In 1992, at the age of 22, Christina Boyer aka Tina Resch (her maiden name) was arrested along with David, her boyfriend of less than two months, on the accusation of being responsible for the death of her three-year-old only daughter Amber. At the time of her death, Amber was in the sole custody of David in his rented mobile home near Carrollton in Carroll County. Amber was killed by a fatal blow to the head. According to the medical examiner's testimony, physical evidence points to David as the one who was present when the fatal blow was delivered. During the time frame when this injury occurred, Christina was at the home of psychologist Jeannie Lagle and she had been there for nearly six hours.
Christina testified: "When I arrived home, I pulled up in the driveway and David came out on the porch and headed down the stairs and I opened up the door and asked him 'what' and he said, 'I can't get Amber up' and at that point, I jumped out of the car and I went in the house and I went in the room, and Amber was lying there, and I put my head down on her chest to see if she was breathing, and she wasn't breathing, and I yanked the covers back and I picked my daughter up and we went out to the car."
D.A.: "What did you do then?"
Christina: "We were driving -- David drove me to the hospital."
In the hospital emergency room, he was heard by Christina and psychologist Jeannie Lagle making the comment, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
Despite having access to the alibi information of the psychologist, hospital emergency room records, and the medical examiner for consultation, the District Attorney charged Christina with murder by failing to seek proper medical attention for the head trauma that caused her daughter's death.
Funding and Help
Columbus Poltergeist case
Christina was abandoned by her mother at 10 months and adopted into a rigid, unforgiving foster parents household. According to several sources in Murderpedia (see below), she had a compulsion to express herself talking loudly. When told to be quiet, she remained loud and spouted obscenities. Research by a neurologist, John Corrigan, led to the suggestion that Christina may have suffered from a mild form of Tourette's syndrome. Her foster father would beat her for this behavior and lock her in her room. She was also disruptive in class and was bullied and harassed by the other children. A psychological evaluation concluded that she had a tendency to dissociate and felt extreme tension in her relationships.
In 1984, Christina achieved some renown when, in 1984, a series of unexplained events of alleged spontaneous telekinesis at her adopted parents' home were covered by news media that called it the Columbus Poltergeist case. After this media attention died down, the foster parents seemed to blame Christina for the loss of their good name in the neighbourhood, for the disruption of their homely way of life and not trying to 'fit in', and for not showing them the respect they expected from a daughter. Christina, on the other hand, felt unwanted by themas by her birth parents.
At some point, she had the choice between going to a juvenile detention or live with her boyfriend James Bennett. James told the court he and Christina had eloped, and she supported this falsehood. They married soon thereafter. But James was physically violent, driving Christina to run away to a women's shelter. When he also stole some money that she had inherited, she divorced him.
In 1988, aged 19, Christina became pregnant by a man whose name she did not reveal. Her daughter, Amber, was born in September. For the baby's sake, Christina married Larry Boyer. After he had beaten unconsciousness, she had him arrested.
After waiting more than two and a half years in jail for a trial, grieving the loss of her child, her court-appointed lawyer advised her to accept a plea agreement which he had worked out with the D.A. and the Assistant D.A. (an Alford plea). That way, he said, she could avoid the risk of a death penalty by electrocution.
In October 1994, less than 24 hours after having passed a polygraph (lie detector) test indicating her innocence, and with the start of the trial just days away, Christina decided to accept that plea agreement: she asserted her innocence but agreed to accept a punishment for lesser charges of life plus 20 years in prison with the possibility of parole, rather than risking a death sentence. In a letter to her friends, she wrote: "I know that my decision to go ahead Monday with the offered plea may seem like I'm giving up. Please try to understand that I'm scared."
She did not stand trial and was never found guilty by a jury. The sentencing judge resigned in 2012 while being investigated for "allegations of judicial misconduct" unrelated to this case.
Christina's murder conviction was not for inflicting any physical injury to Amber - in fact, no one in this case was convicted of hitting the child with deadly force - but for failing to seek medical attention for the head injury that caused her death.
One of Christina's two convictions was for felony murder, by striking Amber Bennett on the head and abdomen, for which she received a mandatory life sentence. The other one was for causing bodily harm to Amber. David, the boyfriend, said that he saw Christina slap Amber earlier in the day and that as result of this, Amber died later that day. But according to the testimony of medical examiner, the "symptoms are not going to commence hours after the injury. At the very beginning, right after the injury, there may be a short period of time and I mean very short, some minutes, I doubt as long as 15 or 30, where the child might seem perfectly fine." But Christina had last been with her daughter six hours earlier.
