Easier than writing lots of individual emails

Archive for Lori Nathan


So, tonight I recieved the email that had the 167 page attachment…the transcript from the parole hearing this summer.  When I first got it (around 9pm) I opened it, glanced at it and clicked it closed…thinking that I needed to be in a different frame of mind for that read. 

A few hours later, I was laying in bed WIDE awake thinking about a zillion things: a San Diego bound friend, the real estate market, God’s sovereignty, the Office premiere, prayer and the Psalmists, some missionaries I know, the ocean, New Zealand, the summer, at one point crying…the usual.  I wished I could fall asleep.  When I acknowledged that sleep was far away, I got up and opened the parole hearing transcripts.  The intro email from the DA said it would be hard to read because it would bring it all right back into focus, as if it had been yesterday.  As I embarked on the 167 page confidential document, I instantly saw his truth.  I felt like I was back in that hot tiny room looking at Ms. Nathan’s shackled profile.  There are some parts from the hearing that I REALLY want to skip ahead to re-read (like the DA’s argument for her continued incarceration and then her defense lawyer’s response and then also the victim statements…those were incredibly compelling).  However, I want to read from beginning to end, in context because I’ve already seen a few details that I missed that day…so, I wonder how much more I will learn from reading them in order. 

I have to teach 7th & 8th graders tomorrow…I wish I had fallen asleep 3 hours ago so that I could be fresh.  However, the transcripts are timely…just a reminder that every person/child matters and you never know where people have been or what they’ve been through.  Especially children. 



I’m still writing about last Thursday.  I had been feeling the pressure to ‘document’ all the happenings and it is really overwhelming.  However, I got this reply email back today from the correctional officer supervisor that I wrote a thank you note to yesterday.  Her words and surprise direction lifted my burden of ‘documenting’ and now I feel the freedom to just write my thoughts/feelings with greater ease, knowing that the context is taken care of and I will be able to cross reference my thoughts with the parole proceedings without having to write them all myself.   🙂
“Sam thanks for the feed back and I appreciate your kind words.  I’m glad you were able to go to the hearing and found it empowering.  Please stay in touch, 5 years will go fast.  Also, I always encourage victims and families to order a copy of the hearing transcript.  That way you can refer back to it as your memory will fade over the 5 years.  Also, it will help you gear up for next time.  Let me know if you would like to do that….We charge .34 cents a page and postage.  It will run between (most likely) $50 – $70 but it’s well worth the investment.  Take care and don’t hesitate to reach me if need be.  ”
God is so merciful…He certainly does lighten our load. 


Last Thursday started a new journey in me.  Lori Nathan’s parole hearing exposed me to deep issues that it seems I can’t turn my back on now.  It’s been a very tearful, depressing, questioning, bewildering, empathetic and hopeful 5 days as my head and heart have been spinning as a result of that hearing, the history, the people, the new relationships, etc. 

Since last Thursday, I have not wanted to do anything except sleep and stare off into the distance.  Of course, my schedule has not allowed for that.  However, in my down time, my internal battle has been fighting  between the cerebral desire was to write and journal and document, and the physical ability to barely sit up straight and not start crying.  Last night I was going to force myself to ‘suck it up’ and start writing about it.  I wanted to return a phone call first.  My uncle Joe had called on Friday after he read the article, so I finally called him back.  God is so kind.  That 3 hours on the phone with him, talking about aspects I had not yet said out loud turned out to be what the LORD used to gently guide me around the corner. 

I started writing today around 10:30am.  After 4 pages, single spaced, increased margins, etc I am not even close to being done, but at least I’ve started and I’m grateful.   I know I can never capture it all, but I just don’t want to waste the opportunity that God’s given me to speak of His mercy, His justice, His forgiveness, His wrath, His grace…His Supremacy.

We’ve all been somewhere dark, whether by our own hands and/or someone else’s hands.  The challenge is to find Christ in the midst of it and to allow Him to be the Light…the Light that is absolute truth.


Thank you for everyone’s prayers and comments and emails.  While I want to write a lot right now, I am still thinking/reflecting about the day…it was intense, incredible, overwhelming, joyous, educational, tender, intimate, horrifying, hot, seered into my mind…I’m glad I went. 

I will give a few logistical highlights now (I took copious notes all day) and then I will do another post later with my thoughts and reflections…it was heavy and I’ve got that wedding today. 🙂
-Our hearing was scheduled for 10:30am; we were told to get there at 9:30am for security etc.
-The hearing scheduled before ours ran over.
-We started our hearing at 12:42pm…while we waited for 3 hours for our hearing to start we reunited, met, talked, joked, remembered, etc.
-Our first break was at 2pm; next around 3pm; Deliberations started at 4:25pm; Ruling/Recommendations were at 5pm; the hearing ended at 5:26pm


-Inmate entered; legal identifications; everyone present identified; legal paperwork; any objections from Lori Nathan’s privately hired lawyer; Lori’s crimes were read in detail
-History of the inmate’s life
-Social/Educational gains whilst in prison (programs, volunteer work, etc)
-Psych Eval
-Housing & Employment options/plans if released
-Letters of recommendation from Lori’s friends/family
-DAs closing statement (incredible!)
-DA recommendation
-Defense’s closing
-Lori read a letter that she wrote
-Victim statements (read by 11 of the victims/parents that were present…I read mine)
-Letters from absent victims read
-Parole Commisioner and Deputy Commissioner’s ruling and recommendations
-Inmate dismissed
-Q&A with victims

She was DENIED PAROLE and not eligible for 5 more years (the max allowed)!!!
here are some of my scribbled notes with just some of his ruling comments:
“…not suitable for parole…due to multiple victims, brutalized, terrorized, victimized…committed in such a cold, brutal, heinous manner…abused, mutilated, choked, knocked teeth out…all offenses show disregard for suffering and human life…calculated …that ANYone could do that to children demonstrates disregard for suffering and cruelty…In 2 years of cases, this is the most horrendous to hear…the troubling part is your claim of innocence…you need to understand what led you to do what you did to these children…until you realize the pain and suffering that YOU caused and why you did it, you’re unpredicatable and dangerous to society…”

Afterwards we were all wiped out, so 3 families and I went out for a celebration dinner.  I left that around 8:45 and drove to the Davis’s and debriefed there until about 12:30am…got home around 1:30am and hit the pillow around 3am.

