I was one of the jurors at your trial. I heard the evidence and found that the prosecution supplied enough evidence to remove reasonable doubt as to the facts of the case. Furthermore, I considered all the elements and evidence present during the punishment phase and, with the other 11 jurors, assigned you 40 years in prison.
All of that aside, my heart is heavy at the knowledge that we have stripped you of your freedom and liberty. We have declared you for the rest of your natural life a murderer. We have branded you a convicted felon. We did that.
Please know that we did not make either decision lightly or without great care and consideration. All 12 jurors weighed the evidence very carefully; searching for reasonable doubt. Many of us are parents and we spoke at length during the punishment deliberations about your age and how tragic it would be to give up on you; to lock you away and throw away the key.
I hope that, while you are probably angry and deeply grieved at this outcome, you will come to understand and appreciate the position we were in. I hope you are able to see the opportunity to take the next 20 years to learn how to be productive and successful without the false “help” of drugs or gangs. I hope that your life will be changed and you will emerge from prison a reformed man.
The decision was not fun and tears were shed before concensus was achieved. I hope in some small way this letter reaches that place in your heart that is still young. Don’t give up hope. The end of this story doesn’t have to be a tragedy. Your life CAN be changed for the better from this experience.
Know that I will pray for you every day, Rigoberto. I will pray for your family and for the jail staff around you. I will pray that, if you do not already, you will come to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I will pray that you will be protected from harm while in prison and you will make good choices and learn good behaviors. I will pray that you emerge from prison able to be successful and productive. This is my promise to you.
God bless you,
A member of the Jury