My Incarcerated Son

Eric has served over 25 years now (as of 11/24/13).


YOUNGMOMheadWhen I was a young mother in my early thirties, my husband began to drop a little hints now and then that he would like to have a son. We already had two lovely daughters, aged eight and five, and Ken was right – we needed a son. But how could I guarantee that we would not have another girl?After giving the matter a good deal of thought and prayer, I felt the Lord was leading me to try adoption. As I continued praying, I came to the conclusion that the Lord did have a special little boy for us somewhere between the ages of two and three, and that he would fit into our family in background and intelligence. In addition, I asked that he would not be illegitimate, that he would be open to accepting the message of salvation, and that he would someday be grateful that he had been adopted into our family. With that list of requirements, I began my search.

Miraculously, I discovered that an acquaintance of mine from our church had just become employed by the local child services office, and was able to whisk me through the red tape in applying to become adoptive parents, but she gave me little hope that I would find a child of that description.

However, I did not have long to wait. Marie, my friend and benefactor was on the phone in less than a week. “I think I’ve found him,” she said. “His mother just put him up for adoption, and this is the first time he became available on the adoptive list.” A thrill went through my body, both from happiness and trepidation for what this would mean to our family. But I knew God was leading, so I trusted Him with the outcome.

Eric '71

Eric ’71

But we had a few surprises along the way. He was the child of abusive, alcoholic parents, who neglected him and his three siblings sufficiently enough for the county authorities to remove the children from the home. At the age of nine months, he had been picked up in the back room of a bar and placed in a foster home, where he lived until we adopted him.

From the beginning, it was clear that our son was a very bright child, with a friendly, outgoing personality. He was truly lovable in many ways. And he did have a definite openness of mind to spiritual things. I will never forget how his little two-year-old prayers were astounding to anyone who heard him pray.

His foster mother had taken him to church, and God had obviously put within him the seeds of a spiritual nature. But it was also clear that he was extremely hyperactive, and from the time he came to live with us, there was not much peace around the house.

Nevertheless, we eventually settled into becoming a family, and the years rolled by. Our son went to school, made friends, played ball, showed a natural gift for the trumpet, teased his sisters, and idolized his daddy. Those were good years, for the most part; but there was more to come.

From his earliest years, he showed a fascination for guns. And a ride in the car often included a disturbing interest in the beer or wine advertisements on the billboards along the highway. Those two things were destined to surface to monumental proportions, and change our lives forever by the time he reached nineteen.

By thirteen, my son was disappearing into the little town nearby, and getting into drugs and alcohol with older, unruly friends. How many times I responded to an anonymous phone call to come and pick him up, only to find him lying on the ground in a totally inebriated state, I don’t remember. He was always so ashamed and apologetic, vowing never to put me through it again. But I knew what he didn’t know – that he was an alcoholic from birth because of his mother’s alcohol consumption while she carried him in the womb.

I don’t remember questioning God during those years; maybe I did, but I don’t remember it, because I always knew that he was God’s gift to us, and that there was a reason why God put him into our family. But there was one thing that I did question – or should I say, find very hard to understand: his apparent lack of a healthy conscience.

He told lies as easily as if they were truth. In fact, he didn’t seem to know the difference between the two. As he grew older, it became harder for me to tell, also, because he was so adept at telling any story to get out of a problem, and make it sound completely believable.

One day I came across a magazine article that gave the symptoms of a sociopathic personality. I was stunned. Our son fit the picture perfectly! But the chilling conclusion of the article was that a confirmed sociopath was incurable according to psychiatric evaluations, and no known sociopath had ever been reclaimed.

Why? Because the conscience area of the brain was either so destroyed (prenatal alcoholism being one of the most common ways of causing this), or so damaged by deviant thought patterns that there was no hope of recovery.

But GOD had put this child into our home; the God of heaven had given us this special son. I refused to give him up to negative psychiatric evaluations, and from that time on, I began to beg God to give him a conscience. After all, God is the Creator of the universe, isn’t He? He makes brains, and He can heal brains. And HE could heal our son.

Eric/April '85

Eric/April ’85

More years rolled by. Things did not get better. We still lived a fairly normal life, but storm clouds were forming just over the horizon. We were about to go into the whirlwind.

