MARCH 2, 2009
Too close to home
Cleveland is a pretty good-sized city—1.5 million people in the metropolitan area—so most news stories involve people and places that aren't that close to home. Reading Sunday's Plain Dealer I had the shock of recognizing both the where and the who in a story about a convicted murderer.
The article began by commending a local woman for having the courage to take into her home the man who apparently was wrongly convicted of murder and served twenty years in prison for it. His conviction has been overturned because key evidence that could have exonerated him was not revealed at the trial. Sounds like justice was served.
As I read the phrase "...Woolman Court, a cluster of two-story apartment buildings off Snow Road..." it slowly dawned on me that this is where my parents had lived for more than twenty years. I visited the small cluster of apartments at least once a week, sometimes more, during those years. I felt a spark of connection with the story. I kept reading.
A few paragraphs later the spark became a shiver when I saw "...convicted and on death row for the murder of 19-year-old Tony Klann..."
The guy in the story had been in jail for killing the son of my former boss, the one who gave me my first graphic design job when I was just out of college and desperate for work. Now the newspaper story took on a darker meaning. Regardless of the courage of the woman and/or the justice of the recent court decision, the Klann family has a new hole ripped in their hearts. Whatever slight comfort they may have gained from believing that justice had been served and their son's killer had been punished is now gone. If this man is indeed innocent, then the killer walked away scott free.
It would be nice if this story had a happy ending. I don't think it can.
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