The family of Sabina Rose O’Donnell felt like they needed to say something and they have.
It has been an emotional rollercoaster for Sabina’s mother Rachel and her stepfather Mark Rounds. They along with Rachel’s fiancé David Rodriguez and their dog met with Action News at Glendinning Rock Garden. They chose this place because it was one of Sabina’s favorites.
First, they gave their reaction to the arrest of 18-year-old Donte Johnson and the rape and murder of their daughter 20-year-old Sabina Rose O’Donnell.
“Very happy that he’s caught, but it doesn’t change anything really,” Rachel said.
“That’s basically just the beginning of the end because we’re hoping we don’t have to face a trial,” Mark said.
They talked about their heartfelt gratitude to the homicide unit of the Philadelphia Police.
“That’s just incredible to me. The hours they put in, the care that they showed,” Mark said.
Appreciation was given to the tip caller that led police to the suspect.
“I just want to thank people for doing the right thing,” Rachel said.
They spoke of the suspect’s mother, who upon learning her own son was being sought in the case turned him in.
“Once again, the people who have done the right thing in this tragedy are the ones that are going to derive any kind of good from it,” Mark said. However, when it came to Donte Johnson himself:
“I don’t know what to say,” Mark replied.
The parents realize there has been a lot of talk across the city on whether District Attorney Seth Williams should seek the death penalty.
But as tough as this has been for them, Mark said, “I’ve never been in favor of the death penalty.”
“I think if he goes to prison for life, he’ll suffer a lot more than if he gets the death penalty,” Rachel said. “That would be more satisfying.”
The family gave a lot of gratitude towards Sabina’s friends who are helping them get through a very dark time in their lives.
“All the love that has been shown throughout this ordeal by everybody is a comfort,” Mark said.
And they talked about Sabina herself.
“We love her and we miss her and we know she knows that and we know wherever she is is a good place,” Rachel said.
Sabina’s parents are hoping through the Sabina Rose Memorial Fund, ways can be found to keep things like this from happening again.