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  • David Cates walks back to his seat in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010 after reading his impact statement in the sentencing portion of Steven Spader's trial. (AP Photo/Don Himsel)
  • A photograph of the Cates family is shown on a screen during the prosecution's closing arguments in Steven Spader's trial in Nashua, New Hampshire Monday, Nov. 8, 2010. Spader is facing life in prison without parole for his role in the attack and killing. (AP Photo/Don Himsel)
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Now with video: Husband of victim said he hoped for ‘true justice’

NASHUA – David Cates didn’t rage or even admonish the man who killed his wife and attacked his little girl with a machete.

He kept a tight rein on his emotions when he addressed the court Tuesday, after Steven Spader was found guilty of first-degree murder and a host of other charges. Cates never said Spader’s name, referring to him instead as “the murderer in this courtroom.”

He said Tuesday’s hearing was not the last time Spader will be judged.

“My only hope is that true justice will meet you,” Cates said.

Cates started by talking about his “soul mate,” 42-year-old murdered nurse Kimberly Cates.

“Everyone came to know Kim and love her,” Cates said. “Kim was beautiful, and she will always remain in our hearts. Kim and I had dreams, hopes and aspirations like any family and now those are shattered. With one phone call early on a Sunday morning, those dreams were shattered.”

He also spoke about Jaimie, his daughter, who was 11 at the time of the Oct. 4, 2009 attack. She witnessed her mother’s murder and was seriously injured herself. He talked about her strength, even mere hours after the attack that nearly claimed her life.

In the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital Boston following 12 hours of surgery and in the middle of having her jaw wired shut, Jaimie told her father what had happened.

We “had a nice long cry together,” David Cates said. Jaimie mentioned that she was missing NECAP testing at school, he said.

“She was already trying to put the pieces of her life together,” David Cates said.

Jaimie returned to school about a month after the attack and has earned straight A’s since. This fall she played lacrosse and field hockey and wants to play hockey this winter, David Cates said.

“She has had to witness more evil in this world than any person should have to bear,” he said. “The emotional scarring Jaimie has endured is tremendous and unknown at this point.”

David Cates said he is unable to perform his job as an engineer at BAE to the best of his abilities because to do so requires a lot of traveling. He was in Maryland on a business trip during the attack last fall. Now he stays home with Jaimie.

“It all seems of little importance given my wife’s sacrifice,” he said.

David Cates then read a long list of thank you’s, to the jury and judge, attorney general’s office, first responders and investigators, Children’s Hospital Boston, even the media for respecting his privacy since the attack and murder.

“Our family will survive this senseless act and thrive again,” he said.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin asked for the maximum sentences for all of the charges and did so in plain language.

“We ask you to sentence him to the max. It’s far less than he deserves,” Strelzin told Judge Gillian Abramson.

Strelzin said he was not surprised by how quickly the jury returned its verdict, or by Abramson’s condemnation of Spader.

“I don’t think I could agree any more with that,” he said.

After the hearing, Abramson told David Cates she could not speak with him because she is still presiding over cases of Spader’s co-conspirators. She said she hopes someday she can talk to him and wished him luck.

After, Strelzin received hugs and handshakes from David Cates and many of his friends and family there for support.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.