Death Penatly Statement -


Statement given by Taylor's Mom at the death penalty hearing for Eric Ibarra

Rod                                                                                                County of Riverside

At 11:30 on April 30th 2010 our lifes changed dramatically.  The phone calls and text messages started and my mind was racing almost instantly.  I remember dropping to my knees right after the first phone call and praying to God he would not take my son just yet and if he did that I would have the strength to endure what I might over the next few days.  I sat on a street corner that night for 61/2 hours waiting to find out if the rumors and comments were true that my son had been shot and killed.  Deep down I knew it was him but what I really wanted was to see him and say goodbye.  I wanted to hold him and hug him one last time.  I never got that chance.

I guess to understand what we have lost you have to understand where we have been.  Taylor is my first born and my only son.  God blessed me with a bright heathly and beautiful child that could make anyone laugh whether they be 2 or 20.  He was a camilion blending in with anyone and anything.  His 3rd grade teacher said the kids in his class thought he was better than peanut butter. He was a kid that stuck up for the little guys made sure everyone was laughing and no one was getting picked on.  He was kind and loving and on my worst days was my ray of sunshine.  He was very much like me always joking, laughing, loyal and confident.  He was a child of divorce at age 10 which devastated Taylor and it just got much worse as he got older.  I came from a family of drug addiction and dysfunction and I vowed that would not happen to my children.  I started seeing signs of trouble when Taylor started high school and immediately started trying to keep control by watching his every move, drug testing him and making sure he took responsibility for any of his actions.  Some of his punishments went so far as to remove the door from his room and put a GPS tracker on his cell phone.  I searched for help everywhere I could but if he was not addicted to meth or I had thousands of dollars to ship him somewhere no one would help me.  By age 16 or 17 things had gotten so bad, this must have been the time Taylor was really getting involved with OCP.  He would disappear for days on end.   I quit my full time job that supported my family to stay home and get a handle on him.  We ended up having to sell our home before we lost it and my car was repossed for lack of payment.   My husband had gotten very sick and was unable to work and Taylor was so out of control I could not work a full time job.  My husband and I separated for a year in hopes he would get back on track.  It was at this time I first met Officer Juarez and De La Rosa and the Gang task force and made sure once again Taylor took responsibility for any of his mistakes.  I wanted him to get it and stay out of trouble it before it was too late.  My daughter Tawny had become so angry with all the things he was doing, smoking pot, tagging hanging out with the wrong crowd.  She had always looked up to him as he always protected her and loved her very much.  They were good to each other and never really fought at all when they were younger not until he started getting into trouble.  She was hurt and disappointed Taylor had become someone else.  It was like a war zone in our house.

 Taylor went to jail for tagging in 2008 and was released in April 2009 and by October 2009 things seem to be getting better.  He was helping out around the house and for the first time he was talking about his future what he wanted to be and the things he wanted to do.   There was less fighting so my husband and I got back together.  Taylor was working full time and had held down a job for quite some time.  He was 20 now and had not done anything about securing his future.  He was letting responsibilities take the backseat to any fun.  I attempted to help him take life more seriously by telling him by 4/1/2010 he needed to be paying rent, going to school or move out.  He reluctantly chose to move out.  I told him that I loved him but he needed to get out on his own while I still liked him.   I never minced words with Taylor never lied to him always told him the truth.  He knew he was not doing all he should.  He had a girlfriend who he cared deeply for talked about moving out with her.  He told her he didn’t want to be in trouble anymore and thought about leaving Lake Elsinore.  The week he was killed he even sent her flowers just because he missed her.  Taylor never did stuff like that.  We talked several times a week and he would never let a conversation go by without telling me he loved me.  Easter he even spent the day with the family which he never did.  Taylor was usually missing in action.   He also talked about going to church with friends.  I was comforted by the fact he was starting to get it.  I noticed he was wearing a rosary all the time around his neck odd for him but a good thing.  He had bought a car was trying to fix it up.  Some of our last conversations were about how “he could not keep doing the same thing and expect a different result”, “you keep getting drunk and getting into fights you are going to get yourself killed”.   He was not perfect in fact he could be an asshole if he wanted to but he would never have picked up a gun and taken someone’s life, he would settle it with his fists even if that meant getting his ass kicked.  He was not a murder, he was a guy with a paint can and an ignorant understanding that three letters of the alphabet are more than just 3 letters of the alphabet.  He was loyal to his friends and loved his family.

