Tomas B. Jr.

REPRESENT JUSTICE X JR: TEHACHAPI

Okay. Well, my name is Tomas Bonilla and I was affected because in 2010, my sister and my niece were killed by my sister's boyfriend... then… and, when she died, it took our homes, our house, and after that, I've been affected till this day because you know, something traumatic. And well, I've been just trying to like, you know, live on. I forgive the guy. I forgive him, but it still hurts, you know, to this day.  I was nine at the time when it happened. When I try to remember the night, it's still a little blurry because I was young at the time. But I remember on the night, I woke up on my sister's arms on the curb of the street and looking around and seeing the paramedics and the firefighters still outside, the police, on the streets, people yelling, and I remember seeing the house. It's hard to think about it and talk about it because no matter how long it passes, it's still going to hurt. But, I've learned to forgive. It was my parents' idea, like to, you know, forgive and I know there was a lot of controversy in that. Like other people, they would be like, "Why are you forgiving? Your daughter was murdered," and they were confused and a little bit angry because we were forgiving.

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But, I just stood by my family, like my parents, my siblings. I also forgave because there’s no point in holding a grudge to someone like that. Especially because, not only did we lose her and my niece, but he lost his daughter as well. And he also lost her. So it’s like we’re both grieving together. 

Well, my parents, I just followed my parents’ lead because they forgave and then as the time went on, I realized they have a point. I didn’t hold a grudge or nothing because it just felt right. You know, if my parents were forgiving, I should forgive, too. I came to understand what they were talking about, what they were saying.

It still hurts to this day, but, well, my mom, she speaks to people, but I don’t … She works with that stuff, kind of like a support group… I don’t know. So she talks about it, but I don’t really talk about it at all.

 It’s intense talking to people about that stuff. It’s emotionally exhausting, you know.