Drew Is Not A Criminal
The past few days have been agonizing. The waiting and uncertainty is heavy. Today I want to focus on the effects this legal process has had on Drew. I’ve shared my pain openly with you. As a mom I feel like I walk a fine line trying to save my son’s life, and save his dignity in the process.
Drew is a bright, funny, articulate, talented, delightful young man. I am proud of him for holding up as well as he has throughout this hellish ordeal.
The therapists who have worked with him for years have described him as:
- extremely honest
We have been told repeatedly by mental health experts that Drew does not belong in prison or even in jail. Drew’s therapists do not believe he committed the crime for which he’s been convicted.
Those who are familiar with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will quickly understand how incarceration for someone on the spectrum is different than someone who does not have an ASD. During Drew’s 8 weeks in jail he deteriorated quickly. Some of the factors include:
- Overwhelm by loud ongoing noise, constant confusion and sensory overload.
- Being abruptly moved from one jail to another, or moved to a different pod.
- Florescent lighting, both the brightness and the humming noise.
- Inconsistence and even lack of medication, sometimes for days in a row.
- Targeted by inmates for behaviors related to ASD.
- Fear of withdrawal symptoms from being taken abruptly off of his medication.
- Being put in isolation (the hole) because he was crying uncontrollably and therefore deemed to be suicidal.
Drew has told me repeatedly that if he was guilty of sexually assaulting someone he could accept being punished. He has maintained his innocence in this area. Drew owns writing disrespectful, distasteful electronic communications. However, wrapping his head around the felony convictions continues to be an unsolvable puzzle for him. Drew can’t understand why he has been forced to endure four years of pain for something he didn’t do. Without his awareness I began writing down the comments he makes, and questions he asks me:
- Can you even imagine our family getting into the car and driving somewhere to drop me off to go to prison?
- I don’t want to leave my dog. She won’t understand where I am or why I’m gone and nobody will be able to explain it to her.
- I am afraid my dog will die while I’m in prison and I’ll never see her again.
- My 20’s were awful. The first part of my 20’s I was undiagnosed and didn’t know what was going on with me, why I wasn’t happy, why I felt suicidal a lot of the time. Then at 25 all this legal stuff started happening after I communicated poorly in writing. And, it’s lasted all this time…I’m now 30! I would just like for my 30’s to be good years.
- It makes me sad to see my family in so much pain.
- I’m not a bad person. I don’t understand this at all. It doesn’t make any sense.
- I don’t understand how someone I once cared so much about, and thought cared about me can be okay with me going to prison.
- I would never intentionally hurt anyone, ever. I know for sure I didn’t hurt her or force myself on her.
- What if Dad’s cancer returns from the stress because I’m gone to prison? What if he dies and I never see him again?
- Can’t the judge see by now that I am not a threat to anyone? I’ve been out on bond since 2012 and I haven’t done anything wrong.
- Fall is my favorite time of the year. Since 2012 I haven’t been able to enjoy autumn. I’m scared I’ll be locked up where I can’t enjoy being outside during my favorite season.
- I can barely get through my days now, here at home. I don’t know how to survive in there with all the noise, those lights and the confusion. It’s just too much to even think about.
- One day for most of the inmates is like a week or a month for me.
- Mom, do you and Dad still love me? I’m sorry I wrote that stupid stuff.
Drew is not an angel but he certainly is not a criminal. He does NOT belong in prison. He does not deserve to spend the rest of his life as a felon and on the sex offender registry. He deserves the convictions against him to be overturned, or at least the opportunity for a new trial. He did not have a fair trial. That is clear if you have read the posts on this blog. Every single reason the judge convicted Drew is related to Asperger’s. The prosecutor, the judge and even his own defense attorney did not understand how to properly consider Autism Spectrum Disorder in this case.
Even when one removes autism, the reasonable doubt is very evident. Drew was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Justice in this country, my country, The United States of America demands that his case be overturned or remanded back for a new, fair trial.
Tomorrow Drew’s attorney will present to, and answer the questions of three justices at the Supreme Court of Virginia in Charlottesville. Please say a prayer, or send compassionate, positive thoughts to the courtroom. The justices hold the power to change our son’s life forever, one way or the other. We pray for freedom for our precious son.