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Victim Impact Statement

County: Lafayette

Case No: LK17-19
Victim’s Name:

Date of Crime: September 7, 2016

Address:
Phone Number:
Charge: aggravated assault domestic violence and kidnapping
State VS. Sheldon Alston Jr.

Explain the Circumstances surrounding the crime and the manner in


which it was perpetrated.

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Sheldon Alston and I began dating in January of 2016. In August, I first

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noticed Sheldon’s violent tendencies. He hit me and strangled me. I had
never experienced anything like that before, and I did not know what to do

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or who to tell. Sheldon apologized and promised to get help. I wanted to
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believe him, so we resumed our relationship.
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Sheldon threw a surprise 21st birthday party at his rental house on South
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18th Street for his long time his best friend, . I arrived at Sheldon’s
rental house at 7 PM. Some of the attendees were friends, but many were
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strangers to Sheldon.
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One young man came up to me to say “hello.” This upset Sheldon. The
man recognized me from a bowling outing several weeks prior. Sheldon
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asked me into his room so we could talk. He asked how I knew the boy
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and acted very suspicious of my explanation.

Wm arrived with his parents, two sisters, and girlfriend sometime after 8
PM. We took some pictures, and I met all of s family. Sheldon was
excited to introduce them to me. Nothing out of the ordinary was
happening at this party.

There was a period of time when most of the boys, including Sheldon and
went outside and I stayed inside with s girlfriend, , and the girls
she had invited.

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Victim Impact Statement

Before 10 PM, drove Sheldon and me to the Round Table where his
fraternity’s date party was. When we got there Sheldon realized he had
forgotten his wallet. brought us back to his house and back to the bar.

We went upstairs on the porch with f. Sheldon asked if I


wanted anything to drink. I asked for water. He went to the bar. I sat down
with I did not know that Sheldon would be so upset to find I had
not saved him a seat next to me.

He left Round Table without telling me and went to Roosters to meet up


with friends from the birthday party. When I realized he was missing, I
asked the girls if they knew anything and was told Sheldon did not seem to

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be mad when they last saw him.

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I became very nervous and went to look for him downstairs. When I came

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back upstairs, Sheldon had returned from Roosters and demanded we
leave. I still did not know why he was mad at me. Sheldon thought I hadn’t
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noticed he was gone. I thought he was inside talking to people or ordering.
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It never crossed my mind that he would leave me there and go to another
bar. He claimed I said something to that had embarrassed him. He
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claimed that people were complaining about me talking too much.


According to Sheldon, said, “Gosh, why is she talking to me so much?”
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I believe Sheldon was lying. Weeks later, he confessed to me that by not


saving him a seat, I had set him off. He said I looked happy sitting with
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and and that made him feel like he didn’t matter.


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We left through the front door, and he yelled at me on the sidewalk


between Roosters and Round Table. I was embarrassed people saw him
yelling at me, and I wanted to get out of sight. I didn’t know a good way to
calm him down. He said that he wanted to go to back to Roosters with me,
but then decided against it. We walked across the street and sat on a
bench outside Village Tailor. He started talking about killing himself.

We walked down the stairs by Neilson’s and Shelter (now Tallahatchie


Gourmet). He pushed me down the last few stairs. I looked up at him like
he was crazy. He then said, “You just slammed me into that wall!” I must
have looked confused. He then said, “Oh my God, do you not remember

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Victim Impact Statement

doing that? That just happened! You are so drunk.” I was speechless.
Now, I thought I was the crazy one. If I had been so intoxicated to forget,
how could I have the strength to slam him into a wall? Would Sheldon
really have the temerity to lie about something that had supposedly
happened seconds earlier? I believe he would. I believe Sheldon was
gaslighting me.

I dropped my iPhone and it cracked when Sheldon pushed me down the


stairs. Sheldon picked it up. I also dropped my driver’s license and some
other items. A stranger contacted me on Facebook to return the items the
next day.

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We walked on to University Avenue. I asked for my phone back, and he
forcefully threw it on the ground. The phone was completely destroyed and

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useless. This is when I really got scared. Seeing him take and destroy my

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property made me feel helpless. I was angry, but I couldn’t say anything.
He did it deliberately and looked straight in my face when he did it.
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I stopped talking then as he continued ranting. He told me that I was a
terrible girlfriend, and I only cared about myself. He said I was selfish. He
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said I couldn't treat him right because my father treated me badly and didn’t
care about me. He said I was just like my mother. My parents are
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divorced, however, I am very close to and have a good relationship with


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both of them. In the months we dated, I opened up to Sheldon about the


divorce and some of my family’s issues. He saved in his memory any
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weakness or insecurity I exposed to him so that he could later use it


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against me. I do not know why he does this, but he cannot help himself.
He will say whatever he can think of in order to get the reaction he wants
out of his victim.

