Sunday, April 6, 2014


10 days after my mom died I was released from the hospital. Part of me wanted to stay forever knowing that the weight of her murder hadn't hit me yet. I was safe and medicated there. The other part of me was happy to be out and attend the funeral without having to have machines attached to me to make my lungs work. I actually can't remember many of the details about getting released and the days following, especially the viewing and funeral. What little I remember I hardly ever think about.
I had to go shopping to get clothes for the funeral since my things were all packed in boxes and some still at the house where she was murdered. I got my nails done since my last manicure now had caked blood. It was very sad because before that I had always gone with my mom, and to one certain nail salon. I remember wondering if  the people who worked at that nail salon saw her in the newspapers and realized what happened. I remember wanting the world to stop, but it never did. Everyone kept going.
I had so many mixed feelings about seeing her body. It was the first time I saw her since that night, and it would be the last time I saw her for the rest of my life.June 28, 2006. I didn't know if I had the strength to see her.
When I arrived it was the private family viewing time. Once I saw the casket open I was drawn to her, I had to go see. The sight of her body took my breath away. I knew she was dead but I didn't really KNOW it until that point.
I tried to pick out her outfit but nothing I picked would work and I realized now that it was probably because of all her stab wounds. Everything was covered except her face. The one thing I wanted to see and touch were her hands, but there were gloves covering them. Overwhelmed and heartbroken are understatements. There are no words, just tears.
Once it was the public viewing time I sat there watching people walk in , "I will remember you" by Sarah McLachlan was playing on repeat. I wanted to find a more original song but I didn't have time, and I didn't really care. No song would do my mom justice anyway. My mom was wearing half of a heart necklace that said "Daughter" as I had asked, and I was wearing the other half. By the end of the service there were a few other cross necklaces placed on her.
The other details are fuzzy, but I remember closing my eyes and trying to pretend this wasn't real. There was still a chance this was a dream. Whenever I hear "I will remember you" I can close my eyes and go RIGHT back to that seat at her viewing. I smell the formaldehyde and flowers, and feel the overwhelming sadness. 
Once 8 o'clock hit it was time for everyone to leave. I stayed until the end, until they were going to take her body. I protested and tried to stay. I didn't want her to be taken. I wanted to sit with her there for the rest of  my life. How do you say goodbye to your mother? How do you look at her face and know you will never see it again? Tears just stream down my face thinking about it. I would give anything to go back to that moment right now to see her one more time. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

3 years since sentencing...

This picture is me finding out my Mothers murderers sentencing. I'm smiling and crying at the same time. I'm SO HAPPY the photographer from the Long Beach Press Telegram got this image. This sums up all of my emotions about that night. Smile because it could be worse, cry because she is gone. The judge read the sentencing in the court room but I didn't understand what he meant. This is the prosecutor explaining it to me. (Note: she is NOT my attorney, I wasn't allowed to hire my own. This was a crime against the state of California, NOT ME. She was representing the state, NOT ME or my family. This was made very clear. The murderer could fire as many public defenders as she wanted, but I had to take whatever the state gave my family. We went through one mistrial, but this prosecutor was amazing, I'm so thankful. )

my handwritten notes from sentencing. Count 1 was my moms murder which she received 16 years for. Count 2: my attempted murder, 13 years. They thought she was after me, but "accidentally" killed my mom. Count 3: My grandmas attempted murder: 3 years, 8 months. Count 4: My aunts attempted murder: 3 years, 8 months. 
My victims impact statement. I wrote it the night before, and read it from this yellow  notepad paper. Signed as my maiden name (which looks so weird now!) it's f***** up I even have to keep a file named "dept. of corrections info" in my file cabinet.)

