Kayleigh Ballantyne took a deep breath and put down the typed remarks she had prepared. She could not read them. The man who had tried to kill her sat across the courtroom, slumped with his head resting on a table.
When Ballantyne spoke, her voice trembled, then grew strong: She said she was speaking not just for herself, but for her "guardian angel," Amy Lord, killed by the same man who hours later attacked Ballantyne during a daylong spree of frenzied violence in July 2013.
"This is so hard. Something that someone shouldn't ever have to do," said Ballantyne from the witness stand in Suffolk Superior Court Tuesday.
Then she pointed to her assailant, Edwin J. Alemany, convicted Monday of murdering Lord and assaulting Ballantyne and another woman in South Boston. "But I won, and he didn't win," Ballantyne said.
Superior Court Judge Frank Gaziano on Tuesday sentenced Alemany to life in prison without parole for slaying the 24-year-old Lord, the mandatory sentence for a first-degree murder conviction. He also sentenced Alemany to additional, symbolic terms for the attacks on Ballantyne and Alexandra Cruz.
Alemany attacked Cruz on the morning of July 23, 2013. She escaped. Shortly afterward, he kidnapped Lord in the vestibule of her apartment, forced her to withdraw nearly $1,000 from five ATMs, then killed her in Stony Brook Reservation in Hyde Park. His rampage ended just after midnight on July 24, when Ballantyne fended off his attack despite suffering five stab wounds to her arm and stab wounds on her face, torso, and the top of her head.
Alemany, 30, spent several stints in psychiatric hospitals as a teenager for mental health problems that included hallucinations and severe depression. His defense attorney, Jeffrey Denner, used an insanity defense that was rejected by jurors.
Kristyn Dusel, a close family friend of the Lords, said Amy Lord's parents raised their daughter to work hard, follow the rules, and conduct herself with integrity. "Amy was taught to embrace the world, that people were inherently good, and to go out and make the world a better place," said Dusel. "So it is a cruel twist of fate that Amy was chosen by the antithesis of herself on July 23, 2013."
After court, Alemany's mother said she was sorry for the Lord family, but that her family was also suffering, and Alemany would not get the treatment he needs in prison.
Alemany showed no apparent reaction to the sentence. After he was convicted Monday, he assaulted staff trying to strip search him at the Nashua Street Jail, according to an official briefed on the incident. Denner confirmed the encounter, and said his client was placed in a restraint chair afterwards. Neither Alemany nor any staff members were injured, the official said.
Denner said the sentence his client received was fair given the crimes he was convicted of, but that it was unfortunate he would not get treatment.
"There really is nothing we can do about it at this point if somehow the rules aren't changed to make sure that people who are truly crazy, truly insane, can be found guilty but insane, and be sent to some other place where they can get treated," he said.
Before Gaziano handed down the sentence, Ballantyne and Lord's friends and family addressed the court, recalling Lord as a young woman who had fallen in love, who dreamed of becoming a math teacher, and who could not bear to watch a movie in which an animal got hurt. Lord had a mischievous giggle, they said, and she was always excited to dance.
"One of the worst parts about losing her is all the unknowns," said Lord's sister, Kimberly Lord. "Whether she would have become a teacher, what a great mother she could have been, all the laughs we could have shared, but most importantly all the lives she hadn't yet had a chance to bring her special sparkle into."
The last time Kimberly Lord saw her sister was during a weeklong family vacation on Cape Cod a week before Amy Lord was killed. The two played in the water, laughing about how Amy could not swim.
"I joked that swimming with her was like being with a little kid," said Kimberly Lord. "A little kid is actually one of the best ways I can think of to describe my sister. She was up for anything and came up with what at the time seemed like the stupidest ideas of things to do, but looking back were probably some of the best experiences you had."
Lord's murder left her family unable to ever find closure, and suffering "unimaginable, unrelenting pain," said her mother, Cindy Lord.
She could not find the words to describe her suffering, she said, and so instead she thanked "Amy's heroes." She called by name Boston homicide detectives, prosecutors John Pappas and Zachary Hillman, victim-witness advocate Katherine Moran, and Suffolk district attorney's office staff member Catherine Rodriguez, and credited them with unraveling "the horror of that day," and facing an "evil that we didn't know existed."
And then she turned to Cruz and Ballantyne, who survived the attacks her own daughter did not.
"You are wonderful women who deserve and will have a wonderful life full of love and happiness," she said, as many in the audience sobbed. "We will always be carrying you in our hearts right beside Amy for the rest of our lives.''
Ballantyne told the court that she, too, carries Lord with her. From the stand, she held up a necklace with a wing dangling from it — a gift from Amy Lord's mother; it matches the wing she has tattooed on her hip, she said.
"Amy had this around her neck," Ballantyne said as she started to cry. "Amy's my angel, she's going to be with me the rest of my life. She's my guardian angel. She helped me fight and do what I did."