There were other, older, physical injuries, most notably to her pancreas. This injury was caused, according to Christina, by a fall on a "big wheel" tricycle's handlebar while playing. And according to the public testimony of the medical examiner, it was so minor that there would have been no external symptoms and it would have healed on its own.
Amber had been sodomized. David admitted that he had sodomized the child twice and in his final police interview also admitted that he hit her.
Despite all this, the District Attorney and sentencing judge allowed the conviction and 20-year sentence to take place.
Christina was a poor single mother and she and Amber were living on food stamps. To earn cash for necessities, she is alleged to have worked as an adult film actress in the local community. With such a reputation problem, and not being a Georgia native with relatives in the area, her chances of being looked upon fairly by a conservative southern jury in a "Bible Belt" state in a child murder trial were fraught with uncertainty. This uncertainty may have contributed to the decision by her court-appointed defense attorney, who was familiar with local moral standards and juries, to not attempt a defense and negotiate a plea deal with the possibility of parole every seven years instead.
Her defense attorney filed a "letter of conflict" with the court indicating that he was working on 88 other cases in Georgia, including another high profile murder case, at the same time that he was representing Christina.
David, the boyfriend, who would not take a polygraph test, was found innocent of murder by a jury in 1995, essentially because Christina had already accepted the plea bargain three months earlier. He was, however, found guilty of the lesser charge of failing to seek medical treatment and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was paroled in November 2011 and is free now.
Strong doubts have been raised concerning Christina's guilt, as she was not even present when the fatal injury occurred, and she arrived at the boyfriend's trailer only after Amber had already deceased. Ironically, if she had been sentenced to death, her conviction would have received massive re-examination by national legal experts.
Christina is now (July 2016) 46 years old and has been in prison for 24 years. Her latest parole review was scheduled for April 14, 2015. On October 20, 2015, she received notice that she was again denied parole. However, instead of having to wait another seven years for the next mandatory review, she was informed that her next would be in two years, on April 14, 2017.
But, as the freed innocent prisoner and activist Rubin "Hurricane" Carter has said: "If you're innocent in prison, you suffer for it because it means you can't get parole because you won't say you're guilty."
Richard D. Allen, Jr., an attorney and a former Georgia prosecutor took on Christina's case. He was working below fee and finally pro bono (on a volunteer basis) to help get her released because he believed in her innocence. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack on March 2, 2009 at age 63. Christina is now without formal legal representation and relying solely on citizen activism.
She can receive and send email through the prison-authorized JPay.com system. Money for her account can also be sent through Jpay. Near the bottom of this web page there is more information on how to contact her, including by ground mail, which she welcomes.
Christina in her own words
Email, June 15, 2016:
"Dear Jan Banning,
Thank you for writing and yes, I did indeed receive the photograph. Thank you very much for that.
I am doing well (for prison). I keep busy and that helps to keep positive and productive. I would be VERY appreciative if I could be placed on your website at some point. Although you yourself may not be able to help me, the more people that know about my situation the better. One never knows from what corner of the world help might come from. So, I thank you so much.
I hope you are well and that life is treating you positively. Please feel free to write me whenever you wish to. Again, thank you for your interest and any attention you might be able to give my legal situation.
Email, July 7, 2016:
Thank you so much for your recent correspondence. Good to hear from you and to hear that life is treating you well.
You asked what I do here. Well, at the moment, not a lot. For years I worked as a teachers' aide in the 'Computer Technology and Customer Service' course that's offered through the local technical college. I really enjoyed that work and it kept me really busy. That helped me. These days I'm what is refered to as a 'Dorm Orderly'. Basically that means that I clean up in the dorm that I live in. Not exactly rocket science but somebody has to do it. There are several of us assigned to this detail. I have, in the past, painted some murals on the walls in different places in the institution with two other women and I'm told that they will be having me do that again soon. I love to draw and paint so that's right up my alley and it keeps me busy. I believe that we're just waiting for the paint to arrive. So there's that.