So as the sun came up on 5/1/2010 around 6:30am and I watched the coroner walk towards me I knew Taylor was gone.  I could barely hear her when she said I’m so sorry to tell you but from the description you provided we have identified your son as being the male who was shot and as a result from those injuries he was killed.  I remember being so angry with Taylor because once again he did not listen to me.  I told him this would happen.  I suddenly could not breathe and all I could hear was my daughter’s constant screaming.   I could not move to go to her I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I knew at that moment my life would never be the same forever changed at someone else’s hand someone else’s choice.  It literally felt as if someone had shot a hole in my heart and there was so little left.  Everyone who knows me knows my children are my life so with Taylor being gone half my heart is missing and the other half grieves for my daughter who will never look at life the same again.  That one act of violence has affected so many people.  There were over 500 people at his funeral many of them grown men crying uncontrollably.  Most of them I knew personally.  I pray every day that God lets me see the purpose of all of this and there truly is a purpose and it was not just a random act of stupidity and violence.

Today my life consists of trying to keep my mind busy so I don’t think of my son every second of the day.  I am angered by the fact that 6 years of struggle and heartache were all in vain.  We never got to see our son learn from all the sacrifices we made for him.  We will never see him GET IT.  We will never see him have a family and children and despite all that Taylor was he loved children and would have been an excellent father one day if he ever got out of all of this.  I will never get to hear him say “Thanks for being so hard on me I love you for it”.  I will never talk to him or hug him and that is what hurts most of all.  There is no punishment severe enough to combat the pain we feel every day of our lifes.  Nothing we do today will bring Taylor back.   I wish so badly I was there that night because I would have jumped in front of Taylor without hesitation. The pain from that would have been far less painful than the pain we endure every day.  It is today that I wish I lived in a country that believed in an eye for an eye.  I would love to stand before the punks that thought this was remotely ok or normal and help them feel exactly what my son felt that night as he hit the ground.  I have images in my head of him walking towards someone he did not know and seeing his face as he realizes he has been shot.  I wonder if at that moment he got it.   So when you ask us if we believe in the death penalty my answer is yes.  I believe people they should get the same punishment they have inflicted on others and they should not have the luxury of hiding behind a protocol or years of comfort.  They should have shooting pain in their heart and images so horrific in their mind every day they can barely stand themselves.  They should be treated as they have treated others and right now they are not worthy of the dogshit in my back yard.  Anyone that had an ounce of responsibility in all of this should have a life sentence as our family is serving a life of heartache and pain in living everyday in a nightmare we did not choose and agony we did not ask for.  No one can fix the fact that Taylor will not be at his sister’s wedding.  He will never be an uncle to her children.  He will never get married or have a family of his own.  Tawny will no longer have that big brother that makes sure she is ok and protected they have removed her safety net.  Our life is so completely different and we did not ask for it.  We spend our days trying to find happiness and laughter and always come up short.  All the things that used to bring a smile now bring sadness and tears.  Family gatherings, trips to Disneyland, even going to the movies make my heart hurt as Taylor will never do those things again.  I see kids his age and wish so badly it was Taylor standing there.  I wonder if they know him, were they an enemy or friend.  You see children and your mind races wondering if they will have the same fate as him one day.  So I beg of you to give us whatever justice you can because that is all we have to hold onto. I want the punishment to fit our punishment in whatever means you have available to you.  We don’t understand all this gang stuff it is all just stupid to me.  We want his case to send a reality check showing these kids that they cannot get away with this.  We want our son’s death to have more purpose and more meaning than 3 stupid letters of the alphabet.


Thank you,

Tom Sanchez

Shawna Sanchez

Tawny Vallin

And numerous family and friends

Author: Shawna Sanchez
Date: November 23, 2010