Facing the Unfaceable in Court

May 8: I am in bed. It is 10:30pm, the evening before the preliminary hearing. Tomorrow at 8:30am I have to be at the courthouse. They will put me in a waiting room, until the judge is ready to hear my testimony about the time frame of Steve’s and my last afternoon together. Our last embrace.

One of our regular practices was that we said goodbye to each other properly before one of us left to go anywhere – shopping, or to yoga, or wherever. Before he went to town on that fateful day, to get parts for the lawn irrigation and take the dog for a walk, I took a photo of him and Coco, and then I hugged him goodbye.

Tomorrow I must sit in the witness box and face the suspects. I have to call them “suspects” because they are not guilty as murderers until convicted. I will be able to see them directly. It is my wish that they will look at me, if only once. They will see a woman with a broken heart and a strong spirit. They will see pure pain. They will see Kali in all her glory, eyes blazing like the hottest fire, her voice cutting through the silence as a sharp sword, intensity radiating from her every pore. She, the slayer of demons and the one who triumphs over death. It is my wish that they will never forget the moment our eyes meet, for the rest of their lives.

As I am here in bed with Coco peacefully sleeping beside me, I am still completely bewildered at what my life has become. It is all just too bizarre to actually be true. Let me say it again – tomorrow I have to face those who are accused of killing my husband, of taking him away from me, from his children and brothers, and from our friends. Those who destroyed the peace and safety of the community.

I have to open my mouth and actually answer questions, speak into a microphone to the accused, to a roomful of lawyers, a judge, police officers, friends and family, press, and I am not allowed to lose it.

And I imagine that after my testimony, I will have to walk through a throng of reporters, outside the courtroom. I resolve now not to say anything. What is there to be said?

Right now I feel calm, yet it is the loneliest place to be in. Apart from that moment on Oct 6th, 2015 around 3.30am when the police came to the house to tell me about Steve. Hopefully I can sleep tonight.

May 9, evening: It is the end of the dreaded court day. Took a shower, changed my clothes, and am about to lie down on the sofa to do nothing; exhausted. Thank you to 24 friends and family members who came to court and sat in the audience, holding space for me, and for Steve. They all love him and are deeply connected in their hearts with Steve, and I know it must have been difficult for them, too, to be there. Looking out into the sea of beloved, intense and sad faces gave me the strength to proceed without a massive meltdown.

May 12: Revisiting the court experience from a distance… It was difficult to sit opposite the two suspects. To look at them as I spoke in a loud and clear voice, giving my testimony, describing when I last saw Steve. Watching the 18-year old female suspect cry in – what – regret? Shock? The realization of what she did? That was hard. Really hard.

The news media reported that, “Carter’s widow appeared to be glaring down at the suspects from the witness stand”. Every word I spoke into that microphone was like a swift blow, a vajra-like zen stick. I could see the impact, at least in her tear-stained, emotional face. (The male suspect showed no response whatsoever.)

Afterwards, and as I saw the media photos of her crying, to my surprise I felt deeply sorry for her. She is accused of co-committing two cold-blooded, premeditated murders, among other serious charges, yet I felt sorry for her. Shocking, even – or especially? – for me.

Steve (and Audrey) are gone, all our lives are forever altered. I sat across from the accused. This whole thing is unreal, yet it is real.

Before going to sleep, I meditated, consciously letting go of the emotions of that court session, the angst, intensity, and utter exhaustion. I woke up again (yes, again; one just never knows!) the next morning, glad that that day lies behind me now, behind all of us who love and miss Steve.

There will be more to come, but not now.

38 replies
  1. Lourdes
    Lourdes says:

    Lokita, I’m feeling so sad and deeply connected to your loss. You are an amazing woman and teacher. I’m in Malaga, my last vacation day in Spain. I remembered tonight as my beloved and I were having our last dinner in Spain: I remembered the goddess weekend where I learned to give compliments to other Shaktis. I gave a beautiful compliment to a lady sitting next to me and in a way a felt closer to you, Steve and the gifts you two gave me. I too felt sorry for the 18 year old female that participated in the murder but mostly I feel a great sense of loss for your beloved, our beloved brother Steve. Thanks for sharing of yourself and your process. I hope you have a good stay in Germany. Love you, Lourdes

  2. Laura Bridges Nieuwenhuyse
    Laura Bridges Nieuwenhuyse says:

    Deep, Mama Bear Goddess Hugs to you Lokita. Blessings being sent to you with great love.

