SACRAMENTO -- The parents of 17-year-old Isiah Fowler are speaking out just days after he was convicted in the retrial of the April 2013 death of his 8-year-old sister, Leila.
In the eyes of Barney Fowler, Wednesday’s decision convicting his son, Isiah, for the second time was not surprising.
“I didn’t have a good feeling going into it, so I didn’t expect him to come home anyways,” said Barney Fowler.
Barney and Isiah’s stepmother, Crystal, spoke out Sunday, recalling the five years since Leila died after being stabbed several times in the Fowler’s Valley Springs home. Isiah, whose first second-degree murder conviction was overturned in February on appeal, was 12-years-old when Leila was killed and has testified that someone broke in the home and killed Leila.
“We have no 100 percent certainty on anything. We still don’t, honestly,” Barney Fowler said.
Crystal Fowler added that “there’s not going to be a moment for the rest of our lives that we are not going to be looking for who actually hurt her, because we don’t believe it was Isiah.”
The Fowlers said the belief in Isiah’s innocence continues to push them to not only find proof his conviction is wrong but also create juvenile reform they say would ensure others never encounter a situation like theirs.
“I would like to put forward a law that I would like to call ‘Leila’s Law’ which would be if a person is deceased or is found at a crime scene, that a liver temperature is done within two hours," Crystal Fowler said. "Then we would have known to about 15 minutes to the time that she was actually killed and that’s important because that is literally a determining factor to either exonerate or implicate Isiah in this."
The Fowlers say they understand the social stigma that comes with having their son convicted of killing his younger sister, but say they are open to discussing the case with anyone who asks.
As for the loss of Leila, they still are trying to come to terms with it.
“People just assume that we forgot. They don’t know that yesterday was her birthday and we had a barbecue with friends and family and everything around," Barney Fowler said. "They didn’t know that a couple of weeks ago she should have graduated eighth grade and I was at the cemetery instead of, you know... So, there’s a lot of stuff like that. I mean, it’s a daily process."
The Fowlers said Isiah is set to be sentenced later this month and said there is plans to appeal the conviction. Isiah could face a sentence that keeps him in juvenile detention until he is 23 years old.