What Happened After My Kidnapping

When I was a senior in college, three teenagers from West Philly abducted me, robbed me, and threatened to kill me. It changed my life. Did it destroy theirs?

Photography by Theresa Stigale. Assistant photographer: Judy Murray

Photography by Theresa Stigale. Assistant photographer: Judy Murray

Hello, my name is Brad Pearson. In March 2006, you were one of three people who kidnapped me in West Philadelphia.

I’m writing this letter not because I’m angry at you, or upset, or hurt. The opposite, actually. While the kidnapping and investigation were difficult for me, in the end they made me a stronger man.

I’m a magazine writer now, and I’ve always hoped to talk to you and Jerry and Mordi about that night, and what your lives have been like since. I’d either like to do that by letter or in person. I can travel to Pennsylvania to speak with you, if you’d allow me to. I also included my email address, if that’s easier for you.

Again, I’m not angry, and I’d really just like to talk.

Sincerely,
Brad Pearson

Jerry’s response came first, less than a month later. Two pages, handwritten, single-spaced. All-caps block letters, except for the words “Sincerely, Jerry Price,” in cursive:

In your letter, you said ‘I don’t know if you remember.’ The truth is that I don’t think that I will ever be able to forget you. That day — your face plays over and over in my head constantly reminding me of the hurt, anger, sorrow and other feelings that I have caused you as well as the others.

Tyree soon sent a letter, too: “Being a dad in jail is really sad.”

I started looking at flights.

Photography by Theresa Stigale. Assistant photographer: Judy Murray

Photography by Theresa Stigale. Assistant photographer: Judy Murray

THE WEATHER WAS unseasonably warm that night, but I still needed a coat. It was a little after 10 p.m., and I’d parked at the corner of 58th Street and Overbrook Avenue, two blocks off St. Joe’s campus.

As I made my way down the street, the silver tips of my sneakers reflected each street lamp. A few steps after I turned onto Overbrook, though, the shine stopped, signaling the end of the area the school actually cared about. Shattered glass covered the leaves in the gutter, a reminder that someone probably left an iPod in a cup holder.

I hopped over the broken glass, and two men approached. They chatted and laughed; neither of them looked at me.

My car sat 20 steps ahead. As I turned the corner, I heard the first noise. Smack, smack, smack, rubber on concrete. Then grrick, grrick, grrick, rubber on gravel. Whooosh as jacket grazed cedars.

“Don’t fucking look at me. Look at the fucking ground.”

There was another whoosh, and the light bounced off a pistol now pointed at my head. I couldn’t concentrate on the weapon; the man’s voice was puerile. He was like a baby holding a shiny toy. He grabbed my arm and pushed me out of the street’s light, next to a sinking Ford Escort outside a rotting garage. The wooden door was a pile of paint and beetle bore creeping toward the expired license plates.

“Empty out your pockets.”

I tossed to the ground the contents of my hands: car key, water bottle. Cell phone and wallet were next.

“Is that all you got?”

They quickly reached into my pockets to confirm my response.

“You got an ATM card?”

Yes, I said, it’s Wachovia but says First Union, it’s green. Sir. Yes, I have my ATM card, sir.

“Don’t call me FUCKING sir, that shit’s for white people. What’s the PIN number for your MAC card?”

Now, what’s the play here? Correct number, they leave and I walk away? Wrong number, they leave, they have my wallet and find me after they realize the number is bunk?

“One four six six.”

“Why the fuck should we believe you?”

“I swear to God that’s the number. I wouldn’t lie to you.”

Normal Brad would have lied to them. Gun-to-head Brad thinks differently.

“We’re going for a ride.”

They grabbed me by the back of the neck. My head popped up for a split second.

“Keep your fucking head down. You look up again and I will shoot you in the fucking face.”

My chin dove into my collarbone, and they threw me toward a running car. Dark paint, tan leather interior. I hit my head on the door frame, my two attackers flanked me on either side, and we were off. A third man drove.

“How much money do you have in the account?”

We’d driven straight for a few blocks, then hung a right and a sharp left. My mental GPS slowed down as we drove farther and farther, as more turns stacked on backtracks. Was that a turn or a curve?

“About $800, I think.”

“If there is one dime less than $800 in your account, I will shoot you in the fucking face. Do you understand?”

The possibility of a delay between my cashing of a check and that money’s appearance in my account seemed plausible, so in an abundance of caution, I told them there might only be $600.

“Oh, so you lied to us. My associates and I don’t like liars, Brad. You know what else we don’t like? Heroes. So don’t try to be a fucking hero, Brad, or I’ll have to shoot you.”

In the fucking face. Got it. After the lesson in fiscal responsibility, the man to my right began to talk. And talk. He asked if I’d handed in a paper I was working on. He asked how my job was. He asked if I saw a kid on campus with black hair. He tried to convince me that they had been following me for weeks.

The car stopped, and one of the men exited. A second later, he was back. Place didn’t have an ATM, he complained, and we returned to the road. They were novices, kids with higher voices than mine, and they didn’t know where to find an ATM.

