Juvenile Killers

A hot topic in York, PA is the sentencing of juvenile killers.

Recent cases involve Zachary Witman who was 15 when he stabbed his 13-year-old brother to death outside their home in 2003.  Witman was sentenced to life in prison.

Another local case involves Jordan Wallick, 17 who gunned down James Wallmuth II in York city two years ago.  Wallick was sentenced to life in prison.

The talk is: should juvenile killers get life sentences with no chance of parole.

Should the actions of a teenagers be held against them for the rest of their lives?

I’ve become pen pals with a prisoner who shot someone when he was 16.  In 1986 Corey Hollinger shot a man during a home invasion and has been paying for his crime ever since.  I’ve never met Corey but did research about him and his brother’s case in college.  Writing to Corey on a whim really opened my eyes.  He isn’t anything like the stereotypical life sentence prisoner.  It seems to me (and many others) that two lives have been wasted.  The man who died and the man who will spend his life in prison for being an idiot at 16.

Two more lives wasted….the Witman brothers.  One is dead and the other will die in prison for snapping on his little brother.  If only there were a rewind button.  I don’t think any of these three juvenile killers really meant to take a life.  Even Wallick most likely didn’t have intentions of shooting Wallmuth.

Six ruined lives.

Pennsylvania is re-evaluating the “life in prison with no chance of parole sentence to juvenile.”  What will happen to those who were sentenced years ago before this was determined to be unconstitutional?  Each case will have to be evaluated individually and there are 2500 prisoners in Pennsylvania sentenced to life without parole.

Corey and Zach should be at the top of the list.

~P.

 

 

To Write a Murderer?

Corey Hollinger 2007

Would you write to an admitted and convicted murderer in prison?  At one point in my life I would have said “no way.”

Now, I was assigned to read a story about a man serving out his life sentence in prison in Pennsylvania.  I was curious about his life in prison.  It started when he was 16 and now he is 41.  http://girlboxer1970.com/2012/03/14/life-sentence-at-16/  I received an A+ on my review of the original article about this crime.

So, I typed two paragraphs to Corey Hollinger and I received six hand-written pages in return.  He doesn’t seem like a horrible person.  Actually, he seems like a pretty decent guy.  I could scan his letters and let you all read them but, I can sum them up much easier.  He works as a teacher’s aide teaching other prisoners English to earn their GED.  He enjoys almost all types of music.  He found God.  He believes he will get the chance of parole someday.  He works out and is in very good shape.  When he is paroled he wants to finish his college degree (he started college while in prison) and be an ordained minister.

At least he has hope.  I don’t see Pennsylvania every letting Corey out of prison, but that’s just my opinion.  Who am I to rain on his future parade?

(Corey doesn’t have access to the Internet so I can pretty much write whatever I want.)

I wrote Corey a “real letter” this time, explaining why I even know who he is.  I told him what I study in school.  How I’m trying to get through a divorce.  I even printed off some of my papers I wrote for college and some blogs to entertain him.  He will be the only person who reads my blogs off of paper!  I sent him copies of the paper I wrote about him and his little brother Tracy and my opinion piece on life sentences in Pennsylvania.  http://girlboxer1970.com/2012/03/20/life-without-parole-in-pa/

So I’m writing to a murderer…I never would have guessed.

~P.

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