Michael Webb is serving 25 years to life in California's San Quentin prison for first-degree murder, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. He was 17 years-old when he committed the crime and started serving his time at 19.
In this essay, Webb reflects on his act. Putting himself in the shoes of his victims’ wife, Webb imagines what it would be like for her to meet him face-to-face for the first time.
By Michael Webb/ The Beat Within
Dear Mr. Webb,
As I sit at the table to eat breakfast, I begin to feel a knot inside my stomach, anxiety, and I’m experiencing discomfort and a deep sense of sadness in my heart.
Today is the day I’m preparing myself to meet face to face with the monster who murdered my husband, soulmate and my children’s father and ask you, “Why me?” Just sitting here thinking about how you destroyed our family brings a chill over my body and I begin to shake uncontrollably.
Also, I start to question whether or not I should even go through with meeting with you. However, if I’m ever to have any kind of peace, happiness and joy in my heart, then I must go through this painful meeting with you. Because you’re the only one who can provide me with the answer that I need.
As I get closer to San Quentin State Prison, all those emotions and pain begin to resurface and I start to cry. I take a few minutes to recompose myself and then I proceed toward the visiting room where I await your arrival. Before you enter the visiting room, I get goose bumps and my hands begin to sweat.
Once you enter the visiting room doors, I say to myself, “Here comes the monster that destroyed my life and my family’s lives.” I want to leave this meeting, but my feet won’t allow me to leave.
So when you sat down I just lost it. I said to you, “Listen, I hate you and despise you for murdering my soulmate, husband and my children’s father. You’re nothing but a coward and I hope that you never get out of prison.”
Every year on January 10 at approximately 10:30 p.m. I’m reminded of that awful and dreaded telephone call I received from the LAPD informing me that my husband, soulmate and children’s father had just been murdered.
Immediately, I dropped the telephone, started screaming “No, no, no, not my husband!” Mr. Webb, that was one of the most sickening telephone calls I ever received.
Also, I want you to know, Mr. Webb, that identifying my husband’s body was the hardest thing I ever had to do. The sad reality of this senseless act committed by you, Mr. Webb. I will never be able to walk the beach holding my husband’s hand, nor will I be able to see my husband hold any of his grandchildren, laugh or smile again.
What is especially hard for me to deal with is the holidays, special events such as family weddings, family reunions and our wedding anniversary. But what broke my heart, Mr. Webb, was I never got the chance to say “Goodbye”” and “I love you.”
Furthermore, Mr. Webb, when I try to move on and start dating again, all my relationships seem to fail. Because I think about my late husband who was murdered and I feel that every man I date will abandon me or be murdered. I’m constantly reminded that it’s because of you that I’m a widow and my children are fatherless. Mr. Webb, that’s how much you’ve impacted my life and my children’s lives.
In closing, Mr. Webb, I leave you with this question: “WHY me?” I hope and pray that someday you’ll be able to answer that question truthfully and sincerely. Please, Mr. Webb, don’t ask me for forgiveness, just allow me the space and time to heal and one day I’ll be able to forgive you.
This column appeared in The Beat Within, a publication of writing and art from incarcerated youth. David Inocencio founded The Beat Within in San Francisco in 1996. Weekly writing and conversation workshops are held in California, six other states and Washington, D.C. Submissions and new partners are welcomed.