Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Parole

Okay. Let the countdown begin. In nine days my father will be released from prison after serving only 16 years and 4 months for murdering my mother. The legal system, when it comes to domestic abuse situations, is hideous. He wasn't even legally charged for murder. How sick is that? He was charged with a lesser crime, manslaughter in the first degree.

On the day of the trial, my little sister and I experienced an emotional breakdown, for lack of a better term, as we were being escorted down the hallway to take the stand against our father. I knew that my little sister watched everything that I did and said. Whatever my actions were, my little sister followed suit. I was basically her mother-figure. I tried really hard to be as strong as I could be during that year that my father was out on bail before the trial. I had alot of pressure on me as the eldest child of three. My grandmother even blamed me for my mother's death for a time because I called her that night instead of the police (as though that would have made a difference). I took the blame and punishment and pain like a trooper until the day of the trial. Our child psychologists prepped us for weeks for this day. All of the prepping in the world could not prepare me to face my father who I had not seen in a year; a father that beat my mother for the last time that night, pulling out her hair and even throwing my sister against the wall in our basement as she tried to save our mother; a father whose hands were drenched in my mother's blood, fingerprints on the walls leading from the basement to the first floor; a father whom my intuition told me was contemplating getting rid of me and my siblings that night as well.

As I stepped out of the room with the psychologists and my sister, walking down the dark grey, speckled hall felt like walking up the steep walls of Mount Everest. The reality of facing my father in a matter of minutes smacked me in my face. I ran back a few feet to the room we left and held on to the door posts with all my strength. I really lost my mind for a moment. No one would force me to go on the stand but my reflexes, my body, felt that holding on to a door post would be the best way to protect myself. My sister followed and held on to me tightly. All the while we were bawling our brains out. I kept screaming, "I dont' want to go! I don't want to go!" over and over again.

When word reached my father's lawyer, he propositoned him to change his "not guilty" plea to guilty so as to save us the trauma of testifying against him. My father did as his lawyer advised. The judge then charged him with manslaughter in the first degree which carried the sentence of 7 1/4 - 25 years. After serving 7 1/4 years, he would be eligible for a paroled release. (Every two years when he was eligible for parole, my family and I testified to the board to have him stay in and we were successful every time. But June 19th is his 'early release date' and because of 'good behavior' he has to be released).

After my sister and I calmed down, I asked to sit in the back of the court to hear the judge's decree. My father, placed in hand cuffs was then allowed to speak as long as he wanted before being escorted to prison. Well, no one in that room knew my father as well as I did. Giving my father license to speak was like releasing the floodgates of the heavens in Noah's day. My father was a debater. Most of the time, his views were ludicrous but he would argue them to a pulp. He was a cocky, haughty, know-it-all that always had to have the last say. So here he was on center stage in the courtroom, mad as hell.

He started going on and on and on and on about how he was tricked by his lawyer to plead guilty although he didn't murder my mom. He spoke of his civil rights being abused, yada yada yada. The judge actually interjected and equally angry, blasted my father for his arrogance. I remember the judge saying correctly that now he sees that my father is maniacal and calculating and no doubt he planned the murder. He said if he knew of his character before hand, he would have given him the maximum sentence. Hellooooooooooooo! His character? He's a MURDERER. What more do you need to know? Anyway, my father was then thrown out of the courtroom and escorted out with officers, all chained up.

As it stands today, I am happy to say that I have no fear of my father. I actually have no fear of any human beings. I refuse to. I don't know my father. I don't know if he has changed. I don't care if he has changed. For all I know, he could have a vendetta against me but I really don't care and I'm really not afraid. This even surprises me and it is such a pleasant surprise. I went through too much in my life to have fear of another human being. He is supposed to be deported to his country of birth at release but as I inquired, this can be overturned by the immigration judge. My father married an American woman some years ago while in jail. I'm sure his intention was to use this as a reason why he should be made to stay in the United States. I was going to work hard to ensure that he would be deported but I feel liberated to just let the elements take their course in this situation. Whether he stays in the U.S. or not, I really don't care. I just don't think he should ever have the privilege of ever being in the lives of the children that he orphaned by taking our mother away.

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