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This is Annie's special Guest Book, filled with comments from her friends—friends who knew her well, and friends she never met.
If you would like to add a comment to Annie's Guest Book, please send us an email.
Following are all the wonderful messages we've received in Annie's Guest Book. The latest messages are at the top.
Name: Heidii (Burden) McMichael
Hi. I just found this website and thought I'd share some of my memories of Annie.
Annie and I were roommates together in Fresno for a few months, probably back in early- to mid-1996. I was going to school to get my teaching credential, and our house suddenly emptied itself of all my previous roommates, so I went looking for someone to share the rent with. Our mutual friend, Carol Glosson, said that Annie was looking for somewhere to stay, so we met, and it worked out perfectly. We clicked immediately. We both developed nicknames for each other right away, a sign that we were destined to get along just fine: hers for me was "Little One," and mine for her was "Annabel Lee." "Little One" because I'm short; "Annabel Lee" because I'd just finished an American Literature class in which we studied Edgar Allen Poe's works, and his poem "Annabel Lee" had been one of my favorites. "Andrea Mercedes" was too much of a tongue-twister, I told her, and she loved the sound of my teasing voice calling her "Annabel Lee."
Perky. Oh, my gosh was she ever perky! And beautiful. She was so humble that she never would have admitted how pretty she was, but she just had a sparkle to her. Compliments sent her to blushing right away though, so I'm not really sure if she was aware of how striking she actually was. She was much, much taller than I am, and, especially when she wore her wedged-sandals and her shorty-short skirts, her legs seemed to go on for miles. I think we measured one time, and her hip bone came almost to my shoulder. She had that long, blonde, wavy hair, and mine was short and brownish-red; we were quite opposite looking but shared a great deal in common.
Annie was working at a clothing store at the mall at the time, and she'd moved up quite far in management. She was very well-respected for her responsibility and business skills. She was working on her schooling, but she chose to take some time off, I recall, so she could save up for tuition. I would get home late at night from classes and teaching, and we would sit and chat for a while, or we would pool our pathetic college-student resources and pitch in to make dinner together. Lots of burritos, if I remember correctly. She liked my cat, Berniece, too, and Berniece used to purr so loudly when she'd sit in Annie's lap.
We got along quite well, even though we weren't around the house enough to develop a very intimate friendship. We were both so busy, but we tried to "hang-out" when we both happened to be in the same room. Roommates always fight, but we never seemed to argue or give each other grief about dishes in the sink, shoes in the doorway, wet laundry still sitting in the washing machine. We were quite respectful to each other, and that was a treat for me after having five of us in the house all at once, everyone not bothering to take up their end of the slack. Something about Annie and me together worked well, as far as roommates go. If you've ever had one, you'll understand my meaning.
There was only one time we ever had any words, and they weren't words of anger, but words of concern. I was a few years older than Annie, and there was some sort of "big sister" thing going on between us, I think. She'd ask me for advice sometimes--especially about school and her future--and she always came to me knowing that I'd "give it to her straight" with no fluff to clutter up her decision-making. After a particular situation one night, we had one of these frank, heart-to-heart talks. I was at home by myself, and I heard Annie come in the house through the garage door. I was in my room with the door closed, but it sounded like she was quite upset. A few seconds later, a car screeched to a halt outside, and someone started banging on the door. I could see that it was her boyfriend who came over all the time, so I answered it. He rushed past me, and I noticed that he had a gun sticking out of his pocket. Annie and I talked at length after that incident, and she told me everything that had happened prior to the situation, none of which had been her fault. She was shaken by the evening, but she promised that she'd never allow her boyfriend in the house with a gun again. She told me that nothing else needed to be done about the situation, in spite of my voiced concerns.
Life went on without further incident, and Annie seemed very happy. I moved out a few months later after I got my first full-time job, and Annie moved on, too. I believe she said she was moving in with her boyfriend, but she wasn't so sure anymore about how serious they were.
I always worried about her after that. There was something so trusting in her nature, something so strong at times and so vulnerable at others. She truly looked for the best in everyone she met, and perhaps that came from the fact that she, herself, was so full of honesty and kindness and respectfulness and exuberance and good-will and caring, that she had a hard time recognizing the opposite in others.
I heard about her death from Carol's mother. She called me at home one evening, not long after I'd started my teaching job, and she asked if I'd read the newspaper or seen the local news that evening. I hadn't. She told me to sit down. I thought something had happened to one of her daughters, both of whom I am still good friends with, but it was about Annie, she said. She proceeded to tell me what had happened, and I broke into tears. Annie and I had lost contact after we'd moved out--not so much on purpose but simply the way people do when they come and go so quickly in and out of each other's lives. I had started a new chapter with my career, and she was moving on to try new things too. Life got in the way.
