Brother of Weldon victim speaks out, honoring sister’s memory | News
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — On Thursday, Stewart Weldon was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences in prison.
Western Mass News spoke exclusively with one of the victims’ family members about how he wants people to remember his sister and how his family is moving forward.
We spoke with Anthony Ryans, the older brother of Ernestine Ryans.
Typically Western Mass News keeps the names of victims of sexual assault private, but Ryans reached out to us wanting to share his sister’s story.
He tells us his sister did her best to be a great mother, and yesterday’s sentencing of Stewart Weldon provided a sense of closure for their family.
“She was really just a good-hearted person and people that she cared about; she showed that,” Ryans said.
Ryans shared memories of his sister, Ernestine Ryans, with Western Mass News. Her life was tragically cut short at the hands of Stewart Weldon, who was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences Thursday afternoon at the Roderick Ireland Courthouse.
Ryans accompanied Ernestine’s daughters, his nieces, to court to share their victim witness impact statements.
“They knew it was going to be difficult, but they wanted to be there, and they wanted to speak there. They wanted to speak, and they felt they were doing it for their mom,” Ryans explained.
The sentencing came just days after Weldon changed his plea to guilty, which offered a sense of closure for Ryans.
“I was very angry for a long time about how things happened with my sister, and it didn’t get me anywhere; it sucks the life out of you,” Ryans said.
He knew Thursday would be a tough day, but he said it allowed the families of all three victims to be there for one another.
“Yesterday was the first time that we really spent a lot of time together and being in mourning for another and comforting each other,” Ryans added.
Ryans shared one of his best memories with Ernestine from their childhood when she would recruit the kids in the neighborhood to come outside and play for hours.
“She wasn’t afraid to talk and voice her opinion; she wasn’t afraid to speak to people. She was a good communicator, and I always admired that about her, always,” Ryans said.
He said he’s using this as an opportunity to be an advocate for people like his nieces moving forward.
“This wasn’t that I foresaw myself doing, but after something like this happens to a family member, a loved one. It kind of takes your life in a different direction,” Ryans said.
As part of the plea, Weldon requested to serve his time in a Florida prison, but the judge did not agree. Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said he will more than likely be located here in the Bay State, something Ryans tells me will be an unpleasant stay for him, and he knows that.