I am sooo thankful to have gone.  Praise the LORD.  More later…


I just found this… CLICK HERE (you need speakers).

sigh…this is going to be a horrible Thursday in court…


I’m going to Lori Nathan’s parole hearing on Thursday. 
Up until I read THIS ARTICLE  I was fine. 
However, reading the article and especially reading the comments from the other victims (kids I knew) etc. brought a lot of memories back and now I’m a little overwhelmed at how …MUCH…this whole thing is.  I am thankful that this article gave me a  ‘heads up’ on the general tone that will be set at the hearing.  25 years later, the victims, the public, the judicial system…everyone is still impacted as if it happened yesterday.

Lori NathanShe was awful.  The pictures in the article brought enraging moments of my childhood rushing back.  And yet, God’s grace can cover even her….a child abuser and murderer.  And even me…a sinner just like her.  It’s hard…so hard to understand God’s love despite the constant horror of all our human sin. 

So, if you think of it, please pray for me…to know how to interact with people I haven’t seen in 25 years who are hurt, angry, violated, fragile, lost, broken, scared, sad, etc.  Pray for me to show Christ somehow to everyone.  To the families it won’t be hard, but in an environment where hating Lori Nathan and wanting her to die is considered the ONLY justice… being willing to show her personal (not judicial)  grace, hope and the love of Christ will probably be tricky and very unpopular.  They hate her.  I just want wisdom for knowing when to stay quiet and knowing when to speak.  The DA told me to be prepared to speak my written statement to the board.  In my heart, I truly believe that she should stay in prison until she’s dead…at that point she will contend with the True Judge who will determine her eternal life sentence…I’m actually very nervous for her for that final hearing.

I know God will punish sin.  I know that asking the board to keep her in prison is right and probably totally in-line with God’s will for Lori Nathan.  And I will absolutley do it.  I just want to consider how I do it.  Tone, body language, peace vs. revenge…
I do not struggle with having too much compassion for her.  I struggle with wanting to hate her and join in on chanting the ‘She should die’ party line that she has earned.  However, my understanding of sin (how we all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God; how not even one of us saved ourselves by our good deeds..or by not committing ‘really’ bad deeds; how my sin, any sin, actually seperated me from God; how the death of the sinless Christ was the only payment that God could accept for my sin) creates a tension that can not be solved with earthly justice, grudges, etc.  I guess that’s what’s so amazing about grace.  I am reminded of the prodigal son and how the ‘good son’ was so angry at the prodigal’s return…I don’t want to be like the ‘good son’.  I don’t want to be self-righteous and consequently be blind to God’s power and love and grace for those who turn back to Him. I don’t know the state of Lori’s soul.  But, I do want to have an internal disposition that’s ready to rejoice if she should ever have the scales lifted from her eyes and see what she’s been given in the death and resurrection of Christ.  The burden of understanding the kind of sin she’s committed, would be, I’m sure, too immense for a truthful and regretful person to bear and admit they’ve done.  I want to be ready to comfort and restore if that’s what the LORD would have happen (knowing that it would enrage all the victims if ‘one of them’, I, showed a disposition of forgiveness).  Let’s be honest, her conversion’s probably not going to happen on my watch, but I hope that there comes a day when I hear that she, the prodigal child abuser, has confessed, repented and is now saved, and that on that day my heart would be joyous and not vindictive and angry like the ‘good brother’s’ was.
IN addition to praying for me, please feel free to email the Gov (who has final rule over granting parole).  Email and ask him to deny the parole request of Elenoar Nathan  http://gov.ca.gov/interact#email.
Well, it’s heavy and major and I have to get back to preparing the wedding rehearsal notes of the rehearsal that I’ll be conducting after the parole hearing.  Grace…I need it.   


God’s grace is sufficient and His mercies are new every morning. 
I will need to believe that, especially over the next 9 days:

THIS WEEKEND and be back by Sunday night
-Drive up to SF in about an hour and attend our family mass/party to honor my uncle George and my cousin Scott (I’m guessing there will be about 50+ peeps there).  I think Jennene and I are singing at it too.
-Visit & sleep over at  the Seelyes
-Visit the Harveys at their new place in Hanford
-Mon, Tues, Wed work etc.
-Wed night drive to Corona and sleep there
-Thursday am-go to the correctional facility where my childhood daycare provider (convicted child murderer) is up for parole.  Meet the DA and families that I haven’t seen since I was 7 yrs old and speak to the parole board about why she should not be released early
Thursday pm-leave Corona, fight traffic,  completely shift mental gears
and facilitate a wedding rehearsal in Canyon Country (that I’m running)
-Friday: run the wedding/reception etc
-Saturday: Time Warner appt, show houses to a new client, make it to the COC concert (?)
-Sunday: Worshp Team with Jeff Lewis leading, show houses, collapse 🙂

I know Christ had an even crazier schedule: constantly with people who had all levels of spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.  He must’ve been amazing.  I wish I could’ve hung out with Him during His earthly ministry.  I wonder how He really handled things.  And, I wonder what kind of driver He would’ve been.