After 17 years, we have come to the final chapter.  Kenneth Dion was sentenced to serve 124 years for abducting, raping and murdering my sweet 18 year old daughter, Bonnie Craig.  We can breathe a final sense of relief.  Although, in our justice system, you never know.  He does have 30 days to appeal.  

During the sentencing my daughter, Samantha Campbell, and I took the opportunity to speak.  I was so incredibly touched by Samantha's words.  She was 12 when her sister was murdered.  Here are Samantha's words to her sister's killer and Judge Jack Smith.

"Kenneth Dion; You will never begin to understand the totality of your actions and I will never be able to come even remotely close to helping you understand, but this is my attempt. This is my attempt to have you search within yourself for what little regard you have for any other human being besides yourself. I hope you hear every word I am about to say, every word my family says, every word that was spoken during the trial on behalf of my sister, and every word my sister said to you in the hours between when you kidnapped, raped, and murdered her. I hope these words stick with you and haunt you for the rest of your life. I hope there is never a day that passes where you don’t think about something that was said on behalf of my sister’s life.


When I think of you, I think of a jagged, cold, hard, insignificant little pebble. The pebble that was tossed into a beautiful, crystal clear, sparkling pool that represents my sister. The ripple effect that you created is still felt and will never go away. Bonnie was beautiful, intelligent, fun, loving, and tenacious. She touched the heart and soul of every person she ever encountered, which is how I now know you have neither a heart, nor a soul. I’ll never forget the public outcry from, not only my family, our friends, and Bonnie’s friends, but also the public in general. Such a heinous act hurts the very core, shakes the trust and integrity, and leaves an unanswered emptiness for our community. There is no worse than what you have done. Taking the life of such a vibrant young aspiring part of our community is nothing short of senseless. 


Parts of my sister you will never be able to take away are my beautiful memories. None of which I will share with you. I will tell you what you did take. You took away my childhood, my sense of self and esteem, my chance at a normal life with a normal family, and last, my trust.


 I will always be Bonnie’s sister and never just me. I will always be the victim of your actions. I will never forget the fear and sorrow I felt as a 12 year old, being held by my 13 year old brother, when I heard my father collapse to his knees screaming at the news of Bonnie’s death. That fear and sorrow is an ache that is within my being every time I want, need, and miss my sister, which is all the time. She wasn’t just my sister either. She was my role model, my support, my stability, and my best friend which means I feel the same ache when any of those are needed as well. 


At 12 years old, I lost my childhood. I grew up in a matter of seconds after learning of Bonnie’s death. I helped figure out what Bonnie was wearing and what she had with her when you kidnapped her within moments of knowing I would never see her again. I lost my parents and my friends. My parents were too consumed in their own grief and their need to know what happened, to realize I was still there needing them. I lost my friends. No one knew what to say or how to act around me and I no longer fit in any crowd. I was in a very small crowd of murder victims that consisted of my lost grieving family.


I lost my trust. I remember learning most victims of rape and murder are done by people close to the victim. I didn’t trust my own father as he was being ruled-out as a suspect. I have little trust for men in general and carry many stereotypes I wish I could overcome. I can never be blissfully ignorant and think “that would never happen to me” because, in a sense, it already did.


The first time I saw you, scared, pathetic, and unable to make eye contact I didn’t know what to think of you. You didn’t exist in my life until then and I still wasn’t sure I could completely hate you. The years after losing Bonnie I always maintained that I never wished death on you for one simple reason; I’d never want anyone who could have possibly loved you to feel even the slightest bit of loss like I felt. Throughout the trial you became cocky and arrogant. I learned and saw details about Bonnie’s rape and murder I had been sheltered from.  I saw you shake your head and skirt away from the decisions you made and not man-up or take responsibility for your actions. On top of that, you tried to taint and destroy the reputation of my sister to cover your own ass. You are a heartless, soulless coward and I do hate you. I hate you and will never forgive you for what you did to Bonnie, my family, our friends, and our community. 


I hope you will spend the remainder of your life in prision. Above that, I hope you find the courage to be a man and actually tell the truth, admit, and apologize for all the pain you have caused. My hope for that simple humanizing gesture could possibly restore some of my lost sense of trust and finally give my family some of the still unanswered questions. My hope is that you show the ones you love and care about that you still have some decency and regard for others hidden deep within you.


In ending my statement that I have run through my head thousands of times since I learned of the crimes you committed and the impact that it left, I want to thank you. I thank you for being careless and getting caught so you can never hurt another innocent person again. I thank you for making me realize just how real and precious life is and that within moments your entire world can change. Finally, I thank you for showing me what evil is so I can cherish and look to the good.


Your honor, I know I ask a lot of you, but I also know that what I am asking is your duty. I ask that you also recall everything I have said and what was said on behalf of my sister.  I ask that you put this man away for the rest of his life and protect our community from what he has already done. This man has no remorse and no regard. He does not deserve to be free or given the opportunity to hurt someone ever again. I ask that you show Kenneth Dion, Bonnie, my family, and everyone this has touched that the Justice system does indeed seek justice. I ask that you show the jury they are correct and did their civic duty well. Finally, I ask that you show the world the worth of the taking of a human life is irreplaceable and unacceptable and will result in the highest consequence the Justice system can offer."

It was an incredibly moving statement and as Samantha read it she often looked straight into Dion's beady eyes.  As a mother, I was so proud of Samantha and all that she has become, despite having to grow up with such incredible tragedy that was drugged out over 17 long years.  

Dion never admitted to his crimes.  As the prosecutor told the judge, Dion has never taken responsibility, Dion burst out in rage saying, "And I never will, because I didn't do it!"  He later yelled out that he didn't get a fair trial.  I sat there with pleasure, hearing his outburst, knowing that he was only harming himself.

The judge sentenced him to 124 years; 99 years for First Degree Murder and 25 years for First Degree Sexual Assault. The maximum on both.  Dion will be 82 before becoming eligible for parole.  Our family, Bonnie's Friends and the community can now start to heal.