The next day I went to school, and I pulled out my worn-out copy of American poetry. There was actually a little dog-ear on the page where "Annabel Lee" was written because the last time I had looked at that poem was when I had shown it to Annie to share with her the origin of her nickname. I hadn't read it since that moment. It's a beautiful poem, but the true meaning of it struck me anew that day. I shared the poem and the story of my relationship with Annie as well as the recent news of her death with all five of my high school classes that day. I cried in every class. There were even students in the classes I taught who cried for Annie that day. Just a few years ago, I had an old student contact me to have lunch with her, and she said that me crying that day about Annie was not only the first time she'd ever seen one of her teachers cry in class, but it was also the first time she knew how important poetry--and literature--can be to us. It can heal us, it can offend us, it can shape us, it can repel us, it can do so many things. My student's memories weren't memories of Annie--she'd never known her--but they were the remembrances of how affected someone else was by Annie's death.
As I said, I just found Annie's website today, and I'm not really sure why I went looking for it just now. I guess it has something to do with the fact that I've just begun trying to write my first novel, and, although it isn't about her, she just keeps popping into my head for some reason. Writing can be cathartic like that; it can make you recall all sorts of things from your past without really knowing why it's happening. One of the characters is like Annie in many ways, and I think it helps my writing process to close my eyes and picture her face. Writers generally don't shape characters after people they have known, but, for some reason, I don't think Annie would mind being a "model" for one of my characters. Perhaps I'll name the character Annabel Lee. I think that would make her smile.
Heidii (Burden) McMichael
Name: Gloria Barnes
Unfortunately, Cold Case Files gave a lot of people the impression that Annie's case is solved. A piece of the puzzle was solved, but the book is forcoming......it's far from over, unforntunately. Jay himself will be eliglbe for parole in 2011....three short years from now.....he could be paroled.
I recently visited Annie's stone memorial in our family plot, and even where she never lived and no one ever knew her, someone had left a long-stemmed red rose and a white crystal heart.
I'm sure that Annie is soooo happy that her Dad found Emilie, and got to walk a daughter down the aisle.....angels watch over all of you ~ keep in touch,
~Annie's Mom, Gloria
Name: Sara Ballenger
My dearest Annie..
I was flipping channels late last night and BOOM..there you were...A&E was running your episode of Cold Case Files..even though, now thankfully your case is solved..I just wanted to say thank you for being an angel for me and so many of the people who were blessed to know you..I LOVE YOU and not a day goes by that I don't think of you...you are missed more than you could ever know..and your spirit lives on through all acts of kindess, love and beauty in the world.
Annie, I still think of you, and still miss you so very much! The other day I was looking at your site, and then looked at some pictures of us together from when we were in high school. It just brought tears to my eyes. I have a son now, he's 3, and I wish that you could meet him. I wish more that you were still here and had some kids of your own because you would have been such a great mom! You will never be forgotten. You were truly such a beautiful, courageous, magnificent, and wonderful person! Some things in life are a mystery, one of them being that a person like you had to leave us so soon. However, I just want to say that for the short time that you were here, you touched so many people's hearts. in fact, you continue to do so. I miss you! I love you!
Name: Ed Born-Long
It has been ten years since I got on a plane to go out to
Fresno to identify her and find out what happened to my beautiful daughter. The
signs were all there. We just had to be sure. There wasn't much room for hope.
We found no answers but lots of people who loved Annie and let us know it. We
found her apartment literally full of angels. Two days in Fresno and then back
to Santa Cruz to let her Mom off, and then I headed up to the mountains. It was
easy for me to separate my memories of Annie from any part of that crime. I
decided in the mountains that I would try to make the best of this unthinkable
tragedy. Since that time we have raised the best part of $250,000.00 in cash and
roofing in Annie's name for SafePlace and its predecessor the Austin Center for Battered Women. In the seven years that we were active, SafePlace grew to a nationwide model for these facilities and programs. Thanks to Annie, I became a better man. When I went out to Fresno, my wife Chris stayed behind here in Austin and gave birth to this website. A greater tribute to Annie would be hard to imagine. Thanks to all of you who have contributed. We will never forget you, Annie.
Name: Sky Danko
First and foremost my deepest sympathy goes out to the family of Annie. I went to school and graduated with her. I remember her as a very kind person. I happened to stumble across this site after I found an old high school friend online. That brought back a lot of memories, including Annie Born. I remember where I was when I found out what had happened and that no one had been caught for this horrific crime. I was glad to find this site and to see that the person had been finally caught. At least there is a small amount of peace coming from this. I can't even express how deeply saddened I am about this. Not just sadness there are so many emotions from anger to disbelief. After reading the "apology" letter it is just difficult to believe someone can say they love you and then commit the most heinous crime imaginable. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and I hope Annie can find peace.
I don't know what to say. I just looked at the pictures and she was one of the prettiest girls I have ever seen ( next to my own, of course! :0) )
I couldn't get over it. You could see the specialness in her eyes! I will be praying for your family.
