No Choirboy by Susan Kuklin

nochoirboy“Are you the sum total of your worst acts?” -Bryan Stevenson, lawyer for death row inmates (explain quote)

Susan Kuklin went to death rows in prisons in Alabama and Texas to interview men who were convicted of murder and sent to death row all before the age of 18.

Our society has called these people monsters, the worst of the worst.

16 year old Roy killed his friend.
14 year old Mark and his brothers killed a couple who were going to testify against them in another case.
17 year old Nanon and some friends killed a guy in a cocaine deal gone wrong.

Are they really monsters?

They have been in prison for years now. One is an talented artist, another a poet. Nanon has written and published three books. They are on Amazon. I checked.

Also, there are interviews with two families–one family tells the story of the son and brother who was arrested at 17 year for murder and later executed on death row. Another family, grieving the death of their son and brother talk about their own complicated reactions to grief. His dad even speaks out against the death penalty and runs a vctim rights group.

The details of the stories are sometimes too hard to hear. The murders, life in prison, the grief of the victims…but you might agree at the end that they are more than the sum total of their worst acts…

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