“WHO’S ‘ADO,’ BRAD?”

When I was a baby, my parents and I lived in my grandparents’ attic. The three of us would wander downstairs each morning, where my grandmother would place me on her lap.

“I do love you! I do love you!” she’d say. “I do” became “Ado,” and the name stuck to her.

I winced. He’d begun scrolling through my phone, and Ado is my first contact.

“Home.”

As he made his way through my alphabet of contacts, I answered each query with one of three responses: home, college or work. At 21, those are the only three options anyone really has.

But … Ado. For the first time, I thought of my family — my dad, my mom, my brothers and my sister. At home, all of them, asleep, unworried.

“Do you have a girlfriend, Brad?”

Lie, just lie, don’t think about it just lie. Kelleen’s face filled the backs of my eyelids, her hair and her dimples. She turned and smiled, all gauzy movie sequence.

“No, I don’t.”

Photography by Theresa Stigale. Assistant photographer: Judy Murray

Photography by Theresa Stigale. Assistant photographer: Judy Murray

“STAY THE FUCK DOWN, Braddy Brad.”

In the short trip, I’d acquired a nickname, and we finally pulled up to an ATM. One of the men left and returned again quickly.

“We got out $700.”

“I thought you said there was going to be $800, Brad.”

I stammered out an excuse revolving around the American banking system, but the subtext was please don’t kill me please don’t kill me please don’t kill me over $100.

“All right, 700 bucks, divide that shit up.”

“Twenty 40 60 80 100 20 40 60 … yo, I think we got enough.”

We left to score some coke.

Burst. Stop. Burst. Stop. Long burst, quick body-throwing stop. The window lowered, and a man stepped up.

“Yo, who the fuck is that?”

“Quiet down, you want us to get caught?”

Money was exchanged, coke was scored. The door seemed close. I could kick it open and run. I could run faster than they could. I had adrenaline on my side, I had fear on my side, I had living on my side. But I didn’t have a gun on my side. The pistol rested over my left shoulder, warmed by his hand and my shoulder. My head wedged between my knees. I stayed.

Cramped, I moved the fingers on one hand, pinkie to thumb, thumb to pinkie, an imprisoned pianist. Silence, so I worked the other hand.

“Brad, if you move one more time, I swear to God I’ll fucking kill you. I haven’t killed anyone in a few months, Brad, and I’m getting kinda anxious.”

Before, I had been convinced they would let me go; now, I wasn’t so sure. It would be a quick death, hopefully. One shot, right to the head. They’d get their $700, and someone walking his dog would find me, without a wallet or forehead.

“Sometimes I like to use a knife, Brad, right across the throat. Slittttttt.”

Flipping through my wallet, he passed over a stack of Pathmark SuperSaver cards and expired Papa John’s coupons, settling on my Eagle Scout card. Matte gold.

“I see you’re also an Eagle Scout.”

The emphasis fell on also instead of “an Eagle Scout.” Brothers in arms, it seemed.

We talked about Hawk Mountain, a rounded-off lump of a Pennsylvania peak that he encouraged me to visit. Any comfort I gleaned from the conversation died quickly as they spotted a police car. The psychology of telling me about the car was twisted, but I may have given them too much credit. A fucking shot to the face was once again promised, heroism again discouraged. I stayed in my crouch, Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt was once again turned up, and we continued on.

“YO, MAN, LET’S LET BRAD GO.”

The suggestion came from one of my original abductors. They were the first words he’d said since he’d doled out the cash. I was asked if I’d like to be dropped off anywhere in particular, a sort of forced chauffeur service. Literally anywhere, I said.

“You don’t want us to drop you off anywhere, Brad. Your ass will end up raped and naked in the streets.”

Laughter filled the car, and I joined in. I’m free! Let’s all laugh about how great the past hour has been! I don’t know why I laughed. Maybe it was just that I hadn’t been told I’d be shot in the fucking face for a few minutes, and to me, that seemed like a reason to celebrate.

They pulled over and grabbed me from the left side, dragging me out of the backseat. I tripped on the curb, then some sticks, and slipped on the grass and a piece of wet cardboard. My face was covered and down; fresh air filled me. I slowed, and felt the brush at my knees.

“Lay the fuck down.”

The decomposing leaves smelled clean somehow, and my nose burrowed into them. One of the men told me to count to 100 and made me promise not to go to the police. Do not run home, either: Walk. Do not jog: Walk. I began counting.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five.

Six.

Seven.

The gun cocked over my head.

I tried counting to eight, but all I could hear was the hammer sliding, the click-clack of a roller coaster approaching the top of a hill.

I waited to die, and I prayed.

Dear God don’t let this happen dear God I can’t die dear God help me help me live help me see my family help me see Kelleen help me live I need to live. I hadn’t been to church without parental nudging in my entire life. Whatever goodwill I had stored up during those trips was already cashed in.

“Don’t fucking move. … ”

“Just keep counting.”

Eight.

Nine.

Ten.

Eleven.

