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Bridge City mother addresses son's killer at sentencing
By Megan Dillard
A Bridge City mother says nothing will bring back her son but hopes that maybe now she's taken a step down the path to healing. She was able to address one of her son's killers in court Monday.
Vivian Sedtal says she finally got the chance to speak her mind Monday in federal judge Marcia Crone's courtroom.
Sedtal said she had been unaware of court dates surrounding her son's case and never received an opportunity to address his killers in previous hearings. However, that changed on Monday.
Federal case agents picked her up from her home so she could attend the sentencing hearing for Tanner Bourque.
Vivian Sedtal's son, James Lee Sedtal, was a member of S.W.S., the Solid Wood Soldiers, a white supremacist gang that operates behind bars and outside prison.
Prosecutors say three members of the same gang murdered James Lee Sedtal in March 2011.
Judge Marcia Crone sentenced 34-year-old Tanner Lynn Bourque to life in prison on Monday afternoon. He pled guilty last July to murder in the aid of racketeering.
Prosecutors charged Bourque and three other S.W.S. members with shooting and killing James Lee Sedtal as well as with conspiracy and drug charges.
Investigators say James Lee Sedtal assaulted a member of a rival prison gang. That gang was planning to retaliate against S.W.S.
Prosecutors say members of the group murdered James Lee Sedtal to maintain and increase their positions within the gang. They put his body in the trunk of a stolen car and set the car on fire.
Vivian Sedtal addressed the judge during her statement this afternoon.
She begged Judge Crone for justice and urged her to sentence Bourque to life. She also asked that Bourque be placed in solitary confinement.
She said the defendant's actions hit her to the very soul. She said she's tried to rely on friends and counseling but she's left feeling cold, angry, and frustrated. She also said Bourque "took my son..my best friend.. a part of me."
Fox 4 News spoke with her outside the courthouse where she described her state of mind.
Tanner Bourque's grandparents were also in the courtroom this afternoon.
Fox 4 News spoke with his grandmother, Viola, who says she believes in a "bigger judge".
She told us in her eyes that means "God." She also said we all make mistakes and that where drugs are involved we don't always do the right thing. She says justice is going to be done.
Judge Crone has sentenced two other defendants to life in prison. A fourth defendant charged in connection with the murder pleaded guilty last summer and is awaiting sentencing. She faces up to life behind bars.