I never thought that I would be writing on this particular subject, “Murders in Prison”. I have spoken out for the last twenty-seven years to keep men and women who commit murder in prison as long as possible. Yet, I have thought that it must be horrible for the people in jail who must live with people who have no since of humanity or conscience. For several months, I have had the honor to work with two loving mothers whose sons were murdered in prisons by other inmates. Both of these young men were not in prison or jail for person-to person crimes. In fact, the justice system considers them victims of crime and their family co-victims of homicide. But, I cannot believe how so many discounted the love these two women had for their sons and their need for justice for them.
If they do not have justice or understanding, co-victims of homicide may never get to a “new normal”. Many suffer from the symptoms of “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. They love their children as much as we love ours. These young men loved their families as well. “The aftermath of homicide” is a nightmare from hell! Without support, sympathy, and justice, we, as a society, are no better than the countless countries that torture and devalue the lives of men or women in prison. Families of inmates murdered deserve the same respect that co-victims of homicide receive when going through the justice system.
Before I start their stories, I want you to know that I have the deepest respect for the victim-witness specialists in federal or state prisons. These people do wonderful work and they have the deepest empathy for victims of crimes and co-victims of homicide. Pam Heimuller, a victim-Witness Specialist for the U.S Attorney’s Office in Oregon, has spoken to me and explained any questions that I needed answered in writing this article. She also does outstanding work with any of our members whose loved ones were murdered and the case is tried in Federal Courts. We have worked together before and I am impressed with her compassion. She is also willing to meet or talk with any co-victims that might need help.
Diane Bernard was the first mother I talked to. Her son was Robert Hawn (Rob). On June 14, 2012, Rob was arrested in an Oregon neighborhood and taken to the Marion County Jail to be incarcerated. Twenty-nine days later, on July 13, 2010, he was attacked by another inmate and as a result died of his injuries on July 19, 2010. He was only twenty-nine years old. Rob was never convicted of the charges he was arrested for on June 14th.2010. He died before anything was finalized. He had a history of driving too fast and a personal addiction to marijuana. The man who murdered him had 11 closed cases in Oregon and a juvenile record from California. He was sentenced with three years for Negligent Homicide and 2 years for Tampering with a Witness—a total of 5 years for Rob’s murder.
Diane wrote: “As a parent of a murder victim who was incarcerated prior to his death, I felt caught in between. I fully acknowledge and accept the fact that my son made poor choices which warranted and resulted in punishment. Yes, he was in “the wrong place” but that does not justify his death. I don’t fit in a normal mold either. Society often judges parents by the crimes of their children. The police, district attorneys and judges have either caught or prosecuted those family members. It stands to reason authorities might wonder about the kind of home I provided and my parenting style since my son was in jail. My initial knee jerk was to go and crawl under a rock, shut down and hide in a dark and private world of grief. I was terribly hurt by news accounts and the public commentary of strangers. One statement in particular sticks in my mind, “let scavengers eat scavengers”. I truly believe my son’s life was discounted because he was in jail.”
Diane goes on to say that when the jail staff found Rob on the floor, they took him to the jail infirmary. He was not able to talk or respond. After Rob continued to get worse, the jail personnel decided to take Rob to the hospital by ambulance rather than a non-emergency vehicle. The ER was given very little information on how Rob was injured. Rob was not taken to surgery for almost 5 hours. Diane did not receive a call for nineteen hours after Rob went into surgery and it was 28 hours since he had arrived at the hospital before she was notified by a representative of Marion County. Rob spent 6 days in the ICU slowly morphing into a corpse. Rob died at 7:00 pm on July 19, 2010. It is her hope that all victims of homicide would be treated with respect and that a killer with a history of violence would not be released into the general population.
Connie Case is the mother of Michael Paul Jones. Michael was stabbed to death on October 1, 2012. He was serving a fifteen year sentence for a felon in possession of a firearm. He had been arrested earlier for a drug charge. Michael had served seven years of his sentence and was going to get out early because of good behavior. He was being incarcerated at Victorville Prison in California. After Connie was notified, there were so many things she wanted and needed to know. She was able to talk to the coroner and found that Michael did not have any defense wounds. He had been stabbed. He was murdered in his cell where there were no cameras. The cameras outside of the cell showed an inmate going into his cell. As a mother, Connie needed to know the name of the man who murdered her son.
