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Submitted 2:40 p.m.
10.08.2015
Letter to the Editor

It was very hurtful to me to see these pictures, of a murderer who gets to see his son and grandson grow up, while my brother never got to have a son.”

Patricia Garcia of Tulsa, Oklahoma

In this article, Beth Schwartzapfel presents the story of a prisoner named Reynaldo Rodriguez, who murdered an 18-year-old young man by the name of Robert Cuellar. I am Robert Cuellar's sister. My name is Patricia Garcia. My brother and I were one year apart.

Soon after the trial began, Reynaldo begged for a plea bargain and copped to a lesser charge of second degree murder. To which the prosecutor agreed, but all along they were gonna give him life and throw away the key. (This was one of the most heinous, cold blooded murders ever committed in the city of Saginaw, Mich.) Reynaldo should thank the good Lord that he did not get the death penalty. Because in my opinion, he should have gotten the death penalty, and if he had committed the crime here in Oklahoma, for instance, he would have been given the death penalty and would be dead by now.

The reason I am writing this letter is that the article was published with pictures of Reynaldo and his son and grandson. It was very hurtful to me to see these pictures, of a murderer who gets to see his son and grandson grow up, while my brother never got to have a son.

I sent a letter to the parole board about two years ago, telling them that I, as a family member of Robert Cuellar, forgave Reynaldo, and had no problem with him being paroled. I saw an article where he was reaching out to news reporters trying to get his story out and put pressure on the parole board to release him. So I wrote a letter in his favor. I never heard from them. I talked with my family members and informed them I was doing this. My brother, who was in a Michigan prison, told me he respected my feelings, but that Reynaldo was not a good guy in prison. That's all he said. You might think about that.

I'm sure there are men and women in prison who are innocent or were given wrong sentences, who are truly worth fighting for. But Reynaldo is not one of them. Reynaldo has not reached out to our family and asked for forgiveness, not once, not to my knowledge. I will leave it between him and his God. Once he gets out of this prison, if he ever does, he will enter hell's prison for eternity for gunning down a defenseless man, who was riding his bike home after returning from visiting his sister, who had just found her 6-month old son dead in his crib that morning. We buried little Fernando and Robert together that day.

 
This letter written in response to
Feature July 10, 2015
Inside the secretive world of parole boards, where your freedom may depend on politics and whim.