I counted to 200, maybe 500. Exhausted, I almost fell asleep. When I finally stood up and opened my eyes, I thought I was back at 58th and Overbrook. Trees surrounded me, and a cedar stood at my left once again. I had no idea where I was.

Walletless, phoneless, I crossed an abandoned lot and headed for the street. Two blocks up, I ran into a man. Black and wiry, with a wispy, graying goatee.

“What are you doing here?”

“I need to find my way home.”

MO-brad-pearson-id-card-940x540

SOON, THE POLICE picked up Jerry Price, Tyree Brown and Mordi Baskerville — not just for my kidnapping, but for 12 other kidnappings and robberies across West Philadelphia. They’d started showing up at Price’s cousin’s apartment with cash, cell phones, a Lexus and pizza. (In addition to college students, the three also robbed pizza deliverymen. And why waste a good pizza?) Laptops and wallets arrived at the Parkside apartment, too.

During the pretrial hearings, the three smirked as they sat at the defendants’ table. One by one we entered the courtroom and talked about getting pistol-whipped or mock-executed or otherwise embarrassed. My dad and girlfriend sat in the audience. When my dad would get upset, Kelleen would take his hand.

The night before the trial was set to begin, they all pleaded guilty. Mordi, the youngest at 16, flipped first. In exchange, a lighter sentence of seven to 15 years. Jerry, who was 17, got nine to 18. Tyree, age 18, 10 to 20.

In the weeks and months following the kidnapping, I lived off free rail drinks and well-wishes, cocky and alive. Then I went back to my apartment and had nightmares. The room would be dark, beyond vision. There was something in there, ready to attack. Or maybe there was nothing in the room and I just had my eyes closed, afraid to open them. I’d always wake up before I found out.

I cried once, on my parents’ deck in New York. I yelled into the phone at Kelleen, blaming Jerry, Tyree and Mordi for my inability to land a job after graduation. But it wasn’t true. I blamed them, sure, but I could have gotten a job. It was easy to deflect.

That first year passed. Jerry, Tyree and Mordi went to jail, and I slowly climbed back into life. I got a job. I moved to Maryland, and then eventually Texas. I’d think about them, 1,500 miles away in prison, whenever I’d get a victim compensation check from one of my kidnappers: a few dollars here and there to pay for my missing wallet, cell phone and bank fees. My mom would get the checks in New York, then forward them to wherever I was living. I’d take the check, say “Fuck you” out loud, and slide it into an accordion folder. They’re still there now, $78.22 worth, at the bottom of my closet.

The kidnapping became a crutch, too, one I would break out especially during job interviews. My favorite question was, “Tell us about a time you overcame adversity.” I had them then. (It worked two out of the three times I tried it.) I knew I had the best party story, the best sob story, the best any story. A psychiatrist could diagnose this behavior: Coping through manipulative bragging. If I’d gone to more than one session, maybe mine would have.

March 27th was always an awkward day, one I wasn’t sure whether to celebrate or forget. Eventually March would flip to April without my notice. But something still lingered in the back of my head. What were they doing? Were they thinking about me? Did they care? Do I care?

Kelleen and I got married; we got a dog. Then, last summer, I sat down and typed two short letters to Jerry and Tyree.

A CORRECTIONS OFFICER points me to a small TV monitor ensconced in a metal box, and a hard plastic chair. The telephone receiver has a 24-inch cord, trapping me underneath the TV. A camera sits on top of the monitor, and John Legend performs in the background on Live with Kelly and Michael. Outside the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, in northeastern Pennsylvania, it’s brilliant and clear.

The monitor flicks on, and Jerry pops into sight.

“I’m sorry, and I apologize. I guarantee. I’ve changed. I’m studying psychology to help me figure out the impact of my crime. I’ve been through 32 groups. I’m trying to understand. …

“I know it was wrong. I wasn’t raised bad. I got addicted to that lifestyle. … I didn’t want prison.”

Jerry is small, but he fills up the TV monitor. He sits upright, leaning into our conversation. His voice is direct, with underlying youthfulness. He’s warm and laughs easily, with a wide hyena smile. He’s someone I would consider being friends with, even though he nearly killed me.

There is little awkwardness in our first conversation. After his initial apology, we launch into his background, his childhood, his plans. A month before my visit, Jerry found out he’d made parole. A lot has changed since 2006. He reaches for the name of a product. Some kind of taco thing? Made of — what are they called? — Doritos! He’d like to try that.

He misses Checkers french fries and Wendy’s chicken nuggets, and he’s never held a smartphone. A fellow inmate told him about 3-D movies but warned he should ease himself into those.

He says his parents are going to pick him up on June 8th. They still live in West Philly; his dad’s in construction, his mom a homemaker. They help run St. James Soul Saving Holiness Church, where they’d hoped Jerry would someday become a pastor. As a kid he sat at the drum kit in the small, windowless chapel. He liked the drums because they turned something simple into something beautiful. He’d perch there in his suit until he grew bored, then would head to the bathroom to try and fall asleep. When his father caught on, he made him sit at the kit for the entire service, even after the music stopped. Jerry did not become a pastor.