 And now I present to you my victims impact statement. I haven't read over it until now. I was specifically told not to show emotion or talk TO the murderer, but I knew she would be there hearing it so it was a little hard not to direct this to her. I cried SO hard at first that I couldn't even say the words. At one point I had to put my head down, the prosecutor came and put her hand on my back until I calmed down. 
 Jan. 13, 2011  Honorable Judge Higa, I have been driving myself crazy trying to find words to express how I feel. I don't think it's possible. I could go on for days about how much this ONE person, and one night, has changed my entire life. Virginia Krall murdered my mother. She stabbed her in the chest 30 times with a knife from our own kitchen. In doing so, she murdered a part of me. If it was up to her I would not be here today. I would be dead too. She only stopped stabbing me because my mom woke up. The guilt that I have for surviving while my mom did not has been an unbelievable and tremendous burden to live with. I have thought over and over again about how my mom must have felt as she lay dying, and "What if I had done something differently?" Maybe she would still be here today, or maybe we would all be dead, and maybe that would be easier." My mom was murdered at the young age of 37, with so much left to do and see. She was a wonderful mother who loved me unconditionally. Even as an 18 year old I could sit on her lap and cry and feel just as comforted by her as I did as a young child. She was always very affectionate with me and I knew I could count on her. I miss that, and I miss her SO MUCH, so powerfully, that sometimes I think I can still feel her, or that she can feel me. It makes me miserable to think she could still be here, I could still hear her voice, feel her embrace, and have her love if it wasn't for Virginia Krall. There is NO OTHER REASON she is not here today.  On my moms death certificate it reads cause of death: multiple stab wounds to the chest. I read it and it is just as shocking as it was June 16, 2006 while I lay in the hospital bed hearing that she did not survive. As soon as I left the hospital, 10 days after Virginia Krall took my mother from me, the fear started to kick in. It has managed to affect and control most of my life; the times I feel comfortable leaving my house, to the movies I watch, to the quality of my sleep... I feel like a child. Post traumatic stress is very real and debilitating. I'm envious of friends my age who seem to live their lives without irrational fear, who still have their mothers to guide and love them. I still have nightmares about people breaking in, people murdering me in various ways, or people murdering my mom, and I miss the days when I could wake up and think "thank God that was just a nightmare!", instead of waking up to realize this is my reality.The fact that Ms. Krall led a "normal" life up until June 16, 2006; holding jobs, going to school, having relationships, no trouble from the law for 22 years; leads me to believe she was SANE, and KNEW RIGHT FROM WRONG. The fact that she had watched me in the window before that night, and even before she broke in, leads me to believe that it was something she thought about before she broke into our home.  Her intent was to kill. You don't accidentally stab someone 30 times, after hiding in the house for 20 minutes before attacking them in their OWN BED, and you don't accidentally find yourself, knife in hand, trying to slit someones throat. She knew what she was doing.
 I find it hard to function now with her behind bars, I can't imagine living knowing she is free to harm anyone else, or maybe myself again, in any way. I am 23, and she is 26, our similar ages make me BEG OF YOU to keep her in prison for LIFE. This will never be put behind me, and please don't let her have that right of putting it behind her!
My mother is not just another news article or statistic, murder is all over the news and we are all used to hearing about it and think that we can just turn away, but I guarantee behind the 1 person you see in the newspaper who lost their life, there is a handful of people who have also been knocked down and devastated by the loss. Someones brother, sister, mother.. you can't bring them back, but you CAN make sure their murderers can't be released to further terrorize victims who have lost so much already.
I also feel sorry for the other lives affected by this murder. The Shmulz family she was staying with, who I'm sure felt some guilt she was allowed to stay there. Her own family, who has to accept that their daughter is a murderer, it is none of their fault. All fault lies in her, and she must take responsibility for her actions. 
Please give Virginia Krall the MAXIMUM sentence for the murder of my mother, Yolanda Meraz, and the attempted murders of myself, my aunt, and my grandma. It is my strongest belief that if you hold such low regard for your own life, and the lives of complete strangers, you are PAST THE POINT OF REHABILITATION. No murderer should ever be free to live among innocent human beings. I NEVER WANT TO SEE THE DAY WHEN SHE IS RELEASED. Thank you so much for your time.

Respectfully yours,
Megan Bufford

This was the craziest time of my life (aside from the night itself, of course)

Me wearing my moms pin during the sentencing, holding up a photo board of her. Me and Matt waiting anxiously for the verdict. My dad's face says it all... VK walking in. Me finding out the verdict.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

when life was normal

I had a dream I was at my moms house, the same house she was murdered in. I used to dream about her there and would start kicking and screaming in my head until I woke up. I was THAT traumatized by the house. I couldn't even visit it in a dream. If the dream started out good I would think, "maybe I should try to stick around here and see what happens?" but NOPE, I couldn't allow it.
Now I can dream about her at her house, or anywhere really. I remember the dialogue in my head during the dream "Wait, my mom is dead? OH NO.. she can't be.. she is here. OH MY GOD!"
Before this happened I don't remember ever having a conscious thought in my dreams. It is so weird to be in a dream looking in the mirror pinching yourself trying to wake up, and then waking up screaming. But this wasn't one of those.
I just remember sitting on the floor and wrapping my arms around her. I wasn't crying or emotional, I was just so relieved. Life is NORMAL AGAIN. She wasn't murdered!! I'm in her house, I'm not scared, it is magical. It is beautiful. The smell, the feeling of my arms wrapped around her, I can still feel it now. Her hair, her eyes, just her. My mom! NEXT TO ME. Can you imagine? I can't now, but in my dream.. it was so real. I can almost feel it. I cried on the way to work, and I cried on the way home. I wish I could live in the good dreams forever. I miss her so much, I don't even know how I can stand it. How am I still here?