This is the victim impact letter I am sending to the Parole Board in Syracuse. I thought I would share with you that results of lots of thinking and finally sat down last night to write it.
Dear Parole Board,
I am writing this letter as a victim impact statement to be considered at the upcoming parole hearing of Jamie Morton, Inmate number 88C0405. On August 31, 1987 Mr. Morton stole the future I was building with my fiancé, Linda Akers, when he chose to murder her in a senseless and brutal act.
Mr. Morton violently beat and stabbed Linda for no reason except to vent his anger at a world he felt was unfair. But more then stealing Linda and my future, he took a light out of the world. Linda’s work with young children, especially during her time at the Bishop Foery Foundation, was focused on reaching vulnerable and at-risk children. She wanted to make a difference in the world, especially those who were often unseen or ignored by society as a whole. She never got the chance to make her mark. I never saw Mr. Morton show remorse for his crime, in fact at times I felt he was proud of it.
My first reaction is that Mr. Morton should never leave prison; his crime is not one that should allow him to ever enjoy the pleasures of the world that he has made darker by his actions. But I am torn with what to write. I believe in justice over vengeance; I believe in rehabilitation over the idea of locking people away forever, even for murder. If Mr. Morton has served his time honorably and without incidents of violence or dangerous behavior, and if he will add to the world’s good as opposed to evil, should he not be released? But how can we know how he will react if released?
Because of Mr. Morton’s crime, I would not consider him eligible for parole unless there is substantial evidence that he has indeed changed for the better while incarcerated. I believe the burden of proof rests on him, and that burden is significant.
When weighing your decision, I hope you see that Mr. Morton took the life of a woman who was dedicating her life to young children in the hope of making the world a better place. I also hope that you honor the values of the legal system that seeks to not simply be a punishment, but also seeks rehabilitation and reform. I have moved from Syracuse, I have built my life and while I still have a big hole created in the past, I think I have found peace in the last 2 decades. But I am haunted by the idea that another person will be put through the same pain I have been through because of Mr. Morton’s actions. So I hope when you decide on Mr. Morton’s future you do so with Linda’s life lost in mind and the chance that others might be at risk. I do not envy your position in making this difficult decision.
Thank you for taking my words into consideration while you deliberate.