Name: jeffrey roberts
Annie and I were the first "couple" for each other at around 5 years old... She reminded me of this at school in fresno in 1994. She has been on my mind a considerable amount lately. A beautiful spirit was second to her beauty.
Annie, I miss you soooo much. I have so much to say to you and just miss you. I love you, and have been "feeling" you for the past few months. Too much to put down; All my Love
Annie... I heard "Shadows of the Night" by Pat Benatar on the radio.. and it reminded me of when we would sing that on the school bus on the way home along Highway 9 with Kim Kerr, or at the top of our lungs whenever we heard it.. happy, hopeful little girls that we were.. I miss you my dear heart friend.. Thank you for being a guardian angel and bringing such light and joy to so many, my friend.. we all miss you and love you more than you know..
We're running with the shadows of the night
So baby take my hand, it'll be all right
Surrender all your dreams to me tonight
They'll come true in the end.
And now the hands of time are standin' still
Midnight angel, won't you say you will?
Name: Bill Halstead
My, the pain you must have suffered these past 8 years. Annie got a death sentence, her family got 8 to life. The evil persons in our society must pay more dearly for their deeds. Shall we all seek peace.
Name: David T. Harris
While I've never been to Fresno and never heard of this case until I saw Cold Case Files, I am deeply saddened that a young promising life was destroyed so suddenly and callously by a main who "claimed" to love her. It angers me so much that this poor excuse for human being killed her because of his broken heart. My heart has been broken before but murder or any kind of violence is not the answer.
For Travis you say you're sorry but I don't think you really are. You're only sorry for being caught. You would have taken his secrets to the grave if he could. The three years you spent free after he committed the crime are your parole. You said you loved her but if you really did you would never have done this. Moreover you attempted to destroy her body to conceal your crime. That is not only premeditated but cowardly. A real man would have admitted responsibility. What if someone had done this to your mother or sister how would you react then?
For Mrs. Barnes and the rest of Annie's family I want to express my deepest sympathies and regrets over this horrible tragedy. No mother should ever have to bury their children in particular in this manner. If you've seen other episodes of CCF or American Justice you know you are not alone in this. Mrs. Kimmel, Mrs. Wong, Mrs. Trotter, Mrs. Parrott, etc. are among a few who share your pain. I would include Mrs. Culberson and Mrs. Holloway-Twitty in this but they have the added nightmare of not knowing where their daughters are. I hope Carrie and Natalie are soon found so they can be given a decent funeral on hallowed ground.
For Jacob Travis' mother, 15 years is not nearly "enough" for what he did (not "if" he committed the crime but "definitively" did.). You raised him better than that and yet you have the nerve to say you are hurting. Yes you have a right to hurt but more for Annie than J.L. If it had been the other way around and it had been your child so savagely murdered would you be saying "15 years was enough?" Puhlease!!!!
One more thing for Travis, we will all be held accountable for our crimes and sins on Earth. In Heaven's Court, there will be no lawyer defending you.
Name: kasey balco
I was so very sad when, I heard what had happend, I felt like you were one of my kids! all of you were at our home when we would get home from work, you were just part of our family. We Love You and Miss You. someone you use to call your second mom (Kasey)
With July 4th only three days away, I find it very coincidental that I would happen accross this website, and Annie's Story. Her smile as touched my heart. Her light will always shine.
Find Kristin and Kristen.
Name: Kristin J.
I wanted to re-submit an entry into your guestbook after reading and looking at every single photo and reading every single word in one day. I started reading this website after I watched the "Cold Case Files" show Ms. Barnes spoke of in an earlier entry, and I wanted to see if I could find out anything online about your Annie. What a wonderful decision that was! I found out SO MUCH MORE than just that she was a woman from California brutally murdered by a wretched soul with no conscience. I got a good chance to see a "preview" of what really happened. They did a nice job with the show, but this website is a shrine. I have never seen such a wonderful tribute and insight into a person's life before. I have been to many sites that give you a little glimpse, but this website is like an Annie Sanctuary. It must feel so good now to have finally had Justice prevail for Annie. I have created a link for your Annie at this message board [no longer available] in hopes that I might be able to share Annie's story with someone else it may help. I think your family is so strong and admirable. I could only hope and pray for your continued strength in the years to come.
Name: Kristin J.
I watched the story about Annie's case last night on "Cold Case Files" and it completely filled my heart with sadness. I am so sorry for your loss of such a wonderfully beautiful child. I am glad for your ability to know EXACTLY what happened to her that horrible evening, there are so many families with children missing that have no clue what happened to them. I hope that knowledge has allowed you the fortune of some type of closure. You may not the why's of the questions you still have, but you know the how's and where's and that is an extremely important factor for your grieving process. I hope your families are all doing well. I will keep you all in my prayers.
