There are so many things I wish I could have done differently. When I was in the court room I was a smug and remorseless wretch. But I’ve thought about this for years and years. Not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on the past so that I may work to never make those same mistakes again. The truth is, I viewed my crime differently when it happened. Now, on the other hand, I know that what I did was wrong for reasons I was not previously capable of understanding. It was wrong for so many ways that I never thought to consider. 

There is *no* justifiable reason for another man to commit murder. I think of all of the moments he would have had. All of the laughter, all of the love. The joy of living and even pain. And then I think of a little boy who is currently growing up without a father. The moments I’ve stolen from the relationship between a father and his son. This is unspeakable. And I’ve taken a son from a father and mother. A brother from some sisters. I’ve robbed his family of a lifetime of memories, for the good and for the bad. I’ve taken these precious things from his friends and I’ve taken the very same thing from Randen, my victim.

And furthermore, no man deserves murder. I know from the very fiber of my being that people can undergo amazing change. I’ve learned that the rougher one’s past – once this amazing change happens – the contrast from that past life to the current changed life has the power to inspire so many people for so much more positive change. The process is magical. I only wish I could have stepped aside so that this other person could have experienced the same thing.

From all this, I spend my time in the company of my victim. His image is in my mind every day, all the time. But he doesn’t haunt me, his face does not show judgement. There us no hatred or mockery. He simply has become a part of my life, acting as a constant reminder that I must pay a debt which is priceless. And I’ve long ago realized that I’ll never have “payed” my debt to the family or society. This is a 
permanent thing. My debt is payed the moment I lay my head down for the very last time. Until then, my path of desistance has two sets of footprints. I will have him along on my journey in the back of my mind, constantly reminding me of which direction is forward.
By Christopher Havens