Child murderer proves stupidity stronger than rehab
When Nathaniel Abraham was released from detention awhile back in 2007 on his 21st birthday, he was wearing a pink suit. My buddy Odis and I were driving around the city just talking and running some of his errands when the subject turned to Abraham and the suit.
“I knew right then that boy was a fool,” he said, then went on to say it was only a matter of time before Mr. Pink Suit got in some more trouble. Because any kid who spends 10 years behind bars after being convicted of murder at the age of 11, and who then decides that pink is the right color suit to wear for his release, is essentially posting a city-sized sign in the dirt that proclaims to the world, “Yes, I really am that stupid. Throw away the damned key.”
For those of you not familiar with the story, you can get caught up in gut-wrenching detail here. The short version is that Abraham gained national recognition nearly a decade ago when he was convicted of murder before he had even entered his teens. Mostly because of this tragic fact, he was sentenced as a juvenile and not as an adult. As has widely been reported here, literally millions of dollars were spent essentially trying to rehabilitate this kid and turn his life around. What everyone wanted was the Big Win where Abraham, child murderer, would emerge from incarceration as a Brand New Man. Abraham would be the proof that if enough money and effort is spent on wayward kids then miracles can happen and they can turn into, well, miracles.
But then Abraham stepped out in that pink suit. Let’s just say it was a little hard at that moment to hold out much hope for the victory of rehabilitation. I’m sure there were those who tried hard to say, “Well, you know, he’s just a kid. Been behind bars for all that time. Poor child. Let’s just give him a chance.”
Well, OK, except that Abraham wasn’t treated like all those other youngsters behind bars. Not if what I’m reading is the truth. According to the Free Press, Abraham was essentially considered “an experiment” in rehabilitation, which is why all those millions were spent on him. And I’m suspecting it was the waste of those millions that was running through the judge’s mind when he practically cursed Abraham out in his courtroom for his drug dealing exploits before sentencing him to 4-20 years. I mean, well, just read this Free Press account:
“Abraham was just 11 in 1997 when he shot and killed Ronnie Greene Jr., 18, outside a Pontiac party store. The killing appeared random. Prosecutors charged him as an adult with second-degree murder, prompting widespread debate on the handling of young offenders. He was convicted by a jury in 1999.
But the trial judge, Eugene Moore, sentenced him as a juvenile. Abraham spent all of his teen years in juvenile detention centers undergoing therapy and counseling. He made regular reports to Moore detailing his progress and pledging to reform.
He was released in January 2007, upon his 21st birthday. Eighteen months later, Pontiac police arrested him in a drug-infested neighborhood and found 254 Ecstasy pills in the trunk of his car.”
So what did Abraham say in court this time? Same thing he said in al those ‘regular reports’; he promised to become a better human being. Except that Abraham didn’t have much idea what a better human being was. So maybe the ‘experimental’ program should have continued outside of the juvenile facility. Maybe it should have kept up some sort of monitoring for awhile, just to make sure Nate didn’t do any backsliding. That seems intelligent. Or maybe this. Or, then again, maybe that.
Who the hell knows?
The real problem with this dumb kid’s case is that he just made it that much harder for all those kids who grew up in circumstances just as rough as his, who also made mistakes, but who actually are capable of reform. Thanks to Our Boy Nate, we will probably never know their names because that slim chance at a new approach toward incarceration may have just been squashed beneath the weight of this boy’s widely-publicized idiocy.
And this, folks, is why they say life’s a bitch.