The dorm that I live in is a program dorm. It's called the "Faith and Character Dorm". This is a program that we sign up for and wait to get into. We have to be interviewed and accepted in order to be moved in here. The program consists of 9 major components, which are: Faith Enrichment, Character Building, Career Planning and Workforce Development, Academic Education, Leisure Skills, Substance Abuse, Health Education, Cognitive Behavior Planning, and Community Service and Family Relationships. There are groups that are mandatory. They are: Re-Entry, which teaches individuals how to search for jobs, interview for jobs, keep them. They create resumes, and cover letters. All of this we taught in the class that I was an aide in for years but because it was mandatory I had to sit through it again. But I did it with the attitude that no one knows everything and I could still learn something and I did. Another mandatory group is called Religious Diversity. In this group we learn about 3 different religions each week, for a total of 25 different religions. We learn about different religions in order to be more tolerant of others and our differences. Another group is called "6 Pillars of Character". In this the different subjects are: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. Another mandatory group is called "Confronting Self". (Self explanatory). This is 6 month group and then there is a follow up 3 month group called "Transformation". This group is taken at the end of the program, which is approximately 18 months long (and then we graduate and move back out onto the regular compound. Basically we learn to apply lessons learned in the program to our community or in the prison. There are other groups that are 3 months long that are voluntary and they include: Discipleship (intense study of the Bible and Bible subjects), Faith Club (again, intense study of Biblical subjects) Making Peace With Your Past, Moving Beyond Your Past, Tabeo, Spanish classes, Sign Language classes, Money Smarts, GED Tutoring, Advanced Fitness, Healthy Living, Yoga, Angry Women, Winning with People, Arts and Crafts, Creative Writing, Dance, Public Speaking. That pretty much covers what I do in the dorm I live in.
And lastly, I'm a part of a group called 'STAND" which stands for "Sisters Taking Action for a New Destiny". It is our residential Statewide Lifers/Long-Term Offender's Program. Its a group that I had to fill out an application for and be chosen to participate in. Basically it's up to us in here to better ourselves, encourage each other and STAND for the right choice; to make life better for us and those who come behind us. Standing together, changing the way we live and think, educating ourselves and reaching out to those who need help is how we choose to do our time instead of letting our time do us. A famous quote that we put on our literature is "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." I will graduate from this in Sept. and then go on to mentor others.
So, that's all I can think of for today about what I do in here. Hope that gives you a little insight of my life inside these prison walls. Make no mistake, there are plenty of bad things that go on inside prison, I just choose not to be a part of any of it. I have very few choices in this life I have in here but I exercise the best judgement I can in the ones that I have. However, for some reason the parole board seems to think that people like me who do their best to stay out of trouble, not just because we want to go home, but because it's who we choose to be, are just manipulating the system. I don't understand this thinking. When we come to prison, they drill it in our head that our behavior will play a big part in deciding if we are paroled out, but then all these years later we find out that they just think that we are manipulating the system. I don't just follow these rules b/c I am choosing the path of least resistance in prison, but b/c I chose to be a decent person in spite of where I am. It's kind of a kick in the teeth to find out that it doesn't matter to anyone though.
Hoping you're alight and that your work is going well as well.
Email July 9, 2016:
Hi! Glad to get your email. I hope by the time you read this that you are somewhere enjoying life and having a grand time with your girlfriend. If I don't hear from you in a minute know that it's alright. I DO realize that people have lives out there. So ...enjoy. Now, to your email....
Let me begin this email by letting you know that it is alright if you post stuff I've written on your website. There is precious little about or in my life that is private so I appreciate your willingness to keep anything I label as "PERSONAL" private. Thank you for that offer and I take you up on it. It will go a long way with how open I am with you.
Now, the parole hearing. On April 14th 2017 I officially come up for parole again... for the 5th time.
The first time I came up for parole was April 14,1999. They gave me a parole denial of 8 years. This means that they put my file away and they reconsider me in 8 years. Now, IF the spirit so moves them they could reconsider me before that but that didn't happen. So I had to wait 8 years when by law they had to reconsider me.
So in 2007 I came up again and they denied my parole again, this time for 5 years. In 2012, I came up and they denied it for 3 years. In 2015 they denied it for 2 years. I will see what they say in 2017. As long as I don't get into trouble they will keep going down on the denials. Theoretically, they could call down and parole me out tomorrow, if they were so moved to.
