Kings Tortured Over Plea Deal

By R. Stickney
|  Saturday, Apr 17, 2010  |  Updated 6:49 AM PDT
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Chelsea King Family Photos

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A Family's Plan

King family reacts to Gardner Pleas

'Nothing Satisfying About This Moment': Brent King

The decision to give the district attorney the blessing to make a deal with the man who raped and murdered their daughter was tortuous according to Chelsea King's father Brent.
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The decision to give the district attorney the blessing to make a deal with the man who raped and murdered his daughter was “torturous,” according to Chelsea King’s father, Brent.

“There is nothing -- nothing -- satisfying about this moment,” he told members of the media shorlty after John Gardner entered a guilty plea for raping and killing his 17-year-old daughter,Chelsea, and raping and killing 14-year-old Amber Dubois of Escondido.

In exchange, Gardner escaped the death penalty.

“While our unequivocal first choice is the death penalty, we acknowledge that in California that penalty has become an empty promise,” said King.

King also mentioned that avoiding a trial would help the community to heal as well as allow him and his wife, Kelly, to try and give their son, Tyler, 13, as much of a normal childhood as possible.

Another deciding factor for the Kings was the impact such a deal would have on the search for answers in the death of Amber Dubois. The King family became close with Maurice "Moe" Dubois and Carrie McGonigle immediately after Chelsea's disappearance, as the two sets of parents were drawn together in what Dubois has come to call an unfortunate club.

“The Dubois family have been through unthinkable hell the past 14 months,” said King. “We couldn’t imagine the confession to Amber’s murder never seeing the light of day, leaving an eternal question mark.”

King called Gardner's crime "a despicable, evil act committed against our beautiful daughter, Chelsea, committed against our family and committed against our community."

He vowed to work for change to protect children as a result of what's happened to his daughter.

There is no closure for the Kings, though, Brent King said Friday: “It’s only one more unbearably painful memory that we will have to carry in our memory as long as we live.”

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