Tag Archives: prisoner

Denied

Jeremy’s request for re-sentencing has been denied at this state level, which was to be expected but still makes for a disappointing sting. Although I’m sure we are in for more denials before we get any relief, I knew this first one was going to be extra upsetting for me. It’s also a bit anxiety inducing because at each level there will be sensationalized news articles released, spewing not facts about the case, but hearsay along with lies and the most inflammatory statements to get people angry.

The attorney representing the state called Jeremy’s case, and I quote, “the most heinous crime in history”*. I’m a little concerned how much history this individual knows, but that’s beside the point. The point is that the state is going to say anything, print anything, and throw anything at this case that they think will make us give up because that is their jobs. Their jobs aren’t rooted in impartiality or truth or having a soul. Their job is to win at any cost, even if it means lying about the facts of the case, manipulating details, omitting information, and making outrageous claims like the one the DA made to get it in the papers. I take back all my misplaced opinions about people who I’ve read negative things about in the media in the past. I understand now.

This is the appeals process, y’all. I’ve never personally been part of it until now, but I can tell my sensitive nature needs get ready for rejections and harsh words and it needs to learn how to move past it all. The truth? Yes, I want Jeremy to have a chance at parole someday. I know that angers some people, those who believe he doesn’t deserve a chance, those who believe no one deserves a second chance at life. I wonder if they also think this crime is the most heinous in history. I wonder if they take everything at face value and don’t bother to really get to know what’s going on.

The article about the denial that the LVRJ printed also includes inflammatory wording and insinuation of racism, which makes me laugh. It makes me laugh because one of the hate messages I received said I must not care about the victim because she was black. While it is ridiculously amusing now, when I read it and when I read this article, I could feel anger bubbling beneath the surface. It’s angering because race is not an issue here. We are two of the least racist people, so for the judge to make the comments about race and for the paper to print that, well that just goes to show they are relying on information that is not true. Maybe not even relying on it but counting on information that is not true to upset the public.

Jeremy’s best friend in prison is a man named Andre, an African American who sports a fro and at one time, before he knew Jeremy, wanted to murder him because he thought what the papers printed about him was true and that he was a monster. Each and every time someone wants to murder my husband because of what they think they know (and this has happened a lot, believe me) and then get to know him, they usually become friends. Whites, Blacks, Mexicans, Asians. My husband runs with them all, and treats everyone with respect, so for someone to claim racism makes me angry laugh, if that’s a thing. Just as I was typing the last part of this post, Jeremy called me before going out to yard and his friend Rasta, who is also African American, took the phone from him to say hi to me really quick. So, racism is not an issue here and it is that type of bullshit that gets printed in the papers. All I`m saying is, don`t believe everything you read. Not about my husband, not about his case, not about anything.

So, a denial. An expected one, but one that sucks nonetheless. From here the case is appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court, which I doubt will provide any relief either. After that? The case will move into the Federal District Court and from there the Ninth Circuit Court. It’s a waiting game now.

For those of you who are wondering what the argument is, or legal basis is for the appeal (because I know some guys Jeremy knows in prison have been wanting to file similar appeals when we get a favorable ruling), the issue is the age. Juveniles (which currently means under 18 in Nevada), are not sentenced to death or life without parole because of fairly recent rulings. The problem is that a line has been drawn at 18, but does one miraculously change into a full-fledged adult with a fully formed brain on their 18th birthday? What is the difference between 17 years 11 months and 18 years 1 month? Scientifically speaking, there is no difference. In fact, science says that the brain is not fully formed until the mid-twenties. There are raise the age campaigns going up across the nation, challenging the age 18 cut off. Why can’t people drink until their 21, which is when they are considered an adult, but they can be sentenced to life without parole at 18?

Some folks will argue that age does not matter and no matter what age you are, you deserve every harshness that comes your way if you commit a crime. For those folks: I really, really hope that you never get into any shit where you think the mercy of the system might be on your side.

I do want to touch on the fact that while I believe in second chances, I am not pro let serial killers, or those who continuously have severe behavioral problems, out without serious consideration and proof that they have rehabilitated. There are some people who just cannot stop committing crimes. So, yes, I do believe in punishment, but I also believe in the ability to change, in the age issue we are raising, and in second chances. Again, people will roll their eyes and say something along the lines of “Well there is no second chances for the victims of crimes”. You cannot get through to everyone and each person will have an opinion on justice and forgiveness of their own.

