On this date in 1978, 38 years ago, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. in freedom for the last time.
13,880 days later, I have so far survived this unjust life sentence for a murder someone else committed in 1975. “No one said the world was fair,” a prison guard said to me recently.
Corrupt prosecutor, Mark Ober, was quoted as saying, “Norman will never survive a life sentence.” That was said after I refused for the last time, during jury deliberations, to accept his plea deal to a reduced charge of second degree murder. Mark told me, “Charlie, I’ve gotten to know you during this trial. You’re a brilliant guy. Don’t ruin your life. Take the deal. As smart as you are, you’ll be out in three or four years.”
I had no intention of taking his deal. I did not shoot Steve Bluffstone. Larry Wingate did, the same person who boasted that his wealthy father had paid off detectives and prosecutors to save him. The same person who Ober gave “immunity from prosecution for first degree murder” to falsely state, “Charlie told me he shot someone.” I never believed any jury could believe the convicted false liars, or not realize there was a reason there was no forensic or physical evidence against me, and the only eyewitness described a shorter and smaller man, not me — because I was not there.
My great mistake was insulting the prosecutor when he made his final plea offer to me. He made that offer because he knew I was innocent. I insulted him, he took it to heart, he tried his best to get me the death penalty, and he has pursued a personal vendetta ever since, to keep his shameful secret from seeing the light of day.
I have survived this life sentence, against all odds. I am a better man. I’ve forgiven my enemies and those who hate me and pray for them every day. People like my prosecutor can’t imagine that. It is inconceivable that I could live this life in prison with a clean heart. But I have, and I do. I have faith in God.
13,880 days later I am still here, waiting my turn. But I can’t do it alone. If you want to help right this great wrong, contact my dear wife, Libby, by replying to this e-mail. Thanks.
Libby and Charlie Norman < firstname.lastname@example.org >