Were I to tell the whole story of my son’s life, it would literally take a book to contain it. Someday, I will, for it is so full of amazing miracles. But for now, I will concentrate on the subject at hand – the miraculous healing of a sociopathic personality. Some will scoff, perhaps, and say that he wasn’t really a full-blown sociopath. I cannot prove that he was. All I know is that he had all the symptoms, until Jesus came into his life, and changed him. But I’m getting ahead of my story.

For brevity, I will give a quick overview of the next few years of my son’s downward trend. At sixteen, he ran away from home and joined with an older man who was an undercover drug dealer in a large city. Eventually he linked up again with one of his former drinking friends and began a little drug business of his own.

His former mentor moved across country to establish himself in another location in which to carry on his nefarious activities. There was a falling out between my son and this man.

There were strange phone calls, the disappearance of my husband’s gun, an air flight to a distant city by his friend, and a secret escape to Mexico when his friend returned.

Only later did we learn that three people had been brutally murdered in that distant city – my son’s mentor, his 20-year-old daughter, and a young man who was living with them. All three were involved in the undercover activities of this man.

Six months later, my husband, my son and his friend were taken to jail in that city and charged with the murder of three people.

Now you may wonder how my husband became involved in this story. Ken was at that time a tax accountant, owned his own business, and was doing accounting for my son and his mentor in their legitimate business – a pizza shop which was a cover-up for their drug dealing activities. Ken was not aware of the dual nature of the business until our son finally revealed this to him. Ken’s gun (stashed away in the rafters of our basement and unused) was taken by the boys and became the murder weapon.

Again the years flew by. Miraculously, Ken was released 2 1/2 years later because of a second trial which exonerated him. The boys received lifetime sentences to prison. The older boy, in his early 20’s at that time, gave his heart to God and accepted his fate with repentance and humility. (He, as well as all the people in this story, were former Adventists, and his parents were members of our church. I well remember his mother asking for prayer for her boys each Sabbath at prayer time.)

But my son became more and more incorrigible. He came a hairsbreadth away from killing two people in prison, one a guard. He became like a snarling caged animal, and was deemed one of the most dangerous men in that huge prison complex where thousands of men were incarcerated. His language, both in speaking and writing, was strictly from the streets.

But we all still loved our boy. Somehow we knew that there was yet something good ahead. GOD had put him in our home, and He had a plan for his life. Even though I lost my home, my cars, and almost all my worldly possessions, I considered it a part of what we had to go through in order to be refined and ready for Jesus to come. And to my knowledge, not one word of guilt or blame was said by any of us about what had happened. We were simply on a journey together – a journey that would someday be over, and peace would return.

And here is the miracle. Through it all, God gave my son a conscience. I’m not sure how He did it, although I have some ideas about it, which I will share. But no matter what you or I might think, it was – and is – a miracle! God knows how to make brains, and He knows how to fix them. Nothing is too hard for Him!

Yes, He needed to discipline His child, and He used the unconditional love of this family and others. But it was Jesus who worked the miracle. And I want to share that part with you, as well.

One late night my son was in his solitary cell, when he sensed the Presence of Jesus come into his room. “Son,” He said, “it is time for you to give yourself to me. The first thing I want you to do is to part ways with your so-called ‘friends’. Do not be afraid. If you obey me, I will protect you.”

As soon as this brief encounter was over, my son sent for the authorities on duty, and let them know that there was a contract out on his life for severing ties with his ‘friends’. Immediately he was thrown into the “hole” or protective custody and his faith was severely tried for several months. But he hung on, sometimes by a thread, as we prayed for him and cheered him on. At last he was released to better quarters.

Since then, my son’s life has been exemplary. He has risen to the top in everything he

Christmas '07

Christmas ’07

does, and is respected by all who know him. His lawyer has helped put him through school as a paralegal, where he has made top grades. He now works for good wages and has saved up enough money to go into business, with the help of our older daughter, who moved 1200 miles to be near him.

The stories of his escapades and successes would fill a manuscript, yet he remains humble, and is a loving and devoted son and brother. He has a keen, insightful and educated mind and a delightful personality, and I haven’t known him to deviate from telling the truth for many years.

Why have I related this story to you today? It is because I am very concerned about our present society which is producing the groundwork or seedbed where sociopathic tendencies can grow into full blown psychopaths. In the article titled ‘The Sociopathic Mind’, I will explore these alarming trends.