Colorado mother wishes for meeting with son's killers
from Ivan Moreno's article in the San Francisco Chronicle:
The 3-year-old boy affectionately known as "Biscuit" was sleeping in the back of a parked old Cadillac when the shooting began.
Fourteen bullets hit the car in the drive-by shooting outside a northeast Denver duplex. Biscuit was shot in the head and died. His brother, Calvin, four days shy of his 7th birthday, and a teenage cousin were unhurt.
Sharletta Evans — mother of Biscuit, or Casson Xavier Evans — came to forgive the gunmen, who were 15 and 16 years old at the time of the Dec. 21, 1995, shooting. But it took years for her to decide she wanted to meet them in prison, hoping for closure.
A new Colorado law encourages the state Department of Corrections to facilitate such reconciliation meetings. Yet it's a process that requires they be safe and don't backfire on victims. And prison officials say there's simply no money to make it happen in the near future.
Evans, 47, said she knows it would be difficult facing the inmate who fired the shot that killed her son: Raymond Johnson, now 32. But she said that Johnson and the other shooter, Paul Littlejohn, now 31, want to meet her as well.
"There's that fear, you know, that apprehensiveness, of course," Evans said. "That's there, but I have to take the courage so that I could fill this void in my life.
"And not only in my life, but in his," she said of Johnson.
Sanguinetti confirmed Johnson wants the meeting, too. State prison officials believe it can be beneficial for victims and inmates to understand each other's side and move forward, she said.
"But for some of these victims it's a chance to ask why," she said. "For some, it may be that they want to offer forgiveness based on their spiritual beliefs."
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