CORONA (CBSLA.com) — When she spoke to CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Serene Branson Wednesday evening, Eva Walden felt hopeless about the criminal justice system.
Ezra Babb, then 22, hit Walden’s grandson — then 16-year-old Christopher Sackett — over the head with a crowbar in May 2004.
Babb was set to walk out of prison this December, having served seven years of a 10-year sentence. Even though Babb’s victim died as a result of his attack, murder charges hadn’t been filed.
Today, Walden got a call from the San Bernardino District Attorney’s office. The DA was filing a murder charge against Babb, for the point of extending his prison stay.
Walden told Branson, “It’s a relief to know we’re finally getting to see some real justice.”
Even though the 2004 assault that led to her grandson’s death was caught on security tape, Walden says the family was initially told there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward with a prosecution.
Babb, who bullied Sackett from the time both were very young, pleaded guilty to attempted murder.
“They said if Christopher passed away within three years, they would retry Ezra Babb and it would be a slam dunk — that he’d be prosecuted for murder because he’d taken the plea bargain and admitted to attempted murder,” Walden recalled.
Sackett lingered in a coma for two years before succumbing to massive head trauma.
Said Walden, “Christopher wasn’t just an individual they could sweep under the rug. They needed to proceed so that others could feel the courts are doing their job.”
In addition to the murder charge, the DA says they will also now add an assault with a deadly weapons charge.
Branson says the DA would not discuss the case with her as there was new pending litigation. The DA’s office did say they filed the additional charges last night and let Walden and her family know this morning.
Walden is thankful to CBS2 and KCAL9 for reporting her story. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I think the news being involved was the match that ignited the interest in decision to seriously look at it.”
Yesterday, she thought the criminal justice system was ignoring her family’s grief. Today, Walden believes the wheels of justice are rolling again. “We will have some closure,” she says, “knowing that everything we are doing is for Christopher. To get him the justice he deserves.”