Prisoner of Hate | Letters | Chicago Reader

Prisoner of Hate 

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To the editors:

Your coverage of the William Heirens story [August 25] is excellent!

Hopefully it will make a positive difference and help secure his long-awaited release. It tells the true story, and explains the hatred and bias that has characterized this unjust disposition of what is still an inflamed issue. Inflamed after nearly half a century, due to a large extent to the hate and bitterness of the brother and sister of the young victim, who feel duty-bound to make sure that somebody pays. And pays and pays and pays and pays! Apparently they have no interest in whether or not the one who pays is guilty, caring only that a penalty is exacted. And continues to be exacted.

Even if he had committed the crimes of which he is accused--which circumstances indicate he did not--he has since contributed to society in ways that would have been extraordinary, had he been part of free society. To have lived the exemplary life he has--learning and achieving and contributing and serving and encouraging others--while in prison, is more than extraordinary! It is astounding that hate and political pressure and yellow journalism could do this to another human being, even supposing he or she were guilty.

Consider his age when this ordeal began--17 years! And consider the pressure on this admittedly unstable teenager, by both the prosecution and the defense, to plead guilty! It is appropriate that our symbol of justice wears a blindfold--there are times when the decisions meted out must be more than she could bear to look upon.

Thank you for caring enough to try to right a long-standing wrong. Good luck!

Erma Frodsham

Orem, Utah

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