My dear friend Lorie Rice accompanied my daughter Christina and me to the Parole Hearing for Mark James Taylor on July 26, 2012. These are her words, I wish to share with you.
Yesterday I attended the parole hearing for Christopher’s murderer, Mark Taylor. My head is still reeling. My stomach is still churning. These feelings are unsettling, but appropriate. How could I possibly go through this experience and not be profoundly disturbed? I view this as a healthy response, however. Equilibrium is just a few hours away.
Why did I go? Radha mentioned the date and I immediately said, I’m going with you. “Why? Easy. Because that is what Radha would have replied. It’s just natural to want to give back to someone who is the epitome of generosity. So I went, having no thought about the possible impact on me (knowing, of course, that this experience is NOT about me).
I will not go through the details of the proceedings. Suffice to say that the DA was superb, the hearing officers were diligent and Mark’s attorney was not fully engaged. Radha and Christina were, rightfully, nervous, but fully alert and amazingly brave throughout the 4 hour hearing. They presented their statements tearfully – no sign of anger – but immense sadness. This will always stay with me….the sadness they expressed for the perpetrator.
The decision was to deny parole and prohibit parole for at least the next 7 years. We were pleased with the decision, which seemed fair for all. We were not ecstatic. How could we be? The decision doesn’t change the facts of this tragedy. Radha and Christina have been dealing with their loss for a long time and because of all the work they have done, they will be ok.
What about Mark? He is the cause of my lingering angst. So many unanswered questions. Not just about him, but about the nature of violence in general. Are there any warning signs? Is there hope of prevention? Are there any guarantees that Mark, or another Mark, set free, will live their remaining years free from a violent recurrence?
I prayed for Radha and Christina last night…and Mark. Mark, void of insight and empathy. Flat affect. No sincerity in his limited contrition. No reaction to the panel’s decision. When asked by the prison therapist how he had changed since being in prison, he said that he hadn’t changed; that he was ok when he came in and remained the same. I think he is right….he hasn’t changed. He is a lost soul and this conclusion leaves me deeply saddened.
thanks for sharing the complex poignancy of the tragedy
My heart, tears and respect go out to you all. Your attendance at the hearing is admirable. The angst must be horrific — though healable as stated. That you chose to feel and to heal your wounds gives us hope and encouragement to heal our own. That you recognize and declare the truth that you witnessed, that not everyone is salvagable is sadly honest commentary on our society. Not everyone choses to recognize nor change their evil ways. To pretend that everyone is so good that given the chance they will repent and repay leaves us naive and vulnerable.
Bless you in your path to healing! Bless us all!
Dear Radha and Christina and Gary and Lorie,
I am so relieved that Mark Taylor wasn´t set free. And I am glad that you endured this parole hearing. The tension before must be tough and afterwards you need several days or weeks to recover, I suppose.
It must be hard to see that Mark Taylor didn´t change and doesn´t show any remorse or insight…
With your project of convincing by confronting murderers with the impact what their deeds had to the victims families you did extraordinary work.
I do wish you to get rest and find some peace after you worked through these last experiences.
With my best wishes
I’m sorry, Radha. I’m sorry for the incredible injustices of this world. Thank you for shining in spite of it all. You’re a gift to the world. I love, admire and treasure you. (miss you!)
I commend your courage, your willingness to let go of your anger and your passion for rehabilitation and reform. It saddens me to know that Mark Taylor still believes in his own victimhood. One of the greatest ways a perpetrator can make retribution and honor their victim is to admit responsibility, which is the first step to any meaningful rehabilitation.
You are a guiding angel and teacher for us all.
I do not advocate his parole. I wonder however what seven more years incarcerated with like-minded people will do to him.
Will he ever be a viable candidate for parole? I believe there is little chance for rehabilitation in prison especially those that think violence is an option and those with little regard for anyone’s life especially their own.
Love and Hugs to all of you.
Very well written and glad you, Radha, shared it! I’m so saddened that you or anyone had to go through this and even more upsetting that Mark said he was OK when he went in and is still OK…my God! So glad they didn’t let him out and wish it had only been longer before you have to face this again. But 7 years is good. You’re all so brave to go and deal! Hope you process this quickly and get back to your new normal.
Dear Radha and Christina,
Thank God he will spend at least 7 more years behind bars!
Our hearts still go out to you as you still experience profound sorrow.
Radha – you are the strongest person we know!
Paul and Marilyn
My prayers are with you, always. I know how difficult a hearing like this is because I went to one once upon a time. You are so brave.
It is doubly tragic because he seems not to have much insight into himself since spending some years in prison…very sad.
much love to you & Gary & your daughter,
My prayers are with you always. I know how difficult this kind of hearing is. You are very brave.
This seems doubly tragic because the prisoner does not seem to have gained any insight into himself since spending these years in prison…so sad.
much love to you & Gary,
OUR THOUGHTS ARE VERY MUCH WITH YOU, AND WE ARE PLEASED WITH THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE PAROLE BOARD.
FRANK AND PAUL
just read about the parole hearing…..it has always amazed me how you and Tina stay strong….you both are an inspiration….with love and admiration….Karen
how sad you already know how i feel about this. there is no hope or changing for this kind of person. thank god he is where he is for everyones safety. no place outside for him to be. I wish you and your family peace. much love georgia