Shocking surprise in the courtroom

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Marty

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We were in our Sunday best; and yes I wore a dress and heels and Dan showed up surprisingly dressed as Michael; Michael's traditional khaki pants with a long sleeve button down dress shirt. I assumed by that he was making a silent statement to Michael because Dan never dresses like that. The first thing they did was detain me a few minutes because I had my girlscout knife in my purse that was almost 50 years old........so rusty it doesn't open. The room was small. Two deputys stood by Daniel and I think there were 6 of them inside and I don't know how many outside. We all wore our angel pins. I put our framed pictures of Michael on the long table where the parole board sat.

There was no one on the killers side, except the prison chaplin and the monster was not in the room yet. Half the town was there for us. It all went very quickly. We were done in less than 30 minutes. No loud scenes, no outbursts. The head of the parole board taped the session did the prelimary stuff to explain why we were all there and then asked for impact statments from anyone. Jerry began with "In two weeks on September 1, Michael would be 21 years old" and after that he was over come and could not continue. That tore my heart out. Dan was asked to speak and he turned pale and could not get a word out. He tried about three times to say something and he just got all tripped up and couldn't speak at all and I felt so sorry for him; he really tried so hard. So it was all on me. Seems the speech I had prepared in my mind for the past two years went out the window and I went blank at first too.

The words were hard to get out at first and then they came.I spoke calmly as possible. I told told them that if Michael were here today, he was the type of kid to punch him out for wrecking his chopper, then he would have helped him up, talked to him about using drugs and being drunk, then he would have shook his hand and made a friend out of him. That's the kind of kid he was. I know I referred to the killer as a monster, a creature, a beast and I said that if the State of Tennessee didn't turn him loose and parole him out early from killing his father in the first place, he would not have been enabled to kill Michael in the first place. That the State of Tennessee made a huge mistake that we are all now paying for. I explained that we weren't perfect people or a perfect family, and had plenty of faults of our own, but we always had fun and laughter in the house and we didn't harm people or cause anyone trouble and we lived a modest life and just loved eachother so much.

I said this person was a carreer criminal who has been in trouble with the law since he was 11 years old arrested on his first drug and theft charges. Then I went on to say he left a path of destruction with every life he touched ever since, always with drugs and alchol involved and asked the State of Tennessee if they wanted to be responsible again to see when, not if, but when and who he will kill a third time. That no good would come from an early release. I said a few more things that I don't even remember right now but I didn't scream or cry, I just spoke matter of factly. Then Nola and Whitney some of Michael's classmates also spoke up and told about who Michael really was but then Whitney broke down something awful and then that caused a chain of reaction and got everyone in the room in tears.

The head of the parole board had "your forum file" in hand which was thick. Really thick. He pointed to it and lifted it up to show everyone. He said in all his 30 years on the parole board that he and his office have never seen such an outpouring of opposition against someone and so much love for Michael and our family. He said this has never happend before. That his office has been stunned and overwhelmed with these letters that have been read, very carefully, every single one of them, and they are going to keep reading them over and over and listen to what you have said. He says that this shows that this country does care about justice and what is good and what is right. He spoke about what loss our community has suffered with loosing a great boy like Michael in such a tragic horrible way. That he wished more people would take a stand for justice like you all have done and just say no to drugs and alcohol like Michael did. Then he spoke about the letter of opposition he got from the DA office asking not to release him either and stating why they feel this way also.

Then came the shocker. The chaplin handed him a note. He anounced that the killer was not coming. He said he has declined to attend this parole hearing and sent this written statement to us: He feels that he does not deserve parole and he wants to remain in prison and carry out his full sentence. That 5 1/2 years is not barely enough time served for taking another life and he wants to stay there. He has had two years to learn all about Michael, what kind of kid he was, and feels he almost knows him now from what he has been told------- and apparently he visits Michael's website often, and he does not want to be set free at all.

SHOCKING to say the least. Nobody knew this was coming except the chaplin. Jerry, Dan, and me breathed a sigh of relief and just were starring in disbelief at eachother. Totally unexpected. Then the head of parole board said that his recommendation to the rest of the board is to deny parole. That they will meet tomorrow and take a vote. He told us on the way out that the vote is expected to be unanimous. I did ask the chaplin to give Michael's killer this message from me:

I said to tell him Thank You, from me, to tell him that for the first time in his life, he did the right thing today. And that was all I had to say. It was over and we left.

I cannot even begin to describe what this feels like. Like some huge weight has been lifted. This is over because we have been promised he will never come up for parole again. He still has two charges and two more trials to go for still other things that he has done. Two more felonies from what we understand. I thought about my spending my last two years wanting nothing but vengence and wanting to kill this man with my bare hands and feeling so hateful that it has just drained me. I feel now we still have a chance at getting some of our lives back now, and we can begin to give ourselves permission to be happy and move on a little bit. I won't stop working for better things in our community and working on getting some of our laws changed even though it hasn't done much good, but I don't want to be obcessed with it either anymore.

