Letter: Disappointed

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Though I was glad to finally see some closure to the Berthelson murder, I was quite disappointed in the sentence Neil Joy received. I’ve never really understood how a person can end someone’s life and only get a few years “punishment.” I put that in quotes because that person — the murderer — was judge, jury and executioner to the victim, giving them a death sentence. They also played judge and jury for the family and gave them a life sentence. The murderer’s sentence ends, but not so for the family. For the rest of their life, they will live with the absence of that loved one. And considering it was a young man, the natural order of things has been disturbed. Parents should not have to bury their child. The milestones all parents look forward to have been lost. Siblings have to deal with the loss of a true best friend. The ripples are felt over and over, with each holiday, birthday, new addition to the family, etc. There is no exception in this case. Jeb was loved by his family and friends. Even folks he didn’t know well, like me, thought he was a great individual. He was outgoing. Had a fantastic personality and a great sense of humor. It is because of whom he was, the type of person he was, that makes this most appalling.
I didn’t know Neil, but knew “of” him. What I have read, leaves me to believe that the statement he made was more than likely, just one more lie. He got three years for taking a life. As Mr. Beeson said, at the end of that sentence — he goes home. He gets to celebrate the birthdays of his children and other loved ones. He will enjoy every Thanksgiving and Christmas with family. This wasn’t his first run-in with the law. It wasn’t his first incident involving alcohol. And it wasn’t the first (or second or third) time he tried to lie to save his own hide. As was pointed out-there is a pattern here. And, as far as I am concerned, there is no lesson to be learned in three years of prison for this individual. It’s a known fact that people “bury” traumatic instances as a means of dealing with them. How will this be any different for Neil? How is there any punishment beyond the sentence, if he chooses to forget?
The jail sentence should have been longer — or the sentence itself more severe. I don’t think he will learn a thing, and I know I’m not the only one. I guess it’s up to him to prove us all wrong.
To Jeb’s family: I’m sorry for your loss. Mr. and Mrs. Berthelson, you raised an incredible young man in Jeb. You have every right to be proud of the person he was.
Candace Collins

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