  3. Samvada
    Samvada says:

    Lokita, thanks for sharing again and again your depth and truth touches my heart. I still can’t even start to understand and hope to never have to live through such an ordeal. You are Lokita, you are strong and yet your vulnerability is tangible.
    I know you will be traveling soon but hope to catch up in person soon with you – keep me in the loop when and where you are going to be.
    Sending much, much love to you, Coco and the rest of Steve’s family and friends. Samvada

  4. Mr. B
    Mr. B says:

    What kind of society is it that
    Can allow such lack of empathy
    To take someone’s sweetheart from them?
    Childten are no longer initiated into values that honor life. And being a bitch or thug is cool.
    There is no mindful connection to spirit.
    The internal narcissistic ego takes over.
    I feel sorry for the loss of values in this world.
    They know not what they do. Maybe the girl
    has a twinge of conscience. Because girls
    are raised to have a nuturing role.
    But it is sad to see that be destroyed in this case.
    I’m at a loss for words but sad to see this.

  5. Megan Palmer
    Megan Palmer says:

    Lokita, my name is Megan Palmer, we may not know each other, but we are deeply connected. I am one of Audrey’s best friend and I have to thank you for these beautiful words… Reading this piece has brought comfort to my soul, knowing that someone out there has the same thoughts as mine; makes me forget this loneliness you have named above… In the name of all of Audrey’s loved ones, I thank you for the strength you used to go up there and stare into those dark eyes… Thank you for showing them what they have have taken away from us… Audrey & Steve: two highly spiritual beings have left our world and it’s not a coincidence… Audrey had chosen San Francisco as a destination out of a gut feeling, she was leaving for a journey to which, after long hours of conversations, we had established was for spiritual elevation. She had the intuition she had something to find in California… When I received the call of her passing, I finally realized what that was…
    The brutality around these events is still unconceivable to me…
    Every morning I wake up (because it’s not a sure thing for everyone as you mentioned), is a reminder of how precious life really is… It’s also a reminder of the importance of what we make of our life on this earth.
    I thank you once more, and I wish you all the best in these hard times…
    I send you love and good vibes, take care of you Lokita, Steve and Audrey are closer than ever…

    • Padma
      Padma says:

      Aloha Dear Megan. Know that I, and many others, will never forget Audrey. She Is in great company with Steve in Heaven. Blessings & Love to You & All Audrey’s loved ones. Padma

    • denise
      denise says:

      So nice to hear your words. That a web of love for all those hurt by these non sensible events. I send my well wishes to you and all of Audrey’s kith and kin! From an old friend of Steve’s. With tears and connection!

    • Lokita Carter
      Lokita Carter says:

      Megan, I send you lots and lots of love and hugs. Thank you for your long comment. My heart goes out every today to Audrey’s loved ones. her mother, her father, her friends, and everyone who is effected by these unbearable, incomprehensible acts of violence. Steve and Audrey are now everywhere and nowhere. Love, Lokita

  6. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    I can not even begin to imagine the position and View you had in that court room. My heart goes out to you. Surreal. Gut wrenching. Sadness. Grief. Support. and having to look at the “suspects”….a rush of feelings and …..

  7. Shama Helena
    Shama Helena says:

    There is no way for me to imagine what this was like for you, but you have the live from my heart and soul. I pray that with Kali’s sword you can also find forgiveness in time. These souks were in obvious pain themselves that we cannot begin to understand. The difference is that you have the tools and wisdom and support to deal with yours. May love carry you on the wings of peace as you have had the opportunity to speak your truth

  8. denise
    denise says:

    I hope you feel the large cloak of the greater community which we are apart of sending you loving energy and peace. Definitely part of a mystery drama, may the smell of your sympathy for the young girl spread to all the painful places!