To her, it was like his life wasn’t worth much because she was not given the name of the man responsible for his death. A co-victim of homicide relives the murder of their loved one every day. The more information we have helps us release the scenario from playing over and over in our minds. Not knowing also makes us imagine the murder even worse than what it was.
On February 4, 2013, Connie received a conference call to let her know that they had a person in custody. Finally, Michael could have justice! On February 11, 2013, Connie received another call saying that the person in custody had committed suicide. They also told her she could not have the name of the inmate because he had not been charged. I found out from Pam Heimuller that it is against federal law for the government to accuse persons, dead or alive, of crimes for which the government does not have sufficient evidence or a suspect to bring charges against. Connie was devastated. They did have a video of the inmate going into the cell. The agent also told her again she would never be told his name. Connie has been hearing from an inmate at the prison and he said he had the information she needed. She had told officials of this information before and they said that inmates cannot always be believed. Yet, the agent told her if she wanted to know she could get the inmate she had been hearing from to tell her. To a bereaved mother, it was like a slap in the face. Her beloved son was murdered. Where was the justice he so deserved? Michael will never come home now. His twin brother and he will never be back together. Connie will always wonder- if he had not been murdered in prison, would his case not be closed? If this man did not murder Michael, who did?
I would like to thank both of these mothers for allowing me to use their stories. Most important, they could be used for our Mother’s Day newsletter. I have learned so much from these women. We share the same pain. Yet, they have not received the support they so deserved. I will be using more of their information at a later date. If inmates murder other inmates in jails and prisons, what about the persons working in the prison system? I think there is so much all of us need to know. I would appreciate any letters or comments on this information. Any suggestions are appreciated.
My deepest sympathy and support, Mary Elledge
The Greater Portland Chapter encourages any members who might be available to attend the trial for Ryan Johnson, son of Tim and Melissa Davis. Ryan was murdered on January 26, 2012. The trial will be held at the Hillsboro County Court House in Hillsboro, OR. The address is 145 NE 2nd Avenue. Please call the courthouse before you attend to be sure it is held on that day and that the time is correct. The courthouse phone number is 503-846-8888. The judge hearing the case is Judge Kohl. It will be held in his courtroom. Please call Pat Elmore for more information at 503-312-5681.
The Greater Portland Chapter is proud to announce the Memorial Day Celebration at Mountain View Cemetery on Monday, May 27, 2013. It will be held at 500 Hilda Street, Oregon City, OR, 97045. It will start at 10:00 a.m. The Greater Portland Chapter Of Parents Of Murdered Children has joined “Friends of Mountain View Cemetery” for the last five years to help honor those who have so gallantly served our country. Many of our own members have served our country as well. There will be guest speakers, presentation of colors, music, 21gun salute, possibly a fly-by, and a free barbecue. Children and families are encouraged to come and join with other organizations to show that we all care.
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain;
I m the gentle Autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight;
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there;
I did not die.
THOMAS A C.
CATHLEEN M D.
PATRICK J. M.
SHIRLEY A. H.
The Greater Portland Chapter is so proud of our member, Amanda Harris, for launching her official site for siblings. Amanda is offering the Website: www.unitingsiblings.com so that sibling co-victims of homicide have a place to go where they will be understood and supported. This site will include video, chat, and telephone conference via a secure and private interface. Amanda is paying for the expenses and will be delighted to be another support for sibling co-victims. Amanda can also be reached at: Amanda@unitingsiblings.com or 623-866-3189.
Amanda Harris is now ready to start her web site for siblings. The Portland Chapter is excited about the support and understanding this new group will be for the many often overlooked survivors.
We are continuing to accept donations for our Memorial Garden and are very close to reaching our goal. Thank you to all that have already donated and to those that have not, please consider making your donation today. Please send your tax deductible donations to:
Parents Of Murdered Children
14427 S. Forsythe Rd.
Oregon City, OR 97045
If you have questions, please contact Mary Elledge at (503) 656-8039.
Please find, enclosed, $10.00 for my annual subscription (three issues) for the Survivors Newsletter.
(Please consider adding an extra subscription fee to help defray the cost for someone who cannot afford it.)