This feels like such a heavy informational post, which usually isn’t my jam, but I wanted to provide an update for those who are curious about the case and what we are doing, what is happening. If you’re here just to leave angry comments (which I`ve disabled because nobody has time for that) or be angry in general, there is nothing for you here. Yes, apparently, I am married to a man who committed the most heinous crime in history and this is our story.

*8/6/2018 I wanted to add here that I recently went back to the LVRJ article and it appears as though they have altered the quote by the DA to now read “…one of the most infamous and heinous crimes in history…”, which I find pretty funny because it just illustrates how ridiculous the media is. Also, still not even close there, y’all. Carry on.

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“I hope you rot in hell!”

Whoa, what? Yes, the ol’ “rot in hell” and “I hope you die” phrases of heartfelt wisdom. Words that touch many, many levels of the human soul. Words that move the universe forward and provide hope for all. Yes, that is sarcasm if you did not catch it.

You guessed it, I’m addressing hate mail, which is sort of baffling to be honest. I fully understand and realize that I am married to a somewhat “public figure”, but the whole notion of hate mail is very new to me. It’s not fun and that is this simplest way I can describe it. I could seriously never be a celebrity because I would fucking cry every single day. I’m not special, though, every article I read, about pretty much anyone, contains an infinite number of hateful, negative, and otherwise useless comments that do not help the human race or social justice at all. The words are just a bunch of choice letters strung together to create really shitty, inarticulate comments that are rooted in misinformation and inflammatory thinking.

To the above statement, people will shout “You’re full of shit!! I read it in the paper!! He confessed!! You are evil and sick. Rot in hell! Die Die Die!!!”. It’s the same circle over and over again and unless you truly understand what is *actually* happening, you cannot be reasoned with. People love media headlines, they LOVE them,  and they love to believe that the newspapers and the police and law have their best interest at heart. Or do they? Take a pause from wishing me a safe passage to hell because you know me so well and think for a second. You couldn’t even make it that second, could you? I heard this quote the other day on a podcast that I listen to and it was something to the effect of “People don’t want to know the back story because the back story challenges what they think they know about something”. It’s true. People would rather live in a space of what they think they know and believe than have any type of back story or different narrative than what they’ve been spoon fed by the media.

I’ve also had people ask why I feel my husband deserves freedom and that’s a really hard question because, again, if you have no idea what is going on, you will not be convinced by any counter that I have. I suggest, first reading more than one blog entry and actually educating yourself on more than what you’ve briefly read on the case. I would also point out that just because there could possibly, maybe be a re-sentencing hearing, that does not mean anyone is getting out of prison. Third, consider for a brief, very brief moment, even briefer than it took you to deem me worthy of hellfire, that there were two people at the scene of the crime and only one convicted and the other goes free without being charged as an accessory.

I used to think to myself, “What right do I have to defend this mess?” I used to think it wasn’t my mess to defend and then I started to think, “Why should I have to defend myself to people who have no idea what they are talking about?” Now I’ve made peace somewhere in between questioning my right to defend my life and myself, and trying to let go a little bit more. I realize that some folks cannot be reasoned with, so why am I going to spend my time responding to messages of damnation and crude thought process? There is literally no winning.

This post strays a bit from my creative process of crafting my blog entries because the hate mail I’ve gotten had such a visceral impact on my thought process, trying to understand how people who have no idea who I am as an individual could say such ugly things to me, that I just wanted to speak honestly about my thoughts.

If you’d like to check out a post that my husband did about the hate mail, you’re more than welcome to. I can see the angry clicking already. Angry click here.


Evidentiary Hearing v 1.0

How do you process the start of a journey that is going to decide your other half’s fate and ultimately yours? If you’re me, you apparently eat way too much ice cream, do not sleep nearly enough to function, and you cry a little, but not too much. That is how I am currently processing the aftermath of attending my first ever evidentiary hearing. I`m not going to lie: the hearing was terrifying for me (having no experience with this type of situation), anxiety inducing, but an event that I am glad I was there for because I want to support my husband as we weave our way through some back road that cannot be turned around on, so you have to just keep moving forward even though it sucks and you are so lost and you have no idea what is going to happen next. Buckle up and brace yourself for what is around the bend.

