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IOWA CITY - Cheryl Farrington said she was a 'broken person, who has lost every sense of normality.” Not a morning goes by that her first thoughts aren't about her daughter Andrea.
Cheryl, on behalf of her family, said in a victim's impact statement that she had one request – 'Alex, please look at me while I speak.”
Alexander Kozak, convicted of killing her 20-year-old daughter, looked at her and Andrea's father, David Farrington, who held a photo of their daughter, as the grieving mother spoke.
'On June 12, 2015 our world was turned upside down when you selfishly took our first born,” Cheryl said. 'There are many life experiences that we will not get to enjoy with Andrea, like never getting to help plan her wedding, her father Dave not getting the opportunity to walk down the aisle, or the hopes to go dress shopping with her Grandma Barb and sister Cassie.”
She will no longer get to hear Andrea's voice, see her smile and feel her touch because of Kozak's deadly actions that day, Cheryl said as tears welled up in her eyes.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Christopher Bruns sentenced Kozak, 23, of North Liberty, a former mall security guard, to life in prison without parole Monday for shooting and killing Andrea Farrington on June 12, 2015 inside the Coral Ridge Mall. Kozak must also pay $150,000 in restitution to Andrea's estate and other court costs and restitution for the state's crime victim's fund to be submitted at a later time.
Bruns, before sentencing, also denied a motion for new trial, saying Kozak received a fair trial and there was no prosecutorial misconduct, as Alfredo Parrish, Kozak's lawyer claimed in his motion.
Bruns said evidence in the case was so overwhelming that nothing would have changed that outcome.
Kozak was convicted of first-degree murder by a Story County jury in April. Testimony showed he shot Farrington three times in the back, killing her as she worked at the mall welcome center for the Iowa Children's Museum.
During the trial Kozak claimed he had mental disorders that caused his 'cold fury” when Andrea broke up with him that day.
'Andrea was an amazing person,” Cheryl continued in her statement. 'She had a beautiful smile, a magnificent personality, and a love for all aspects of life. She would root for the underdog, and gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. Andrea had finally become comfortable in her own skin, found a job that she loved, and was continuing her life full of hope and adventure.”
Her father David Farrington said in his written victim's impact statement submitted to the court that his daughter had just started to blossom. She had a new confidence that 'made her shine even brighter,” after undergoing surgery to repair her jaw.
'You always knew when she entered a room, because her laughter and happiness filled that room,” David said in the statement. 'Her happiness had a ripple effect that spread out to all around her.”
Since her 'light was extinguished,” nearly a year ago this month, her family has tried to 'wrap our brains around' it.
'It has been and still is difficult because she was so full of life,” David Farrington said in the statement.
Her sister, Cassie Farrington, in a written statement read by Cheryl, told Kozak he took her 'only sister, best friend and the person I went to for everything.”
'Alex, you said you loved Andrea yet you so cowardly went behind her back and killed her,” Cassie said in the statement. 'My sister is the most understanding person I know.”
Cassie went on to tell Kozak that she believes her sister would feel sorry for him and be there for him.
Kozak, before the judge sentenced him, said he would 'give anything to fix this” but he couldn't change the past and can only offer an apology.
'I was selfish and took her away from her family,” Kozak said in a low, quiet tone. 'I took her life and that's a truth I must live with.”
This was the first time Kozak expressed remorse or looked at Andrea's parents. Kozak never looked at anyone during the trial and always remained stoic and didn't show any emotion, not even when the verdict was read, during the two week trial.
Cheryl said after the hearing that she was 'shocked” Kozak 'showed…maybe had remorse” and that he looked at her.
'I'm glad we don't have to relive this again and see him again,” Cheryl said. 'Maybe we can start to heal.”
Both Cheryl and David Farrington mentioned in their statements that so many others were affected by this 'senseless” crime because it took place at the mall. According to testimony, the mall and specifically the food court area, near the welcome center, was crowded that night.
Several witnesses testified during the trial about seeing the shooting or helped identify Kozak.
Many of the witnesses stepped up and attempted to save Andrea's life, such as Dorian Potter, a former Army combat medic, who attended the sentencing Monday.
During his emotional testimony at trial, he said 'I saw a girl lying in a puddle of blood and ran over to her.” His medical training kicked in and he asked someone for a shirt to wipe off the blood to find the wounds. He knew he needed to close the wounds with an airtight bandage, which he fashioned from trash bags and tape.
'She was breathing at that time … she was fighting,” Potter said as he started to cry on the witness stand.
After the sentencing, Potter, looked like part of the Farrington family, as they hugged him and again thanked him for his quick actions that day.