His mom and dad were strict: no rap, early curfew. In the neighborhood, they had a saying: When the streetlights came on, Jerry and his siblings had to go home. If they didn’t make it, they’d have to pick out words from the dictionary, write down their definitions, then use them in a sentence. In the house, they’d listen to gospel, Kirk Franklin. Sometimes, while driving in the car with their dad, they’d flip on WDAS.

By ninth grade, school started to bore Jerry, so he skipped it and smoked weed in Upper Darby with his friends. His mom would drag him to school — literally walking him to first period — but he’d bolt before the end of the day. He’d figured out a way to make sure his parents didn’t find out, too: The school would always call exactly at 5 p.m. to let parents know a son or daughter had skipped class. All you had to do, Jerry learned, was be on the phone at 5 p.m. The school never tried a second call.

Jerry didn’t make it past ninth grade. He ran away from home, to live with a cousin off Girard Avenue, by the Zoo. He wasn’t very good at selling weed or coke, but he needed the money, so he did it anyway.

Tyree is taller than Jerry by a few inches, which matters when you find out how they became friends. Overbrook Park had a park, and that park had a basketball court. Tyree could jump all over that court, flying from baseline to baseline, leaping to block shots. Jerry could never get in on a game, until Tyree picked him one day.

This entire story might not have happened if Tyree Brown hadn’t felt bad for Jerry Price.

Tyree, in most ways, is the opposite of Jerry, though those opposites landed them in the same place. When he was six or seven, he walked into his single mother’s apartment and watched as an ex-boyfriend jumped out of the closet. Tyree tried to call the police, but the man cut the phone lines. The beating hospitalized his mother for months, costing her her nursing-home job.

“I couldn’t protect her,” he says. “It felt like the end of the world.”

Tyree graduated from Overbrook High while dealing on the side. He liked reading and science (“It’s fun, cutting up frogs and whatever”) and was proud of himself when he graduated. When I ask him whether — unlike Jerry — he was good at selling drugs, he laughs, says yes, then catches himself.

“I believe I had a choice, but I didn’t push myself down that road,” he says. “I wish like hell I took that road.”

On the outside, Tyree has a daughter, Lauren. She’s the same age as his prison term so far — nine. She writes, sends him pictures and emails. She’s a straight-A student, he says. Her mother and grandmother try to bring her up every few months.

When Lauren was eight, she visited the prison and sat outside with her dad. A guard walked over and informed Tyree he had 10 minutes left. Lauren asked who the man was, then walked over to him, tapped him.

“I’ll give you my chips if you let me stay with my dad.”

Tyree tries to be honest with her. This isn’t okay, he tells her. Do better. When she asks when he’s getting out, he says, “Soon.”

“When’s soon?”

The night after his daughter offered the chips, Tyree cried in his cell.

“I’ve watched her grow up in jail,” he says. “That’s the most painful thing: knowing I let her down. Years I’ll never get back. What can I do now to be a father? She’s supported, but still needs a father. That eats me up inside.”

AFTER ABOUT AN HOUR, I ask Jerry about the kidnapping. It wasn’t something they’d planned, he said; they just wanted money. Robbery was quicker and easier than dealing weed and coke, and the pay more immediate. No middlemen, no corners.

“I was fucked up at the time,” he says. “I was real messed up at the time. I didn’t have no regard for myself, so I wasn’t going to have no regard for anyone else.”

I bring up something the district attorney told me before I testified: that on that night, two of them had to convince the third not to kill me. That I was the first person they’d kidnapped with a real gun. Jerry assures me they were never going to kill me, that it was the D.A. scaring me into more damning testimony. They weren’t going to use the gun, Jerry said.

“Then why have a real gun?”

“If I go in with a fake gun and they figure it out, what do we do?”

I strain up to the camera, with a Then you stop fucking kidnapping people look. Jerry catches my eye and tells me sometimes the gun didn’t have any bullets in it. I launch into my memories of the gun, the cocking, the counting. Jerry looks down for three, five, seven seconds. The phone’s quiet. He looks up, and wipes his eyes. I apologize for asking about it and tell him it’s okay, that it’s in the past.

“No, it’s not okay. It’s never okay, for real, to put someone through that hurt. The best I can tell you is I’m better now. It’s not going to happen again.”

The conversation ends with that. We move on.

I SPEND THREE DAYS in and out of SCI Dallas. I grow to genuinely enjoy both Jerry and Tyree, so much so that afterward, I ask a guard what he thinks. Is this weird? Are they putting on an act for the sake of the parole board? “I guess, I don’t know,” he says.

The second day, I meet with each of them one-on-one, in the main visitors area. Wives and girlfriends stake out prime seats in a corner, close to the vending machines but away from the children, lining up and re-
adjusting their microwave pepperoni pizzas on the chairs next to them while they wait.

Kids run up and down a ramp, under the razor wire, and into their fathers’ arms.

On the third day, I meet with Jerry and Tyree together, at a table reserved for families. The walls are covered in Snoopy and Mickey Mouse and a pretty decent Bugs Bunny holding a carrot as a paintbrush. There, our new little family sits and talks and bullshits and watches as another family plays Uno.

