Breaking News
More () »

Testimony from Sandy Hook families in Alex Jones trial continued Thursday

The session was shorter, but more Sandy Hook families took the stand Thursday.

WATERBURY, Conn. — The Alex Jones defamation trial into his Sandy Hook lies continued Thursday morning at Waterbury Superior Court. The session ended early, but more Sandy Hook families took the stand. Jones will likely testify next week.

Robbie Parker, the father of 6-year-old Emilie Parker, who was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, took the stand.

The Facebook memorial page for Emilie was shut down after being “inundated” with hate comments, Parker said. There were eight people moderating the page, but he said they had to ultimately take the page down.

“I felt like I couldn’t protect Emilie’s name or her memory anymore. So I had to get rid of it,” Parker said.

A year after the shooting, Parker and his wife, Alissa, along with their two other daughters, moved to Washington state. He said they spent awhile looking at houses and the new area.

“I’m at work one night and I’m at this routine one night to see what was out there and what new thing was coming up. We weren’t even halfway through the remodel of the new house. We see all these documents about the house, the sale of the house,” said Parker.

“Immediately the sense of security I had was gone,” he said.

Parker got emotional on the stand, talking about how Alissa struggled to cope with the loss of their daughter and the lies that were being spread.

Parker told the jury a story of being in Seattle with his family when someone came up to him and asked if he had a daughter who was killed. Parker said yes, in Sandy Hook.

He noted to the jury that people usually offer a hug and condolences. However, this encounter ended differently.

“I reached my hand out to shake his hand. And he looked down at my hand and he just stared at me,” Parker said.

The man ended up shouting expletives, asking Parker “how do you [expletive] sleep at night” and following Parker as he tried to walk away. It turned into a shouting match before Parker told him “I don’t owe you anything” and walked away, and the man went in the other direction.

“I already felt like I failed Emilie as a dad when she was alive because we sent her to school and I especially started to feel like I was failing her in her death because of what people were saying about her and what they were saying about me trying to remember her,” Parker said.

Matthew Soto, the brother of teacher Vicki Soto, also took the stand. Vicki was one of six educators killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.

Matthew, being the youngest sibling, considered Vicki to be "a second mother."

He said watching the Harry Potter movies together, which introduced him to the chapter books, was part of the reason why he is an English teacher today.

"She did anything she could to get a smile from those kids," Matthew Soto said, as a photo of Vicki on "crazy hair day" was displayed on the TV.

In 2012, Vicki Soto had the opportunity to move her classroom closer to the front of the school. Matthew Soto helped her move all her items out of her old classroom to her new room. That was the same room she was killed in on December 14, 2012.

Matthew said a few days after the shooting they had to pick up Vicki’s car from the school.

“Michael Buble was blasting as loud as her radio would have it,” he said. His sister loved Christmas music.

The president visited Sandy Hook and said that Vicki was a hero, which resonated with Matthew. He posted about it on Facebook, thinking only a few dozen of his friends would see, but it spread farther than he anticipated, being shared over 900 times at the time.

“There were comments on that post saying I wasn’t real, saying that [Vicki] wasn’t real and that my family wasn’t real,” Matthew Soto said. “As a 15-year-old I had no idea how to process that or how to deal with that.”

The comments continued off of the screen after winter break.

“I remember going back to school - it was early January in 2013 - I was in the cafeteria and someone came up to me and said ‘Are you real? Is your family real? Did your sister really die?’ I remember not knowing how to respond; This wasn’t supposed to happen here,” Matthew Soto said. “I was supposed to be among peers.”

Soto ended up being homeschooled for part of high school due to being afraid that encounter would happen again.

“I was diagnosed with PTSD,” he said.

Even with those experiences in high school and even in college, he still returns to the classroom daily to teach the students of today.

“It’s one of my biggest fears that my students will google me and see these things and bring those questions into the classroom,” Soto said.

Donna Soto, the mother of Vicki Soto, took the stand to expand on Vicki's love for teaching and the social media response the Soto family saw after the shooting.

