January 21st, 2022 – After hearing the emotional testimony of the victims, Judge Robert Springstead sentenced shooter Clifton Bonter to a minimum of 53 and a half months in state prison. Last year, Bonter pleaded no contest to shooting at a house of migrant workers and their families during a 1-year old’s birthday celebration. The victims of the shooting contacted our office to see how we could help them in their journey to find justice.
Through our Defending Against Hate program, our staff coordinated with the prosecutor’s office and helped almost twenty victims to speak at Bonter’s sentencing. The victims recounted the shooting incident and the traumas that persist for them. One of the victims described how the shooter “Did not manage to physically kill anyone, but… they killed [my children’s] childish innocence.” Many of the victims are currently in counseling services to help them heal and move on from the trauma they endured, and some of the victims say that they have fears that follow them through their daily life. Even though months have passed, some of the victims are spending their days “thinking that at any time, [the shooters] are going to come hurt [them].”
With these fears being so unrelenting, it was imperative that the victims shared their experiences and emotional wounds to the court. The judge took their heart- wrenching speeches into consideration when issuing the sentence. Migrant Legal Aid is thankful for the opportunity to stand in support with the victims as they shared their testimony of what happened. Pictured above are the victims of the shooting accompanied by one of our attorneys, Molly Spaak (right).