March 27, 2006, is millions of miles away, happening to three different people. Those people came from contrasting worlds and polar communities, brought together by the happenstance and opportunity of West Philadelphia. Now, we’re bound together by that night, but no longer dragged down by it. Now, there are no nightmares, no anger.

Soon, Jerry will be outside again, eating Doritos tacos; Tyree’s up for parole next year. (Mordi has already been released, which is why I don’t visit him.) Our conversation turns to the outside, and with that, the most difficult question: What happens when you’ve spent one-third of your life in prison and you’re not even 30?

They both hope to work with at-risk youth, a noble if reasonable goal. Jerry should be fine; he’ll work for his dad’s construction company, a firm safety net underneath. He’s worried about normal things: catching the bus, seeing family members he hasn’t seen in nine years. (Jerry has published a book about his time in jail, a collection of poems and short stories called Even In The Dark The Sun Still Shines. A fellow inmate introduced him to his publisher, Angela Price, whose other titles include erotic fiction about anal sex. Jerry’s expanding her repertoire.)

Tyree … I worry for Tyree. He wants to open a barbershop, is taking business classes. I want him to succeed, to flourish for himself and for Lauren. But his voice belies his optimism. He’s practiced his spiel; the question is whether he believes it himself.

“I’m gonna hear a lot of no’s, but I just need that one yes. I’m not gonna give myself that excuse to go back to drugs or criminal activity. I gotta lift myself up.

“You gotta show them you want it. You gotta be up-front: ‘I made a mistake, a big mistake, and I acknowledge that.’”

We talk about the other victims for a bit, and I make sure it’s okay that I keep in contact with the two men, both inside and outside of prison, to check on their progress. As I’m getting ready to leave, I ask if they have any questions for me.

“This might sound weird, but would it be cool if we got a picture together?” Tyree asks. The visitors room has a small ad hoc photo booth, which in prison is just a stone wall, a decade-old digital camera and a printer. Jerry and I go first; he flashes a toothy ear-to-ear grin.

Tyree steps up and takes my hand. The inmate photographer looks at his first shot and shakes his head. He opens his mouth wide and sticks his tongue through the space where his four front teeth used to be.

“Smile!”

THE FOLLOWING DAY, I come to Philadelphia. I pass the spot where Jerry, Mordi and Tyree kidnapped me, retracing the route where my mind tells me I went that night.

I go looking for the lot they dropped me in, where the dirty leaves were clean and I was sure I’d die. I spend an hour driving the streets, up Haverford Avenue, down Girard. I sputter along on one-way side streets and through alleys, double-parking when I think something looks familiar. On my phone, I pull up the satellite map, looking for wooded areas and abandoned lots.

As I’m ready to give up, I find an overgrown yard, all rusted chains and stooped-over vehicles. It’s lonely; overhead, a lavender empress tree hangs lush from the spring rains. I shimmy to the side of the empty street and lean across the passenger seat, craning to place a memory. There are no cedars, only a needle-less Christmas tree tossed over the fence.

I take a few pictures, roll up the window, and head for home.

Left: Jerry Price’s first letter to the author. Right: The author and Jerry after their prison meetings.

Left: Jerry Price’s first letter to the author. Right: The author and Jerry after their prison meetings.

Originally published as “My Kidnappers” in the September 2015 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

Around The Web


Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Drjmvamp927

    OMG!!! White liberal guilt makes me vomit!! It’s “never their fault”,its always “the incidents from their childhood that made them do it” Then the “liberal white man forgives the poor black kid,now young man because its not his fault” They should have gotten 25 yrs each for each crime,

    • Chase McCown

      Or perhaps instead of forcing a political or social spin, the rest of us who think outside of party lines might find this to be an uplifting story of compassion and forgiveness.

    • Vince M Sr

      Sounds like a good anti-Christian attitude.
      Our Father who are in heaven… forgive us our trespasses’ as we forgive the trespass against us…

      • Drjmvamp927

        An eye for an eye!!

        • Vince M Sr

          That is Jewish Muslim practice nnot a Christian belief

          • philessense

            Actually, it seems to me to be the christian-Taliban/ISIS hatred talking. As ever, the extremists take text out of context to form a pretext. Non-extremist practicers of other religions are rational.

          • Vince M Sr

            Thing is in fact too many people think they know what is Christian teaching but choose to pick what they want to be Christian teaching. Eye for an eye is Old Testament not New Testament so because Christ condemned that teaching it is not Christian teaching and should not be part of a Christian attitude.

          • PPABootSquadVinnie

            ‘Eye for an Eye’ is from the code of Hammurabi, Not Christian teachings. Maybe you want to use that same code in your dealings with women and disciplining children. Do you Really think cutting off the hand of a thief will stop thievery?

          • Vince M Sr

            eye for an eye” comes from (Ex. 21:22–24).

        • PPABootSquadVinnie

          Make sure You never get wrongly accused and lose an eye.