“She loved being a teacher, she loved being with kids,” Donna Soto said of Vicki Soto.

She said after the shooting, there were at least 4,000 people at Vicki’s wake. They hired security.

Donna Soto in the days after that, they had found at least 25 fake Facebook profiles of Vicki online.

“I remember being up at night reading these comments,” said Donna. She said people questioned if were real or if they were actors.

“When you’re trying to grieve, this was such a public tragedy, we couldn’t grieve on our own,” said Donna.

The Soto family sought help from a friend to report all the fake pages, but she says the anxiety took a toll on her children. Her two daughters had to take time off college due to their anxiety about people confronting them.

A 2019 video deposition of David Jones, Alex Jones’ father, was played for the court.

David Jones had a career as a dentist before “indirectly” working for Free Speech Systems and was later employed “by the books”. David said he reported directly to his son, like many of his colleagues.

While working for Alex Jones, David Jones worked “to make sure we had a good environment for our employees.”

“Our business is a single talent business that is driven by one party,” David Jones said. “And I am endeavored to take care of some of the delegated duties not convenient to be done by the principal.”


On Wednesday, families were wiping tears away for most of the day, especially when Alissa and Robbie Parker, parents to 6-year-old Emilie Parker, took the stand.

RELATED: Tears shed as Sandy Hook victims' families continue testimony during Alex Jones defamation trial

The day after the shooting had happened, Robbie Parker held an emotional news conference, and it was aired on national television.

"If anyone was going to say anything about our daughter, Robbie wanted it to come from us," Alissa Parker explained. "He wanted to be from our words, and he wanted to be able to honor her the way we authentically knew her."

His speech caught the eyes of Jones and his InfoWars show. Theories of Robbie Parker being a crisis actor arose after Jones speculated Robbie had asked to "read the card" before giving the press conference.

A photo of Robbie smiling was also used as more fuel for the hoax conspiracy.

The Parkers saw the effects of that rumor and others within the next few days; “It escalated really quickly.”

The pain from the "assaults" still haunts the Parkers to this day.

Sign up for the FOX61 newsletters: Morning Forecast, Morning Headlines, Evening Headlines 

“The most painful is just how it’s changed [Robbie’s] view about himself. He felt so much shame and he felt like it was his fault that all of this happened, and he felt like because of him our family got attacked and all the other families got attacked,” Alissa said in between sobs.

The video of Robbie's full speech was played as evidence during the trial last week.  

Another person to take the stand was William Sherlach.

His wife, Mary Sherlach, was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. Mary was a school psychologist and one of the first people to confront the shooter.

Following the tragedy, Sherlach started looking online to see what was being said about the shooting and at one point saw theories that said Mary didn’t have the credentials to be a school psychologist.

“Then it started with that this is all a hoax, Mary didn’t exist, their name isn’t Sherlach,” recalled Bill. “ I got to the point where they were actually saying I was somehow involved with the shooter's father. It was just ridiculous.”

He said it’s a loss he copes with day by day and hour by hour.

The jury Thursday will be dismissed at 1 p.m. with the trial picking up again next Tuesday.

RELATED: A behind-the-scenes look at the high-powered attorneys running the high-profile Alex Jones trial (Exclusive)


Jones was already found liable for damages after calling the Sandy Hook shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, a hoax on his InfoWars show.

A separate defamation trial over the summer ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million to the Lewis family, who lost their son Jesse in the shooting.

In this Connecticut case, the families of eight victims and an FBI agent that responded to the shooting filed for damages against Jones, saying his claims saying Sandy Hook was stage had turned them into targets.

Pattis argues that any damages should be limited and accuses the victims' relatives of exaggerating the harm the lies caused them.

A third similar suit, out of Texas, is awaiting trial.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took away the lives of 20 students and six educators.


Have a story idea or something on your mind you want to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at newstips@fox61.com 


Download the FOX61 News APP 

iTunes: Click here to download 

Google Play: Click here to download 

Stream Live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61. 

Steam Live on FIRE TV: Search ‘FOX61’ and click ‘Get’ to download. 



Before You Leave, Check This Out