Name: Shannon Arnold
I just read Gloria's story for the first time. I haven't visited this website since 1998 I think, when I first wrote in it. I have been thinking about Annie a lot lately, that is what prompted me to find it again. I also had a dream in which Annie came to visit me. I haven't told many people about it, but after reading the story I felt like I should share it. Annie was my best friend for a long time. As I said in my first writing, we did what we always promised each other we would never do, and we let a guy come between us. Before Annie was taken from us, she and I never had the chance to make amends with each other. Unfortunately we exchanged some harsh words with each other. I was so conflicted that I couldn't even bring myself to go to her memorial, it felt very hypocritical. A few days afterward, she came to me in a dream. We were at SLV, and we were up on the varsity baseball field. At first we were on opposite sides of the field, occasionally glancing at each other but pretending we weren't. She finally made her way over to me. I watched as she approached and I didn't say a word. She came and stood next to me and she grabbed my hand and held it for a long time before she spoke to me. After a few minutes she just said to me, "You can let go, Shannon. We made mistakes and I forgive you." I didn't say anything to her. We just stood there holding hands, silently crying. I woke up in tears, and I was unable to speak for a long time. I just had this really strong feeling that she had been there. It gave me peace within myself. I think about her so much. I wonder what she would be doing now, what she would have done after college, if she would be married and have kids, what she would look like. It still hard to fathom.
Name: Gretchen Brinck
Annie's mother Gloria and I met over a year ago when I was at the courthouse where she was the appeals clerk. I was looking for a good subject for my next true crime book, and it happened that Gloria wanted a book written about Annie's case. I've been working on it ever since. I have Annie's picture on my desk to keep me motivated. Everything I've heard and read tells me she was a lovely, bubbly person and that if she had lived, she'd have done neat things. I am trying to keep her central in my book rather than focussing only on the messed up crime investigation.
I do not know how to find some of her friends but would be delighted to hear from any of you who have stories or insights you'd like to share.
Name: Gloria Barnes
The Kurtis Productions show, Cold Case Files, will air a documentary show re the investigation of Annie Born's murder this Thursday, June 30, 2005, at 7 pm central, 8 pm Eastern and Pacific time. It is a 2 hour show, and the second hour is devoted to Annie's case. It is on A & E. You might want to check your local listings. The website A&ETV.com should have a byline about it at Cold Case Files. Gloria, Annie's Mom
Hi, it's Annie's sister Emilie. I have a new email address, so I wanted to post it in case anyone would like to get in touch with me. I would love to see pictures and hear stories of my sister. Even though I never got to meet her, she touches my life every day. I know she is my guardian angel. I have recently returned to college and am taking English composition as one of my classes. My first paper is about my dad finding me. I know that it was because of Annie that he started his search for me. Knowing my dad and Chris and Anne continues to be one of the greatest gifts that I have ever been given. I can only thank her in my heart, and here. Thank you, Annie! I love you!
Your Sister, Emilie
I went to Annie's page today. I am very sorry to hear that you have received "inappropriate" messages in Annie's book. We loved leaving messages for you and Ed and the family to read in honor of Annie. Annie's life inspired us in a lot of different ways (and areas in our lives) that keep us going. Bless you Ed and Chris for all the inspiration you've given us through "Annie's Team" as well as sharing Annie's life with us.
Alexander and Cynthia
I came across Annie's page tonight surfing the internet. I feel a terrible sadness at how she was treated. I also feel the love all her family and friends feel for her. Wherever Annie's spirit is, I'm sure she feels that, too. Thank you for sharing this with us. Annie could be anyone's daughter, and I share your pain and your love for her. Someday, you'll have your daughter and sister back in heaven and the years without her will only be a memory.
I just happened in looking for wildflowers today and I fell in love with Annie before I saw the horrible news of her passing. I am so VERY sorry. There is NOTHING in the world worse than losing a child and my heart goes out to you. I don't know what to say but I will never forget Annie, that's for sure. Sincerely, Linda
I love the page.
Name: Cynthia Alexander
Still loving the sweet spirit of Annie. Thank you Ed and Chris for allowing us to visit and revisit Cactus Hill because the tour always leads us back to annie's page. We love you. July 28, 2004. Cynthia
Name: Terri Brown
First, I'm terribly sorry for the loss of Annie! I'm not real sure how I ended up at this site but was captivated by the great drive and support. I grew up in Domestic Violence, married into it (divorced him) and now fight against it through educating men. I am supported by two male co-facilitators; one of them my husband of 11yrs now and the other a dear friend. We hold these men accountable as we attempt to challenge their beliefs about women as well as violence. Our first priority is the protection of women! I will add Annie to my list of women that hold a dear (but sad) place in my heart that keeps me going when I feel that our efforts are fruitless - I too will not give up in this fight for freedom and safety of women. God Bless all of you in your efforts as well and thank you for sharing your angel Annie with the rest of us. Terri Brown - Lubbock, Texas
I am so thankful I found you Ed!! You're a source of great strength & inspiration. I am so sorry I missed this years walk but I PROMISE we'll make a comeback next year! With all my love, Vanessa Thompson (Pattie's Daughter)
Name: Nicole Pantaleo
I knew Annie through our participation in HOBY. We were in the same HOBY class and both volunteered as "Buddies" in 1994. Annie was a great leader and breath of fresh air. Always happy and smiling around HOBY. Though several years have passed since her death, I still recall her life. I wish I had the opportunity to get to know her even better. God bless her and her family. May you find a sense of peace in her memory and in the love of her friends.