You guys are all amazing and I hope you realize what you have done here today. Not just for Michael or my family, but what you have done for the sake of justice in the world.

Much Love

Jerry, Dan, Marty, and Michael our beautiful Teen Angel in Heaven
 

Reijel's Mom

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Oh my goodness, Marty. Don't even know what to say - I'm just thankful that a little bit of peace is in your heart now and I hope that your wonderful family can better continue with it's healing.

I can't imagine this happens very often, where the accused actually own up to what they did and don't try to get out of their just punishment.
 

Crabby-Chicken

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OMG,,,,

I am so GLAD he gave you guys a tiny bit of peace. He did not deserve to be free. Most never even comprehend what life altering decisions that had made. Sounds like your family got to him a little. I am happy you are done with it. I can't imagine the stress you guys have had to deal with waiting for this day. We wish you the best Marty.
 

alongman

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What a powerful statement you made to that man. You are such a strong woman and I admire you for what you did. You really should write a book or be a motivational speaker as there are so many people who could learn from your tragedy.
 

minie812

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Marty...I cried after reading your message. To know that maybe you will be able to move forward with your life after all you and your family have been through in the last two years does my heart good. This shows you are on the mend now...baby steps each and every day for you now & always prayers to you and your family...AMEN
 

Brandi*

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No one could have expected that. I think God really had his hand in this and I think he is working on that guys soul
I am so happy it went well Marty
 

txminipinto

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Wow. Marty, congratulations (I guess?). That is an amazing story and I'm so thankful for your family that you were spared seeing the monster. I'm also amazed that he chose to stay behind bars (though, he may have been scared of you!
). Take a deep breath and LIVE now Marty! LIVE for Micheal!
 

kaykay

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aww marty here I am in tears again. You are an amazing woman with a wonderful family. My heart is with all of you.
 

flflyingw

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Marty and Family and friends

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!! Love to you FLFlyingW
 

Miniv

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Marty,

That was intense and powerful to read. So, I can only imagine what it was like in that courtroom. You did an amazing, strong thing....both with your presentation and the message you sent to Michael's killer.

God bless.........
 

anoki

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For all of you, I am glad this day is over.....

You are an amazing woman Marty! I have been thinking of all of you a lot lately....I'm just sooo sorry you had to go through ALL of this....

What a powerful statement you made to that man. You are such a strong woman and I admire you for what you did. You really should write a book or be a motivational speaker as there are so many people who could learn from your tragedy.
You know I was thinking the exact same thing.....

((((HUGS))))

~kathryn
 

bcody

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Marty,

I have no idea what to say. I am in tears after reading this. Your angel is hard at work. I hope this gives your family some peace, and a chance to heel and to start to live again. We are always here to help you and your family.

You and your family are still in my prayers. Take care of yourselves and each other. God Bless!
 

bfogg

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I am so glad it is over for you!


Hugs

Bonnie
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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Marty, I am sitting in front of my computer in my little home office here in my little corner of Canada weeping. I am thinking of your family and the hard times you all have struggled through and I am thinking of my 20 year old son off at work today starting a life of his own that was denied your son. I wonder how I could ever find the courage and the strength to do as you have done. I hope you can now at last find some true peace and be comforted in the knowledge that your beloved son has touched many lives. For me at least his story has reminded me to appreciate each day my son is only a phone call away.
 

hobbyhorse23

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Miniv said:
That was intense and powerful to read. So, I can only imagine what it was like in that courtroom. You did an amazing, strong thing....both with your presentation and the message you sent to Michael's killer.


Now THAT was grace.

I don't post often to your threads anymore Marty...but it's not because I don't care. It's because I'm usually so overcome with emotion I feel I must go away and clear my head a little before I can write coherently. Then I come back and read it again and still cannot think of a thing to say that says what I feel. I wanted to reply this time to let you know that you've been in my thoughts and prayers all along and that I am so full of thankfulness and gratitude at this moment for the way this went for you.

Michael was amazing. YOU are amazing. Dan and Jerry are amazing. Carry on. You carry all of us with you. Thank you.

Leia
 

barnbum

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You, Marty, my friend, are one amazing woman.

Thank you.

To you, Jerry, and Dan:


And now I'm going out to the barn to finish this cry you started.
 

Sun Runner Stables

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I started reading this a very concerned that things had gone down hill.

To read that he had volunteered to keep himself in was outstanding, and a testament to how incredible your family is. I am so glad to read of this ending, and hope it helps heal a little bit more your families pain.

Hobbyhorse expressed it very well. It's almost impossible to find anything that feels right to say in light of the suffering your family has gone through.

I am relieved that at least this chapter of the healing is shut.
 

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