Tammy: When we had the picture out there for you? To us, it didn’t seem like that because you didn’t elicit any emotion.
Chris: I don’t show emotion that much, just like my dad, we don’t show emotion.
Grahm: Were you fighting it down or you’re just not a guy to show it?
Chris: Like most of the time, I’m not a guy to show it. Like I hold it in as much as I can and, you know, in my cell, I cry a lot, obviously. Like I’m not really a guy to show it. I don’t like – I don’t know – I try to hold it in as much as I can.
Dave: You were a difficult guy to read, especially at the house that day. That makes total sense now.
Chris: I guess I was in shock or disbelief; some people said I looked like I was a heartless, no soul person, soulless person when they did the TV interviews; I’m just glad I never saw it. I don’t even want to know what I looked like, what I sounded like.
Dave: But you were obviously feeling it then, you just weren’t showing it.
Chris: Yeah, it’s like nothing registered at all. Everything was harbored deep down and then it was just one night when I was in my cell, it all hit me all at one point. Not the fact that I was in jail, but the fact that everybody was gone and none of it – I think like if something happens to your family in an accident, like a car accident or something horrible like that, it registers at one point, but if you did it, it just doesn’t register at one point. It’s like, in my head, it never registered.
Tammy: Does it seem real now?
Chris: It feels real every day. I see pictures, I know where they were at when they were doing that. When I first had some type of hearing over the phone, I heard Frank and Sandy and Frankie, they were on the phone, and I forgot what kind of hearing it was, something about like a probate hearing or something, I knew exactly where they were in the back – I heard the birds chirping and I knew they were out on the back deck and I just walked back to my cell and just bawled my eyes out because I knew exactly where they were. I don’t know how many times the girls were back out there; it’s just weird how emotions process differently for me than everybody else.Like you said, if you lost your kids in the grocery store for five seconds, you’d be a mess. For me, it’d be like, I’d be panicked, but I probably wouldn’t cry, I’d be looking around trying to find them, but it just processes different for me and I never knew why. I never know why. I don’t want to think I’m a cold-hearted person, I just don’t show it, don’t show the emotion as much as other people do. Even when the girls left North Carolina, Shanann’s brother and mom and dad were all crying when they left and I never really saw my parents get like that when they left. I don’t know if you’re born that way.
Tammy: Like your family doesn’t show emotion like that? Is that what you’re saying?
Chris: Yeah. My dad couldn’t really speak at the sentencing hearing because he said he was kind of like, he said he was going to lose it, like lose his emotions; that really hit me. I’ve never seen him like that.
Tammy: Like vulnerable?
Chris: Mm-hmm. Nobody’s ever really seen me that way either.
Tammy: Was it ever like, you’re a sissy if you’re like that? Or you just never did?
Chris: I just, no. I never saw my dad cry. So, maybe it’s just something that, you know, was imprinted in my brain that maybe I should never cry.
Tammy: Was your mom a loving mom? Like a doting mom and, you know, would give you affection and hugs and kisses?
Chris: Oh yeah, she always asked me what was going on. She said I was always hard to read; she never knew what was going on.
Tammy: But did she still try and give you affection even growing up?
Chris: Yeah. My sister was always a parent, always like what was going on. She was always open with me; I was always closed off. And she always wanted to know what was going on, like I how I felt. I was just like, “Oh, I’m good.” Even if something was wrong, like I would have probably never said anything because I would just deal with it myself. I don’t know if growing up that way just kept me that way, to deal with things on your own, but they build up so much that you can’t deal with them and then they take a hold of you, you never thought in a way it could take a hold of you.
Dave: Do you think it was a result of just bottling up for so long?
Grahm: What do you remember your dad saying at sentencing?
Chris: I remember there was a scripture, it was 1 John, 1-9, and then a lot of it, the other representative said for him. My mom spoke but everything my dad had written down, the person said. He was talking going to little league games and braces and stuff like that and being my coach and everything like that and was hoping I was experiencing the same type of joy doing that for my girls.
Grahm: I remember your mom saying she loves you and she always will.
Chris: I know.
Grahm: That was pretty important to hear.
Chris: And then she said, “I forgive you, son.”
Grahm: That was big, right?
Grahm: And your dad, when we came here today, we were just hoping and praying that you would take your dad’s advice. Do you remember what he said? I hope if you get a chance to talk, you can talk about it and I think that’s what today was, don’t you?
Chris: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I just didn’t expect it to be today.
Dave: The DA made some comments during that sentencing hearing about your emotions and having no emotions. Do you remember all that?
Chris: Yeah, “He lied to us from the start,” and a couple of other things – I believe that’s what he was saying.
Dave: Do you think he was anywhere close? Basically, what is your opinion of what he said?
Chris: I mean, it’s going to be, you know, taking all of his evidence and putting it into the story that he wanted to convey. If you don’t know me, that’s the way you’re going to portray – if you take everything from August 13th to now, that’s how people are going to – there’s no other way people are going to opinionate themselves about me just by what they see right there. They’re going to say, okay, they look at a guy that did the interviews on the 14th and they see that guy should be on his hands and knees crying his eyes out and what’s he doing? He’s just talking. I know they got some information maybe from her friends saying, “Well, he was cheating on her,” or something like that, he’s a cold person, he was trying to do this and that. They don’t know me – that’s always going to be what they think about me. There was one church service, the only one I’ve been able to go to in here and they said you’re not defined by one moment in your life and people are defining me by one moment in my life. They don’t know what happened before or what can happen later. So, I just hope that, hopefully one day people can stop judging everybody. I was just telling the people in here that, you know, I don’t even want to know what they did because I don’t want to judge them. Like, I’m not that person. They know what I did; I’m not going to ask them what they did.
Dave: You did show some emotion during that hearing. What part do you think you felt the most emotional?
Chris: When Frank was talking about – I didn’t know what to expect when he first started talking, but he said I was an evil monster – that rang in me – and he said I tossed them away like garbage and that hurt. And, you know, when Sandy was talking about that video, Bella was calling me her hero and that, that triggered it a lot there. Then, when was saying, you know, like, I’ll never be called uncle again, but you’ll never be called a dad again. That really stung. Then when my parents got up there, just hearing my mom and dad talk, you know, they’re just like, they really couldn’t look at me, but I just know, everything they said, saying they forgive me and that I’m still their son no matter what. Even my attorneys told me, you need to show a little more emotion because I guess, the first time I went into the court room, I didn’t know what to expect. I was new to everything, just in shock about what was going on and they said I was just a cold person, just looking at me. When I did the plea and at the sentencing hearing, it all felt just more real than anything.
Grahm: I remember growing up, my pastor used to tell me, it’s better to be one foot out of hell facing heaven, then one foot out of heaven facing hell. So, I think that’s you. Like you’ve been to hell and now you’re faced in the right direction.
Chris: Definitely. I definitely feel like its – I never knew I could have a relationship with God like I do know, it’s like the amazing grace with all of this but I just wish nobody had to pay any kind of price for this. I know there’s a purpose for everybody, I just that I can find mine.
Grahm: It’s giving you peace.
Chris: That’s the only thing I really can do right now is to seek peace and hope and pray that everybody can find it too. For everybody that was involved, for all of your and all your team and everybody. Friends, anybody that was involved.