Sivak sentencing, day 2: Victim's family says pain never leaves

jsowell@idahostatesman.comAugust 27, 2013 

Lacey Sivak looks toward his mother Marion as he enters Fourth District Ada County Court this morning. Sivak could face life in prison for the 1981 murder of gas station clerk Dixie Wilson. The sentencing hearing is expected to finish Wednesday.

JOHN SOWELL — jsowell@idahostatesman.com

— Richard Scott said Tuesday he has struggled every day since Lacey Sivak murdered his mother, Dixie Wilson, 32 years ago at a Garden City gas station.

"He took away the most important person in my life," Scott said, sobbing as he spoke to Fourth District Ada County Judge Ron Wilper. "My mother meant everything to me."

Sivak and Randall Bainbridge killed Wilson on April 6, 1981, shooting her five times and stabbing her 20 times. Scott, who was 14 at the time, said he has made poor choices throughout his life and had battled addiction problems.

"I don't trust people. I don't get along with people," he said.

Scott said he did not recognize the smiling boy in family photographs shown on a screen in court Monday.

"I was a happy kid. I have not been happy a single day since then," Scott said.

Scott was one of four members of Wilson's family who addressed the judge as part of victim impact statements given during this week's sentencing hearing for Sivak.

Four times Sivak was sentenced to death for the murder of Wilson, and four times that sentence was overturned — the last when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that two jailhouse informants lied about receiving help with their legal troubles in exchange for testifying against Sivak. Prosecutors chose to pursue a life sentence for this fifth sentencing attempt.

Harry Wilson, Dixie's husband and their children Del (12 at the time of his mom's death) and June (who was 8) also addressed Wilper Tuesday.

"This has brought on a lot of problems for the family," Harry Wilson said.

The children suffered problems in school and they even blamed themselves for what happened. The family went through counseling and Harry said they're been dragged through the wringer after the murder, trial and multiple sentencing hearings.

Sivak looked straight ahead while the statements were delivered from the prosecution table to his right. On Monday, Sivak was asked not to look at Wilson's family following a prosecution objection.

Wilper thanked each of the Wilson family members for speaking to him.

"I want you to know I admire your courage to come in here and bare your soul," Wilper said.

He said he was saddened to learn the children blamed themselves.

"I wish I was wise enough to give you some comfort. You have to know this isn't your fault," Wilper said.

Earlier, Sivak's attorneys showed that he had a rotten childhood, marked with humiliation and beatings from his dad.

Testimony from Sivak's mother Marion and sister Lorrie Fulton came from depositions introduced during previous hearings. Fulton said her father, Michael Sivak, beat and humiliated Lacey and herself throughout their childhood.

They grew up on U.S. Air Force bases in the United States and in Germany, where Michael Sivak worked as an aircraft mechanic. Moving around frequently made it tough to make lasting friendships and the two children were their own best friends, she said.

After Michael Sivak retired from the Air Force, the family moved to Boise. In high school, Fulton said, Michael Sivak would turn off the water in their house while Lacey took showers and then yell at him and beat him for taking too long.

While they were building their home, Fulton said her dad sent her and Lacey out to steal building materials from other construction sites for use on their own home. Michael Sivak had Lacey steal gasoline for him from a Husky station he worked at and soda pop from the Baird Oil station in Garden City that he was fired from for stealing a few months before Wilson was killed.

Sivak's spiritual adviser testified Tuesday morning that Sivak has spent enough time in prison for the 1981 murder of Dixie Wilson and should be released.

"I'm pretty well convinced that he's been in there long enough," said Phil Falk, a Lutheran minister who has held weekly hourlong phone calls with Sivak for the past 22 years. "I think there's time for compassion to have its place and I think he should be freed."

During their conversations, Sivak has shown himself to be an honest man, said Falk, who has served as a minister for 52 years. Sivak has also convinced Falk that he's a "believer."

Earlier, Sivak's defense attorneys had past testimony from several church acquaintances of Sivak read into the record. Those folks at earlier hearings said Sivak was devoted to church projects and was always willing to help out.

The witnesses described Sivak as peaceful and nonviolent.

Closing arguments are scheduled to be given Wednesday morning. Sivak is also scheduled to address the court before Wilper announces the sentence.

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