Tampa, Florida -- "It caught me off guard," says Ed Philips of the wave of emotions that have coursed through him this week.
Philips says Vicki Robinson, killed by her daughter Valessa in 1998, was "a dear friend" and the memories of her horrific murder have made this a difficult week.
"I've cried several times," he admits.
Philips and Deb Sartor-Englert spoke about Vicki Robinson on Thursday, because they didn't want Vicki forgotten, in all the news coverage about Valessa's release from prison.
Sartor-Englert describes Vicki as a vivacious, giving person.
"She loved her friends, her kids, and God," said Sartor-Englert.
Through Vicki, both Sartor-Englert and Philips had contact with Valessa, who was 15 at the time of the crime. They knew Vicki was struggling with her daughter and trying to guide her to a better path. But even though Vicki had told them about threats of physical violence Valessa had made, no one thought murder was remotely possible.
And now with Valessa about to get out of prison, Vicki's friends have a mix of emotions. Both Sartor-Englert and Philips think that Valessa should have served more time, but they also know that Vicki would urge them to forgive. Sartor-Englert says she has high hopes for Valessa.
"I hope she can turn over a new leaf."