(LINTON) - The following letter is a statement issued by the members of Katelyn Wolfe's family following Tuesday's change of plea hearing in the case of one of the men accused of the murder of Katelyn Wolfe in June.
This statement, reflecting the feelings of the Wolfe family, was given to the Greene County Daily World.
"After reading several negative comments in different newspapers and having a few caring individuals approach us individually, the Wolfe family has united in our decision to make a statement to the public.
"We understand that all have a right to their opinions and those opinions may be expressed in different ways, however, when those opinions reach out to insult and hurt one of Kate's family members, especially her father and step-mother, it is seeded from evil. When one of us is hurt by opinions, then we are all hurt. We are united as a family. The entire Wolfe family, as well as Kate's best friend Katie Vaughn, are victims of this heinous murder.
"Unbelievably, we have all continued to be victimized over and over since the beginning of OUR nightmare. Some of the re-victimizations have taken place at the search for Kate, at the candlelight vigil, by comments made in the newspaper forum, private Facebook messages, public Facebook messages, etc.
"Together, we are beginning to find the strength to stand up against these hurts, although, not in a negative manner. Thankfully, only a handful of people have thoughtlessly forgotten that OUR loved one was murdered.
"The vast majority of this community has shown us love, compassion and respect which we receive as love, compassion and respect for our Katie bug.
"When making any decision surrounding this heinous murder, we ask everyone to see it through Kate's eyes. Ask yourself, would this decision hurt Kate if she were here to say?
"Justice can sometimes be a very hard thing to define. The Death Penalty and LWOP (Life Without Parole) are not an option due to THE LAW IN INDIANA.
"Reading" the law, "understanding" the law and having the knowledge of every aspect of this individual case must be congruent in order to make an educated decision, opinion or comment. If this case were able to be tried for a Death Penalty or LWOP conviction, then it would be tried as such.
"To imply that the lack of funds is the decision-maker in this case is ignorant and insulting. It is ignorant due to the lack of knowledge of THE LAW IN INDIANA. It is insulting to the Wolfe family, to the entire community of Greene County and, most importantly, it is insulting to our Kate. MONEY, or the lack thereof, is not a factor in the decisions being made in this case.
"Accepting the change of plea from not guilty to guilty was entirely the decision of the Wolfe family. Had we wanted this to go to trial then it would have gone to trial. It was that simple.
"We had a great weight placed on our shoulders, although it was gladly welcomed, it was very heavy. This decision was not an easy decision to make by any means. We studied it from every angle. It was not made overnight, it was not made in haste, and it was not made by any one individual.
"We made calls back to the prosecutor over this period of time with many questions. We weighed the pros and the cons. The guilty plea agreement states that the defendant is pleading guilty to all four charges. We can state that this was one of the pros. There is no way to state each and every thing that we discussed as that is our own private pain.
"After much research, discussion, thought and prayer, the Wolfe family collectively came to the decision to accept the plea agreement. We are confident in the decision that we made and we are thankful that at least a small part of this nightmare is behind us.
"In closing, we would like to state that our county Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw, Chief Troy Jerrell, Detective Sergeant Josh Goodman, Detective Duane Collenbaugh, Officer Paul Clark and ALL of the law enforcement at the local, county and state levels have done a fantastic job.
"They have been the most caring, compassionate and empathetic group of people we have had the privilege to meet since June 6, 2013. The love that we knew they felt for Kate was unexpected and overwhelming. We could never find the words to thank them in the way that they deserve. As a community, we are very fortunate to have these men serving us.
"Finally, we implore those that love Kate, or learned to love Kate through her heinous murder, to stand behind the Wolfe family and the decisions that we make. We need your love, we need your acceptance of our decisions, we need your compassion and we need your respect. We ask that you lift us up in prayer each and every time we cross your mind."
The Family of Katelyn Nicole Wolfe
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