Now, sometime between Oct. '16 and Jan '17 (2017) they will "call down" for a parole summary. What that means is that they will notify the institution that they want a report on what I've been doing, my institutional conduct and an opinion on whether or not they think I'm ready for society. Everytime I've come up for parole all my reports have been glowing, meaning to say that there's never anything negative in them. I don't get into trouble, I take all the groups I can to get myself ready to reenter society. I am on mental health medication for depression. I have been the entire time I've been incarcerated and will continue to do so once released.
Now, how do I get myself ready? Well, that's a different story. I pray for the strength to accept whatever decision comes down. Try to plan what I'll do with the next time that they give me so that I don't become despondent. And then I just wait... and try not to get my hopes up. The old saying we have here in the U.S. is "Hope for the best but expect the worst". I've lived my entire life expecting the worst. Some people don't agree with doing that but I look at it like if I expect the absolute worst that can happen in a situation and find a way to accept it then if anything else happens it's a plus for me.
I try not to get too excited and worked up about the possibility of freedom (and all the fears that go with reentering a world that left me behind) but it's hard. I'm human, I dream, and as much as I try not to, I hope too. And that's how I get ready for an upcoming parole hearing.
Let me put in here that I am limited to 100 lines per email. So I may at times have to send more than one at a time to cover everything. And, please rest assured that you are not making my life more miserable or putting more weight on me. Like you, I am very blunt, upfront, and forth coming. I have absolutely no problem letting you know if there is something I don't wish to dicuss or have shared. Also like you, much to many people's dismay, I am curious by nature and ask a million questions. So just know that that does not bother me.
"Orange is the New Black"... I've never seen it. I very rarely (and I mean very rarely) watch t.v. If something major happens in the world and it's being covered by let's say CNN I'll wander into the 't.v. room' and see what's going on. So, I've never seen the show myself and I'm told by people that have seen it that it's not worth the time. They say that it is nothing like real prison and glorifies prison. I have a friend that's a producer (movie) and she was absolutely pissed off by the show and wrote their producers about it. But I guess real life wouldn't interest them as much. Who knows?
I write that I don't do a lot I guess because I'm someone who likes to keep busy and since I'm not painting at the moment my days are not filled up. Oh the time is because I'm waiting around for inspection that we have every day. But it's not stimulating my mind. Cleaning is not real stimulating. I just put my headphones on and I'm lost in another world. Then after inspection when I can then pull out books and stuff I'm either reading and studying my Bible or I'm reading some other book. That's pretty much all I do in my free time is read and draw (when I feel like it). Like you I love history but I'll read just about anything except true crime stories and love stories.
The groups that I spoke about that we take in the dorm are done in the evenings when people are off work. I do go to two groups on Friday during the days. One is the Lifer's group I told you about and the other will be 'confronting self' that I was supposed to start today but was cancelled.
When I'm painting again that will fill up my time and it will be something that is productive. I'll feel like I'm doing something then.
No, I did not paint before prison. I've always doodled and drawn cartoon characters but never really had the time to do anything else. I did write... have always written. I wrote poetry as well.
You asked about education before prison. I had a GED that was it.
[General Educational Development (GED) tests are a group of four subject tests which, when passed, provide certification that the test taker has American or Canadian high school-level academic skills - Wikipedia].
I had just turned 22 when my daughter died. I had her at 19. I was married at 16. The only education I had was reading. I read everything from psychology to quantam theory to U.S world wars. I just like learning. And no matter what kind of book I'm reading I can gleam some kind of knowledge from it. When I was growing up because I asked so many questions and it drove my parents crazy. They ended up telling me to go read the dictionary or the encyclopedia.
In prision I've taken Computer Technology and Customer Service. The computer technology was learning Microsoft Office 2003 and 2010 Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint. I love working on a computer and learning all I can. I can't wait to get out and finally see the internet.
When I spoke about being an aide in the class I meant that after I graduated I applied for the position of an aide. I had to fill out an application and go to an interview. I got the 'job'. My job was to assist the instructor in any way she needed. I compiled, stored, and retrieved management data, composed and typed memos, requisitions, spreadsheets, and reports. I helped students learn the Microsoft software. Made up tests, study guides, lesson plans. Created powerpoints to go with lessons. Helped students create resumes. Just a lot of different things associated with the class.
During my time as an aide I read through most of the books they had about starting and maintaining your own business. I created a business plan, well as much of it as I could do from prison. Taught other students how to write business plans.