We walked onto South 18th Street. I was on the inside of the sidewalk and
Sheldon had his arm around my waist. I was struggling to walk normally
because he was holding me so tightly. When I tried to take his arm off, he
wouldn’t let go. He said, “you can’t even walk straight!” I tried to break
free, and Sheldon jabbed his hand up my skirt. He covered my mouth with
his right hand. I bit his finger hard and did not let go for what felt like a few
seconds. It is difficult to measure time in high-stress situations.

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Victim Impact Statement

He beat my back with his left hand a few times and I released my jaw. He
was bleeding. He pushed me on the ground, sat on top of my body, and
strangled me. He hit my face back and forth.

We walked back to his house. No one else was there. I begged him to call
me a ride home, but he refused many times. I never drive after consuming
any amount of alcohol.

I decided to stay calm, be quiet, and try to go to sleep. He gave me a t-


shirt and shorts and turned out the lights.

He would not let me sleep. He started talking about his younger brother,
. Sheldon claimed no one in his family had heard from in days and

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a suicide note was found in his Asheville apartment. Sheldon thought
had gone to the mountains to kill himself. This really upset me. It seemed

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odd to me that this crisis had been going on for several days without

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Sheldon telling me. la
I convinced Sheldon to call to prove to me that he would not answer.
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did not pick up. Sheldon claims to have found in their
grandfather’s treehouse with slit wrists in December of 2014. dropped
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out of high school and went to recover in North Carolina.


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Sheldon went on to say that everything in his life was falling a part. He said
he would kill himself and it was my fault for not caring about him enough.
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He said I would have to live with that forever. He said, “I’m going to kill
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myself and I am going to kill you too…Actually I’m not going to kill you.” He
also told me he had a gun. I did not believe him, but I did not want him to
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prove me wrong. I knew that at least one of his roommates had a gun in
the house. I was silent through all of this. I felt like I would only pick the
wrong words and make everything worse.

Another reason Sheldon gave for his life falling a part was his grandfather’s
recent Alzheimers diagnosis. I told Sheldon that did not mean his own life
was over.

Things winded down, so I asked him to call me a ride home again. He


threatened to kill himself. I said that committing suicide would make
everyone in his life miserable. I told him he should keep living so that the

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Victim Impact Statement

people who love him don’t have to suffer. I thought of different ways to
escape and tried to calmly talk him out of his suicidal rage.

He asked if he could hold me. I allowed it because I did not feel I had a
choice. He then asked me if we could “do it one last time.” I immediately
started crying. This is the only time he apologized. He sat up and said,
“I’m sorry. I just wanted to feel close to you.” Then his face changed. He
spat on me and told me to stop feeling sorry for myself. He told me to stop
acting innocent.

I went to the restroom attached to Sheldon’s bedroom. He was still in the


bed when I exited, so I went straight out the bedroom door.

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When I got to the end of the hall, I saw his roommate, , watching tv in

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the living room. I paused when seeing him because I did not want him to

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see my swollen face. I heard Sheldon from his doorway angrily whisper for
me to get back there. I went back.
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He shut the door and slammed me against the wall. He strangled me on
the ground again. I tried to beat his elbows and squeeze his wrists off of
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me. He released his grip voluntarily then strangled me again. He pinched


my nose with one hand while strangling me with the other. It was even
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more disheartening to scream and hear nothing. I thought he was going to


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kill me. I tried to make noise by beating my arm on the carpeted floor. He
stopped strangling me and he hit my face several times. I tried to be quiet
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because I did not want him to silence me by strangulation again.


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Suddenly he stopped his attack and left the room. I think it was close to 1
AM. I later found out he asked to leave the house. Sheldon came back
in the bedroom and told me he would take me to my sorority house. He
lied.

Sheldon said he would drive my car to campus and walk back. He slapped
me across the face in the driveway. As he was driving down Jackson
Avenue, I told him when he drove past Sorority Row. I thought maybe in
his crazed state he forgot where he was going. He responded, “We’re not
going there.” I asked where we were going, but I already knew. We drove

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Victim Impact Statement

in silence to his grandparents’ property about 16 miles west of Oxford in


Lafayette County.

At the cabin, I sat on the couch away from him. He went into the bedroom.
It sounded like he locked himself in and was fumbling around. I ran in there
and saw him looking through the closet. I thought he was looking for a gun.
I started crying. We both went back to sit on separate couches. He
permitted me to leave if I really wanted, but he was going to kill himself. He
said that is why we drove my car, so that I could leave him to commit
suicide. I thought this may have been a test of my loyalty, so I did not
attempt to leave without him. I felt failure of the test might result in murder-
suicide.

