They traveled from El Salvador to Canada and sat through weeks of often-troubling and heart-wrenching court testimony.
But they did it for José.
And when his killer was found guilty of murder earlier this month, José’s mother Vilma Morales De Luna and sister Jacqueline Luna Morales knew they had one more stop to make before returning to Central America.
Lester Oseguera was convicted of second-degree murder in José Luna’s death by a jury in New Westminster Supreme Court on May 10.
A week later, Vilma and Jacqueline met with IHIT (Integrated Homicide Investigation Team) officers, bringing with them many tears of thanks, as well as a hand-crafted plaque featuring a Mayan God image.
“My brother had dreams he thought would come true in Canada and it was hard to say good-bye when he left,” said Jacqueline, who was José’s only sibling. “When we got the news of his death we couldn’t believe it, it has been very difficult. We decided to come to Canada and be there in court as we needed to find closure and heal. The way IHIT has investigated this has helped us get the peace we have now.”
José Luna was shot to death by Oseguera in the house they shared in Surrey on Aug. 30, 2010. Luna had come to Canada a year-and-a-half earlier to fulfill his hopes and dreams, said his family, and was working as a painter.
Two years later, his mom still finds it difficult to talk about his death, but wanted to express her gratitude to police.
“I am thankful for this outcome and thankful for the police officers. I am satisfied that we have justice now but that does not bring my son home,” said Vilma.
José’s uncle Mateo Hernandez also sat through the lengthy court proceedings, which began in mid-April, with this family. He said it helped to hear Oseguera, who claimed he shot José accidently, apologize.
“For my family this was special because it helped us to understand that Lester felt pain for his actions and this was nothing against [José]. It helped us to understand why.”
Inspector Kevin Hackett, Officer in Charge of IHIT, said in a press release that such support from families is what drives investigators.
“Our investigative teams at IHIT gain a great deal of motivation and encouragement by the relationships that are developed with the victim’s families and it helps us accomplish and succeed in our day to day duties,” he said.