HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Stephen Marc Stone is now convicted of two counts of capital murder for killing his wife Krista and son Zachary. Now the trial is coming to a close, her family is sharing the emotions they have carried for six years since the deaths.
While ultimately a judge will have the final say in the coming weeks, Krista's family is feeling some relief.
David Kowalsky, Krista's father, said after the court proceedings on Wednesday, "The term I use is bittersweet. It's a relief to finally have it finished. It's a verdict that I thought they should have reached. But it's tough to see the man you once entrusted to take care of your daughter, convicted as well. But for the sake of Krista and Zachary and the two children left behind, I was happy with the verdict."
"We loved him. He was our son-in-law. We trusted him," said Kathy Kowalski. "It's unimaginable. You don't know how to think and feel."
For this family, Krista and Zachary were taken way too soon. They are holding the love for them in their hearts, but they are left with only memories at the hands of Stone.
"I'm a little in shock at this moment," Kathy said.
"We do have fond memories. All of us do. But we didn't want memories, we wanted experiences. But we will keep on with the good memories," David added.
As the jury recommends life over the death penalty, the family does not mind. The guilty verdict was enough, in a way: "Either way, he's going to be spending his life in prison. Whether it's a shorter term or a longer term. I'm ok with it," David explained.
Krista's parents remember her as pure and kind. They say she was a good person. It's how they want others to remember her too.
"She loved her family, she loved her children. She loved her husband," Kathy said. "All she wanted in return was to be loved. And we hold that love in our hearts. We always will."
This family said the killing was the shock of their lives. Since then, they have been in and out of court for years. It has been a tough journey as they grieve.
But now the trial is wrapping, it's their chance to move on.
"It's probably going to take us all a long time," David admitted.
Kathy wanted WHNT News 19 to share this message with you: "Love your families. Love your children. Take each moment and hold it dear. Spend as much time with your loved ones as you can. We're not promised tomorrow."