Name: Ryan Luttringer
This fantastic site brought back alot of fond memories. Thank you for sharing Annie's life. May the power of Annie's memory give strength to our future.
I have visited your website before; however that was long ago. I want to express my happiness for Annie's family that that the sentencing is over. May God Bless your family!! Psalm 1:6
I was looking to where I could donate baby clothes to battered women and I came across your website. I am so sorry for your loss. I have a 7 year old girl named Krystal and I can't imagine the pain you must feel. I did not know you daughter but I wish I would have. She seems like the kindest and loving person. I would of been honored to have met her. She is now your guardian angel to watch over you and take care of you. There is no answer to why this happen I just think God needed someone so special to be one of his angels and he picked Annie.
My name is Stephanie Olinger I am 14 years old, Annie is my aunt, she didn't know about me, or my 3 brothers. We never got to meet, but grandpa and grandma Chris were always telling me how much i reminded them of Annie. I wish that i knew her so that i could have seen it! I read about the murder and heard a lot about it from my grandpa, I read all of the comments in the guest book, but the ones that really got me were the ones by my grandpa, her mom, and my mom (Emilie)I also read the story! When I read all of this, I cried! I wish so much that i would have known her or that we at least knew about eachother.... but her light will always shine on me and even though I didn't know her, I will always miss her! With love Annie's neice.... Stephanie Olinger
Name: Annie's Mom
Today is a National Remembrance Day for victims of homicide. I just saw Annie's name at the Parents of Murdered Children website, POMC.com, with many hundreds of others. Let's hope that her death can help save many others from the same fate. I know of several myself. It would be nice if people would post more happy "Annie" stories here. We all have some, who knew her. It's wonderful for me to read them. love, Gloria ps Annie, I love you forever
Name: Sophie Martinez
It is wonderful God sent Annie your way. I'm sorry she was taken from you, but we are learning from her death. I have a friend who left her husband because he knocked her teeth out. It could always be worse. This will teach my friend not to go back. Annie's death will not be in vain. I loved the pictures.I got to know Annie threw your site here in SA Texas, and learned from her experience.
Name: government grants
Its quite an impressive website, I like your layout, colouring and organisation. John.
Thank you Annie and your family and friends for this website. I am soo touched I want to tell you: what a beautiful lovely and sweet girl to know about. It makes me so hopeful about the goodness in this World and in out Times. She is truly a dear angel and will give me strength in each day of my Life! Thank you dear!! Bles you sooo much!!!!
Name: Steve Arnold
Annie and my sister Shannon grew up in the San Lorenzo Valley together, and were good friends. I remember Shannon, Annie, Dayna, and all the girls coming over to my parents house, and I'd tell them ghost stories for which they would tell me how dumb they were. Shannon was devestated when Annie died. Annie lit a lot of live's in her time, and although she died at a young age, I honestly believe that the people blessed enough to have known her all are better people because of her. She is missed by all.
Warmly, Steve Arnold
Name: Pastors Cleveland & Cynthia A. Alexander
What joy the Annie's Team has brought to our lives. Annie your spirit was here with us as we walked for the 5th year Saturday, April 12, 2003. We brought many members of New Birth By Faith Church to the march because of you and others like you. Your spirit keeps shining. Bless you Gloria,Ed & Chris, Tom & Em and your boys. "Let not your hearts be troubled."
I just took the virtual tour of Annie's Walk for 2003. It's so wonderful that so many people keep her memory alive. Yesterday, Easter, was the 7th anniversary of when Annie brought her killer home to meet us. It's very hard not to think what I could have done to prevent her from being involved with that person. Of course, there's nothing that anyone could have done. All we can do is try to prevent future disasters. Annie was just too sweet, too kind to the wrong person. He wrote a letter claiming that he did it because he loved her too much. That is not love. I miss her so much. There's nothing else to say. I love you, Annie.