    • Natronimus Maximus

      jesus, can you just read a story without attaching your worldview to it? let go of your political bs.

    • Jeroen Hendrix

      Punishment alone isn’t the answer. There is much more to gain to get people to rehabilitate so they can play a positive part in society. If you study criminology you’d see that factors like childhood, upbringing and in what environment do tremendously contribute to the chances of getting entangled in criminal behaviour. There’s ample scientific evidence by now that shows that pure punishment doesn’t help: recidivism is at roughly 80%. So I don’t rely on political preference for my views: I rely on studies.

    • Noam Beefheart

      Why do you conservatives have to politicize everything?

      • Tom Servo

        Ta Nehisi Coates says it’s a racist plot to put black men in jail, even when they do crap like this. He’s considered one of the most influential leftists writing today.

        Who do you liberals have to racialize everything???

    • RealAlexTurner2020

      Good for you! The liberal media is all consumed by white liberal guilt. The fact is that minorities have it good in the USA and the Civil War was about states’ rights. PERIOD!

      • Lefty Grove

        Also, vaccines cause autism and gravitation is just a theory. EXCLAMATION POINT!

        • RealAlexTurner2020

          You’ve responded to the wrong person here, genius. And I don’t follow manga.

    • mickeymat

      Stockhollm Syndrome. Perhaps Darwin Award material. This is an example of how western culture is committing suicide.

  • SniffingMomsDildo

    Ah yes, a cuckold white man forgives the subhumans who nearly murdered him in order to signal his moral superiority. Kelleen surely moistens at the thought of your lofty altruism. Next week, “White People Are The Real Bad Guyz”

  • chris ellis

    Great piece, Brad.

  • GeoffZoref

    That was an incredible piece. I haven’t read anything like this in a long time.

    • GB in TX

      Brad is a great writer, but not very honest. He said ” Mordi has already been released, which is why I don’t visit him”. Mordi was released for the kidnapping, but now, at age 25, he is in prison for something else. He is in a state correctional facility in Fayette, PA. His inmate number is HH5069.
      Maybe Brad can tell us what Mordi did to be imprisoned again and how much time he actually served for the kidnapping ( According to the article, his sentence was 7 to 15 years, but I’ll bet he served much less than 7)

    • Milly Taylor

      my Aunty Brooke got a year old Audi TT Coupe just by some part-time working online at home. original siteAfterearning an average of 19952 Dollars monthly,I’m finally getting 97 Dollars an hour,just working 4-5 hours daily online.….. Weekly paycheck… Bonus opportunities…earn upto $16k to $19k /a month…Only a few hour required to understand and start working,..,kswwed….

      Your dream will be Success . See Below…And be your Boss……

      http;//OfferingFullTelecommutingJobOpportunitiesWork

  • Alison743

    Really interesting story. Interesting to see the after effects of crime on all involved. I would love to read a follow up if you meet up with them after their release.

  • Atheist

    I wonder how the other victims are doing, if they’ve managed to cope. Perhaps that would be a good follow-up.

    • Filipo

      This is the next story that needs to be written by the same author. There were 11 other people who went through the same hell as he did, and it’s likely that one or two of them were treated even worse. How are they doing? How do they feel about having been victims of these terrible crimes? Twelve different armed robberies? The sentences seem pretty light to me.

      • GB in TX

        As a former victim ( different, but eerily similar incident), I can tell you that I am doing just fine. My incident was 41 years ago and was, probably, the most tramatic incident in my life.
        All four thugs had long “rap sheets” before they kidnapped me. They should have been in prison. Things have gotten worse since 1974 – now it is not uncommon for young punks to get probation for armed robbery.Just “google” “probation for armed robbery” if you want a few examples ( most are not reported).

        • Vince M Sr

          I am sure the hatred and anger you have carried these 41 years has made you a better person. You can blame that incident for so many problems you have had in your life.
          I am not condoning what they did to you but I also don’t find any more sorrow for what you have decided to carry through out your life.

          • GB in TX

            Vince, I don’t blame the incident for any problems that I have had in my life. I’ve actually been very lucky (and happy) with few problems.
            I don’t really understand your second paragraph.

          • Vince M Sr

            Your post indicates that you are still carrying around a lot of anger. Maybe it is the way I perceived what you wrote but I sure hope you have come to terms with it and moved on. My wife was killed in a very stupid accident. The first thing and most important thing I could think of after telling my then young son was not to find a reason forbhate and anger but forgive and make peace so the accident and the person, who showed no remorse, did not define our life.
            I just hope it hasn’t defined you. I hope you will forgive me if I have misjudged you in readingbyou post.

          • GB in TX

            Vince, I’m very sorry about your wife and I hope both you and your son are coping. I believe I have come to terms with my anger (and hatred)- they don’t define me and, now, I seldom think of the incident.
            I don’t forgive the thugs and that is my choice. I do not hold a grudge against any other blacks because of this incident. I think the incident made me, generally, stronger.

          • Glam GP

            Vince, who made you the authority to lecture others about their personal feelings or make assumptions about how they are doing based on a couple of internet posts? With the level of judgmental statements you are posting, I’m pretty sure you’re the one with the problem, mister armchair psychologist.

