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Alex Jones trial updates: Sandy Hook dad recalls stranger’s vile verbal assault after 4 years of Infowars lies

The third week of Jones’ defamation trial against Sandy Hook families has concluded

Oliver O'Connell
Friday 30 September 2022 13:14 BST
Sandy Hook father Robbie Parker testifies in the Alex Jones defamation trial

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Alex Jones’s second defamation trial over his “hoax” lies about the Sandy Hook massacre has finished its third week in Connecticut court.

The jury heard emotional testimony from family members after a tense conclusion to the previous week’s proceedings, when the Infowars host delayed his return to the witness box following a rant at reporters outside the courthouse.

His own defence attorneys waived their right to cross-examine him, and he is now expected to resume testimony as a witness for his defence next week.

In his testimony, Jones shouted that he was “done apologising” for his egregious claims about the shooting under questioning from the plaintiffs’ lawyer while families of victims broke down in tears in the courtroom.

On Thursday morning, Sandy Hook father Robbie Parker, who found himself the target of hoax accusations the day after his daughter was murdered, concluded his emotional testimony, recalling a vile verbal assault from a conspiracy theorist, four years after the tragedy. He noted that these occurrences corresponded to when Jones would broadcast his lies.


Day 10 of trial begins

Judge Barbara Bellis is back on the bench and is dealing with housekeeping issues including a filing by the plaintiffs made last night.

That is docket number 1,000 — which is not something you see in many trials, if ever — and concerns whether there would be confusion if someone needs to be named to defamed. This will be addressed at the charge conference before the jury deliberates.

The jury is now being brought in.

Oliver O'Connell28 September 2022 15:09

Witness: Bill Sherlach

The first witness of the day is Bill Sherlach. He was the husband of Mary Joy Green Sherlach. She worked as the school psychologist at the elementary school and died trying to defend her students.

Ms Sherlach was in a conference with the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, other staff, and the mother of a second-grade student when they heard the staccato sounds of automatic gunfire as the attack commenced.

According to a colleague she and the principal ran towards the sound and confronted the shooter in the hallway, where he gunned them down. Another teacher, Natalie Hammond, was wounded but managed to get back into the conference room and hold the door shut.

Oliver O'Connell28 September 2022 15:19

As with other witnesses, Mr Sherlach gives an in-depth, charming, fond recollection of his relationship with Mary, their family, and their professional lives.

On the day of the shooting, he remembers his partner at work telling him something had happened at the elementary school.

He rushed to Sandy Hook and went to the firehouse where people were congregating. A teacher told him that his wife and the school principal had left the meeting room and had not come back, but Ms Hammond had.

Mr Sherlach says he found out that Mary was shot five times, two of which were shots that would’ve been fatal.

Oliver O'Connell28 September 2022 15:43

Mr Sherlach had never heard of Alex Jones or Infowars before his wife’s death.

“I had no social media presence whatsoever, I’m a dinosaur when it comes to technology.”

He adds that he barely even knew how to use email.

In the aftermath of the shooting, he recalls friends and family coming to be with him, as well as media vans turning up in the town.

Oliver O'Connell28 September 2022 15:49

Mr Sherlach recalls looking online for news to find out more about what was going on and began to see distortions of what he knew to be true from firsthand experience.

He describes “stumbling into” the conspiracy theories about the shooting and finding out that his wife was mentioned as not being real, not existing, or not being whom she was said to have been.

Despite not being active on social media, Mr Sherlach was aware of the conspiracies within four or five weeks of the massacre.

Oliver O'Connell28 September 2022 15:54

Mr Sherlach describes how he coped with his grief in the aftermath of the shooting and began “Mary’s Fund” to raise money for mental health charities for children and teenagers.

The conspiracies didn’t stop. His family was accused of being the Goldbergs of Florida and he was alleged to have been involved in a financial cabal manipulating the overnight rates in Britain for financial gain, as well as being involved with the shooter’s father.

While he dismissed the conspiracies as crazy, he couldn’t ignore them for the impact they might have on his professional reputation as a financial adviser. This then grew into fears for his daughters and grandchildren as it just takes one person to confront his family in person for there to be the potential of real physical danger.

“The threat could come from anywhere,” he says. “Anyone can find you.”

Oliver O'Connell28 September 2022 16:07

There is no cross-examination from defence attorney Norm Pattis and Mr Sherlach is excused.

The court breaks for its mid-morning recess and will resume at 11.30am.

Oliver O'Connell28 September 2022 16:14

Watch: Bill Sherlach testifies his wife was shot five times

Oliver O'Connell28 September 2022 16:30

Witness: Alissa Parker

Next on the stand is Alissa Parker, wife of Robbie Parker, and mother of Emilie, who was killed at Sandy Hook.

She now lives in Washington State and has been flying back and forth to attend the trial.

Robbie Parker was the first parent accused of being a crisis actor after chuckling at a press conference, which Alex Jones said was a sign that the shooting was faked.

Oliver O'Connell28 September 2022 16:49

As with other witnesses, Ms Parker tells a charming, and at times funny story about the beginnings of her relationship with Robbie.

There is warm laughter from the gallery where other plaintiffs are seated.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys appear to be using direct examination to demonstrate to the jury the familiar homeliness, closeness, or aspirational lives of their clients.

Then testimony turns to how they were first ripped apart by the tragedy and then continuously impacted by the hoax in the years after.

Oliver O'Connell28 September 2022 17:03

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