While the defense attorneys call Tom Coleman's verdict a compromise, many Tulia defendants call it a loss. Many of them talked about "closure." Tom Coleman's closure may have come with the verdict, his attorney's say his reaction was, "thank God." The defendants however, hoped that Friday, January 14th would finally bring closure to them and reveal what they say is the truth about Coleman.
|Coleman Sentenced to Seven Years Probation|
One defendant said, "he's a Godly man, you ain't no Godly man when you're destroying lives." It didn't take long after the verdict came down for Tulia defendants to voice frustrations and show emotions they've felt since 1999.
"I feel disappointed because I believed justice would have been done here today," said defendant Michelle White, who spent two years in prison. Defendant Kizzie White was sentenced to 62 years and served four. So to them, as well as dozens of others, Tom Coleman should go to jail as well.
"I"m glad that he was found guilty, but I feel like he should have to go to jail like we did," said defendant Freddie Brookins, Jr.
Many defendants hold that justice wasn't served to Coleman, but Coleman's defense lawyers disagree. "That's okay, we all have opinions, I believe on this day in Lubbock, Texas justice was served," said Defense Attorney John Read.
"It was hard for me to explain why these two lies were so important and I could've done a better job of doing that and I blame myself for that, not the jury," said Special Prosecutor Rod Hobson.
But many defendants say jury members did not give them a fair trial, as there were no black jury members. They say they're in the same place they were almost six years ago.
"No, it's not (closure), seven years of probation is nothing," said Defendant Kizzie White.
Many defendants have moved on, but won't likely forget Coleman's actions. Michelle White said that true justice will eventually come to Coleman. "I'm just going to keep on praying and doing what I know to do and I know that eventually something good's going to come out of all this," said White.
Many defendants have said they think other law enforcement members should be prosecuted as well, because they don't believe Tom Coleman acted alone.