Name: Annie's Mom
The sentencing hearing went as well as it possibly could have. The Judge said he got more letters on behalf of the victim in this case than in any other case in his entire career. He also said he was in possession of a letter from the defendant, Jacob Lee Travis, who told him that he did kill Annie, supposedly because he loved her so much that he couldn't stand to think of her with anyone else. The Judge admonished him, saying "you didn't love her. If you really loved her, you would have let her go and pursue her dreams." Thanks for all of the letters- every one helped. A letter of thanks could be sent to Judge Bender, cc to Chief Justice Ronald George, Administrative Office of the Courts, 455 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102-3660 and Presiding Judge Edward Moffet II, 209 W. Yosemite Ave, Madera, CA 93637. Judge Bender did a wonderful job in a very difficult situation and the hearing turned into almost a second memorial to Annie, with the Judge reading from letters and commenting on what a wonderful person she was. He said, judging from the letters he received, "Annie Born must have babysat for every child who ever grew up in the San Lorenzo Valley". Someone behind me said, "that's about right". Let's thank the Judge for a job well done. Now we just have to keep Travis in prison where he belongs!!!! love, Gloria
Well it's been a few days and I think I'm still in shock or at least that same long day. I haven't been able to sleep yet, the article Annie's dad posted pretty much sums up the hearing. I must add however that listening to everybody's statements was so hard, the Judge was so moved by the outpouring and said he never in his career had recieved so many letters. That boy has alot in his file I'm sure it will make a difference, when the time comes. I also know that I will be at the parole hearing each and every one.
Name: Annie's Dad
Here is the Fresno Bee's story of the sentencing.
Man gets 15 to life in slaying of student
By Charles McCarthy The Fresno Bee (Published Saturday, March 8, 2003, 4:42 AM)
MADERA -- A Fresno man received a sentence of 15 years to life Friday in the July 1997 murder of a Clovis college student.
Madera County Judge Thomas Bender sentenced Jacob Lee Travis, 33, after listening for about 90 minutes to family and friends of the victim, 20-year-old Andrea Mercedes Born.
"I know this was first-degree murder," the victim's mother, Gloria Barnes, told Bender in an emotional plea. "The autopsy reports that she drowned in her own blood."
Born's body was found the night of July 4, 1997, in a Madera County orchard near Highway 99 and Avenue 7. The California State University, Fresno, student had been shot twice in the head. Her body had been doused with gasoline and set afire.
Travis was arrested in March 2001 in a Seattle suburb by state and federal agents.
The sentencing hearing began with an 8-minute video presentation of the victim's life, including Born's performance as Peter Pan in a childhood school play. Travis, dressed in red jail overalls and shackled hand and foot, watched silently.
Following the video, Barnes, family members and friends, one after the other, advocated that Travis be imprisoned for life. Only Travis' mother called for early parole.
State prosecutor Catherine Tennant called for no parole. Justice would be served only if Travis is never released, she told Bender.
Travis' mother, Juanita, disagreed. Even "if" her son had killed Born, 15 years in prison was enough. "I'm hurting, too," Juanita Travis told the victim's mother.
Barnes, a Santa Cruz County court clerk, said nonviolent criminals get life sentences under the state's Three Strikes law. She compared the impact of her daughter's murder with that of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"What does a person have to do to get a really just sentence?" Barnes asked.
Travis agreed earlier this year with state attorney general's prosecutors to a second-degree murder plea instead of facing trial for first-degree murder.
Bender said he had spent two hours the day before sentencing reading letters from family and friends of Born calling for nothing less than a life term. He noted that under the second-degree murder plea bargain, 15 years to life is the maximum term he could impose.
The reporter can be reached at email@example.com or 675-6804.
I wrote a huge note but I some how deleted it. Anyways the whole point was about my experience with the sentencing today (March 7). It was a very rough emotional whirlwind of a day, I will return to try again to tell my little story but for now I'm tired and pretty angry with my computer.
Name: Annie's Mom
It's not too late to fax a letter to Judge Bender, re Case #CR07823, People vs Jacob Lee Travis. You can do this until 1 pm Friday, March 7. The local talk radio station here in Santa Cruz interviewed me this morning and will broadcast the fax # all day today and tomorrow morning. Thanks to everyone who has written. Gloria
Name: Kim Kerr-Espinoza
The thoughts of Annie's horrific death still haunt me to this day-if it weren't for her wonderful smile and sparkling eyes most of my childhood memories of Annie would be lost.
Thanks Annie for sharing your childhood with me and your cheerful spirit with all of us in the San Lorenzo Valley. YOU ARE MISSED BY MORE THAN YOU WOULD EVER KNOW!!!!!
Name: Annie's Mom
We're all set for the sentencing hearing on Friday. We have at least 20 people going that I know of. If you want to show up, it's at the main courthouse in Madera, CA, 209 W Yosemite Ave. From the north,Take the Central Madera exit off of 99, turn left & then left again onto 4th street. Plan to be a little early, since you'll have to go through security. Wear a blue ribbon if you're there for Annie. let me know if you plan to come, since they will reserve seats for us. We will start with a short video of Annie, then I will speak, and then we'll have to see how many people the Judge will let speak. If you didn't send a letter, bring it along. So far, I believe they have over 100 letters to the Judge (Bender). The hearing will be taped for his future parole hearings. It will be a hard day, but a good one. Finally we will get to see this creep walk away to prison where he belongs forever. Gloria
Name: Sherry Snow
Annie was my twins' first baby sitter. She had a special way with children that made them know they were loved. I miss her very much.