There were also other types of computer books up there about more in depth stuff like learning the insides of it. When the guy came from the college to fix the computers when they went down, I hovered and he ended up showing and explaining what he was doing. His theory was if he could teach me basic repairs etc. then he wouldn't have to come as often. I liked that. My belief is knowledge is power and money. I won't (God forbid) be here forever. They'll just make it feel like forever.
Anyway, I'm going to need to know as much as I can to find a job out there and get somewhere in life. I will leave here with absolutely nothing. So the more I can learn about anything the better off I'll be.
What I meant by Academic Education classes in this dorm was that there is a group set up to help anyone that is presently in school trying to obtain their GED.
I wonder if I'm at my 100 lines yet. This thing doesn't have a counter. I'm typing this on a small tablet. Then when I hook up to the computer (the main one in our dorm) it'll send this out. I guess I'd better start winding this one down. I'd like to finish by telling you that I would indeed be most interested in reading stuff from your book 'Law and Order'. It sounds very interesting. By the way, what is your friend in France in prison for? How is he holding up and when does he expect to be released? I will keep him in my prayers most certainly.
Alright, I'll pick up and finish off answering you email in the next one. Sorry that I rambled on so much. Hope I didn't bore you to tears. Once again, enjoy your vacation. Be safe, be well, and have fun.
Email July 22, 2016:
I'm going to pick up where I left off before. In my notes I took of your email you asked what is Tabeo. Funny that you should ask that. Tabeo is an exercise program run by this guy who takes you through a bunch of exercises that are martial arts in a way and almost military exercises. But in this dorm we don't always watch the videos since we have women in here that are exercise buffs and so they come up with all kinds of exercises for us to do.
Well, Sat. I was in group and we were doing stuff and suddenly we all hear a loud crack and I hit the floor slowly and announce that I believe I broke my ankle. I got my shoe off quickly and sure enough my ankle started bruising and swelling right on up. so I went to medical and they put me in a wheelchair and today I saw a provider and they ordered x-rays that I'll get on Thurs.
I don't at this point think its broken but I believe it's a hell of a sprain. So I'm off my feet with it propped up and not real happy. So just note: Tabeo can be dangerous to ones limbs. SMILE
Don't think I'll be painting anytime soon. As for creative writing, I haven't yet been able to take that group but I really want to. I've just always written stuff. I have written stuff for a follow up book to the first one that was written but I think I'm going to need a ghost writer to put it all together into some kind of order that is worthy of being published.
What part of history is it that you studied? Anything specific?
Yes, I like the lifer's group I'm in..STAND. I've learned a lot in that group and I think that I want to go on to be a mentor for that group.
I received your latest e-mail today along with the the text 'Long Arm of the Law' (from my book Law&Order. JB). I will comment on all that as soon as I finish answering this last one.
You asked if I was 'religious'. I don't consider myself 'religious' because that tends to describe those that are stuffy, uptight, and translate the Bible into some ridged book of rules ones must follow in order to make it into heaven. I am a Christian and by that I mean to say that I try as diligently as I can to follow the teachings of Christ. And though I fail as miserabley each day, I believe that, thankfully, I'm saved by grace.
You said that you were an atheist. Does this mean that you don't believe in anything? You grew up Roman Catholic....a ridged denomination. I grew up Luthern, which branches of the Catholics. I have a difficult time with 'organized religion'. Too much of the 'if you don't do this you're going to hell' stuff.
Okay, moving on....When we graduate from this dorm and go back out into population, theoretically we are supposed to be 'lights' to those around us. Our behaviour and our attitudes should reflect that we are making concentrated efforts to become ready to be put back into society and lead the way for others to want to make that same change.
"Making Peace with my Past" and "Moving Beyond my Past" are groups that I took that helped me to face and deal with issues in my past, or at least begin to. Like say, for instance, the abuse from my parents. There are many facets to that abuse. They did many different things and allowed many different things to happen.
Those groups are basically a starting point for those who need to deal with the issues that all that abuse brings up in their current lives. How it effects their behavior, their thoughts, their beliefs about themselves and the world around them.
I have been in therapy for the entire time I've been incarcerated. I took those groups to get any additional help I could. If nothing else, it was a refresher course on what I already knew but had forgotten.
Since the e-mail that I got from you this morning, I've asked officers about the show 'Orange is the new black' and every single one of them say that it is nothing like real prison. While yes, we have relationships here like family type and girlfriend - lover type beyond that it's a joke.
