM

                                   FROM PEN PAL SITES
 
Karen Severson # W-35829
CIW Miller A 11 Low
16756 Chino Corona Road
Corona, CA 92880-9508 USA


                        

 
Sex - Female
DOB - 10/17/67
Seeking - Men
Race - Caucasian
Religion - Christian
Convicted Of - 2nd Degree Murder
Release Date - Uncertain (Lifer with Possibility)
 
Laura Doyle #W35830
VSPW  B4-32-03U
PO Box 92
Chowchilla, CA. 93610-0092

 
 
             

My name is Laura, a 42 year old rare redheaded beauty in search of a loyal,
honest friend that I can feel comfortable in opening up to, and express who
I truly am without the fear of being judged. I enjoy the outdoors, staying active,
and helping others. I mentor the young girls here and help them find the positive
ways. I am open minded with a kind heart and would love to hear from you.

Race: White
Race: White
Date of Birth: 5-1-67
Release Date: Life
Height: 5'5"
Religion: 
Do you smoke? No
Would you like letters from both sexes? Yes
Education: 12th grade 
Occupation before prison: Von's clerk
Activities in prison: Vocational janitorial, vice char of NA/AA,
                            and mentoring other inmates (12 steps)


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#10 [url]

Aug 15 10 9:47 AM

I hope they stay there forever! Keep denying Karen & Laura. We know what you did and as long as you both stay in prison, thats good for the rest of the public.
Missy will always be remembered as the beautiful, popular young lady. Karen & Laura will be remembered as the jealous, murderous B&%^#@s that they are!
I hope Irene and her family have found some peace in their lives. I can't imagine the pain they suffer! My heart goes out to them and I wish peace & love.

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#11 [url]

Aug 24 10 9:38 PM

My husband grew up in Arleta. He knew Missy, Karen and Laura. He dated Laura for a while. I'm embarrassed to admit that he dated her. He never like Karen. He said she was a loud, foul-mouthed slob who didn't care about her daughter. She would leave her in her car while she drove from party to party. He said Missy was like an angel. She was so sweet, beautiful and kind...never a bad word to say about anyone, not even her lousy friends. she always came to Karen's defense. She is an angel now. My heart breaks for Irene and her family. This was so senseless and didn't have to happen. These girls were insanely jealous. I hope they never, ever, ever get out of prison. Laura...you are a liar. There is a lot my husband has told me about you and what you did but I do not want to say on a message board. You digust me! I will pray for Missy's soul everyday.

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#13 [url]

Oct 5 10 4:26 PM

In high school, I recall being attacked by a group of girls who had also pretended to be my 'friends' prior to the incident...they were, however, cowards and backed down when they saw that I was defending myself.
                  All through high school these girls tormented me, and once a boy told me one of those girls told him they did it because I was 'too pretty'.
                        While I am thankful that my situation never escalated to such a terrible point, my heart goes out to poor Michele and her family. What type of world do we live in if people decide that you have no right to live because you're prettier and more popular than they are? I hope Laura and Karen die in prison and rot in  hell.

Miss Dixon passed through........

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#14 [url]

Oct 5 10 7:27 PM

 I'm glad your situation didn't escalate into something more violent such as what
happened to Missy and to others. It's a sad state of affairs with our world when
people think with their jealousy instead of what purports to be their brain.

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#15 [url]

Nov 19 10 8:42 PM

This is really a sad case of pure evilness. I watched the movie about this and had to look it up. It was incredibly horrid what these girls did to Missy. No one should have to die because of the way they look or how popular they are. Any person who can do something like this to someone is the pure DEVIL and deserves to rot in prison. I hope they're never released.

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#16 [url]

Nov 20 10 9:45 AM

I believe in forgiveness of wrongs/sin. But, these 2 women it seems have never shown real remorse for their horrific, so, so horrific and senseless crime! How terrible! My heart goes out to the family and real friends of Missy. I pray that God gives them peace. But I don't see that peace can be if those 2 animals are ever let out of jail. If they truly had admitted their guilt, even in their hearts, if not to the world and Missy's family, they would stop trying to get out of their sentence, and accept that they should remain jailed for the rest of their lives. People get jealous, envious, and angry at others, but don't commit heinous crimes as this because of! These women cannot ever be trusted in the fact that they were capable of doing what they did. In addition to their evil act, they continue to only think of themselves, even staying with the family, trying to lead them and the police away from finding out that they had done this, and the fact that they continued their crime by persistent lies, and being able everyday to continue in their cover ups, just shows how evil and non-remorseful for what they did, and shows that their crime was not an argument that just got out of hand, but rather a planned act from 2 persons without a conscious or human heart. If they had any sense of right they would stop trying to get paroled and accept that their actions deserve their life behind bars at the very least. Their only goal should be every moment filled with remorse and trying to change their evil hearts and for God's forgiveness. They need to be re-born into completely different people and only God knows the true heart of his children. They deserve more than life in prison and should accept this instead of still trying to get out of their punishment. They made the decision to take away Missy's chance to live her life, enjoy her life, have continued relations with her family, getting married, having children, grandchildren, and all that God has given us on this earth. They also took all this away from Missy's family. Their selfish, jealous, evil ways forever changed the lives if many. When one can take on that kind of responsibility when they make a decision to do an act, affecting another's life, and so profoundly, they must accept the consequences. It is shocking and scary that some believe that they have any right to take an action that changes another's life, especially the taking of ones life! These 2 now must accept that society wants them to stay their lives in prison. It's what they chose when they gave no choices for Missy or her family. I hope they find their way to becoming different people with changed hearts and God's forgiveness, but only God can know if this ever is the case. I pray for Missy's family and that they find healing in God's able arms and know that one day they can be united for eternity with Missy and Him.

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#17 [url]

Nov 21 10 10:30 PM

In a perfect world, people like Karen & laura would just die. I often wonder why good people die...especially little children. It makes no sense. maybe its true, God only takes the best!
I know one day I will meet all of my friends & family in Heaven. Karen & Laura on the other hand will spend eternity in HELL.

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#18 [url]

Dec 4 10 7:26 PM

Im so glad this story was told, there are so many everyday we do not know about. I wish the family the best. I also believe in forgiveness of people, but sometimes we know what we do in life and we can control ourselves if we really want too. These girls knew what they were doing, and unfortunately not just one person died, but so many suffered along with Missy. GOD will give justice to those harmed and the hands of others. FOr that Laura to take a pic like that above and have the nerve to smile, just makes my blood boil.

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#19 [url]

Dec 4 10 7:29 PM

Ppl who do bad can be forgiven and go to Heaven, but at the same time my belief is we are all smart enough to know not to kill someone, so for these ppl all they have is GOD....such a sad story.

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