I hope you find who did this and he gets in really big trouble. I think anyone that takes someone's life should be put to death themselves, because that way we know he won't do it again.
If you write to the Judge, refer to Case #CR07823, scheduled for March 7, 2003, 1:30 pm, Department 2, People vs Jacob Lee Travis
Name: Gloria Barnes
Yesterday I heard the defendant, Jacob Travis, say "guilty" to murder charges. The sentencing will be on March 7, 2003, at 1:30 pm in Madera, California, Department 2. We need as many people as possible to write a letter to the sentencing Judge. Address letters to Judge Bender, Superior Court of California, County of Madera, 209 W. Yosemite Ave., Madera, CA 93637. All letters will become a permanent part of his parole record. We need to make sure that he never, ever gets out. After the plea was entered, I went to the site where he burned Annie's body (incidentally, that is not YET considered a crime in California). It was past a new chain link fence, deep in the olive orchard. The County of Madera has posted a no trespassing sign that says that they are not responsible for anything that happens to anyone beyond that poing. Interesting. One thing that I did not know was that not only did he (they?) burn Annie's body, but a whole olive tree burned to the stump. We placed some flowers, a card and a teddy bear there for our girl. It was a sad day, but there is some satidfaction in the fact that he finally admitted that he did it. Write your letters, and cc to me if possible: P O Box 644, Brookdale, CA 95007, or e-mail. Thank you for all of your support through this horrible ordeal. Gloria
Name: Extra Mom Chris
It's a done deal. Yesterday Jay Travis entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder, finally admitting to the horrible crime he committed more than 5½ years ago. Read all about it.
Name: Emilie's Mom, Jan
I would like to post this in Annie's memory:
I'll Be Missin' You—Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans
Yeah, this right here goes out to everyone who's lost someone that they truly loved... Check it out...
Seems like yesterday we used to rock the show
I laced the track, you locked the flow
So far from hangin' on the block for dough
Notorious they came to know that
Life ain't always what it seem to be
Words can't express what'u mean to me
Even though you're gone we still a team
Thru your family I'll fulfill your dream
In the future can't wait to see if you'll
Open up the gates for me
Reminisce sometime the night they took my friend
Try to black it out, but it plays again
When it's real feelings hard to conceal
Can't imagine all the pain I feel
Give anything to hear half your breath
I know you still livin' your life after death
Every step I take
Every move I make
Every single day
Every time I pray
I'll be missing you
Thinking of the day
When you went away
What a life to take
What a bond to break
Every step I take
Every move I make
Every single day
Every time I pray
I'll be missing you
We miss you
Name: Julie Barron
I cannot express how I feel right now about Jay pleading guilty. It is an unbelievable turn of events. I do have to admit not looking forward to the trial, as the prelim was hard enough, but I am happy for Gloria and Ed that they do not have to go through the pain of the trial. I am amazed by this and hope that this will bring a little peace to all of us who lost this most special person.
It's always so wonderful to go to this site and read new comments about our dear Annie. We finally have some good news- last Friday, the defendant, Jacob Travis, agreed to plead guilty to second degree murder. We won't have to go through a trial, and he has finally admitted that he did it. The plea will be entered this Friday, February 7, at 8:30 am in Madera, CA. I will be there to hear him say the words. It will be about another month before he is sentenced (15 years to life). Before the sentencing, I hope that everyone will write a letter to the sentencing Judge (I will post it here when I find out who it is). The letters and a videotape will be part of the permanent parole record, and we'll do our best to see that he never, ever gets out. Annie's Mom
My name is Emilie, I am Annie's sister! I never got to meet my sister, nor she me. I did not even know she existed until Sep. of this year. Annie is still touching people and changing lives! If it were not for her determination to find me, our Dad may have never gone to the lengths he did to find me. I have a Dad for the first time in my life because I had a Sister that didn't care that we had different Moms. To her we were just Sisters! It is so sad that we never got to meet! I think of her and seem to FEEL her everyday now. To all of you who were lucky enough to have known her, I would love to hear stories, see pictures, any thing. Annie has given me the greatest gift I have ever gotten, our Dad! She has changed my life forever, and, I'm sure,will continue too! From, Annie's sister, with Love Emilie
In the spring of 2000 I was 7 months pregnaet with my second child. My husband and I decided to take a road trip to the town I grew up in, Brookdale. I had not been back since the day I left 15 years prier. After we had visited the house where I had lived we went down the street to and knocked on the door of a small brown cabin. A lady answered the door, when I asked her if a lady and her daughter Annie still lived her she stared at me for a minute, and I quickly explained that many years ago Annie and I had been close frinds, she said she remembered. I had expected to be told that Annie had moved away and maybe be givin her address so we could get back in touch. But that was not the case. Gloria says "you haven't heard have you" "no you couldn't of heard" this whole time I was just confused what hadn't I heard? Annie was murdered. I remember just standing there shocked. What do you say, how do you react? Annie had come to visit me in Oregon in the past, we had exchanged letters a few times while I was in collage, how could this have happened without me finding out? had it really been that long?.....I do not remember when Annie and I met, I was probly around 8 and she 6, maybe a year older. We both ran and played in the trees, swam in the river. We were young and free, living in a childhood paradise. Making tree forts out of old dead redwood stumps, catching crayfish in my back yard. We would take these grand adventures walking down the river knowing that we were safe, when it was time to go home we just turned around and retraced the river. I have two boys now and they will never know the freedom that Annie and I exprienced. They will never even know about playing in the yard without mom's watchful eye seeing every move they make. For the times they are a changing and children are no longer even safe in their own rooms let alone their yards. I will always remember Annie, I think of her almost every day, and the times we had. And I am saddened that my children will never know what it like to be young and free.