If you can see "Lock Up" or "Scared Straight" those are actual portrayals of what prison is really like. All of them watched it one time and describe it as 'a joke' and make prison look like an easy time for us when it's anything but. I think that I'm going to have to see if I can see it for myself in order to give a fair assessment.
When I mentioned what you said that maybe it’s being good in order to raise some non judgemental, sympathetic interest and attention to women being in prison and the things we face, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM said that this isn't the show we'd want people to see if that's what we wanted. So, again, I'll try to watch it myself b/c now I'm curious.
I was VERY interested in hearing about your parents and grandparents being POW's in Indonesia. Are they still alive, by chance? Both of your photo books sound very interesting as well. I was thinking, we, here in the U.S. never really hear about all that with the Japanese and the Indonesia prison camps and all. I am ashamed to say that I never heard about any of that. I think the U.S. focuses on Pearl Harbor and even Hitler and the Holocaust. I want to know more about all this if you don't mind all the questions.
I knew someone in the Korean war and someone in Vietnam and I had a ton of questions for them. The people that adopted me, the Father was in the Navy during WW2 and I grew up hearing about all of that and I believe that's where my interest began. Have either of your photo books about this been successful in the States?
The woman, Susan Kigula, sounds like an interesting woman and I would like someday to meet her. I imagine that it took a lot of courage to help lead a case like the one that she was involved.
I'm going to end this. I started this a few days ago and just got back to it. I'm going to start another one to you (…)
Hope you're having a great time on your vacation.
Email August 25, 2016:
Let me say right off the bat that I am sorry for the lapse in writing and I will tell you the reason for this. I have been very depressed and am just now coming out of it. I suffer from sever depression and am on meds for it as well as for something called PTSD. But whenever I hit a downward slope I withdraw and find it most difficult to do the most basic things. I am able to carry on daily living but the reaching out to others, not so much. In one respect I don't want to drag others down with me. I don't want to make others worry when there's absolutely nothing they can do to help me. It tends to make people feel helpless and I don't want to do that.
I've been locked up 25 years almost and I've known several people that have died here. But a few months ago someone died that I was very close to and it hit me hard. They had a memorial for her (and another woman I didn't know as well) about 3 weeks ago and it really just threw me for a loop. Made it real final for me. It was an older black woman and her name was Sharon. She was funny and smart, cussed like a sailor! Was in prison because she took the life of her abuser. In GA there are a lot of women in prison for that b/c GA didn't recognize self defense for battered women. Anyway, Sharon was on dialosis (I know I'm spelling this wrong...sorry) for her kidneys and she was diabetic as well. Well she was a life like me and had come up for parole once before and they denied her. Well she had come up again and they denied her again. And she just gave up. She quit fighting. She didn't want to live in prison and especially in the health that she was in.
She had asked me on several occasions how to die and it just broke my heart b/c this was the woman that gave me such hell to keep on going. Basically she just gave up and died. She hadn't been locked up as long as I have but still.
So that started me on the downward slope. Worrying that these people are just going to leave me to die here that they don't care and I will spend the rest of my life here. So, that's what started all that. I'm coming out of it but I still miss my friend and I still hurt and I so wish she'd have hung in there like I'm trying to do. So that's why you haven't heard from me in a bit.
Now to your email.
People asking questions, by all means yes i would answer them and (ha ha) I do have the time. Somebody here actually suggested I start a blog (that someone out there looked after). Anyway, yes I would be interested. Anything to keep people from making the same mistake I did. I never want anyone to have to bury their child. I want as many people aware of my situation as possible. And I know there are some mean people out there too. I might know someone in Germany who might be willing to take this on if the idea ever came to fruitation. Let me know. In the meantime, feel free to ask away.
Susan Kigula, yes, I'd be very interested in meeting her and corresponding with her if she would. Very inspiring woman.
Q. Your friend in SC that asked about grief counseling.
Yes i did receive it and am still in counseling. Have been for my entire prison sentence. They fel that they have gotten me about as far as I'm going to get while I'm locked up. I still struggle with the guilt heavily but now they think the next step will be for me to get out and finally get to go see her grave and try to process life out there without her. Thanks for asking and being concerned.