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Note: One of the police reports and Sheldon’s answer to the civil complaint

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say that his jeep was driven to the cabin. It was not. I think the police

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misunderstood me. When they were interviewing me, I resisted telling
them where Sheldon lived. One officer asked me what kind of car Sheldon
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owned. I think the police identified his house by first finding his car.
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Sheldon asked me to get in the bed with him. I complied out of fear. I was
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very swollen at this point and did not sleep. Sheldon did sleep.
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Later, I woke him up and begged him to come back with me to Oxford. He
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said that I would be fine after he killed himself. He said I would make
straight As because “that is what happens when your boyfriend kills
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himself.” He said the reason he wanted to make our relationship


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“Facebook official” in May was so people would know who I was after he
committed suicide. I just wanted the conversation to end. The more
Sheldon talked to me and looked at my face, the more fearful I became. I
thought that the way my face looked would make Sheldon want to hide me
or kill me.

After 4 AM, I convinced him to go back to Oxford. I said we could go look


for the stuff I lost on the street and no one would see us this early. I
promised I would stay at his rental house until I healed. He finally agreed.
I drove. We did not talk on the way back to Sheldon’s house.

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Victim Impact Statement

He forbade me from going to get something to eat, going to a hotel, or


going to my sorority house where I lived. He said someone will see me and
call the police. He stood in front of the door. He said I was being “so unfair”
for promising to stay at his rental house and then trying to leave. I told him I
would go to my father’s property in , Mississippi. My father was in
New Jersey at the time of the assault. Sheldon gave me twenty dollars for
the four-hour drive.

Instead, I drove directly to the hospital. At the emergency room, I tried to


sign in, but some women immediately took me back to a room. I told them
I did not want police to come. They said the police had to come talk to me.

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I regret not telling the police more. I did not want them to take pictures of
me, but finally allowed. I probably would have allowed more pictures to be
taken had there been a female nurse in the room and not just the detective.

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The only photos I allowed were taken when there were many people in the

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room. They questioned me, let me call my parents, and brought me food. It
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was difficult to eat because I could not move my teeth apart but half an
inch. When the Doctor called my mother, he told her it was one of the
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worst cases of domestic violence he had ever seen.


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I told the police I did not want Ole Miss Title IX to come talk to me.
Thankfully, someone from Ole Miss Title IX did come to the hospital.
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Because I lived at the sorority house at the time, I did not want to go there
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looking so beaten and strangled. Ole Miss gave me a nice dorm to stay in
while I healed. I had to use the computer lab to contact a few friends.
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My mother arrived in Oxford that night.


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Victim Impact Statement

Victim’s Personal Reaction: Write your feelings regarding how being


the victim of the crime has affected you personally and those around
you.

It has been nearly three years since I was brutally attacked and kidnapped
for eight hours by Sheldon Alston Jr. It is because of my strength that I am
participating in the prosecution. The effects of his abuse still haunt me in a
number of ways. Despite my trauma, I am grateful for this opportunity to
shed light on what I survived and how it has changed my life.

In the hospital, when I wrote a statement for the police, and the charges
were explained to me, I did not understand why strangulation was an

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aggravating factor in felony assault. I new nothing about crime or domestic
violence prosecution. I did not understand the seriousness of the situation

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or the severity of the crime.

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I am ashamed I treated the police with such suspicion and dismissiveness.
I may not be alive without the intervention of law enforcement.
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As time distanced me from the trauma, I was able to look at Sheldon’s
deliberate and subsequent actions more objectively. Strangulation is
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equally as threatening as placing a gun to another’s head. Regardless of


my physical injury, he proved he could kill me silently and with little effort.
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It was challenging to stay in school, socialize, and be normal. I was


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constantly thinking about him, the attack, and what would happen in the
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legal process. Paranoia. Will he come after me and my family? Should I


get a gun? Why can’t I find a lawyer? Who are these people? What will
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they say about me? What will they make up? When I do find a lawyer to
represent me, could I really trust him? What will his defense possibly be?
Why did he do it?

Before the assault, Sheldon was a decent citizen with a promising future. In
high school, he made good grades, participated in sports, and was an
Eagle Scout. While attending Ole Miss he received some scholarship
money and maintained friendships from grade school. With two pending
felony charges and a Title IX expulsion from the University of Mississippi,
he enrolled at Millsaps College where he was a student athlete. I do not
know if he graduated.

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Victim Impact Statement

When I saw many similar and/or lesser crimes being reported by various
Oxford news outlets, I became paranoid that his family had done something
to stop reporting of this crime. For over a year, there was no google result
for the arrest. OPD told me they usually make press releases for felony
arrests, but they had forgotten Sheldon’s.

