Victim's family calls guilty plea "victory"

Monica Andersonâ??s family mourns her loss with tribal drums outside the Grand Traverse County courthouse.

Family members of Monica Anderson, who was shot and killed November 19, gathered outside the Grand Traverse County courthouse Friday afternoon to grieve and celebrate with song.

â??It makes us feel good because it's from the heart,â?? said Sandy Anderson, Monicaâ??s mother. â??They do a victory song and this is a victory for us.â??

Anderson is grateful that Robert Caldwell, 33, admitted before the court to killing Monica.

â??To know that he's stepping up, knows that he's guilty, selfish, he did wrong. He just needs to pay for what he did,â?? said Anderson.

Caldwell was emotional in court as he faced the judge and Monica's family.

â??She really loved him and he really loved her, but he had an addiction,â?? said Anderson.

Now, four months after the tragic loss, family members are joining together.

â??This is all of our family coming to support, trying to get as much support as we can for the trial we're having today,â?? said Kristopher Anderson, Monicaâ??s cousin. â??That's all we can ask for.â??

Their support means the world to Monica's parents.

â??These are all our family and friends,â?? said Mike Hernandez, Monicaâ??s father. â??They're here supporting us; they've been supporting us since day one. They'll continue forever.â??

â??Just to know that she was loved, she's touched so many people's hearts,â?? said Anderson.

Sandy Anderson now takes care of Monica's two children. She says it can be a difficult daily reminder.

â??When I see my grandson, he looks just like his dad. I sometimes have a hard time with that. But then I see my daughter in him when he smiles. Then I forget all about it.â??

The Grand Traverse County prosecutor said no plea deal was arranged, stating that Caldwell had other reasons to plead.

"I was told that [Caldwell] didn't want to put the family through any more than they've already gone through," said Bob Cooney, Grand Traverse County Prosecuting Attorney.

Caldwell pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to four charges: involuntary manslaughter, discharge of a firearm while intoxicated, resisting and obstructing a police officer, and felony firearm.

He will be back in court for sentencing on April 17.

He faces a maximum of 17 years behind bars.

Anderson's family is asking that Caldwell receive the harshest sentence possible.