Prison offers lots of groups and classes and I think they are worthwhile. But like with anything, you get out of something what you put into it. A lot of it is geared towards stopping people from coming back and forth to prison. So I think they are benefitial, but again, only if someone wants to change their behavior. For people who are here for self defense issues there are groups for family violence. I've taken years worth of classes such as battered women, family violence, and such. They give us the tool not to find ourselves in those situations again and what to do if we do get into them again. But they focus on things farther back like the why's we got in them to begin with. Looking at our own history. Help can be found here and there are programs with good information, but again, the person has to want to have a better life bad enough to pay attention and retain it all.
Well, I'm going to go for now. I hope your vacation went well and you had a great time. I hope to hear from you when you get the chance.
P.S. I found the things you wrote about your parents very interesting but also very sad in that they don't teach it in the schools with the rest of history and it so deserves a place. Thank you for sharing it with me and I would be so interested in seeing the books one day. I won’t always be here."
Email September 1, 2016
I'm going to get as much typed as I can in an attempt to get 'something' out to you before the weekend gets here. It is an American holiday weekend "Labor Day" and therefore emails not get out so quickly until next week. I want to try to answer some of the things you wrote.
Re: Depression I am doing much better now, thank you. I really hate when that monster comes and rears it's ugly head. Your thought about sharing my feelings with people who could probably deal with them and help does sound like a good idea. Of course all of my friends keep telling me to do just that and when I think of it I start to feel guilty, like everyone out there has so much on their own plate and I don't want to add more.
I will give this a try though and see how it goes. I know that once depression hits and I head down that road past a certain extent nothing seems like a good idea, if that makes any sense.
I think the blog or whatever idea materializes is a great idea. It's something that I would be interested in doing and I know that people out there do have questions and this would give me a chance to answer them. Now how to go about doing those things, I have no idea.
Q. In your email you say "Anything to keep people from making the same mistake I did." What do you consider to be your mistake? And what do you feel guilty about? (Jan Banning)
The first mistake I feel I made was I brought David into our lives and had I not done that Amber would be alive today. Next, there had to be signs and I missed them and didn't heed them as dangerous as they obviously were. Had I went ahead and gotten outside advice would Amber still be here? My thing is this. I made a series of poor choices and they lead to my daughters death. Though I didn't commit the act of murdering her I am the catolist (I have misspelled but I am in a hurry) that set those wheels in motions. My decisions did this. I want to help other women make better life choices. I want people out there to be more aware of the fact that the choices we make today not only effect our tomorrows but others as well. I've got to stop this one. Will start another. Be well.
Email, September 6, 2016
So, here I am again. I was re-reading some previous emails that I have sent to you and realized I make a ton of typos. I don't usually go back over emails once I type them because in the past I found that I feel like they sound stupid and then I want to rewrite them and such. So I just type them and send them on so that you get all of my uncensered thoughts (for better or worse). So I said that to say sorry for all the mistakes I make. I do know better.
Yes, Sharon's story is depressing but what depresses me even more is that there are tons of women in prison for taking the life of their abuser. It's not fair. Having been an abused wife at one point, pretty severly abused I might add, I find this to be very offensive and wrong. Up North where I'm from there are laws to protect spouses that are abused and programs to help them.
While there are programs down here, it's way behind. And a lot of times, like in my case, people are afraid to leave. Yes we can leave, and I did. I got restraining orders and TPO's (temporary protection orders) but the reality is that to a man holding a gun to your head, that piece of paper don't mean jack.
I have jumped out of two story windows into a snow drift (in shorts and a t-shirt b/c my husband had gotten rid of my clothes to keep me there), run away, started over only to be found and had to go back until the next time I could get away.
People have asked me why I went back. Tell me what you would do if you came out of a little convenience store to find your husband there who puts a gun to your belly b/c you're pregnant, and tells you to get in the f***ing car? You get in the car. My point to all this is it's not always so easy to get away.
They make movies about this stuff for a reason... It happens. But in this state women come to prison for killing their abuser and that's sad. So, yes its depressing but far from unique. GA IS merciless about stuff and cirumstances don't matter. And if you don't have money… You're out of luck.
I don't mind the questions that you ask because, like you said, chances are someone else will ask them as well.
I don't want women, girls, to make the same mistake I did in that they can't trust people with their most valuable, precious life. Even if you truly believe that you can trust them.
I didn't leave Amber with my adoptive mother, someone who had taken care of hundreds of children and been rewarded thoughout the years for such. But because I knew how I grew up and the things that happened I never once left Amber in her care. So for people to insunuate that I just left Amber with someone I didn't know and trust is crazy.
