Washington state

'All I want is justice,' father of slain Kirkland family says

MILL CREEK - Leonid Milkin sits in his parents' home, decorated by hundreds of pictures of his two sons and wife.

Blown-up portraits of the boys rest on chairs near stuffed animals. There are photos of his wife, blond hair curled, wearing a pink sweater.

They're reminders of Milkin's family, was killed in their Kirkland home last July while he was deployed in Iraq.

King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng said Tuesday that he will seek the death penalty against Conner Michael Schierman, the man accused of stabbing to death Olga Milkin, 28; her sister Lyubov Botvina, 24; and the Milkins' two sons, Justin, 5, and Andrew, 3 and burning down the home to conceal the crime. Schierman pleaded not guilty last year.

"All I want is justice," Milkin said about the decision.

He's steeling himself for Schierman's trial in March, which he plans to attend every day.

"I just want to comprehend and understand why he did this," Milkin said. "The blood of my family cries out against him."

A motive is not yet known; according to court documents, Schierman said he woke up in the victims' home covered in blood following an alcoholic blackout.

'Like a roller-coaster'

Milkin grapples with the reality of his family's death.

"I'm learning to live without my family," Milkin said about his high school sweetheart and two sons. "It's like a roller coaster. I have my ups and downs. One day I'm full of faith and I believe they're in a better place, that they're with God and nothing can ever hurt them. ... Then sometimes I feel like my life has ended."

Milkin, now a sergeant in the Army National Guard and based at the Tacoma Armory, volunteered to serve in Iraq after the Sept. 11 attacks. He left for Baghdad in September 2005, and just a few months before his tour of duty was supposed to end, he got the news about his family.

He plans to rebuild the home this spring and is waiting for building permits to be approved by the city, he said.

He hopes that someday, he might have a family again.

But his wounds have yet to heal.

"This void just gets bigger and bigger," he said. "Nothing can take my family's place. When they died and went away, they took a very large part of me with them."

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