The parent of a child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting testified Friday that conspirator Alex Jones must be held accountable for the lies he has spread about his dead child over the years.
“Alex Jones apologies are worth nothing,” said Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old boy Jesse Lewis died in the 2012 shooting. It’s too late. I don’t even know if Alex can sincerely apologize.
Jones is on trial in Austin, Texas – where his Infowars conspiracy outlet is based – to determine how much money he will ultimately have to pay parents Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son was killed in the shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead. For years, Jones and others related to him peddled the lie that the shooting was fake.
Heslin made it clear in court Friday that he wasn’t after Jones’ money, but punching it in his wallet might be the only way to get him to stop his lies.
“I believe this is the only way to end it, to prevent it from happening again,” Heslin said. “There has to be a strong deterrent to shut down what is being said.”
Heslin described her son as an “energetic” child who loved animals and helped others. On the day of the shooting, Jesse led his classmates to safety and likely saved lives. Jones was not in court when Heslin testified.
“It’s disrespectful,” Heslin told the jury of Jones’ absence from court. “I think it’s a cowardly act of Alex Jones not to face me here in this courtroom. He doesn’t have the guts to sit here and face me.
Heslin described the harassment he has faced over the years, including an incident he described as “a few years ago” in which his house and vehicles were shot down.
“I fear for my life, for my safety, for the safety of my family,” Heslin said. He and Lewis have had private security with them as the trial, now in its second week, unfolds.
In his own testimony on Friday, Lewis described a Christmas morning after the shooting when a man came to the house to take pictures. Lewis said she now has a gun to protect herself from those who might seek to harm her remaining son.
“I’m a single mom responsible for the safety of my two boys, and I couldn’t keep one of them safe,” Lewis said. “So I will keep my surviving son safe.”
A voicemail was also played in court by Infowars listener Lucy Richards, who was sentenced to five months in prison for sending death threats to Sandy Hook’s relative, Lenny Pozner.
“You’re a loser, you’re going to rot in hell,” Richards said in the voicemail played to the jury. “Death is coming to you very soon, motherfucker. You’re going to die.”
Jones’ attorney, Andino Reynal, said in his interrogation of Heslin that Sandy Hook’s lie did not come from Jones. Heslin said while that was true, it was Jones’ massive platform that allowed the lies to proliferate.
“Alex is the one who lit the match and started the fire,” Heslin told the court. “Others brought him wood to keep him going. It’s because Alex has such a big platform.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys are seeking $150 million in damages.