While at Millsaps, many rumors got back to me. I saw on social media that
he was going on dates. Because there was no way for this young woman
to research Sheldon, I contacted her. I just wanted to make her aware of
the charges against him. When she confronted Sheldon, he told her
“elaborate, nonsensical stories about the incident, and, long story short, he
does not accept personal responsibility.”

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In the conversations between us, our families and lawyers, it was made
extremely clear to me that Sheldon and his family believed he was above

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these just and explicit laws. About six weeks after the attack, I called

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Sheldon. He cried and apologized. I asked him if he really thought he
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would be a felon. He said he still wanted to come back to Ole Miss, “have
a life,” and go to law school. My thinking changed when I heard this.
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I thought it was understood by Sheldon and his family that he should not
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return to Ole Miss. I went to Title IX and told them to pursue the conduct
review. Sheldon was eventually expelled and banned from stepping foot on
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any University of Mississippi campus for the rest of his life.


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My father eventually called Sheldon’s father. Sheldon Sr. said, “we’re


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gonna fight it” and “this will interfere with law school.” Even at mediation of
the civil suit less than a year ago, Sheldon still believed he could get out of
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this without a felony and go onto law school. They wanted the civil suit in
Hinds county to have an effect on the criminal case. When I wouldn't
agree, my lawyer quit.

I waited until the last possible week (statute of limitations is one year) to file
a civil suit in Hinds County because I was worried Sheldon would somehow
get out of the charges in Oxford. I wanted a means of recourse in a
different venue to hold Sheldon publicly accountable. It was intimidating to
be rejected by so many lawyers. They all wanted me to use the criminal
case as leverage on the civil case. I was expected to allow and facilitate
the sweeping under the rug of this case. I felt as if all the lawyers in

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Victim Impact Statement

Mississippi were ganging up on me to protect Sheldon and do a favor for


his extended family of legal experts.

My family and I need to be compensated for my medical bills, counseling,


destroyed property, and travel expenses. I am also owed something for the
classes I dropped and failed that semester. I believe my graduation date
was impacted as well as GPA. It is possible my job prospects and earning
potential were impacted as a result of my GPA. There is no way to quantify
the impact. I will continue to hold Sheldon publicly accountable by pursuing
the civil claims in Hinds County.

He did damage me, but he did not ruin my life. My family, my friends, and

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myself would not let them ruin and control my life.

I had many bad days and nights. Crying I did not know I was capable of. It

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only made me feel worse when I realized that even though we were

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separated by time, distance, and silence; he could still make feel despair I
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had never felt before.
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I am thankful that the evidence is conclusive. Often domestic violence


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leaves no marks. I am grateful that strangulation is a felony thanks to


David Blount and the late Alice Harden who proposed the bill. Hands are a
deadly weapon if there is a great disparity in strength between the parties.
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When a man strangles a woman, he wants her to know he can kill her. I’m
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thankful I survived. It takes passion and rage to strangle a romantic


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partner. Exactly the kind of passion and rage that leads to murder.
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I have learned much humility through this experience. I thought it could


never happen to me. I thought it could never to happen to people like us.
It can happen to anyone who is not armed with knowledge to protect
herself. People always say it is not the victim’s fault. That is true. It is
never your fault when someone commits a crime against you. However, I
would rather not be in this situation at all. You have to learn to protect
yourself.

I’ve heard that you have to forgive someone in order to be set free of them.
I do not believe that. God loves us and forgives us in spite of ourselves. If
we lie about who we are and what we have done, we are rejecting God’s

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Victim Impact Statement

forgiveness. The only way Sheldon can be forgiven is if he tells the truth.
He can be forgiven and respected if he apologizes, takes a just punishment
from the state, and reforms himself.

Victim’s Physical Injury: Explain the injuries and treatment you


received. Attach copies of any bills.

I had swelling on my face; bruises and scrapes on my face, neck, legs,


arms, and back; petechial hemorrhaging on my face and eyes The whites
of my eyes had blood in them for a month. Dr. Preston Gallaher ordered
CBC test, basic metabolic panel, HCG test, alcohol blood test, CT scan of
head, spine, and facial bones.

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Plea Recommendation:

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I do not believe that a witness of a crime should have any say on what is an
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appropriate resolution.
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He is guilty of all the crimes he is accused and should be sentenced


accordingly. I believe that the plea deal is merciful.
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He has lied about the crimes to many people. I do not know of anyone he
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has confessed to, except me, because I know the truth.


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He does not have a support system that appreciates the seriousness of the
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crimes. He does not have a support system encouraging him to tell the
truth. He does not have a support system committed to reforming him.
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