James Halsell

Reporting by WVUA 23’s Amber Boswell

The motion trial of a former space shuttle commander was held Jan. 28 in Tuscaloosa.

Niomi James, 11, and 13-year-old Jayla Parler were killed in the accident that took place on U.S. Highway 82 in Tuscaloosa County in June of 2016. Four years after the crash, James Halsell’s trial continues. Halsell, 63, is being charged with reckless murder.

The mother of the two victims, Latrice Parler, said she is not happy with how the trial has played out.

“I am very frustrated with the process and how long this is taking,” she said. “I think it’s a little ridiculous knowing that this is not a case of anything else but wrong or right, and we know who was wrong, and I don’t understand why we are going through this.”

The charges against Halsell allege that he was under the influence during the time of the crash. Despite the allegations, Halsell’s defense team claims he is innocent and is asking the judge to exclude all evidence involving the case.

“I think their priorities are incorrect because the priority should be his remorse and serving his time for what he’s done,” Parler said.

Parler said the way she views the future has changed, as the aftermath of the 2016 crash has haunted her since it occurred. She assured that all she wants is healing and justice for her girls.

“Those two girls are the only girls I had,” she said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be a grandmother after this. I don’t know if I will ever be able to have a family after this. I lost the greatest things in my life that I cannot get back, so I can’t stop crying. I can’t stop being sad. We just want to get past this part.”

Halsell’s trial date is set for March 9, 2020.

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