I'm inclined to have sympathy for a certain group of women. These are mothers whose children have committed terrible crimes. Can you imagine what hell such a woman must live in? The child, whom she gave birth to with such hope for his future, turns out to be creep, a monster. This is the boy she saw utter his first words, take his first steps. He may have been sweet and loving in many areas of his life--with her and at home.
But then he grows up, into a teenager or a young man. And he does something terrible. He causes another person terrible suffering, as well as to that person's friends and family. He gets caught, tried, convicted. Maybe he has to go to prison for a long time, maybe the rest of his life. Maybe he receives the death sentence.
The mother of this once promising child loses her promise, her hope. She loses her baby. The grief must be terrible. Add to that the shame and judgment from her community and the criminal justice system. Even though we're supposedly more enlightened about such matters in psychology and child development, we still can't help but wonder whether the mother is to blame when her child turns out to be a creep. She wasn't loving enough. Or she didn't discipline him enough, and she spoiled him. Or she's a sociopath herself. And so on. The rest of this woman's life is lonely, full of grief, and despair.
So, I am inclined to have sympathy for these women. To an extent.
Then there are mothers of men who do horrible things who continue to live in denial, and insist their darlings are innocent. Jackie Peterson comes to mind. She's the mother of Scott Peterson, convicted of killing his wife, Laci, and unborn son. She and other family members have set up a website, insisting that Scott was innocent and wrongfully convicted.
I can think of a few other mothers of recent high-profile murder defendants who continue to insist that their sons have been misjudged and unfairly treated by the system. Their loyalty is somewhat understandable, but I lose sympathy when I hear them blaming everyone else for their son's "misfortunes." And, when you begin to suspect that these women are more interested in protecting their own fragile reputations than in helping their sons "man up" and take responsibility for their crimes and apologize to the families of their victims.
Now we have Charlotte Martin, the mother of Curtis Martin III, 38 of West Oakland. He has been arrested in the killing of 23-year-old Zoelina Williams, whose body was found at Berkeley's Aquatic Park Friday. She had been beaten and shot. And her 17-month-old son, Jashon Williams, was missing.
The body of a toddler was pulled from the waters off the Berkeley Marina Sunday. Although he is still officially "Baby Doe," pending the autopsy, authorities believe he is probably Jashon Williams.
A police officer spotted Curtis Martin walking in Aquatic Park early Friday morning. Ten minutes later, that officer found Zoelina Williams' body. It also turns out that Martin was a convicted child killer. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, he "pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the 1994 fatal beating of 3-year-old Devin Brewer of Oakland, the son of his then-girlfriend.
It's unclear whether Curtis Martin and Zoelina Williams were romantically involved or whether she knew of Martin's past conviction. Martin's mother must have known of his past conviction. You'd think, right?
So, why is his mother, Charlotte Martin, understandably devastated by news of her son's latest arrest, telling the the Chronicle: "I don't believe he would hurt a baby." She also asserted that "some things being said about him are not true or have been embellished."
To be fair, she told the Chronicle that she was reserving judgment about the case until she spoke to her son. Also, I'm sure there are things being said about him that have been embellished. That's often the case. Still, to say he would never hurt a baby?
Ms. Martin, with all due respect, he went to prison for just such a crime. Speaking of that crime, why did Curtis Marin only serve 11 years for fatally beating a 3-year-old?