Name: Annie's Mom
Well, we're approaching another Christmas without our Christmas elf. Every year it seems more lonely without her. I don't like to shop at Christmas anymore, because I'll see things that I know she would like, and she's not here. Anyone who has lost a child can relate, I'm sure. Please pray for justice for Annie in the coming year. Gloria
Name: Ed (Annie's Dad)
Annie knew that she had a sister. Two or three years before her murder she had told me she wanted to search for Emilie. She said that she would find her and meet her and then find out if Emilie wanted to be in touch with me. This year in September Chris and I went on vacation to Yellowstone National Park. We routed ourselves through Brighton, Colorado where I had signed adoption papers 30 years ago. It took a lady a half an hour in the archives to find it but she did. When we got home we got on the internet and found her. Annie would love her so - - to see for yourself - - go to - - Emilie's Place
Name: Cynthia Alexander
To Chris & Ed Born-Long The four years that Alexander and I have known the two of you have been a blessing. We have seen God work through Annie's spirit for our lives in many ways. It would be wonderful if everyone could learn from a tragedy (as people have learned) and been healed from Annie. Gloria, we (the Alexanders) did not know you but we love you for having such a wonderful daughter. We pray this Guest Book will never end. Hopefully it will continue to lift people's spirit years after we're gone. May the Lord bless and keep you all. Pastors Cleveland & Cynthia Alexander 9/24/2002
Name: Annie's Dad
On this Father's Day I am reminded that is almost 5 years now since Annie left this world. When I look at that last Father's Day card, I am (as always) happy to note the spirit of Annie in the notes she added - my "cool beans" saying as well as the smiley face and the x's and o's. How would any of us know, on this date 5 years ago, that she had less than 3 weeks to live. From today thru 4th of July and then her birthday has been in the past a very sad month for me, but in Annie's spirit this year I pledge to celebrate her life and smile every time I think of her and the Hogs and Kisses she sent me.
Name: Annie's Mom Gloria
Jacob Travis was arraigned on the information in Madera CA today. He pled "not guilty". The jury trial date was set for March 4, 2003. That will be 4 months short of 6 years since Annie was so brutally murdered. The woman has her trial in July of this year in Fresno. Let's pray that the whole truth comes out and justice is served. Too bad nothing can make our dear girl come back.
I personally know Ed and my thoughts and sympathy are with him and the rest of the family. He works tirelessly to end domestic violence and I applaud him for his courage, conviction and love. May your family find some peace in knowing that you have helped thousands of people with your hard work in the domestic violence movement. I send all of my love to the family.
Name: Annie's Extra Mom
Austin, Texas: Saturday, April 20, 2002--Annie's Team set new records today in the SafePlace "Walk for Safe Families and Safe Streets." Working in Annie's memory to help others like her, our team raised $14,000 for SafePlace, and we marched 100 strong. Ed and I are thrilled at our team's performance, and at the way we're growing each year, becoming a real force in our community. Read all about it.
Name: Cleveland & Cynthia Alexander
We're fired up and ready to walk for the fourth year on Annie's Team here in Austin, Texas. We love you Gloria,Chris,& Ed and we pray for you all of the time. Annie's spirit is healing and so will the Walk on April 20, 2002 be a day of healing for so many people. God bless and keep you. C&C Alexander
Name: Annie's Mom
The Preliminary Hearing is still scheduled for Friday, March 15, at 9:15 am in Madera, CA.
Name: Caroline Beury
This is an awful tragedy. I never knew Annie nor could I ever understand how one could take another's life. My prayers and thoughts will be with her family and friends from this day forward. Caroline aka WilliesAngel ps I love you Annie
Name: Annie's Mom
Another delay in the court date......now it's set for March 15.