Joshua Ryen made the following statement during a hearing in U.S. District Court in San Diego on Friday, April 22, 2005. Ryen is the sole survivor of a 1983 hatchet massacre in Chino Hills in which his parents, sister and friend were killed. Ryen, then 8, survived the attack despite having his throat slashed.
The first time I met Kevin Cooper I was 8 years old and he slit my throat. He hit me with a hatchet and put a hole in my skull. He stabbed me twice, which broke my ribs and collapsed one lung. I lived only because I stuck four fingers in my neck to slow the bleeding, but I was too weak to move. I laid there 11 hours looking at my mother who was right beside me.
I know now he came through the sliding glass door and attacked my dad first. He was lying on the bed and was struck in the dark without warning with the hatchet and knife. He was hit many times because there is a lot of blood on the wall on his side of the bed.
My mother screamed and Cooper came around the bed and started hitting her. Somehow my dad was able to struggle between the bed and the closet but Cooper bludgeoned my father to death with the knife and hatchet, stabbing him 26 times and axing him 11. One of the blows severed his finger and it landed in the closet. My mother tried to get away but he caught her at the bottom of the bed and he stabbed her 25 times and axed her 7.
All of us kids were drawn to the room by mom's screams. Jessica was killed in the doorway with 5 ax blows and 46 stabs. I won't say how many times my best friend Chris was stabbed and axed, not because it isn't important, but because I don't want to hurt his family in any way, and they are here.
After Cooper killed everyone, and thought he had killed me, he went over to my sister and lifted her shirt and drew things on her stomach with the knife. Then he walked down the hallway, opened the refrigerator, and had a beer. I guess killing so many people can make a man thirsty.
I don't want to be here. I came because I owe it to my family, who can't speak for themselves. But by coming I am acknowledging and validating the existence of Kevin Cooper, who should have been blotted from the face of the earth a long time ago. By coming here it shows that he still controls me. I will be free, my life will start, the day Kevin Cooper dies. I want to be rid of him, but he won't go away.
I've been trying to get away from him since I was 8 years and I can't escape. He haunts me and follows me. For over 20 years all I've heard is Kevin Cooper this and Kevin Cooper that. Kevin Cooper says he is innocent, Kevin Cooper says he was framed, Kevin Cooper says DNA will clear him, Kevin Cooper says blood was planted, Kevin Cooper says the tennis shoes aren't his, Kevin Cooper says three guys did it, Kevin Cooper says police planted evidence, Kevin Cooper gets another stay from another court and sends everyone off on another wild goose chase.
The courts say there isn't any harm when Kevin Cooper gets another stay and another hearing. This just shows they don't care about me, because every time he gets another delay I am harmed and have to relive the murders all over again. Every time Kevin Cooper opens his mouth everyone wants to know what I think, what I have to say, how I'm feeling, and the whole nightmare floods all over me again: the barbecue, me begging to let Chris spend the night, me in my bed and him on the floor beside me, my mother's screams, Chris gone, dark house, hallway, bushy hair, everything black, mom cut to pieces saturated in blood, the nauseating smell of blood, eleven hours unable to move, light filtering in, Chris' father at the window, the horror of his face, sound of the front door splintering, my pajamas being cut off, people trying to save me, the whap whap of the helicopter blades, shouted questions, everything fading to black.
Every time Cooper claims he's innocent and sends people scurrying off on another wild goose chase I have to relive the murders all over again. It runs like a horror movie, over and over again and never stops because he never shuts up. He puts PR people on national television who say outrageous things and then the press wants to know what I think. What I think is that I would like to be rid of Kevin Cooper. I would like for him to go away. I would like to never hear from Kevin Cooper again. I would like Kevin Cooper to pay for what he did.
I dread happy times like Christmas and Thanksgiving. If I go to a friend's house on holidays I look at all the mothers and fathers and children and grandchildren and get sad because I have no one. Kevin Cooper took them from me.
I get terrified when I go into any place dark, like a house before the lights are on. I hear screams and see flashbacks and shadows. Even with lights on I see terrible things. After I was stabbed and axed I was too weak to move and stared at my mother all night. I smelled this overpowering smell of fresh blood and knew everyone had been slaughtered.
Every day when I comb my hair I feel the hole where he buried the hatchet in my head, and when I look in the mirror I see the scar where he cut my throat from ear to ear and I put four fingers in it to stop the bleeding which, they say, saved my life. Every year I lose hearing in my left ear where he buried the knife.
Helicopters give me flashbacks of life flight and my Incredible Hulks being cut off by paramedics. Bushy hair reminds me of the killer. Silence reminds me of the quiet before the screams. Cooper is everywhere. There is no escape from him.
I feel very guilty and responsible to the Hughes family because I begged them to let Chris spend the night. If I hadn't done that he wouldn't have died. I apologize to them and especially to Mr. Hughes for having to find us and see his son cut and stabbed to death.
I thank the judge who gave my grandma custody of me because she took good care of me and loves me very much.
I'm grateful to the ocean for giving me peace because when I go there I know my mother and father and sister's ashes are sprinkled there.
Kevin Cooper has movie stars and Jesse Jackson holding rallies for him, people carrying signs, lighting candles, saying prayers. To them and you I say:
I was 8 when he slit my throat,
It was dark and I couldn't see.
Through the night and day I laid there,
trying to get up and flee.
He killed my mother, father, sister, friend,
And started stalking me.
I try to run and flee from him but cannot get away,
While he demands petitions and claims, some fresh absurdity.
Justice has no ear for me nor cares about my plight,
while crowds pray for the killer and light candles in the night.
To those who long for justice and love truth which sets men free, When you pray your prayers tonight, please remember me.
|Liveleak on Facebook|