Life After Murder: Five Men in Search of Redemption
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Award-winning journalist Nancy Mullane found herself facing these questions when she accepted an assignment to report on the exploding costs of incarceration. But the men she met behind the walls astonished her with their remorse, introspection, determination, and unshakable hope for freedom and forgiveness.
Life After Murder is an intimately reported, utterly compelling story of five convicted murderers sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, who discover after decades in prison that their second chance, if it comes at all, is also the challenge of a lifetime. It follows their struggle for redemption, their legal battles to make good on the state’s promise of parole, and the lives they found after so many years inside.
quarter of a century, I’m . . . confused. I don’t invest myself too much in whether these lifers get out or not, because it’s hard for me. If I get too invested emotionally on individual cases and how they turn out, it’s not healthy for me. It would be a lot of disappointment. It’s a huge weight.” Standing together in the sun just outside the warden’s office, I ask whether he’s ever wondered what it would be like to end up inside, locked up. “I’ve experienced incarceration in my dreams, where
Lieutenant Eric Messick, the prison’s press officer, is standing halfway down the aisle, hands on hips. It’s time for me to leave. Realizing their photo opportunity is passing, the other men in the group who have not had their Kodak moment quickly form a half circle, encouraging me to click: “Take the photo! Please.” I lift my camera and take one final shot. As we walk back out the sally port, Messick muses on what just happened. “That’s the phenomenon about convicts,” he says. “They all want
“I called my aunt ’cause my mom couldn’t accept collect calls anymore, and she started screaming. She dropped the phone. My uncle picked it up and said, ‘What’s going on?’ And I told him and said, ‘Can you call my mom on a three-way so I can tell her?’ So he called, and my mom was crying and praying. It was something.” Early the following morning, Jesse joined the usual procession of lifers making their way to the prison’s Protestant chapel for Sunday services. There would be Christian rock
stepping out onto the sidewalk. Days earlier, she went shopping and picked out a buttercream-colored linen suit and a pair of chestnut-brown shoes and dropped them off at the nearby parole office. When the state car bearing her son finally turns the corner, Lois can no longer sit still. Standing on her porch, she sings louder and louder, her years of pain filling the air. Her firstborn son, the mirror of her smile, is returning to her. Now the broken family she has barely held together all these
get out.” “What makes me different,” Jesse says, “is my faith base is God. I believe it’s because of God I’m standing here today. In the crisis in my life, I had hope. A lot of men inside don’t have hope. The faith in God, where they’re willing to depend on something or someone greater than who they are. They’re caught up with what they can do for themselves. What they don’t understand is they can’t help themselves and they’re trying with everything they have in them. They’re learning law. They