A Houston family flew to Colorado Springs, CO, on Friday afternoon, preparing for a murder trial scheduled to start Monday.
US Army soldier Brandy Fonteneaux was butchered in her own barracks early this year, allegedly by one of her superior officers.
The 28-year old was a 2009 graduate of Texas Southern University. And she felt safe in her room at Fort Carson – so safe, she didn't even lock her door.
"Brandy was such a friendly person, such a caring and forgiving person," remembered her adoptive mother, Bevenley E. Thomas.
While Brandy Fonteneaux slept on January 8, Sgt. Vincinte Jackson admitted entering her room. Fonteneaux was stabbed 74 times. But that's not what killed her.
"She fought ‘til the end," said the victim's biological mother, Verona Fonteneaux. "And once he seen what he had did and she was suffering, he just had to take her out completely. I mean he just choked her. Choked the breath out of her."
Verona Fonteneaux and Bevenley Thomas are sisters. Both of them helped raise Brandy, and both now wear matching bracelets celebrating her life.
But the two "moms" have opposite takes on the trial.
Verona wants to know every detail of her daughter's demise including crime scene photos that will doubtless be shown during next week's court martial.
"To actually see her room with all of the blood up against the wall and her laying down, face down, that's gonna be hard," said Verona Fonteneaux.
Bevenley, however, can't even bring herself to look at Brandy's Facebook page.
"I personally feel that to see Brandy in the state that she is in, in those crime scene pictures, would destroy me," she said.
But both women do want to know why Sgt. Vincinte Jackson – whose divorce had just been finalized – might have attacked Brandy Fonteneaux.
"From what I read about Jackson, it's like he couldn't stand rejection," commented Verona Fonteneaux.
"I think a mixture of things probably gave him the courage to do what he had been thinking about doing for a long time," added Bevenley Thomas.
Both would like to see Jackson serve a life sentence, no parole. And both agree the first Christmas without Brandy will be a "blue Christmas," indeed.
"We're not decorating," explained Verona Fonteneaux. "We'll get together but it's not gonna be the same."