Parole Hearing Statement:
My name is Shani Campbell & Crissy was my sister. Sam was accused, tried & sentenced for the murder of Crissy & Dawn almost 25 years ago. I feel the pain & devastation this has caused everyone involved has been explained at great length. And I don’t want to minimize that suffering just because so much time has passed. Because that misery was very real then & is still very real now, for all of us. Suffering such a tragedy, specifically for me, at such a young & compromising age, altered my entire life. And I do feel like expressing that raw reality is still very valid. That my mother’s heart will forever be broken. That my father has spent months investigating his own daughters murder. And that my sister Wendy struggles with a deep feeling of injustice. So I can only speak for myself.
I am grateful for my life. Even the traumatic parts I experienced, for it has made me the woman I am today. I forgive Sam for his involvement in my sisters murder. The last two times we were here, the parole board stated that Sam needed to show remorse for what he has done. And I believe, for the Parole Board, that involves Sam confessing to the actual killing of Crissy & Dawn, which he has never admitted to. I wanted to express to you all today, how I feel Sam has shown me remorse, personally, without outwardly admitting his guilt. Which, by the way, I do not need. I don’t seek his confession to anything in regards to my sisters death, as my forgiveness & compassion for the man who sits before you right now, is not contingent on any of those things. He could admit that he brutally beat my sister to death & I would still forgive him. I would still have compassion for him. And I would still believe in second chances.
Sam has expressed his remorse to me through allowing me into his life. Which he didn’t have to do. Through written letters for the past several years I have gotten to know Sam as a person. Which was extremely important for my own recovery. To see him no longer as a monster but as a human being. Through our correspondence I have learned more about what Sam has done to better himself while incarcerated. He has expressed his hopes & plans for the future. He has never asked anything from me nor have we ever discussed these parole hearings. I have simply shared my life, interests & thoughts with him as he did with me.
I think Sam has come very far from where he started & through some intense & less than ideal circumstances, he has improved his life vastly. I feel he has accepted his role in this crime & accepted the punishment. He has used his time in prison to the best of his ability & I believe, will come out a better man. I know Sam has a family & now a wife, who surely love & miss him. I think about Sam’s younger brother & how he also lost his sibling. How he has a chance to get his sibling back. Something I don’t have. I know how painful losing a sibling is & knowing that they could have a second chance with their relationship, makes me happy.
I respect the board & the medical professionals who can better analyze & judge someone’s ability to be successful in the real world after spending so much time in prison. But I ask, that if Sam admitting he did this crime is the one thing holding him back from his freedom, for you all to rethink that request. Because nothing will bring Crissy & Dawn back. I do believe in consequences, not necessarily the current prison system, but Sam has certainly suffered some pretty immense consequences for his actions. Years he can never recover. And believe me, I realize the irony in all of this, as my 16 year old sister Crissy & Dawn as well, lost their life so brutally & tragically- losing out on so many precious experiences. But again, nothing can change that. Their suffering is over & it’s up to us as individuals to determine how we allow this tragedy to further effect us. No matter how you play this out, it’s just not fair.
So I try to determine, how can we somehow make this terrible situation a more positive one. And for me, locking someone away for the rest of their life, isn’t a positive outcome for anyone. Perhaps it is completely foreign for anyone to understand why I would be asking the parole board to give Sam a second chance. Turning something so inherently negative, into something positive, is what I have always strived for. My suffering was lessened because I chose to make my life better, not because Sam was spending his days behind bars. I leave this decision up to the parole board but please, do not use my suffering as a reason to keep Sam here. So I ask, if you believe Sam is ready, give him a chance to make something positive of his life & perhaps be able to help others that are on the wrong path. He in turn, could quite possibly, save the lives of many people.