Over 20 years ago the 19-year-old man who killed my daughter was sentenced to prison for life.  Ten years after the sentencing I began to wonder if he was still there and found that I was able on my computer not only to access his record but get an address and a inmate number.    I thought if I wrote to him,  if he would answer,  perhaps I could get some insight on how it all happened, what actually went down.  I had not attended the trial, had never seen him.  What sort of person was he?  The grieving had quieted and curiosity was on the rise.

We have been corresponding now for over ten years.  His letters, of course, are all in longhand, and somewhat difficult to read as his handwriting is rather angular.  His grammar is excellent as is his spelling.  I’m learning a little about him.  Over the years I sent him four books.  The first was Dave Wilkerson’s THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE, about Wilkerson’s  venture into the gang culture in New York, a truly amazing book about how God can work in young men on the wrong side of society.  It might resonate with him, I thought.

As I began to get hints that he had been raised Catholic I decided to send him THE SONG OF BERNADETTE by Jewish author  Franz Werfel which had so impressed me when I first read it in 1942.  Until this day people by the thousands continue to visit the grotto in Lourdes where the child Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary who spoke the remarkable words “I am the Immaculate Conception,”  words which Bernadette could not herself understand.  Miracles continue to be documented there.

My third book was by Ben Carson which I sent when the presidential election got underway.  Ben, a famous black neurosurgeon wrote his book GIFTED HANDS long before he had ever considered running for president.  It is his life journey as a Christian and a doctor, and I thought other prisoners, especially black ones, might enjoy it too.

The last book was a recent publication by Eric Metaxas called MIRACLES.  Do they still occur? Why does Eric believe in them?  If you are not familiar with Metaxas just google”Eric Metaxas Prayer Breakfast” to view his very humorous, very touching talk about his faith journey after which he has the audacity to lead the group in Amazing Grace–in the presence of the Obamas!

So, here we are now.  No one in my family is interested in this correspondence.  They think that everyone “finds God” in prison and it means nothing.  I have saved the many letters he wrote me and am going to leave them to the children whose mother’s life he took.

I close with a quote from his last letter;

I read a quote from Solzhenitsyn from the book you bought for me.  “Miracles, What They Are, Why Then Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life” by Eric Metaxas.  There’s a line from a famous book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl who was in the Nazi death camps. He wrote, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how.'”  I am reading Miracles again, my fourth time.  And Ive learned something more every time.  I got a highlighter and have marked all types of things. The first time I read it I liked the second part best, but now I’m leaning more to the first part.  I wanted to get “Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life.  For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe but the maturity of the human soul.” tattooed on my shoulder blade with a prison wall in the background and have rays of light coming from up above BUT I promised my sister no more tattoos so I just carry a piece of paper with these words around with me. I have it on the back of my Prisoner Identification Card. I hope that your son gets the same feeling I do when you read that to him.  Ms. Dorothy, you are the main reason I’ve had all of the changes in my life and the way I look at things now.  Thank you.  Thank you for writing to me back in 2005 and letting me know how you prayed for me.  Even though I am in prison you helped me gain a freedom that people in society sometimes never experience.  I know God has plans for me.  He can make ANYTHING happen as long as we have Faith. Have you ever sat down and daydreamed about what it would have been like to walk with Jesus when he was here on Earth?  Years ago I would never have stepped out of the boat and into the water when He called.  Now I’d jump and run across the water.  Do you ever wonder why Jesus never had any children?  I know I’m God’s child but you know what I mean.  I’d like to be able to sit down with one of those Bible scholars and ask him or her all of the questions that float around my head.  Who knows, maybe some day I can use a computer and do all of that.


There is a possibility that this prisoner’s sentence may be somehow commuted in the near future, subsequent to a new law relating to sentencing of minors for life.  He has been appointed a lawyer and there has been some action relevant to reviewing his case.

I post all this because there is no sin so grievous that a repentant soul cannot be forgiven by God.  Jesus told us to pray “forgive us our trespasses as we have forgiven those who trespass against us.”

Please pray for us.