Original Sin

Page 10 of 10

"Hey, you look good in chains, bro," one of Natalie's brothers said to the manacled Matthew.

"You and your family and your hypocritical church have put us through hell," Enselma told Matthew.

"Enselma looked right at the Hancocks and said, 'You call yourself Christians, but you're nothing but devils,'" says Lisa's mother, Mary Mondragon. "It got very ugly in there. I think a bad spirit got hold of that woman."

Patricia Mirabal managed to work a cutting remark into her statement, as well, referring to the Vasquezes as members of a "drug ring."

"Maybe there's a murderer in [Natalie's] family," she said.

(She was referring to the fact that Natalie's sister, Dawn, had been arrested a year earlier in connection with a heroin ring in New Mexico. Boulder investigators do not believe, however, that the incident is in any way connected with Natalie's murder.)

After the judge formally sentenced Matthew, a court security guard quickly ushered Matthew's family from the room. The Vasquez family was escorted out another door.

Since the conviction, the Mirabals have retained an attorney for an appeal of Matthew's conviction and upped a reward for finding Natalie's killer from $10,000 to $20,000. The wording of the reward reads: "$20,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) who were involved in the brutal beating and decapitating murder of Natalie J. Mirabal and for the exoneration of Matthew Mirabal.

The latter wording was added after Ainsworth claimed, jokingly, that he could collect the money because he'd helped put Matthew behind bars.

Both sides still believe their cause is righteous.

"I just know this completely and totally," Troy Hancock says. "I know there's no way Matthew done that. If I thought he had -- and I told his brother this -- if I thought Matthew done this, I would never want to see him again, because I would feel that he had robbed us of a life. We thought the world of Natalie.

"I just will never believe that he killed her."

"I will not give up," Patricia Mirabal says. "I will fight for my son to no end. He is innocent, and there has to be justice."

Ainsworth's response is simple and direct: "Their faith in Matthew is misplaced."

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Karen Bowers