*click click click* The camera man is taking photos, thankfully not of me or the immediate family sitting in the courtroom with me, but he is taking photographs of the expert that is testifying. Photograph after photograph after photograph. He is taking photographs of the judge and the lawyers. He is taking photographs of Jeremy. My Jeremy. My stomach knots up the way it did before I got out of the car that morning. It knots up and my hands and pits are sweaty and I can hear my heartbeat in my ears and I`m trying to hear what all is being said, but my heart is drumming in my ears and I keep hearing the *click click* of that fucking camera in front and to the right of me and I want to get up and slap the whole thing out of that man’s hands. I envision myself doing just that, getting up and just slapping that stupid camera out of his hands and onto the floor just so he will stop taking pictures of Jeremy.

I look over at my husband, this man that I had only ever been with behind prison walls. This is our first time seeing each other, in the flesh, outside of a prison visiting room even though we have been married nearly 9 years and have a friendship that spans almost two decades. I look over at him and he is so focused, handsome, scruffy with his glasses on and just looking forward and taking notes,  aware that the photographer is clicker happy. I keep looking at my husband and he happens to look over and we exchange a smirk off camera, a knowing smirk, an understanding one, some secret declaration of “It’s okay. I`m here and you are here and we are here and I love you”. If all that can be said in a smirk, we said it and I was glad for that exchange in my moment of sweaty armpits and desire to slap the camera onto the floor. I wanted to have a  full on Braveheart moment and just slap the camera down and yell “FRRREEEEDOOOMMM!!!!!”. Not the appropriate time for that I guess.

While the clicker happy camera man is taking photo after photo, some “junior reporter person” is shadowing him, and by shadowing him, I mean she is recording footage of the testimony on her phone and moving the phone around like she is at some concert for a band she likes and she is trying to capture all the action. So, clicky McClickerson and mobile device concert capturer are hard at work for the Las Vegas Review Journal. There was also a reporter taking notes, who ended up writing an article which is half “facts” all fucked up, half “that is not even true, did you just make that up?” I am aware of note taker, camera person, professional phone recorder person, the judge, the lawyers, the prosecution, bailiffs, court workers .My eyes do laps around the courtroom, examining expressions while scientific terms flood my ears, just barely audible over my heart that will not calm. Back to Jeremy, back to sweating, back to looking around. This goes on for nearly two hours and I exhaust myself.

After all is said and done, we walk out with no answers because this isn`t a decision that can be made lightly. There is too much to examine, to weigh, to consider. The decision will mostly likely take the judge the entire 60 days to reach and I`ll be holding my breath until then, playing out scenarios about what happens next, what the judge will say, what appeals will be filed after to challenge the “winning” side, how long this will go on for, if my husband will ever have a chance at getting out of prison. This process will most likely continue for longer than I`d like because the system does not go swiftly and it does not go off without a hitch. I spend a lot of my time in a precarious space when it comes to thinking about what is going to happen next. What I do know for certain is that I will be at every court hearing and take every low-key smirk from my husband that I can get. I also know that I will face my anxiety to support the person I love the most in this world and that I believe in second chances.

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Shades of freedom

There is so much hesitation when talking about Jeremy’s potential for freedom, for release into the world and into my embrace. There is so much hesitation and so much trepidation that are at war with my hope and the vision that I have in my head of a life with my life partner. So much that I normally don`t even want to talk about it. I cannot talk about it some days. The thoughts and the feelings that those thoughts own sit on a shelf in the back of my mind, there for accessing but not for showing. What is the truth? That I`m terrified of my husband never getting a second chance and I feel a sense of overwhelming nervousness that he will, that we will be able to build a life after so many years of being apart the majority of the time. I live in this space between crying while laughing and laughing while crying and sometimes I`m not sure which one is which. There are days when I`m not sure if my life is very empty or very full. All I know is that I have a faint glimmer of hope and sometimes that is all you need to get out of bed in the morning, committed to your cause, ready to give it all you’ve got even though you are tired.

