MANDEVILLE, La. -- Hearing the word “guilty” has re-directed a Northshore family’s focus.
"I said Benson, Bridgette loved you. And against doctor's advice, she had a beautiful baby boy for you; a health, gorgeous boy. And you killed her," said Bridgette Harveston’s mother Marlene Everett.
Everett recounted facing her daughter’s killer, Benson O’Brien III, when he pleaded guilty Wednesday to manslaughter. A day later, she and Harveston’s father say it feels good to have it all over.
"Not only had he taken the life of our daughter, but the mother of her three children and extended family of nearly 100 people," Blake Harveston said.
"It's been a nightmare up until now and we do feel relieved," said Everett.
Harveston and O’Brien had a lengthy domestic violence history that ended last May when the 31-year-old was found strangled to death at O’Brien’s father’s house outside of Covington. O’Brien received 40 years in prison for the guilty plea and agreed to never contact the child he had with Harveston.
Getting to this point, they say, had a lot to do with help from strangers.
"Anytime something like this happens, it's something you never get over, but the support of the public and the law enforcement behind us, really made it much easier," Harveston said.
Now, they want to help others trying to get themselves, or a loved one, away from domestic violence. On the Northshore they suggest calling SafeHarbor, at 985-626-5740, for that help.
Everett said, "If a woman ever finds herself in that position, I think she should remember that she's a valuable individual. She should get away, that she doesn't deserve it and she shouldn't accept it."
"Even at the cost of creating bad feelings between you and your child, it's better to have bad feelings than not to have your child," said Harveston to parents.
Harveston’s father and O’Brien’s mother are still wrapped up in a visitation battle over the couple’s 1-year-old son. An obstruction of justice case against O’Brien’s father, who was arrested for tampering with evidence at the scene, is also still pending.