  9. Susan Pascal Beran
    Susan Pascal Beran says:

    Kali was once stopped in her tracks by the purity and innocence of blue violets.
    Blue violets, like little lotus, reflecting heavens transcending nature ~
    Kali is both
    wrathful goddess and
    blue violet
    Like you, dear heart
    blue violet one ((( <3 )))

  10. Yolanda Rangel
    Yolanda Rangel says:

    Lokita, dear sister. I continue to pray for your strength and continued healing. I hope you get some decent sleep too. We are all here to support you in this ordeal.
    Peace and blessings.

  11. Susan Frederick
    Susan Frederick says:

    Dear Lokita, What an unreal experience(s) you’ve had to bear witness to. I am sending you love and all kinds of wishes for well being and peace. Namaste, Susan

  12. linda zimmerman
    linda zimmerman says:

    I can’t imagine what it took to be in that courtroom…but you were there with all your Grace and yes Compassion…your true humanity much in tact. Peace

  13. Betsy Russell
    Betsy Russell says:

    Dear Lokita,

    How difficult (and surreal) it had to have been to attend court and face the “accused.” You are an amazing tough cookie and spiritual warrior.

    I continue to follow your journey and continue to send mending thoughts your way.

  14. Roxanna Smith
    Roxanna Smith says:

    I bow to your strength and courage Lokita – for living through all of this one day at a time. So much of what you have written in this entry is a blue print for living (and loving.) Sending you love.

  15. Liz Baughman
    Liz Baughman says:

    Blessings and light Lokita. You are an amazing goddess of light and love. You ha e taught us all so much and continue to do so with your strength even in the worst of adversity. Sending healing light. 💜💜💜

  16. Amy
    Amy says:

    Lokita, you don’t know me…. we have never met…. but I did massage at Harbin. I met your husband only once, to test for massage. His feedback is with me today, now, whomever I lay hands on as I do. His words were, “I want to feel your heart in your hands.”
    That feedback is changing my life, my practice, everything. And I wanted to leave a touch of gratitude, appreciation, and honor here.
    Blessings, Lokita.
    Holding you as I know so many are~
    Amy Zimmerman

  17. Duncan Sylvester
    Duncan Sylvester says:

    Your strength enduring in a tragedy beyond my comprehension has been inspiring. I hope that the worst of it is finally over. I hope that there is some kind of closure and a release!. Love and Hugs from Duncan!

  18. Greg Jeter
    Greg Jeter says:

    My wife and I had the honor of taking a tantric seminar from you and Steve at Harbin Hot Springs. The two of you were the most loving, kind, powerful people I have met. To say this is tragic, what happened to Steve, is a gross understatement. Lokita, you have many friends In this life, your heart and soul has touched countless people. The goddess lives in you. I often wonder why we undergo certain experiences in this lifetime. Sometimes it seems to be a random sea of events that encompass our lives, but then it comes to the surface, light shines on these mysterious events and heals not just our own soul but all those around us. I admire the warrior in you, the goddess that beams from every fiber of your being. Thank you for your courage and your amazing heart.

  19. Diane
    Diane says:

    When I read the news account of the hearing, and saw the photo of girl, I could only imagine what that experience must have been like for you, dear Lokita. Now, to hear in your own words what that was like is a gift beyond description. You grow in wisdom and compassion with every experience, and I’m so grateful that you share that with us on this blog. So much love to you!

  20. Dhira
    Dhira says:

    Dear Lokita,

    Your courage and willingness to share your truth is deeply inspiring. Much much love and bear hugs from Byron Bay xxxxx

  21. Karin ingvardsen
    Karin ingvardsen says:

    Dearest Lokita.
    Your courage is very healing,as you know my son was killed July 8 2014,and the killer is still out there.
    Love you karin

  22. wildflower
    wildflower says:

    reading this gave me chills. you are so powerful, so centered in your core, even if you may not always feel that. this is so deep.
    i am profoundly moved by your & steve’s life story. i will never forget the impression he [and you both] left upon me at the harbin workshop. can only send you love & to coco, sweet soul dog.


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