By Joel Warner
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"I was talking to him about I didn't want him there because he caused my father to pass on with all that stress and anguish put on him," Carmen says. "I basically blamed him the same as if he walked up to my father and shot him.
"He [Ronald] was real smuglike, and I asked him why he would want to come, and he couldn't tell me why. He didn't say he loved him. He said, 'This a free country. This is America.'
"There's no love in that child's heart," Carmen says of Ronald.
According to Carmen and Krystal, most of the siblings, and their mother, too, ignored Ronald's presence at the funeral. They also snubbed two other sisters who were siding with Ronald in the matter. (Those two also declined to be interviewed.)
Riddle made a point of recognizing Ronald's attendance, though he didn't use his name.
"At the funeral," Riddle says, "I said there was a Judas in the family. I said, 'Judas was at work in terms of the death of the Reverend Veasey.'"
According to family members, Earl's death was something of a turning point in the case.
Ronald "was trying to get against my father," says Krystal. "I don't know for what reason. He can't stand my father for some reason. It's always been like that.
"It's funny how all of a sudden he dies, and now nobody wants to have anything to do with the accusations. Ronald, he wanted my father to pay, and now he don't have nothing to say. Now my sister don't have nothing to say. I think that's sick."
Krystal and Carmen say they believe Ronald became involved in the case because he wanted money. Perhaps he hoped that he could gain custody of the three girls and get child support for them, they surmise. Or maybe he just wanted to get his hands on Brandon's annuity.
"I do think my father was in the way for them," Krystal says. "My mother has control of the money now. Because my mother is quiet, they think they probably can slide their way into her life. My father was not like that. If you really needed money, my father would give it to you, but they always came with the wrong kind of attitude. They think somebody owes them something."
Carmen also believes that Ronald was motivated by a combination of hate and greed.
If his only motivation in reporting the assault had been concern for the safety of the alleged victim, says Carmen, "he would have went straight to my mom and my dad. I think they [Diane and Earl] would have taken care of the problem, found out what was going on and taken care of it themselves."
Ronald, she says, had a lot of animosity toward Earl. "I don't know why," she says. "Ronald has just always been like that. My daddy did everything for that boy, but it never seemed to be enough. He always felt like somebody owed him more."
For his part, Ronald seems to have conceded the fight. At a recent court hearing, says Riddle, Elbert County attorney John Egan said that "the siblings" (whom he did not identify by name) no longer wished to cooperate because they had been "intimidated and threatened." Egan did not return phone calls from Westword.
At the same hearing, the alleged molestation victim refused to answer the judge's questions, even after he took her into his chambers and questioned her there.
Carmen and Krystal believe that the girl had been coerced into making statements about the assault.
Initially, says Krystal, the girl said her brothers had touched her breast but did not remove her shirt. After she was taken from the Veasey home, however, her story changed to include the charge that someone had been touching the inside of her vagina and kissing her on the mouth.
As time drags on, the criminal case appears to be weakening.
At an April 13 preliminary hearing for the two accused Veasey boys, prosecutors elected to dismiss charges of unlawful sexual conduct against them. Two counts of incest remain.
The Elbert County Department of Social Services is beginning to ease up on the Veaseys as well.
Stephen was allowed to stay at home with his mother after Earl's funeral. Technically, he has been home on a "pass" since March 13.
The Veaseys' sixteen-year-old was allowed to come home on April 19. Two of the three girls were returned to Diane on April 20.
Reportedly, the only conditions of their return are that the family seek counseling and that the children be sent to public school. There is no timetable for returning the remaining children. Trials for the two boys accused of incest are slated for later this summer, despite Diane's request for an earlier date. She must wait until July for a hearing on Brandon's fate.
"This is ludicrous," Riddle says. "If this household is so dangerous, why are they allowing the girls to go back?"
As for the public-schools issue, he says, "We think they had a right to pull the kids out of Kiowa schools. The sheriff said [the taunting] was just childish pranks. See what childish pranks ended with in Columbine?