Murderer in the family....

Brandy - posted on 08/10/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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So, I have a normal, happy, friendly and functional family. All, except for this one uncle.

The story is that he struggled with life and one day he had a nervous breakdown and went insane. He tried to kill himself as a result of this and failed. He ended up in the psych ward at the hospital and the next morning when he asked the nurse if he could go to his sister's (my aunt's) house and get some fresh clothes and come back, the nurse gave him a day pass assuming that he was back to normal again, I guess. He never came back.

Three days later, he shot and killed a man that grew up with my family outside of the man's house, got in his vehicle, drove to the police station and turned himself in. The man he shot wasn't innocent either. He had been charged many years before this for molesting a young girl who was and still is very close to my family. My uncle loved this little girl with all his heart and it was believed that this was the main reason that my uncle's rage was directed towards the other guy.

He has served 8 years in prison for second degree murder because of temporary insanity and is supposed to be out any day now. I don't really have any apprehensions about seeing him and having him meet my children but I wonder if this is okay. I don't know how I am supposed feel about him being with my kids and getting to know them but I feel like it's weird that I am not worried about him being around them. Should I feel differently about this? Would you want him around your kids? (imagine it's one of your uncles, not mine)

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Caitlin - posted on 08/11/2010

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I agree with Mary and Tara. I'm sure that it will take a bit of time to get used to being out of prison, and i'm sure he's also a bit worried about how his family will recieve him. I think if he is stable in his mind, he wont have a problem with the way you approach it, and if he seems stable enough, you can even discuss it with him directly. One of the things if your kids are a bit older, they'll have questions for him, and he needs to know what YOU want him to say. What you feel is appropriate for an explanation (which if he is stable, shoudln't be an issue) like "Your uncle made a very bad decision and he was punished for it" kind of thing.

I went through a rough patch too (okay, I never killed anyone, but still..) I wasn't the most stable individual at the time, but I worked through it and now have a wonderful family, and am no longer the outcast of the family, the "black sheep". People change, and hopefully his change was for the better. I have never been told outright, but my husband has probably killed (used to be in the military - PTSD) but he's pretty much fine now, he's as normal as he can get I guess, and just because you've killed doesn't automatically make you a horrible person.

Here's to hoping all is well and he received some good support in prison, and learned to work through his issues properly!

Mary - posted on 08/11/2010

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Although I do believe in second chances and forgiveness, I do think a bit of skeptical caution is warranted with allowing him a relationship with your kids.

I beleive, if it were my uncle, I would give it a bit of time before determining just how much interaction he has with your children. Prison is not exactly a benign environment for someone with psych issues to have spent 8 years. Even the most emotinally balanced person will have been impacted by 8 years of incarceration, and will need a period of reacclimation.

I would wait and see how he does once he is home...and see him a few times without your kids to see how it goes. Obviously, as they age, they will know about him, and what transpired in the past, so I don't think you can act as if he doesn't exist. However, if he not "okay", you can sheild them from any negative impact that could result from direct interaction.

There is no absolute right or wrong here. I think you just need to give it time, and see how things are with him before you can decide about this.

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[deleted account]

for a guy who went tempoarily insane i think it's amazing at what he is doing..... to choose to stay in prison for longer os he can continue to work with his counsellor, that says a lot about him in my eyes!

Lyndsay - posted on 08/11/2010

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I would be perfectly fine introducing him to my children, HOWEVER, due to his past mental instability, I would not let him have any unsupervised access.

Brandy - posted on 08/11/2010

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Thanks girls. I have spoken to him 3 times a year throughout his sentencing (Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas he always calls). About prison being a bad place for a person who has gone insane, I totally agree but it was a low security prison where he was able to leave his cell pretty much whenever he wanted, make phone calls and interact with others throughout the day and he had a job in the church the entire time and also in the garden towards the end of his prison stay. He now stays at a farm that is on the prison's property but miles from it and he is allowed to walk to the town nearby whenever he wants as long as he makes arrangements with one of the guards who live downstairs to go with him. He has been on this farm for almost a year now since he was offered parole last fall and refused because he said he was not ready yet and needed to continue working with the counsellors that have been working with him throughout his stay. Krista, I definately don't think he should be babysitting or alone with them either. :)

Tara - posted on 08/11/2010

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I agree with Mary, give it time. I don't know how old you kids are, but I would wait until you have spent some time with him alone on a few occasions before you introduce him to your kids.
If I were close to this uncle I would be honest with him, I would talk to him about his time in prison, ask him how he feels about himself etc. and the gauge how close you want your family to be to him.

Krista - posted on 08/11/2010

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I agree with the other ladies. I don't think he would deliberately hurt your kids, BUT he's proven to be not exactly stable in the past, and prison wouldn't have helped matters any. So give it lots of time and go slow, and I don't think you should ever leave him alone with them, just in case.

[deleted account]

I don't know id i would be compleley comfortable with him meeting my children but i doubt i would stop him. He obviously went crazy at the other man for what he had done. By the sound s of it what happened had been weighing on his mind BIG time.
Its all circumstances i guess and how well you know him.

Shelley - posted on 08/10/2010

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Hi Brandy,
Yeah whenever something like this happens it takes time for a family to heal its wounds. You no doubt will be cautiouse around him aspecially with your kids this is normal and probably a good protective instinct. He's done his time and it seems his motivation was in the interests of the child.
I do believe that in these sorts of cases time can heal. He will always be your uncle and for the one time that he stuffed up there are probably a thousand good things he has done.
Wishing you and your family all the best as begin this new chapter.
shelley :)

[deleted account]

I can't say for sure, but I don't 'think' I would be ok w/ him being around my kids. I don't know how to put my thoughts into complete sentences on this one, so I'll just say one word and hope it's enough. ;) Instability.

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