I’ve shared that I keep in touch with the lesser defendant thru the month. Usually it’s by FB messenger, but sometimes we text.
I first spoke with Wesley during the conference call at his sentencing. When the boys decided to plead guilty, the case wound down suddenly. I’d been so hyped up with the need for justice for months, I wasn’t very prepared to shift gears and stop to think there’s the next phase.
I was unsure how I felt about Wesley. I’d seen Andrew in court at his bail hearing and wept hard for him cause I saw how quiet he was and that he seemed ‘lost’. Instead of a mean monster I saw this soft spoken young man. I noticed he had no family to comfort him in court and wondered how he was getting along? I feared he may be depressed or suicidal, and wrote the Detectives and his attorney to watch out for him. He wasn’t a hardened criminal and I knew being in jail for something like murder, when you’re an honest guy down on his luck, could send one to the depths of despair.
So when it came to Wesley, I recalled how he’d been in the video with Marc during the incident …. (don’t want to share more). I thought he was probably a street fighter type, rough around the edges. Andrew had ‘blocked out’ some of his stabbing Marc, I’m sure he was scared during the altercation and not understanding what he was doing …. and I’d wondered what made a quiet guy do what he did to my son? And since Andrew seemed sorta gentle, maybe Wesley egged him on? My heart wanted to find the truth out about Wesley.
Anyway, Wesley’s sentencing seemed to move along so fast, I tried to keep up with things. I was a thousand miles away in L.A. but the phone reception was great & I felt pretty connected to the proceedings. I discovered he seemed a fairly normal young man, it sorta gave me peace to know that Marc would never have stopped to talk with criminal types. I listened to his attorney and he was alot more involved in Wesley’s case than I realized. He had the video of the incident ‘re-mastered’ to bring clarity to his clients role in the altercation. It was stunning, caring and even though I was in pain, I was privately becoming so happy that justice seemed to prevail, even on his side. I wouldn’t want someone to be blamed for murder if he didn’t do it, I didn’t want Marc’s case to be shoddy in any way!
Anyway, Wesley was noticeably euphoric at the prospect of being freed. He had all this exuberance about him and told me how sorry he was for what happened! I did sorta feel sad like, ‘gee, he’s so happy but is this what it’s like after I lose my son’? I blurted out that I hoped he’d do well with getting his life back, and I was going to hound him with prayers. He didn’t get upset by what I said, he may have wondered what I was up to?
In another city, country or circumstance he could have been railroaded into prison on a murder or manslaughter sentence, he was a lucky guy! They’d caught him first and he was the one in the video with Marc the longest. I’m very grateful the detectives, court, lawyers were so good in Portland. I was glad God honored Marc’s memory with honest people on his case.
Fast forward to today …. for a person who’s suffered so much in his short life, Wesley isn’t a bitter person. This week he was ‘down’ as he hadn’t found a job after sending out dozens of resumes. He’s living in shame still and is shunned by some friends and family because of his having been associated with a crime where someone was murdered! I shared with him about an agency that helps ex-offenders find work. He told me he’d go when his stomach flu, cough was over. I sent him a reminder message and he sent back a photo of himself with his beard shaved off, ready to go to the agency! We got a laugh from his beardless expression!
My connection with Marc never grows dim, he’s always a strong presence in my daily life! I don’t mix him up with the boys. I’ve grown in my grief and don’t look at myself or even Marc only with self pity. I’ve found out there are lots of teen boys and girls out there with no solid parenting, guidance …. lost, hurting, self medicating and feeling scared. We live in an awesome country but in some ways it fails to give teens the right messages.
So I stay connected with the defendants. Looking at others pain isn’t a burden if you’re rooted in God. I can’t walk away from the boys, I don’t want them to get the idea that just because family or friends have shunned them that God’s forgotten them too!