11/23/14

Kimberly Cargill Texas

The state of Texas has denied Kimberly Cargill's request for an appeal. She had such high hopes and truly, I wonder how it could have been denied. Then again, we are talking about Texas. Just last week I received a fat manilla envelope from her containing her only copy of her appeal. The letter accompanying it thanked me for the positive exposure and explained that she had enclosed her appeal so that I could see the expert evidence that her victim could very well have died exactly the way Kimberly said she did. It also showed some pretty heinous deeds by the prosecution as well as some clear violations of her rights.

According to Kim, She would never hurt Cherry and had never hurt anyone. Cherry had a seizure in the car and Kimberly reacted in all the wrong ways. Horribly, terribly, rotten ways. But that is all she did. She did not kill Cherry and there are medical professionals who he looked at the evidence and agree that Cherry had a seizure.

No judge or jury will ever see that evidence, however. Somehow the Texas board of appeals doesn't find it relevant.

11/15/14

Natasha Cornett Tennessee

I recently received a letter from Natasha Cornett. She is serving three life sentences and then some for the 1997 murders of the Lillilid family in Tennessee. Natasha and five other kids who considered themselves Satanists kidnapped the family from a roadside rest stop and transported them to a deserted road where they shot and killed the mother, father and daughter.

Natasha was the self proclaimed head of her group of friends in Pikeville, Kentucky. They were outcast kids who had been in and kicked back out of the system several times over. Natasha herself had been diagnosed with a mental disorder and deemed dangerous but released from the hospital for lack of insurance. Her case is actually held up to professionals, as an example of what can go wrong when the government drops the ball. Each year of her life she got progressively worse and so many people could have stopped her along the way.

Natasha is what is termed a 'throw-away girl". She was born into poverty and violence as a child of an affair and never knew another type of live really existed. She was diagnosed bi-polar with anorexia and anxiety and began self-mutilating and using drugs and alcohol while in junior high school. She dropped out in her freshman year and was married to a long-time friend, Steven Cornett, a short time later.

At the time of the murders of Tabitha, Vidar and Delfina Lillelid and the shooting of their son, Peter, Natasha was 18. The group of troubled youths took the families van and fled to Mexico. They were apprehended at the border. Natasha took a plea deal even though evidence and her testimony deny she was the shooter. She avoided the death penalty by doing so, but received three life sentences plus a number of years.
  
According to reports from her mother, she serves as a mentor inside prison to encourage other girls to get their G.E.D. as she has. In her letter she says that she often feels invisible.
"The only thing people see is this media fabricated version of me."
She offers to help with the death row women projects as well as contribute artwork, etc. I am curious to see how she lives her life in the shadow of the crimes she's committed.

11/7/14

Bethany McKee

You remember Bethany McKee. She is 22 now and has been sentenced to life in prison for the murders we talked about back in August. She and three other 19 - 20 year olds lured two young men to a home and then strangled them.

She made a statement during her sentencing hearing.
“I’m so sorryif there was any way I could go back and return your loved onesI would,” McKee said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “If I had known this would have happened, I’d have made a better choice.”
There was another female involved in the murders, Alisa Massaro, who admittedly had corpse-side sex with another of the murderers, Joshua Miner. It was Alisa's house the murders took place in. She plead guilty in May and agreed to testify against the other three. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison. With day-for-day credit she will only have to do half of it. She is scheduled to be freed in approximately three years, according to records from the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Krysten Webber - California

I have a new inmate to add to the roster. I received a letter of request from Krysten Webber, from California's Chowchilla Prison. She is serving life without the possibility of parole for aiding and abetting the murder of Steven Hartt. Her boyfriend, Eddie Cain, was a friend of Hartt's.

Steven Hartt was in an accident and paralyzed, using a wheelchair for mobility. He allowed Cain and Webber to move in to help him with daily activities and life in a wheelchair. The house became a party house, everyone, including Hartt, doing drugs and drinking consistently, using Hartt's monthly disability checks.

Eventually, Hartt tried to stop the madness and refused to provide any more money or drugs and a fight between him and Cain ensued. Webber and Cain left the home and returned later intending to rob Hartt, who they knew kept weapons on him. The problem arose when Hartt refused to go down without a fight. Cain beat and shot him while Webber robbed the home.

In Krystens letter she talks about how long she has been in prison and her early days, when she "was part of the problem". Her life sentence gave her no hope and she acted accordingly. In quite a bit of violent trouble over the years, Krysten finally simply got tired. She was exhausted from the struggle of everyday life and vowed to do whatever she could to alleviate the exhaustion, even if that meant finding peace with her situation.

She told me she was willing to talk about all parts of her life and hopes illuminating her worse mistakes will help someone else avoid them. The most poignant lines of the whole missive were her words about how she found peace,

"I wanted to be at ease in my own skin and I found I only felt that when I was helping others. That truly is the key to humanity. I vowed right then to be an asset to my community, even if my community is only the other few thousand women in this prison."