I Have a Friend…

His name is Theodore Robins.  Everyone just calls him Theo. 

I met Theo in jail.  I had been doing jail  ministry for some time and was pretty well acquainted with most of the inmates who had been through there two or three times, but Theo was a fresh face.  However, when I met him, he looked anything but fresh.  He was about 50 years old, a tad over weight with a snow white top for hair.  Unlike his counterparts in the pod, he wasn’t tatted up, he wasn’t a thug.  He also wasn’t talking to anyone.

I asked another little guy in there named Quin who this guy was.  “That’s Theo,” he answered.  “Rumor is that Theo shot someone.”

Every person had a tale about why they were in jail.  The drug-dealers all bragged about being caught with drugs.  The guys that did real hard stuff didn’t brag about what they had done.  I didn’t know what Quin was in for.  I didn’t know what Theo was in for.  Neither one of them talked about it.  Theo didn’t talk at all.

Finally working up the courage, I walked over and started talking to Theo.  He was a nice guy–a really nice guy.  He said he was from the area, that he had grown up there and planned on just living there all his life.  We talked about school, cars, and even dogs.  He liked hunting and my dad had trained bird dogs for a lot of my life so we had some common ground there.  Eventually I just had to ask, “You seem like a great guy.  What are you doing here?”

He started to cry.  Soon tears became moaning and wailing.  He told me that he had gotten drunk one night and had hoped to shoot his wife who had cheated on him and taken everything in a recent divorce.  When he stood up in their dark trailer to shoot her, he accidently shot his daughter instead.  She was still in the hospital making a shaky recovery. 

I had never met anyone so sad in my life.  I have been around sad people, death, poor people, sick people and more prisoners than you can shake a stick at.  This may well have been the saddest and truthfully remorseful person I have ever known.  He loved his daughter very much, and openly admitted that he had a drinking problem.  Daily he prayed and cried hard for what he had done to his family, his daughter and finally his own life. 

Theo was appointed a public defender who wasn’t interested in sinking her time into this kind of case.  Eventually she talked him into signing a deal for 40 years on charges of attempted murder.  This is an inaccurate charge since he wasn’t trying to kill is daughter at all.  But, being hardly educated, guilt ridden and being told BY HIS COUNCIL that if he didn’t sign he would get life in prison (further proof that she was just trying to get him out of her hair) he signed. 

My friend Theo is now serving his time in Prison on a 40-year term. 

And my friend Quin, actually killed someone: shot them on the street, stood over him and shot the guy two more times.  He is currently serving a 30-year term.

Sometimes I don’t understand the justice system  Sometimes I want to become a lawyer so that I can bring some justice to it.  I don’t know what to do with things like this sometimes.  What can I do for my friend Theo?

If you know, please tell me.


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About coleyoakum

My name is Coleman Yoakum. I am formerly a student at Harding University. Today you can find me in Detroit Michigan doing what I can to expand the Kingdom of God and preparing to start an intentional community in Pontiac. I enjoy reading, writing, photography, music and politics. I am sure that all of these things will find their way to this blog from time to time. Twitter: coleyoakum Facebook: Coleman Yoakum Email: coleyoakum@gmail.com Flickr: flickr.com/photos/coleyoakum/

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  1. Prison Epistles « Cole's Blog - April 15, 2010

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