In emotional testimony Thursday, Robbie Parker, the father of a Sandy Hook shooting victim, recounted the violent threats and harassment he and his family have endured in the years since conspiracy theorist Alex Jones called him a movie actor. crisis.
The day after his six-year-old daughter, Emilie, was killed in the 2012 shooting, Parker gave a statement to the press. Hours later, Jones was on his InfoWars show describing him as a crisis actor to his audience of millions. (Jones acknowledged that he spoke about Parker on his behalf when he took the test earlier in the trial, which is to determine how much he should pay the families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims for their lies about the massacre.) .
Later that night, unable to sleep, Parker said she saw the beginning of a flood of hateful messages about the news conference on Emilie’s memorial Facebook page. Parker said she deleted Emilie’s memorial Facebook page weeks after the shooting because the harassment was too much to control.
“I felt like I couldn’t protect Emilie’s name or her memory anymore, so I had to get rid of that,” Parker said through tears.
As the days passed and the bullying increased, Parker’s family became paranoid. They wondered what part of Emilie’s life to share with guests during the wake and funeral services. Ultimately, they opted to do a closed-casket wake out of fear that someone might try to take pictures of Emilie’s body or her things, Parker tested.
“I was paranoid and he was paranoid. As if we were closed. We were just zombies. I don’t even remember what was said on the day of the funeral,” Alissa Parker said during her testimony to her husband. “It was stolen from me.”
Robbie Parker, who in many ways has been the face of Jones’ misleading narrative about the shooting, said he reported harassment and threats to law enforcement and social media attacks on Facebook and YouTube. “I was kind of begging and begging for his help,” he said. But that didn’t work either, he tried.
For years, he tried to ignore it, choosing not to get involved with people who threatened his family and called him an actor. “I was taught that you don’t get involved with a stalker,” he said. “If someone is harassing you, you ignore it and eventually they get fed up and leave you alone. And that had worked for me in my life.”
The family moved to Washington state in early 2014. However, within a few months of moving, Robbie Parker realized that “deceivers” had found them. He said he saw a YouTube video detailing the sale of his new home and address.
“And immediately that sense of security that I thought we had was completely shattered,” he said. “They were coming in these waves and it was almost like I knew when Alex Jones said something because we were going to get a big wave of stuff.”
Through tears, he recalled a man who confronted him on the street in Seattle in the fall of 2016, nearly four years after the shooting. Yelling and cursing at him, the man asked him how he could sleep at night and how much the government paid him to play the deception.
Robbie Parker said he first confronted the man trying to defend his family as a crowd of onlookers gathered. He said he eventually walked away from the heckler, but first circled the block several times to make sure no one was following him before returning to his family.
His wife described the change she saw in her husband as the weight of his family’s security hit him.
“I would say the most painful thing is how his view of himself has changed. He felt so ashamed. And he felt that it was his fault that all this happened. And he felt that it was because of him that our family was targeted and all the other families were targeted,” he said.
The emotional testimony culminated the third week of the trial. The plaintiffs in three Connecticut lawsuits against Jones, including family members of eight students and employees at the school and an FBI agent who responded to the scene, condensed the lawsuit.
The jury has now heard from most of the named plaintiffs in the case and attorneys for the plaintiffs have indicated they will wrap up their case early next week.
Jones is expected to testify again next week during his own defense case. The jury will then deliberate to determine how much Jones and the company should pay in damages to each of the 15 plaintiffs who say their lives were negatively affected by their false coverage of the shooting.
Judge Barbara Bellis found the defendants liable by default last year in large part because Jones and the company failed to turn over evidence during the discovery process, according to court documents.
Robbie Parker had flown back and forth each week to sit in the Connecticut courtroom before his testimony this week. At the beginning of his testimony on Wednesday, he said, “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
– CNN’s Oliver Darcy contributed to this report.