After conspiracy theorist Alex Jones repeatedly lied that one of America’s most deadly school shootings was staged, parents of one victim said they got letters threatening to desecrate their child’s grave.
One person who sent a letter to Mark and Jackie Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, claimed to have urinated on the child’s grave. In another letter, someone threatened to dig up Daniel’s grave to prove he didn’t exist, his parents testified in Jones’ trial on Tuesday.
Daniel did exist. He died along with 19 other children and six adults in the shooting and is now one of the subjects of a defamation trial against Jones, who used his platform Infowars to spread the sick lie that the kids had never died and that their parents were simply actors.
Jones has already lost the case to a default judgment. A Connecticut jury will now decide how much he’ll have to pay to several Sandy Hook parents for his lies.
Jacqueline Barden pauses as she testifies during Alex Jones' defamation damages trial at Connecticut Superior Court on Oct. 4, 2022. The Barden family lost their son Daniel in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. (Photo: Christian Abraham/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP)
Mark Barden said his son’s grave was “sacrosanct” to the family and that he couldn’t understand why anyone would tarnish it.
“To hear people were desecrating it and urinating on it and threatening to dig it up, I don’t know how to articulate to you what that feels like, but that’s where we are,” he testified Tuesday.
Jackie Barden described her son as “compassionate, thoughtful, and so aware of others” during her testimony. Mark Barden echoed the sentiment.
“He had a deep, very involved sense of compassion. It was a beautiful thing to watch. His teachers would tell us Daniel was always the first one to help other students. He had this beautiful sense of empathy and concern and care for others.”
"This was a very typical moment. He was a very affectionate boy," Mark Barden testifies. pic.twitter.com/HKQNoJ0u38
— Sebastian Murdock (@SebastianMurdoc) October 4, 2022
After Daniel’s death, Mark Barden posted a video online of himself and his three kids playing “What A Wonderful World.” Daniel was on the drums and “kept really good time,” he testified. The video was soon flooded with comments threatening the family and calling them actors.
“It interferes with your sleep, with your ability to process,” Barden testified about the abuse. “I’d go grocery shopping and spend the entire time looking at the faces of people in the room instead of focusing on grocery shopping with Jackie.”
It’s a sentiment other Sandy Hook families have shared: always being on edge.
As Mark Barden testified, a fire alarm went off in the courtroom and the courthouse was evacuated. Judge Barbara Bellis later said someone had pulled the alarm in the nearby parking garage, but it was not immediately clear who pulled it.
In a trial that has entered its fourth week, multiple Sandy Hook families have testified, including one who said he was sent pictures of dead children by harassers who claimed his own child hadn’t died.
In prior testimony, Jones took no responsibility for the pain he caused.
“Is this a struggle session; are we in China?” Jones snapped at the plaintiffs’ attorney, Chris Mattei, at one point during the trial. “I’m done saying I’m sorry.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.