Jeremy and I have never known each other outside of prison walls. We have never eaten a meal at our dining room table together or held hands in the rain or been able to leave each other silly notes that are part smart ass, part madly in love. We have never shopped for groceries together, embraced in sadness beyond the barb wire. We have never shared immense joy the moment it happens out in the world, far from the confines of the prison and its rules, its walls. But…it feels like we have done all of those things and more. These last 15 years have felt like anything real is supposed to feel, complete with its ups and downs, two steps forward and ten steps back. No crazy imagination necessary. We built our own version of freedom ourselves and have sustained each other with the restraint breaking completeness that unconditional love provides. Him and I in our little bubble in the middle of a visiting room, on the phone with our louder than life laughter and the passionate affirming silence of two people who don`t need to say a word to know. We know each other better than we know ourselves and I never thought I would have that with another person.

The other day Jeremy told me that his friend Mike was rolling up and transferring to a prison up north, that he was giving up on his appeals and wanted the freedom of being at a prison that allows more time outside of the cell, but not one that inmates are really releasing from. This prison up north is where he is going to get comfortable, to settle into his sentence and maybe where he is going to leave this world. This news was unexpected and caught me off guard. “I didn’t know he was leaving. You didn’t tell me” I said​. I like Mike quite a bit and in fact, I just saw him the last time I visited. When he saw me, he lit up and gifted me a huge goofy grin and a wave. Upon my departure, he wished me a safe drive. I wish I would have paid attention to that moment a little better now.

I hate endings and I hate not knowing if I’ll ever see someone again. Knowing that he is relocating to come to terms with giving up on life on the outside pains me in a way that I cannot describe, but Jeremy explained to me that Mike wanted to be happy and he knew that he could be happy somewhere else, that as a habitual criminal in the past who has caught a serious sentence, that he knew he would probably never get out and didn`t want to pursue freedom to the outside world further.

Freedom is available in shades, in levels that are so personal to a person and a circumstance. Although I am sad about Mike, I have to think of his choice as liberation for him, one that he is choosing. How can I argue with that? I cannot. I can only wish him well and focus my attention on grasping my hope for my husband’s shade of freedom that involves a life beyond the prison gate.

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Sex and Sunshine

I used to talk to this woman at Lovelock Correctional Center who stood by her man for 20 years. Anytime I saw her at visiting I had a feeling of friendship and calm wash over me because she was very easy to talk to and sort of took me under her wing when I first started to visit Jeremy regularly at that prison. I saw her not too long before her man was released, which was also just before I married Jeremy. I remember when I told her that I was going to marry Jeremy,  she just enveloped me in her arms for the biggest hug ever. If there is ever a time when I needed comfort, it was before I made that life leap. Our ships passed briefly in the proverbial night, but I liked her a great deal. I always asked myself if that was going to be me someday, a thought that both interests me and terrifies me. She was dedicated to her husband for 20 years of incarceration and I used to wonder how she did it, what her private life was like, if she thought a lot about sex and walking in the sunshine with her husband.

It has been almost 8 years since I hugged this woman goodbye, a stranger goodbye, a sad and happy goodbye, a “farewell, I will never see you again but thank you for your time in my life” goodbye. More than likely, when you part from someone to meet you prison, you know you’ll never seen them again. It’s part of the landscape of prison relationships.

All these memories and repressed excitement that makes my heart beat, came to the surface after listening to the latest episode of Ear Hustle, a podcast from inside San Quentin state prison in California, that I’ve started to listen to and enjoy. I find myself laughing and nodding my head while I listen and I realize just how familiar prison feels to me, how much I know, and how common the themes are, no matter where your person is incarcerated. This particular episode was about couples, sex, family visits, connecting on an intimate level, and the general struggle of being in a romantic relationship, or shall I say maintaining a romantic relationship, while one member happens to be behind the barbed wire. It ain’t easy, that’s for sure, and you can quote me on that.

When I think about my marriage to Jeremy, how we met after he was already in prison, how there are no “family visits”(also referred to as conjugal visits) in the state of Nevada, and how we have never even held hands in the sun….well, I start to think about just how different my marriage really is. Sometimes Jeremy and I literally look at each other, fully aware of the bizarre life we have built, and we laugh. Yet it all seems so “normal” because if you do anything for an extended length of time, it inevitably seems commonplace, no matter how unconventional it might be. Been married almost 8 years and never had sex with each other or been outside together? Totally normal.

