Mothers meet, comfort each, acknowledge the other's pain and find peace

Becky Campbell • Feb 7, 2018 at 11:41 PM

Two mothers stood face-to-face Wednesday morning, each mourning a loss.

Losses of different kinds, but losses nonetheless.

The women, the mother of Eric Azotea and the mother of Amber Terrell, were able to console each other and find some peace and compassion in their hearts for each other. But the heartache in each woman’s eyes was obvious as they spoke to each other.

Azotea, 46, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the Jan. 7, 2015, shooting deaths of Art Gibson Jr. and Amber Terrell. Azotea’s mother and Terrell’s mother embraced later, each knowing what the other had suffered.

“Everyone’s a victim in this,” Phyllis Azotea said later.

Sandra Terrell said she told Azotea’s mother she didn’t hold what happened against her.

“I told her I didn’t blame her for what he did, and we just have to go on with our lives,” Sandra Terrell said. “As a mother, I feel sorry for her.”

She did say she expressed her feeling that there was “something wrong” with a person who could kill two people the way Amber Terrell and Gibson were killed.

Terrell said she was able to find some closure and peace with Azotea pleading guilty.

“It was like a ton of brick fell off of me. We have been going through this for three years, carrying this on us. Justice is served and I’m happy with it,” she said.

When Terrell had an opportunity to address Eric Azotea during court Wednesday, she said she forgave him but would never forget what he did to her daughter.

“Amber was just stepping out into the world,” she said to Azotea. “She always had a smile on her face. She was no harm to you.  She was a loving person. You shot her in the back. You’re a coward. I’ve been going through this for three years and I’ve got peace. My husband went to his grave wanting justice. I feel like we got justice. I forgive you but will never forget. May God bless you.”

Gibson’s sister, Mandy Gibson, said she hopes people will remember how good her brother was.

“We honestly think justice was served,” she said. “He didn’t take my brother away from me. We’ll see him again in heaven one day. I feel for his family and his daughter. I’m just glad this is over with. It’s a big weight off my shoulders,” she said.

“I’m happy with the outcome and I want to thank the court, the jurors, all the detectives and the amount of hours of work that’s been put into this. I appreciate everything that they’ve done.”


Johnson City Press Videos