Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Some Notes on Terrence's Letter

I have to wonder if this letter was written by Terrence. Actually, I am wondering about a lot of things. Mrs Sampson posted the letter as a comment, with no additional comment of her own.

I have been unable to ascertain if Terrence is, indeed, married. I don't know where to begin finding that out. Can any of you sleuths out there help me? Much as I would like to take the word of Mrs Sampson, I know the internet is vast, and a person can have an agenda that goes beyond simple communication.

Having said that, let's move on.

The letter is full of the sort of "buzz words" that appear in a lot of Parole Board communications.
I know I had a direct impact in a negative way on your life.
I deeply regret the actions of my childhood, and I’ll never fully forgive myself for my actions. I committed a violent and heinous act against Kelly, and I take full responsibility for my actions and offer no excuses or justifications for what I’ve done.
The words "I killed her" never come up. There are no specifics of the crime at all--just the generic "violent and heinous act." Sorry folks, but that is lawyer-speak, social-worker-speak, parole-board-speak. One might even go so far as to say, Twelve-Step-Program-speak.
As I read your comments in your blog, I was forced to accept the reality that most people will always look at me and judge me for the 12 year old boy I had been and not the man I have become.
Terrence, we have no way to judge the man you have become. The last anyone here heard of you, you were making threats against the mother of the girl you brutally murdered. MURDERED, Terrence. Stabbed repeatedly with a kitchen knife, as she tried to fight you off with her bare hands. Was it true that you asked her for a date and she turned you down? Did you not think she had the right to do so? Never mind that twelve-year-olds have no business "dating" in the first place. Was there a 7th Grade dance, or something? I do remember it was just before school broke for Christmas. Did she laugh at you for asking her out, or was she kind about refusing you? Perhaps if you can explain what happened, rather than just uttering these generic statements, I can take you seriously.
People see me in the media as only the child I had been
Actually, Terrence, the media has been conspicuously absent from this case. The mere fact that my blog comes up when googling you should tell you that. If there were dozens of news articles about the case, my little blog would be at the bottom of the list. It's not much of a list, is it? You mention the media twice in your letter. I hope you haven't been sitting there for twenty (and a half) years hoping for a true crime book, or a Hallmark Channel movie, because it hasn't happened. Who would you want to play you, Terrence?
People have the right (t)o their opinion about me, but you made a strong comment about my wife ending up dead at my hands, and I couldn’t help but to wonder if that opinion came as a result of your thoughts of the mentality that I have now as a 33 year old educated and mature man, or if that opinion came as a result of your thoughts of the mentality I had as a 12 year old boy?
Actually, I have no idea what kind of man you have become. All I know is that you were a murderous child. Having killed once, in a fit of conscience-less temper, I have no idea if you can now control yourself. If you are honest with yourself, I think you might not know, either. And Mrs Sampson has no way of knowing. We have your word, but you have been living in an environment in which your every move has been controlled by how would you know?
People usually try to see the worst in me, but those who know me see the best in me.
Nobody has to try to see the worst in displayed that for everyone to see when you murdered Kelly. Since then, as far as I know, this is the first any of us has heard from you publicly.

Did Mrs Sampson print out my blog entry for you, or do you have internet access? I guess you don't, or you would have posted the letter yourself, or emailed it to me. My email address is linked in my profile.
Isaac Asimov once said that, “Violence is the last Refuge of the incompetent”, and during my years of childhood I didn’t know how to express my anger and frustration at my life and what was going on in my household. I made choices based on the irrationality of a 12 year old mentality, and I deeply regret those choices. However, I no longer make choices based on a 12 year old mentality. I think, act, and live like the enlightened man I have grown into being.
Lots of kids have less-than-ideal childhoods. The vast majority of them manage to get all the way to adulthood, and, indeed, through their whole lives, without killing anyone. Most parents do the best they can with what they have to work with, but very few kids grow up in a situation that does not contain a lot of anger and frustration. You could have spoken with a counselor at school, or a trusted coach or teacher, or a minister.

I mentioned earlier that I had an opportunity to kill a child when I was just about the age you were when you killed Kelly. I saw the fear in her eyes and chose to stop. I am no sort of especially good person, or anything like that, and still I chose to stop. Why didn't you?

Pleas explain "enlightened." How do you mean that? I mean, are we talking Buddha, here, or science fiction?
It is my prayer that this letter is received with the sincerity of my intentions.
I cannot determine the sincerity of your intentions. You are consistently minimizing the murder of Kelly, as Mrs Sampson was minimizing your size at the time. Just to recap, you were on the football team, and Kelly was a gymnast. I have no idea what position you played, because my daughter did not follow football, but you certainly were big enough to be a linebacker.

Did you graduate from high school or get a GED in prison? Learn a trade? Get a degree? How will you support yourself when you are released? What are your "intentions?"
I can only live my life with a sense of purpose, and my purpose is to try to have a positive impact on as many people as I can in life. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to do that in more than a couple of ways, and certain positive aspects of my life will never be seen in the media, but I wanted you to know that I put forth a effort every day of my life to try to use my experiences to bring some good out of a terrible situation.
Again, this is a very generic statement. I could say exactly the same about my life. Am I to understand from your use of the word "blessed" that you have found religion? Do you think it will last after you are released? I suppose "The Purpose Driven Life" has been on your list of reading materials, from your repetition of the word "purpose." Please know that it was also on Scott Peterson's list, and he is on Death Row in California for the murder of his wife and unborn son.

So, while your letter MAY be sincere, it reads as if you wrote it to be presented to the Parole Board.

I am a hard sell. I have seen many of you guys come and go. Recidivism is a terrible thing, and all too common.

Convince me that what you say is true.


  1. His wife...his last name is Marshall...

  2. Crap! I meant to say "Sampson!" Note to self: don't write late at night...

  3. lol, I am just glad it wasnt me. I was looking at all the posts wondering what I missed.

  4. My only excuse is that I was tired.

  5. Thanks, Melissa...we are still tweaking it. A friend has built this for me. Skills I don't have.