Crime, Punishment and Victims

Charge

Birth Date

Sentence Date

Release Date

First Parole Eligibility

Att Cap Murder w/ Deadly 12/14/1975 8/12/1992 3/13/2012 3/13/1997
2 Counts Att Cap Murder w/ Deadly 06/18/1976 4/13/93 3/09/2027 07/12/2000
2 Counts Att Cap Murder w/ DeadlyAgg Robbery w/Deadly 03/05/1976 3/08/93 3/05/2027 3/12/2000

The above is not random information designed to entice. This morning my friend and fellow Blogger Red called to ask permission to use information she knows about me as part of her on-going discussion (Reds Crime & Punishment). Of course, I am always happy to contribute, but thought in the interest of disclosure I would provide some of the facts.

Nearly Deadly Night

A night like any other really, the story, in a nutshell, I stopped for cigarettes and gas on my way home from work, it was February 7, 1992,  Benbrook, Texas a suburb of Ft. Worth. From there my nightmares begin, you can read the entire story at the link above, suffice to say my life was changed forever by three teenagers. Carjacked at gunpoint, held for over two hours I knew my life might end and I wasn’t ready. Ultimately, I was shot three times, twice through the neck and once a defensive wound in my forearm.

Funny the things you think about when you believe you might die. After the smoke had cleared and the tail-lights were down the road as I lay curled around myself first thinking how much bullets really hurt when they enter your body, I thought ……they took my brand new pack of cigarettes and just how unfair that was.

1992 UTWatch_ Texas Prison Overcrowding

Giving me Pause

The three young men involved were caught because they made stupid mistakes first in their choice of victims, we survived. Their stupidest mistake though was in committing their crimes in the first place, destroying their lives before they ever started. In all three cases, each of them had one parent serving time; in the case of one both parents were behind bars. This would make them the second generation to share the yard. One of their grandmothers said to the DA, please don’t send him away he is a good boy he thought they were only going to steal cars.

Huh?

In fact, he ended up turning evidence against the other two, he had a good school record, had never been in trouble before this; it is likely he didn’t know what was to come of that night. He tried to stop them but couldn’t and in the end had to back down, how is that for the ultimate peer pressure. This young man ended up with a twenty-year sentence because he thought he was going joy riding.

They Got Time but I Got Life

I will not go into the details here of either the short or long-term damage to my body

Huntsville State Prison – Wikipedia

or soul from this incident. The three offenders will someday walk free, I will never be free and it is extremely likely my life will be shortened by up to twenty years because of their actions and choices. This sentence provides a very different perspective.

I am often asked if I forgive them, the short answer is NO.

Victim Impact

Since I have been back in Texas, I have been privileged to volunteer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in a program called Victim Impact. I wish they would call it something different, but I understand the meaning behind it and my involvement has provided me both insight and opportunity to truly think about the criminal justice system we have today. I have met some amazing people, other Victims also Volunteers, staff members and even on occasion some of the program participants . Heard some heart wrenching stories that make me want to weep, even when hearing them for the tenth time.

The program takes us, the victims inside of State and Federal prisons, State jails, juvenile facilities and parole groups to talk to offenders about what crime does to us how it affects us. The offenders in the prison and jail programs are volunteers who must be approved, they want to be there and it isn’t an easy program. They don’t get a gold star on their jacket for finishing it.

Time – kutnews Image

How I see it

I am not easy and some who hear me speak are offended by my lack of forgiveness. My only response is there will never be forgiveness until there is remorse and reconciliation it isn’t a right and cannot be demanded. My offenders have been up for Parole more than once each, I have been there each time fighting to keep them exactly where they are, through letter writing campaigns and petitions. Their crimes against me and against my family as the extended victims were brutal. I want every day, every hour, every minute the state promised me in the sentence handed down.

Crime and punishment are abstract until they are real. I believe strongly we have a system  that doesn’t serve us properly. We have spent far too long warehousing the non-violent

Garden of Angles dedicated to murder victims

and returning the violent to a society that is not ready for their enhanced skills. We have grown prison populations that include generations, it should be a national shame rather than a source of revenue and pride. Nevertheless, as a victim of a senseless violent crime I am thankful I can participate in the processes that ensure fair sentences meted out and completed when appropriate.

Some think me hard, others think I am vindictive demanding my pound of flesh. The truth of it is I don’t believe in forgiveness as a right and I don’t believe those that do me and mine harm should be able to demand their freedom. They caused immeasurable and have never said those simple words “I am sorry”. So why should I ever lift my demands they serve their sentences.

I will continue this some other time. There is far more to discuss on this subject.

Sleep Deprivation and Marriage

It is never easy to wake-up and find your leg dangling precariously over the side of the bed, as if your sub-conscious has prepared you to flee. Your attempts to roll over are prevented by the person dragging the covers off you, stealing your pillow and laying dead in the middle of your side of the bed. Not mind you, the middle of the King sized bed you share, but rather the middle of your side of the bed. Your arm wedged firmly beneath you, tingling due to the lack of blood circulation and the crick in your neck, it just might be permanent. This is me, six days out of seven.

First Thoughts

Finally, my eyes able to focus I note the time, 2am. Why in the world is it two in the morning, again. Oh, the injustice, is this really my fate. It is 2am, there is a stranger in my bed and I married him more than a decade ago. I frequently wake up with that thought in my mind, “who are you and why are you disturbing my sleep?” It doesn’t last, fading quickly as I am not prone to linger between sleep and the awakened state.

When I try to move his arm tightens around my waist and he makes that small growl in the back of his throat, even in sleep he knows I am trying to move away. It makes me smile even in my annoyance, nonetheless, I slip out of the covers to gain some distance and get my blood circulating again. I know our sleep habits perhaps better than I know our awake habits, he will move back to the center soon and I will regain some small space on “my side” of our King sized bed to finish the rest of my night’s sleep.

Who are you, really? Why are you here?

Image inflexwetrust

My husband, my mate, my partner; all that but mostly the bed hog, cover thief and sleep robber. He is a snuggler far more than I am, in this I think our roles are reversed. For all the years of our marriage, even when we go to bed angry he chases me across the expanse of our bed to trap me in his favored spoon position and hold me there through the night.

I have always been able to take the pulse of our marriage by our sleep position, though there are days I would rather him sleep anywhere but under and around me, I am comforted by his constancy. There has only been one time in the years of our marriage he did not seek me in his sleep, that time now a painful reminder for both of us that we must be present during our waking lives not just our unconscious moments of sleep.

He points to a picture of me as a five-year-old and laughs says I sleep in exactly the same

Only monsters 1963

position today as I did then, asks why I complain. My only answer is, at five I didn’t share the bed, my body didn’t have all the strange grievances then it does today, I was only afraid of monsters and most importantly I never woke up wondering “who the stranger in my bed was”. He just laughs at me and tells me there is always divorce and then I can have the whole bed to myself, yet here we are still married and still spooning.

I love you too.

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