  • Noumenon72

    Oh, the first story you read like this is interesting. Then you read another three or four and you’re like “Face it, predators prey on people for no reason and trying to understand it is giving them too much credit for being human beings.” At least this guy didn’t actually help them get parole.

    • Vince M Sr

      He allowed the system to work for the “punishment” but it is clear these men came to realize there is more to the individuals directly being involved with the results of their actions. What are find amazing is how many posts fail to realize the physiological effect hanging onto hate has on the crime victims themselves. Even if the perpetrator has no remorse, the anger of the victim can consume them and destroy future relationships with others. Having the ability to walk away from the event will have a greater healing effect than watching the perpetrator rot in a jail cell. This does not condone what happened in anyway but releases the victim from becoming a victim again as a result of their anger and hatred.

      • Alistair Boyd

        Exactly right. As a rape survivor I could have allowed my rage and hurt to destroy me, my family and those around me. I chose instead to harness that energy to propel me forward. I can not change what they did to me but I can change how I respond to it, to them and to society in general and I choose to respond by finding understanding in what happened and then in finding a way to forgive them. My offenders raped me and I had no power in that but it was my rage and hurt that was stealing my life from me afterward, stealing my family from me and making me wish for death and I had all the power over that. Dont let anyone tell you that the hate, anger and rage is normal and that it will always be with you, you decide when to let it go and only you can decide that. To all my brothers and sisters in healing, I love you and I hope you can find someone to talk to so as to come away from the rage and learn to live again.

      • Glam GP

        As someone who went through a scary strong-arm robbery many years ago, I was able to forget about it eventually and I don’t sit around raging at or hating on the robber or even thinking about it except once a year when some story like this will remind me. However, forgetting or not raging/ hating doesn’t mean I am okay with what happened or that I care whether there is “more to this individual”. When I think about it at all I hope the bogeyman mugger is either locked up permanently for some offense (he was never caught or prosecuted in my case) or is dead so he can’t hurt anyone else. The response of the article author, while it may have been necessary or constructive for him, is not the constructive response for everybody. As for “walking away from the event”, people have to do this on their own clock, just like they have to go through their own timeline of grief when a loved one dies – you can’t rush it or say that everybody’s clock or process needs to be the same to avoid damage.

        • GB in TX

          I agree totally. Everybody needs to deal with things in their own way.

  • Eric

    Wow – one of the better pieces of Journalism i’ve read in a long time. Would really like to see an expanded piece about the other victims, the prison experience and why Jerry and Tyree seem so rehabilitated, and more about Morti’s story being a part of this and in jail from such a young age. A follow up on how Jerry and Tyree find the outside world after spending a third of their young lives in prison is a must! Very Well Done.

  • JA_199

    Very well-written story. I hope the author follows up on what happens to his kidnappers post-release – unfortunately the stats indicate it is more likely than not that they will re-offend. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics 68 percent of state-time offenders are re-arrested and convicted within three years of release; after five years it increases to 77 percent.

    • Vince M Sr

      Support system for probation and parole need to be in place to be sure participants are following the rules but also have jobs and housing. Budget cuts to these departments is counter productive.

      • itsy_bitsy

        We already care for them cradle to grave! You can spend as much or more than you want. It’s a culture and it’s not going away!

        • Vince M Sr

          Really?

          • itsy_bitsy

            Really!

  • PPABootSquadVinnie

    One of the better First Person pieces I’ve read in this rag. From what I’ve heard, forgiveness by the victim is more important to the victim than the criminal. It’s good to see these predators were caught, put in jail and served a substantial sentence. However, I don’t think guys like this should be let out of jail until they earn their HS diploma, learn a trade and are shown to be drug-free. One thing folks seem to forget, 85% of inmates will be let Out after serving their sentences, and there has to be a way for them to earn a living or they’ll go right back to criminal activity. And Yes, I believe the ADA’s side of the story that 2 of these hoods had to talk the 3rd out of killing Brad. What makes you think these guys are gonna start telling the truth Now? They’re lives are Done, no one will hire them and they will be on Welfare for the rest of their lives. The anger I feel when reading this is palpable for Brad, the victim, and all those Other victims these 3 creeps robbed. While I know it is wrong, I do really hope they suffered while in jail. NOT raped, as that shouldn’t happen to Anyone under State protection, just the mental awareness of everyone else getting on with meaningful lives while theirs is effectively ruined by their own doing. Their parents failed them also, or how else could these animals make such bad decisions while never considering the consequences.
    Now tell this story times 50,000, and maybe NOW we should start investing in the lives of at-risk youth Before we have to invest in their incarceration and state paid welfare for the rest of their lives.

    • itsy_bitsy

      The preps will be right back at it, post haste! Why are people so fooled by bull sh-tters! These guys have it down to a science! It is only a matter of time.

