Diego Novella found guilty of murder by the Western Cape High court. Novella killed girlfriend Gabriela Kabrins Alban at an upmarket hotel in Camps Bay on July 29, 2015. Picture Cindy Waxa /AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY /ANA
The four parents of slain Gabriela Kabrins Alban said they had waited for 124 court days to hear the words that would finally allow them to “breathe”.

Kabrins Alban’s biological parents are divorced and both have subsequently remarried. The two couples told the Weekend Argus they had collectively spent close to $1 million since they first arrived in South Africa on July 31, 2015.

The two sets of parents travelled between South Africa and California for close to three years to attend the murder trial of their daughter and “uprooted their entire lives”.

It has been almost three years and now Howdy (father) and Linda Kabrins (stepmother) as well as Doris Weitz (mother) and Alexander Williams (stepfather) can finally move a step closer to finding closure following the guilty verdict on Kabrins Alban’s boyfriend, Diego Novella.

Emotional scenes played out in court when the judgment was passed with Kabrins Alban’s father breaking down and shouting “sorisa Gaby”, which according to him was his and his daughter’s code-speak for “sunrise, keep on shining”.

Judge Vincent Saldanha cautioned the parents that a part of his verdict dealt with the injuries Kabrins Alban sustained during the attack and asked if they wanted to excuse themselves.

Weitz and Williams left the courtroom but Howdy and Linda opted to stay.

Howdy Kabrins could be seen crying and softly banging his fist on the court bench as he listened to how his daughter’s body was desecrated after she had been killed.

The four parents turned to face the accused as the verdict was read out, all in tears and clutching their spouses.

The four share a close bond and attended proceedings daily, united in their grief and their quest for justice.

The Weekend Argus spoke to the family after the verdict outside court and they all expressed their relief.

“I had no doubt. I had confidence in Judge Saldanha. He is a wonderful man, human being. It is bitter-sweet. I am celebrating, but she is not here. I just do not know how we will tell the people back in the US how the people here took us in,” said Linda.

“I am being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. I have great memories of my daughter. She is a legacy. I will do something special for her,” Howdy said.

Asked how they would cope, Linda replied: “She would want us to be happy.”

Weitz said she was relieved.

“I can now mourn my baby.”

Asked why she had opted to leave the courtroom when the judge read out the injuries, Weitz replied: “I want to remember my baby the way she was and not for what he did to her.”

Howdy and Linda have been living in a rented apartment in Sea Point while Weitz and Williams, who is a retired US judge, have been living in an apartment at The Marina.

The couples are due to return to California next week but will be back for the sentencing hearing scheduled on August 7.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said: “We are hopeful that the judgment will bring a measure of comfort to the family.”