It has hurt every day since her daughter was murdered 11 years ago, and it hurt so much in a Boston courtroom on Wednesday that Germaine Vincent could not even speak the words she had written, the words she wanted to say to the man who took her only daughter from her.
Instead it fell to her sister, Andrea Volcy, to deliver a victim impact statement moments after Shabazz Augustine admitted to asphyxiating Julaine Jules, a former girlfriend, on Aug. 24, 2004, wrapping her body in plastic, weighing it down with free weights, and throwing her into the Charles River in Cambridge. Jules was 26 years old.
He then set her car on fire on the Revere/Malden line and took public transportation home.
"For me, it is as if you have cut off my two hands, my two feet, my two eyes,'' Germaine Vincent wrote. "I can't see or barely walk or feel with all the pain and suffering I carry every day.''
She added: "When you kill a person or take them from a family you kill the entire family.''
Augustine, 36, later addressed Vincent, her husband, and other relatives before Suffolk Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke imposed the mandatory sentence of life, with the possibility of parole after serving at least 15 years in prison dating back to his arrest in 2011.
Wearing a charcoal gray suit and flanked by his defense attorney, Steven J. Sack, Augustine asked for forgiveness, a request that was met with stony silence by Jules's family gathered together in the front row of the courtroom.
"I am deeply, vehemently sorry from the bottom of my heart. Maybe one day you will find peace,'' he said, according to Sack. "I don't want to make it worse than it already is, but I am sorry.''
Sack said in a telephone interview that Augustine teared up during the court hearing.
"He was very remorseful,'' Sack said.
In her statement, Vincent said that she and her husband moved to the United States from Haiti to build a "better life for me and my children.'' Once here, she worked as a housemaid and her husband drove a taxi so they could provide their children with the opportunity to succeed in their new country.
"You killed my child, you mistreated her, you put her in a bag,'' she said. "You threw her away like garbage. You treated her worse than a dog. ... You took my daughter's right to live.''
According to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley's office, Augustine and Jules dated in the summer of 2004, but when he learned that Jules was dating another man, he coldly plotted how he would end her life — and then carried that plan out.
He lured her to his Dorchester home on Aug. 24, 2004, and murdered her.
Her body was found on the banks of the Charles in Cambridge and her death was initially investigated by State Police assigned to the Middlesex County district attorney's office, but then cold-case investigators and Conley's office reopened the case, and obtained charges in 2011.
Since his arrest, Augustine and his defense team have twice battled with prosecutors before the state's highest court over whether cell tower records that show Augustine's cellphone in Malden near where Jules's car was burned should be used as evidence.
The Supreme Judicial Court ultimately sided with prosecutors, leading to Augustine's decision to plead guilty to second-degree murder.
"Julaine's family has waited patiently for this day for more than a decade," Conley said in a statement.
"They are people of strength, grace, and unshakable faith, and I hope they find some peace in this unequivocal admission of guilt," he said.