CITY, STATE, ZIP____________________________________________________________________
MAIL TO: POMC, INC. ENCLOSED IS MY: CHECK _________________
100 E. EIGHTH STREET, B-41 MONEY ORDER__________
CINCINATTI, OH 54202
Download form here
PRINTED NAME OF LOVED ONE _________________________________________________________ (This spelling will be used)
MEMBER/FRIEND’S NAME AND ADDRESS _________________________________________________
MEMBER OR FRIEND’S PHONE NUMBER __________________________________________________
(Required to verify order)
SIGNATURE FOR PERMISSION TO ________________________________________________________
ENGRAVE NAME AND SPELLING APPROVAL
Please submit one form for each loved one. Please make efforts to confer with other family members/friends to ensure multiple requests are not received for the same loved one. When completed, please mail to:
POMC, 14427 S. Forsythe Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045. The names will then be submitted for engraving on the Memorial Wall at the Mountain View Cemetery and Park. If you have questions, please call 503-656-8039.
Download form here
Please Complete and Return to Memorial Garden,
POMC 14427 S. Forsythe Rd Oregon City, OR 97045
100% of Contributions are Tax Deductible
Name:____________________________________________ phone: __________________________
Gift in Memory of: __________________________________________________________
Anonymous gift (will not be recognized at the Memorial Garden or in published materials)
Method of Payment:
Credit Card #_________________________________________Exp Date:___________
Name on Card _________________________________________________________________
Pledged Payment (to be completed by December 31, 2014)
Please add notes on payment timing _________________________________________
Thank you for helping to create the Oregon-Washington Public Memorial Garden. Your generosity will never be forgotten.
Download form here
Turning pictures and home movies into a unique video you will treasure for a lifetime.
Tina Tanner 541-510-3075
Tana Tanner 541-935-2023
PO Box 343, Elmira, OR 97437
(Tana Tanner is a member of POMC. Prices are very reasonable for POMC members.)
We would like to get to know your loved one and gain and understanding of their lives, achievements, accomplishments, goals, and personalities. We’d like to celebrate the LIFE of our loved ones rather than remain in the pain of their death. If you would like to share a unique story about your loved one, please submit a short (1 page) letter telling us about them. Some possible ideas to include are:
Their favorite food, movie, book, and why
Their most successful accomplishment
A funny childhood story/experience
Their most exciting vacation
A unique talent
Their most prized possession
Their favorite school subject or teacher
Their educational/professional goals
A personal goal they planned to fulfill
An obstacle they overcame
A school play they may have performed in
Their favorite season/holiday
Please include your contact information as well as their full name and birth date. Thank you.
Please also include a picture of your loved one, if possible. Please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee that your photograph will be returned to you.
Please mail submissions to:
Portland Area Chapter
Parents Of Murdered Children
And Other Survivors Of Homicide Victims
14427 S. Forsythe Road
Oregon City, OR 97045
Tacoma Violent Crime Victim Services Welcomes Homicide Survivors
Peer Support Group Meeting
If someone you love has been the victim of a homicide, we invite you to attend our monthly support group meeting. You will find acceptance, compassion and support.
Place: United Way Building
3rd FLOOR CONFERENCE ROOM
Date: 3rd Wednesday of Each Month!
Time: 7:30PM – 10:00PM
The United Way Building is located in Tacoma, at 1501 Pacific Avenue. This is the same building that the VCVS office is located in. It is next to Union Station on the north side. As you pass Union Station you will see the United Way Building. Parking is on the south side of the building. Please park your vehicle in an open space and enter the building’s front entrance and take the elevator to the third floor. The conference room is Suite 312. Please call Lew Cox for more information (253) 383-5254.
POMC'S Court Watch Program is designed to help families maneuver through the court system. Two of the most important aspects of Court Watch are the prevention of any re-victimization to family members, and the minimizing of the emotional pain of going through hearings and trials.
If you would like support from POMC during hearings and trials or want to offer assistance, call Pat Elmore at 503-312-5681 or Allen Tremain at 503-522- 0577.
Each month a number of newsletters are returned due to delivery problems. In addition to the initial postage, return postage is charged by the Postal Service. To minimize this expense, please write to the return address of the newsletter or contact Erin at Hondaerin2@aol.com if your address changes or you no longer wish to receive this publication.