One of the greatest burdens in this work is learning about or meeting so many dysfunctional parents. I find it difficult to imagine what it must have been like for their children to have grown up under their influence or control. I am in full understanding with what I have heard several people say: “Some parents deserve to die”—though I do not condone murder.
So it is such an unusual pleasure to meet parents who are people I admire. It fills me with hope to have met a few adults with whom I have become friends—some of them close—because I have been willing to help them bear their burden of trouble with the System at a time that they have most needed a compassionate ear.
Chris Brown is one such friend. He is a more-than-decent guy, a loving and dedicated father to his son Jordan, an innocent who is wrongly accused by an unfair and corrupt System that has gotten it terribly wrong. Chris and I are different people with little in common outside a dedication to getting honest justice for his son. So I mainly hear from him when he needs my assistance.
But in the case of Paul Henry Gingerich’s father Paul, the bonds are much more personal. We have much in common and I hear from him all the time. In the course of working together for his son, we have become close friends. He is supportive of my vision and helps me in ways that do not directly benefit Paul Henry.
Knowing Paul has taught me a great deal. He has taught me to respect the System when parts of it truly care about justice and the welfare of young people. From the beginning I have been impressed with Paul’s acceptance that Paul Henry did a very stupid thing in assisting Colt Lundy in the murder of Philip Danner, and that the System has a legitimate responsibility to create appropriate consequences for his son. I have agreed from the start with Paul’s sense of justice.
But 25 years in adult prison for a 12-year-old who was incapable of forming adult thoughts?
I shared Paul’s belief that this punishment was disproportional, unjust, and unreasonable for a civilized society. I shared Paul’s deep appreciation for the unwillingness of IDOC’s Mike Dempsey to carry out this sentence and for Mike’s courage in defying the judge’s order for the first time in Indiana history.
As a result of our actions, it appears likely that Paul Henry will escape confinement when he reaches his 18th birthday. His involvement with the System will continue after that time, but I have no doubt that with his father’s influence Paul Henry will succeed in redeeming his life and staying out of any future entanglements with the law.
As a result of my friendship with his father, I am confident that I will finally meet Paul Henry after his release and that I will be fortunate to play a continuing part in his life.
Tonight on the Lifetime Movie Network, “Murder in Enchanted Hills” will be shown at 9:00 pm eastern time. This film by British filmmaker Zara Hayes was filmed nearly two years ago and has not been presented before in the US because it was thought that the public sensation it would cause—a reaction proved in overseas markets—would make the Indiana prosecution and judiciary more difficult to deal with.
Now that Paul Henry’s case has been finalized and more favorably resolved, public reaction can only affirm that the outcome is closer to a just resolution.
Groove of the Day