Shortly before the guilty verdict was announced in the Pontiac, Michigan murder trial of 13-year-old Nathaniel Abraham, the World Socialist Web Site spoke to Robin Adams, the mother of Ronnie Greene, the 18-year-old youth Nathaniel was accused of shooting.
"I don't want to see that child go to prison, especially not for life," Robin Adams told the WSWS. "He needs help—intensive help—that will help him to develop. If he goes to prison for life the only thing that will come of it will be anger. It's a tragedy for all of us.”
Adams waited with this reporter outside the courtroom as the jury deliberated. She commented, "I believe he needs to be nurtured and loved. Prison can't do that." Her demeanor did not reflect the vindictiveness of the prosecution.
"I will never see my son again," continued Adams. "I'm grieving and I know that Nathaniel's family also must feel bad. But Nathaniel's family will be able to see him again. I just pray that he gets the mental assistance and guidance he needs. We are all grieving.
"I believe in rehabilitation. He still has a life and I believe young people can be given the guidance they need if it is done early.”
Christopher Williams, a friend of the family, concurred: "This is a tragedy for all of us. He is a young man that needs help. We all make mistakes. Prison could only make things worse.
"He needs to be kept under tight supervision and someone listening to what he thinks and what he does. But a child that young doesn't belong in prison."
Tina Muscovalley, Ronnie Greene's cousin, agreed with Adams. "He's just a baby. When I was that age, I didn't think in terms of remorse. A child is thinking of the immediate. He's thinking of what is happening to him right now."
Robin Adams concluded, "We feel for everyone. We just want to see the right thing done."
The family expressed concern over the conditions of poverty in Pontiac, a city hard-hit by the loss of jobs in the auto industry and cuts in social services. "What do you do?" asked Ms. Muscovalley. "We know that there is nothing out there for these kids. I look at all of the cuts that are taking place, the shut-down of Clinton Valley [mental] Hospital, and I know there is no place for these people to go."