Please keep in mind that this blog often has comments and statements directly from the women on death row. Statements of grief, statements of innocence, statements of regret and sorrow. If bearing audience to these women's feelings, my opinions or those of commenters offends you please do not read on.

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."