Only a very small number of states allow conjugal visits and usually if you have a life without parole sentence, those visits are even less likely. So, the chances of me getting alone time with my husband is pretty much nonexistent. I never had to really come to terms with that fact, it just is. It does “help” that we never were together in the “free” world, but I’ve just accepted that prison infringes on anything private. Even though I am free citizen, I am also a prisoner right along with Jeremy when it comes to our time together. I have little control over my own skin to skin contact with my life partner. I have made adjustments to my life plans when it comes to intimacy, have had to redefine the term and my expectations. I have officially ruled out having children as something that I would want for myself at this point, and have settled with the idea, that for now, I can be outside and Jeremy can be outside, but we cannot be outside together. “You have to see my new hair color in the sun” I tell him, but I know that isn’t possible.

I used to get frustrated when people would casually ask “So WHEN do you get to have sex with Jeremy?” Over the years, I’ve learned that people on the outside just don’t really understand how the prison system works, the restrictions that are imposed, and just how difficult the rules make it to even see each other sometimes, let alone maintain any type of “sex life” beyond creative writing and an exchange of words over a monitored and recorded call.  You have to throw a bit of your inhibition away and if you have anxiety like me, you have to throw all of your inhibition away and get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

So, as a 32 year old woman, I have to dig deep and modify where I can because at this point I’m not interested in extracurricular activities (my silly reference to extramarital affairs). In this life, there just comes a point, one that I’ve been at for a while, that you stare down the prison bullshit and then turn to your partner and say “Okay! I love you and I’m in it for the long haul and this sucks but let’s make this shit work”. The application for “friends with benefits” has long been torn up and thrown into the air like correctional confetti.

Side boyfriends and accepting ones fate aside… I have seen and heard a lot of funny stories about women visiting their men and trying to “release”. Well, it’s hard to release when you are constantly being watched like some freak show, the guard’s personal prison porn.  The thought of a voyeuristic intrusion doesn’t seem to faze some people, though, and I have on more than one occasion tried to ignore quick face sucking, momentary grinding, and the end of a kinky sex fantasy in the visiting room. My ears pick up every other word and I find myself trying to block out and listen at the same time. You gotta do what you gotta do, I guess. No judgement.

Note: If you ever do end up in the visiting room at Ely State Prison, choose your chair wisely and stay away from any weird stains. No, I`m not joking.

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Visiting vicissitudes

Having the ability to put on a mask when things are bothering you is a gift. Or is it a curse? Or is it both? All I know is that my gift of sublimation has somehow melted into a puddle of retreat and inability to cope externally. The pause on life is definitely on right now.

