Hello my name is
Those who know me know that I am currently incarcerated, serving a Life without Parole sentence, in a Washington State prison. I was locked up at the age of 20 in 2006, following the shooting death of Brian Swehla in Longview, Washington.
I want to first apologize for all the wrong I have done and the harms I have caused. As well as take responsibility for my actions. In addition, I want to express a great sense of remorse I feel; not a day passes in which I am not ashamed. This whole period of my life is a cloudy drug filled haze that I am not proud of.
There was never an intent for this to happen, but I put myself in this place because of my bad decision-making. There is nothing that I can do or say to turn back the hands of time on what has already been done. Living with this burden all these years has weighed heavy on my soul.
The Washington Supreme Court made a decision that directly impacts me
In the matter of: In re PRP of Monschke (Kurtis William) / In re Bartholomew (Dwayne Earl), No. 96772-5 (consd. with 96773-3). This ruling is saying that it is unconstitutional to sentence a youth under the age of 21 to a mandatory Life without Parole sentence without first taking into consideration mitigating factors of youth. “The character of a juvenile is not as well formed as that of an adult.” “Qualities that distinguish juveniles from adults do not disappear when an individual turns 18.” The United States Supreme Court has recognized the similarities between capital punishment and Life without Parole. “Meaning the denial of hope; it means that good behavior and the character improvement are immaterial; it means that whatever the future might hold in store for the mind and spirit of (the convict), he will remain in prison for the rest of his days.” (Quoting Naovarath V. State) under Washington Constitution, Life without Parole sentences for juveniles are impermissibly cruel. Clearly bright constitutional lines in the cruel punishment context shift over time in order to accord with the “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society”. (Trop V. Dulles)
There will be a complete and detailed packet with evidence to support my truths laid out for you in this letter. I will be happy to share it with you as it becomes available.
Along with this letter I have included a mitigating factors overview and my RE-ENTRY plan. In it contains what I have done with my life after all these years. How I have grown to become a good man. I hope to gain your support to re enter society. I will be going back to court soon based on the aforementioned Washington Supreme Court ruling at which time there will be a re-sentencing hearing. The main factors that will be considered are 1) The mitigating factors during my youth. 2) What I have done with my life after all this.
MITIGATING FACTORS OVERVIEW
I would like to put into perspective to the best of my ability, the role of mitigating factors in my particular case. As expressed in the points made in the previous section of this letter, mitigating factors are basically things that occur during a person’s childhood into their youth which affect their decision-making ability. As well as trauma which affects a youthful brain’s ability to grow and reason properly, along with the ability to think responsibly as an adult would. Then the other part is taking into consideration their ability to show growth, maturity, and change as the person gets older and becomes more developed. I believe I am a prime example of just how true these claims really are. Having said that I would like to share with you a brief outline of my story in life.
I made bad decisions, and ultimately, I paid the price by receiving a life sentence in prison. I have worked hard to grow as an individual and repair some of the damage that was done as a result of my actions. To restore broken relationships to the best of my ability while developing new positive relations in which my impact is for the better. I have been able to use my story to create change in others’ lives as I have matured and learned to look at life from a different perspective. I have built a genuine relationship with my wife and have sustained a beautiful relationship since 2015; nothing will ever change my past mistakes. Still, I can use what I have been through and what I have learned to make a difference to others like me.
I haven’t wasted my life away in prison. Granted the first five or so years were not good. After that I began to grow up and become the man I am today. I am not proud of my past, but I am proud of who I have become despite my past.
I have since gotten married and I spend my time with purpose and meaning working to become a productive member of society while still incarcerated. Please review the attached RE ENTRY plan to see what I have been up to and my plans for the future.
In closing again, I want to apologize for my actions of the past and convey the deeply profound sense of remorse I feel. My past behaviors and actions are inexcusable. I ask and pray for the opportunity for redemption and to begin a process of restoration, forgiveness, and healing. I hope to be able to use my story and experience to prevent more tragedy, while allowing me to work in a broken community to repair harms and stop more troubled youth from winding up like me.
If you know me and the situation and would be willing to speak with my attorney/investigator about it, that would really be appreciated and helpful. Even if you are not comfortable to giving any testimony in regard to my character or things you saw related with my upbringing, or in relation to the mitigating factors in my case. However, you would be willing to write a letter supporting my re entering into society, it could really make a difference at my re-sentencing hearing.