My sister told me today that apparently the guy who killed my friend and his girlfriend is going up for parole. My mom seems to have sheltered me from this news, for which I am somewhat grateful.
However, now that I know, I wanted to see what I could find out about it. I couldn't even remember the guy's name, and didn't care that much. My thinking at the time prior to sentencing, and to a certain extent, my thought now, is that the amount of punishment he gets doesn't matter much- they could torture him, and riddle his body with bullets, rip out his fingernails, whatever, but it won't bring my friend, or his girlfriend back. I'm more concerned with this man, who is my age, getting sober so he won't do this again than I am with him sitting in a prison cell for the next 5 years, which would be the rest of his sentence. In fact, I probably would feel better if I knew he had turned around his life. Our prison system isn't exactly set up for rehabilitation, unfortunately. In fact, he was already out on parole for drug possession when he ran the stop sign and went right into my friend's car. On the other hand, I'm not exactly excited about the prospect of him getting out. When I found out that he had gotten 9 years (even knowing that he might serve half that...), I was shocked at how pleased I was with that. I had prepared myself for being excited at a sentence of 2 years, which seemed like a long time at the time, but is a mere drop in the bucket when recovering from grief. I hadn't even gotten back to normal at the end of 2 years. I think it took me almost 3 years to do that, and now I'm staring year 4 right in the face.
So... I did a bunch of googling. I found the Louisiana Parole Board website, but didn't see anyone with involuntary manslaughter or felony hit and run. Ended up going to Lexis-Nexis to search the Times-Picayune for my friend's name, and found the brief article I was looking for. Went back to the Louisiana Parole Board website, and did a little searching, but couldn't find anything. Googled the guy's name. Couldn't find anything.
Eventually, I googled his girlfriend's dad's name. Her dad was athletic director at a prominent high school in the area, and I thought that maybe there would be something related to a letter writing campaign, or something, since apparently, his influence in the community, and the support and love that everyone related to that school had for him and his family, was no small impact in getting the guy a reasonable sentence.
I found this article instead:
One of his girlfriend's friends from grad school discovered a new kind of toad. When someone finds a new species, they get to name that species, and he named it after her, in her memory. Wow. Made me sob like a baby.
I'm sure I'll hear more about the parole thing when I get home. I think my mom was probably right not to tell me, but it's not devestating or anything now that I know.