Prison will do that to you, and me, and many people. Sometimes you just stop caring and sublimating and having your proverbial shit together and you just ..hide. Only it isn’t really hiding so much as it is self preservation and recharging and just being. Also, eating chips and reading, but those activities are a given when you decide to hermit. If they aren’t for you, you’re  hermiting wrong.
That’s where I have been, inside my head and inside the comfort of my little domicile, where it’s ok to not want to see or talk to anyone, where it’s ok to breathe in the biggest, deepest, most exhausting breath and let out a blood curdling scream into a pillow. My cat doesn’t care. She is used to my moments of insanity dubbed as an “awakening”. So, me in my little bubble of avoiding the outside world and the heat and any plans, but then comes visiting. I want to go and I don’t want to go. I go. I always go. I’m always happy I go but also not so secretly despise my time at the prison.
While waiting to enter the prison for visiting last week, I think my layered exterior, that I spent nearly 15 years building, started to crumble a bit, or peel. It was peeling, like old wall paint and what lies beneath is starting to come to the surface, visible to the naked eye. Or ….was it less crumble and peel and more I don’t give a damn anymore about being contained? You can decide.
Being out in the morning Summer Las Vegas heat while waiting in a line full of people to get into another line to be physically searched to get into a prison visiting room will do things to a person. 1. The first part will make you sweat. It is God awful hot in the Summer here and I loathe it with all that I am. I have always hated the heat, just ask my mom. 2. You will be irate, or at least I will be because sometimes the excitement of visiting is no match for the utter pain it is to get into visit sometimes. I grit my teeth, literally, and sometimes go into a meditative trance to separate my mind from my body.
Sometimes while waiting in line, I see these young girls, full of hope about seeing their man and I think about how if they stay, that feeling won’t last forever. Not that they will stop loving their inmate or that they will stop being excited to some degree, but this shit sucks and it’s hard and to do it for years and years wears you down. It’s nice to see the beginning, though, the naivete that maybe I had once when I first started to visit Jeremy shortly after my 18th birthday. I watch these girls with curiosity and misplaced jealousy because I want to be excited too. I want to exist in a place of hope, but the honeymoon of anything new does not last forever and I want to take these girls by the shoulders and shake them. I want to shake them and hug them and tell them to run. It’s human to feel conflicting emotions and to want to act in conflicting ways and prison shines a light on those human pushes and pulls.
Anyway, it must have been the heat and the unsuspecting future struggle I was seeing all around me, but I found myself talking to some of the regular women I usually pass the time chatting with and I just blurted out “I’m sick of this shit!”. My ridiculous outburst was met with laughter and head nods rooted in understanding and the dreaded question, “How long does he have left?”. I respond with “I don’t know” because I am too tired and surprised by my own blatant proclamation to craft a good answer. But it’s true, I don’t know. For some reason I add that I’ve been doing this for nearly 15 years, the visiting thing, and I feel heads whip around and eyes are on me. One lady looks at me like I’m some sort of freak(and maybe I am) or maybe she is surprised because I look relatively young still(this is me trying to make myself feel better). One lady just says “Wow” and another “What!”, not really a question but an exclamation of disbelief.
It dies down quickly as we move ahead in the line, but internally I’m reeling from what just happened and I start to panic(this is what happens when you have anxiety). The rest of my visit feels weird and off. I’m agitated and luckily I’m married to someone who knows when to press me for answers, but not too hard. Jeremy knows this situation is tough and we strategize to navigate the choppy waters together. I tell him about my outburst and he laughs because while he is sympathetic to my discomfort and suffering, he knows that laughing makes my heavy heart light again and his laugh invariably makes me smile. I am grateful for this and that he lets me spin out in my head while I stare off into space and he eats a bag of Doritos. During the spacing out and chip eating mini marathon, we keep one hand free to hold onto the other, an anchor of a sort in a situation that can sweep you under and away at any given moment. Sometimes land is too fucking far away and you need to learn how to swim in the waters you are in. Holding hands means we are together, we are swimming with one another.
I was doing a health assessment for my insurance recently and it is divided into sections about your history, diet, exercise, preventative health, and emotional health. I scored not so well on my emotional health section(because I was honest when checking those stupid little bubbles) and at the end it said next to my emotional health section, “needs work” with a sad face and a cloud over it. I literally burst out laughing at this ridiculous “measure” and scoring system. How do you measure the emotional health of someone whose spouse lives in a prison and all the work and baggage and madness that comes with that? I want to write to the evaluation people and ask them to include a section that will not paint my emotional health as “needs work”, but rather “Hey, kid, you’re doing the best you can. Hang on and hang in there”.

The stories we tell

There are events in life which will never be easy to talk about, go through, relive, and ultimately there will be events in life, in everyone’s life, that you will never truly be able to “get over”. I believe our pains and our stories are on us, like birthmarks, some more visible to other people, some more zoomed in on for the world to see, to judge, to hate, to fear, and maybe to embrace.

People who don’t know me personally could assume that I am a horrible person just for being married to Jeremy. They could paint me, in their minds, as a sick person, a crazy person, an unbalanced person. How fucking dare I be married to Jeremy? People who don’t know Jeremy personally could state with absolute conviction, based on what they’ve read in the newspapers, that he is a terrible human being, the most terrible ever, until the next terrible human being comes along. In fact, to some people, he isn’t even human. How fucking dare he live? The outrage is indeed real. They could say that he is vile, unfeeling, remorseless, and all around a person that deserves to die in prison. They could say that and they have said that.

I write this blog to challenge the public opinion of a boy, then 18 years old, who in 1997 was caught up in a very real, very heartbreaking situation. Throughout the weekend, I drove around town with the windows down, my car flooded with hot desert air, listening to music loudly and I found involuntary emotional distress pooling in my eyes and rolling down my cheeks. Not just because the story is a sad one, not just because I love my husband fiercely and want to protect his character, but because I know that this event resulted in the loss of life of another human being. Not just the loss of life to prison, but the literal loss of life. It’s intense and my heart races now, even as I write this. I know that this is not my cross to bear, but being married to Jeremy means that I seek to lessen the weight that my life partner carries, even if just a little bit.

