An angry, grieving mother confronted her daughter's killers in court Monday with a clear message that she would never forgive them for what they did, for having taken the the life of her 13-year-old daughter before the girl could even begin living it.
"She'll never experience going to high school, or college, or even eighth grade,' Rita Sallie said of her daughter, Schanna Gayden, who was caught in gang crossfire in the Logan Square neighborhood in 2007.
"She will never be consumed by her first love and I will never have the chance to help her through her first broken heart," she said.
Schanna was buying watermelon near a park in Logan Square school in the summer of 2007 when she was struck in the head by a stray bullet.
"The child I anticipated seeing every day was gunned down in the middle of a park ... by two nothings," Sallie told the court in a string of slams aimed at the two killers.
Convicted in the murder are 20-year-old Tony Serrano and 27-year-old Mwenda Murithi. Serrano was sentenced to 85 years in prison and Murithi to 55 years.
"Knowing (Schanna), she's probably forgiven them," the grieving mom said prior to sentencing. "She may have forgiven them, but I hate them. I have a fiery hatred for both of them."
According to Sallie, Murithi is a "pint-sized arrogant wannabe outsider," and Serrano is nothing but a "stupid spineless follower."
She said their actions have ruined her life.
"I have gone from a strong, independent person to someone who would like nothing more than to crawl into a dark hole and lick the wounds that will never heal," she said with "a wad of tissues in her hand and tears streaming down her cheeks," according to the Sun-Times.
The shooter's family members, and Serrano himself, apologized to Sallie, but she could barely hear it.
"I will accept no excuses," she told the court. "My hatred has not dimmed, but flares white-hot at the idea of the destruction he’s caused in our lives, throwing away his own in the process for a nothing, a nobody."