This story of someone needing to be locked up before it was too late is one with which we have since become all too familiar. Here was a man who was obviously dangerous. The warning signs were there for all to see, yet he was allowed to walk free with predictable consequences.
Was the psychiatrist right in seeing this man's miserable childhood as the root cause of his crimes? One of the killer's sisters certainly thought so. She discovered his whereabouts and his fate only when she read of his murders in a local newspaper. Her letter to him contained perhaps, the only expression of compassion he had ever received in his whole life. He read it in his cell:
Honey, I'm not writing this to you but to the little boy I saw so long ago. The little boy with such splendid ideas, the little boy who hoped to rise above the filth and sordidness into which he was born.
Honey, that little boy has committed no crime. No, honey, it was the father and mother rotting in the torments of hell that committed the crime.
A drunken father and a thing we called mother, letting five little babies shift for themselves. Hungry and cold, wandering the streets all hours of the night. Finally, one of those parents ended up in prison, then the other one going.
Yes, honey, that was the heritage left us. Five little dirty kids, growing up, going out in the world, trying to desperately to overcome our heritage.
But, honey, I know it would have reached up and slapped you back as many times as it has me. I wanted to teach music. I took the exam and passed, only to be told I could never teach because my mother and father had been in prison.
But you, honey, you took the hardest slap of all. You struggled so hard to get to the top only to find out you couldn't stay there because of things that happened while you were still a baby. That was a cruel blow, honey.
Heritage is something you have to fight all your life, but, honey, in a weak moment you forgot to fight.
We here do not think of you as committing a crime. We only pour our love out to you and pray. There isn't much more to say except I'd give anything in this world if I could take your place.
A very moving letter of a loving sister to a brother.
Those words were written not long after the man's execution. They remain as true now as they were half a century ago.