And another thing, while David and I hadn't been 'dating' all that long, I had known him for longer. He had dated a friend of mine and I had babysat etc. It's just WE hadn't been dating all that long. People tend to make it sound as if I left Amber with someone that I didn't know that well. But I trusted him and Amber paid the price for that.
I know that you will be hesitant to ask certain questions, please know that it is alright. The guilt I feel is because she was my daughter and it was my responsibility to keep her safe and I failed. And I live with that. I go over and over in my waking hours and sleeping ones those last days and wish I could just do things different. Take her with me that day.
But she had been sick and was just getting over a cold and I really didn't want to take her out and I knew that if I took her I wouldn't get much work done.
Easter was coming and I wanted to be able to have money for a nice Easter basket, and stuff. I was to meet David's parents that Easter Sunday at church and I was caught up in trying to have the money to get Amber stuff.
My mother had sent a nice Easter dress (she was buried in it) and I needed shoes and socks and hair ribbons and stuff. It would have been the first year that Amber would have been old enough to do the Easter egg hunt and get stuff and sort of know what was going on. She never made it.
That was where my mind was. That is why I didn't take her with me that day. She didn't want to go and I knew that to make her go wouldv'e been non productive. When I left, she had jumped in David's lap with a book for him to read to her. That is my last memory of her. Does that sound like a child scared of someone abusing her?
None the less, there had to be signs, things that I missed because I was too caught up and now she's dead.
I have graduation from the statewide lifer's/long term offender group on Amber's birthday... Sept. 29th. I had to write a two minute speech to deliver. I am now going to type it for you:
"I came to prison almost 25 years ago because of a series of poor choices I made in my life. The last of the poor choices that I would make in society would be to bring a man into my life that would later take my daughter’s life and send me to prison with a life sentence.
We make hundreds of choices each day. Some little and seemingly unimportant and others larger and sometimes life changing. Since coming to prison I've made hundreds maybe thousands. I've made choices to take tons of self help groups, to complete a trade, read tons of books on homebased businesses and created a business plan, and, in other prisons, done community service and volunteer work.
I've also made poor choices. I have been smart enough to have listened to the people in my life, like Ms. Christian, the deputy warden of care and treatment, my mental health counselors Mrs. Brown and Collin-Rawles who cared enough to point them out to me and guide me to a better path where I would once again make healthy choices.
One such choice was to enter the Faith and Character based program where I would take tons of groups designed to help me to confront my past, deal with it and get me ready to face a future outside these prison walls.
And then this 'Lifer's/Long-term Offender' group that would bring me into another family fold and help train me how to help others make better and healthier life choices for themselves and for the sake of every person who is a stakeholder in their lives.
I wish with all that I am that I could have learned these lessons 25 years ago and then maybe Amber would be alive to celebrate her 28th birthday today.
But I can't undue or change the past. I like to think that with every healthy choice I make now I honor her memory. I want now to help others make better choices for their lives so they don't make the same mistakes that I did. I will leave you with this thought. Someone once told me that life is a precious gift, and it is, but living is a choice. I pray that we all make wise ones. Thank you."
Alright Jan, so tell me what you think. I haven't gone over it yet to see that it flows and such. I just sat down and wrote it out. Your comments or anyone’s are welcome. I know that I'm getting close to 100 lines so I better close this soon.
You asked what people might be able to do to help. I know one of my friends is starting something on social media called 'Gofundme" maybe leading people to the site would be helpful. writing the parole board on my behalf would help as well. I'll write more about that in my next email. I'm glad your vacation went well and will finish answering your email next time. I sort of rambled on in this one. Sorry. Be well.
Christina Boyer 810071
Pulaski State Prison ESC
PO Box 839
Hawkinsville GA 31036-0839
Include a return address on the outside. And 810071 is her Georgia Dept of Corrections number, as well as her JPay account number.
Request (for Georgia citizens only)
One of Christina's relatively minor problems in qualifying for parole is that she needs an acceptable "parole to" address. Even if she is first sent to a halfway house, she still needs an address that she could parole to for her application paperwork. She is looking for people who are willing to take her in as her sponsor and new friend: they must be a couple (male/female or two females) or a single female living in the United States with an extra bedroom. You can contact her directly, or if you first have any questions, contact James A. Conrad
Funding and help
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