  • Lord Howard Hurts

    Yawn. Yawn. Yawn. Most people in jail are only sorry because they were caught and sentenced. Leopards don’t change their spots. America has a culture clash and its root cause is DNA. But let the ‘college boys’ play and pretend. I am going to continue living in Costa Rica until real men once again have the courage to rule America.

  • PB

    sad all the way round.
    Glad no one shot you in the face

  • Look_A_Squirrel

    Another example of liberal policies failure.

  • ski bum

    An extended Stockholm Syndrome. They’re only sorry they got caught and once they’re out they’ll eventually do something even more serious.

  • Julie Mckinley

    Stockholm Syndrome. And a remarkable lack of critical thinking.
    Psychopaths take this kind of stuff as a free pass to more mayhem.
    If Kellen or Ado had been murdered by these men…

  • JCHPSU77

    A young Democrat becomes a Republican.

    Good story.

  • GB in TX

    The same thing happened to me on March 13,1974 in Nashville, TN. There were four hostile young blacks who kidnapped me because I was a white college student. They caught the four thugs later that night and they ( eventually) took a plea deal. I hope all four lived short and miserable lives for what they did to me ( and at least 5 others on previous nights). I have no desire to talk to them and I do not forgive them.
    I was kidnapped ( beat up, threatened with execution (two pistols), robbed and dumped out naked in front of a pool hall) because of my “white priviledge”. They got short sentences ( and were not already in prison when they kidnapped me) because of their “black priviledge”.

    • Vince M Sr

      Sad what you have inflicted on yourself for all these years. The hatred and anger I am sure have made you a better person than the perpetrators.

      • GB in TX

        Don’t be sorry or sad for me, Vince. I’m fine and haven’t inflicted anything on myself. I don’t forgive thugs ( unless, perhaps, they approach me and ask for forgiveness) and I don’t forget.

  • Tom Servo

    Although you never really found out until the picture at the end, I knew from the start that the criminals were black and the victim was white.

    Should have been charged as a hate crime.

    • GB in TX

      Yes it should have been charged as a hate crime. It wasn’t because of “black priviledge”. (I thought the same thing from the onset – about this being “black on white” – and I’ll bet Brad “cleaned up” the thugs’ language for this article). Brad and the other 12 are very lucky that they weren’t killed.
      Anybody (Brad?) know the race(s) of the other victims? That would certainly be germane to this story and would speak to the hate crime aspect. Brad, will you tell us?

      • Bradford Pearson

        All different races. Not a hate crime.

        • GB in TX

          Thanks – I stand corrected (and am very surprised). In my case all of the victims were white college students and it was definitely a hate crime (although few of us thought about hate crimes, other than white on black, in 1974).
          Any idea where Mordi is now?
          Your story is so incredibly similar to mine in many respects. I, too, was a senior in college and 21 years old. The thugs were all younger than me: 19,18, 18, 16. I have never seen my father so angry, I remember the smells, I was helped by an old black lady (I couldn’t see much because they ripped my glasses off my face and threw them out the car window as they pummelled me for the first time), I was seated between two thugs in the back seat, I lived, etc…
          You write very well – good luck to you and your family.

          • Drjmvamp927

            They always smell like hoagies when they sweat!

    • Eric the Red

      Egg on your face much?

  • Simple solution

    Concealed carry.
    Boot holster.

  • Glam GP

    If this is something the author needed to do in order to work through what happened to him, or even to make back the 700 bucks he lost by selling this piece to a magazine, then fine. I don’t have one iota of sympathy for the kidnappers though, and given the number of victims I think their sentences were too short. If they truly believe now that they did wrong and are really sorry and can possibly influence others not to do what they did then that’s good, but does not make me feel any more sympathy or empathy for them. It’s also a big “if” because who knows how much of this they are faking in order to impress parole boards or get some other concession? As for the one who says it’s hard being a dad in prison, he should have thought of that before he either went to prison or fathered a child.

  • GB in TX

    There was just another three-thug kidnapping and armed robbery in New Orleans on 9-26-15. One of the thugs was a 17 year old named Lance Lindsey. The good news is that his mother turned him in. Also, although not stated, my guess is that the victim was black, too.
    I’ll bet this 17 year old gets NO TIME because of his age and protected minority status. That is a problem and one reason more and more crime of this nature is being committed.
    As I mentioned in an earlier post to this article, it is not uncommon these days for young blacks who have committed armed robbery to get off with probation. This New Orleans case will be an interesting one to watch because it is not just armed robbery (with a gun), but kidnapping, too.
    We had better wake up as a nation and get back to the rule of law, including equal application of the law.

  • Smackwhackle Whacklesmack

    Nice of you to forgive them, but they still should have been summarily executed, no due process. At the very least, they all should have been sterilized and branded, or sterilized and lobotomized.

    • Vince M Sr

      Sick

      • Smackwhackle Whacklesmack

        Simply stating what should be done to those of absolutely no societal value. Creature like that do not have the mental capacity, nor desire to change their ways. They will always be dangerous to others, despite their claiming otherwise.

  • ghetto_scum

    You don’t forgive thugs! It’s their culcha and they will never change!

    • Vince M Sr

      Your handle says enough about you.