I came to know Jeremy initially through letters over 15 years ago, having no previous knowledge of what he was convicted of. I was a person reaching out to another person, who just happened to be living at a prison. My friendship and eventual relationship with Jeremy didn`t move fast. In fact, our communication was patchy, at best, during the beginning. When I finally read the articles about him online, through various news outlets, I was taken aback. This is not the person I had come to call my friend. I know, I know, people will say that EVERYONE says that about their inmate. For me, the person I was communicating with and the media coverage about him just did not add up. I’ve always found him to be very thoughtful, with a true passion for helping people, even in instances where I personally would not have. His even keeled temper and knack for being there for others was what made me want to know more, to get to know this person who was demonized by the media and the masses who wanted to point a finger and “hang ’em high”, no questions asked.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, some pains are just that, pains, that even if aren’t directly yours, crush the very fabric of your being, while simultaneously liberating, when they are shared. It’s a tough weight to carry, this human business, made more difficult by the ebb and flow of tragedy, growth, hatred, and forgiveness. My heart, as Jeremy’s wife, is in a constant sick flutter over the love we have built, but also knowing that the most amazing bond with another person that has happened in my life, came after the destruction of multiple lives in the crossfire of an awful event.

With all that being said, although I didn`t want to talk about this, I feel it bears mentioning because it is part of the journey. It’s the mucky part, the deep end, the rope burn. It’s part of life, the painful part. It’s the part you cannot look away from and it does not look away from you.

An article came out in a local newspaper this past weekend about the 20 year anniversary of the tragedy that landed my husband behind bars, without the possibility of parole, at the age of 18. Although it is a city specific paper, it is a media outlet that some people read and one of the journalists at the paper was assigned to do a piece on the case for the 20 year anniversary. I`m not used to any degree of infamy, so I get tense when I receive an email or a call from someone that mentions the Jeremy Strohmeyer from 20 years ago. My initial reaction is to hide, but after I’ve hidden, I start to realize that my hiding does nothing for anyone.

I’ve been contacted by the media before, once for a small documentary project about the prison in the town of Ely, NV, where Jeremy has been housed on and off during his incarceration. The other was for a show that airs on CNN, with award winning journalist Lisa Ling. Although I have been contacted twice before, I find the spotlight to be nerve-wracking and uncomfortable and even just talking to someone who may seek to focus on the negative, makes me uneasy. Speaking with the producer of the CNN show got me a little more familiar with how to navigate the waters of curious outsiders and although I ultimately turned down the offer to be included on the show, I have nothing but respect for the real life situations that they address and more importantly, how they address them.

My opinion on the piece by the Las Vegas Review Journal is a bit different from that of my opinion of the CNN show.  I get it, though. There can be nothing in this world without its opposition. There can be nothing good in this world without all the bad. There can be no left without the right. There can be no well, thoughtful telling of a horrible tragedy without the flip side of a story that is told in a sensationalized and biased fashion, where the main person in the story is a detective whose salvation in life is that someone will die in prison(as quoted at the end of the article).

To be fair, they did give my husband a small platform in the article, in which he was able to express himself in a manner that I have come to know over the last 15 + years. They allowed the antagonist in this story a small section to speak his peace, all while including his current, jovial inmate photo in the paper, which readers can react to with curiosity or disgust. They also included a snippet of one of my blog entries that I wrote last year, which again, people can react to in different ways. The detective’s interview (along with photos and video of him) made up the bulk of the article, though. The story was front page of the Sunday printed paper and on the home page of the Las Vegas Review Journal’s website. There were multiple posts on their Facebook page featuring the article and sideline article (about Dave Cash and the Good Samaritan Law), with attention grabbing sentences to get people to click and light their torches(bonfire time, y’all!)

The best I can do is to be cautiously helpful where I can be and to speak the truth about how I view the man I am married to today. The regurgitation of articles past has no effect on how I live my life and where I place my love in this world. I believe in the honoring of a memory and in allowing wounds to heal, though a healed wound doesn’t mean that it is free from pain. Every person has different scars. Every person hurts differently. Every person has a story. What is important is how we tell the world that story and how it is perceived.

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