My short bio: I was 7 when my brother was killed. Yesterday I talked publicly about about the murder for the first time in 29 years.

In 1986 in Canton MA, my brother beaten to death with a baseball bat by his classmate Rod Matthews. They were both 14 at the time. After the murder laws in Massachusetts where changed to allow Matthews to be tried as an adult. Matthews has been in prison since the murder and yesterday I saw him in person for the very first time during the hearing.

My Proof:

A good summary of the case by the NY Times

Some coverage of the parole hearing

The Boston Globe

The Boston Herald

Proof Pics 1 2

I made a hash of the proof in the last post so I removed it and tried again. Sorry mods!

Edit: Wow I'm a little overwhelmed by the response so far. I will do my very best to get to every question but I am not the fastest typist. I

Edit 2: I just want to be clear. My dad was Shaun's dad. Jeanne is not my mother. Shaun was technically my half brother but like I have said in different points in the AMA we never regarded Shaun or Yvonne as half siblings and that concept didn't work for me as a 7 year old.

Edit 3: Please don't downvote wacky questions. I know this is a serious topic but I'm a normal person so if people want to ask me them I'm happy to answer them.

Edit 4 I need to take a small break but I will be back shortly and continue answering question. thanks for the interest everyone!

Edit 5 I just want to say I'm touched by all of your questions. I means a lot to me to know so many people are interested in my brother story. It's helpful for me to have you post these deep or light questions that I ponder over. It helps focus my thoughts. I'm going to take a brake and have dinner with some friends now but I will be back, and like I said before I promise to try to answer all the questions I get asked. See RAMPART! R.I.P my inbox....because I've always wanted to say that.

Edit 6 I'm back for more questions and I now have a full belly.

Edit 7 Well All I'm done for the night. I will check in tomorrow and see if there are any more questions I have not already answered directed at me. It's been couple of really interesting days in my life. Thanks for being part of it.

Final Edit Well I have been taking questions for about 24 hours now and I have answered just about all of them. Thanks again reddit for the opportunity and for helping me share some thoughts about my brother.

Comments: 800 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

suaveitguy362 karma

I think about your brother once in awhile, I saw your mother on A Current Affair or a similar show at the time. I would have been 8 in 1986. I remember your mother talking about Shaun, missing her boy with powdered donut on his shirt. I am sorry for your loss, it made a big impact on me, the idea that such a crime was possible scared me a lot.
I lost my grandpa the same year, I was around your age and only have maybe a dozen specific and a bunch of general memories left of him. What are your memories of your brother like? How do you make sure they stay with you? When you think of him, is he still an older brother authority type figure?

Edit: once in awhile
I am glad to have got an update on your brother's case. Thank you.

a_lot2say279 karma

I had a really long reply typed out for this, then I hit the back button. I need to take the dogs out for a bit, but I'll get back to you think one, and now I'll draft long answer in a word doc so I don't lose them!

a_lot2say77 karma

Ok I'm ready to try this one again. This is actually something I commented on at the parole hearing. I in fact have very few memories of my brother. over time most of them have slipped away but I do have several pretty vivid memories let. I'll share one with you and I'm actually kinda sad I messed this up before because I don't think many people will get to see this one now. but I shared this memory at the hearing.

"Me and Shaun were at "the Tank", that’s the swimming pool right next to Brookline High school. We were at a free swim session and having a storybook day of little brother loving every minute and big brother barely tolerating my existence. So at the end to the session after the lifeguard blew their whistle and people started to filter back to their perspective locker rooms, but then I see Shaun, walking across the tile, heading directly to the women’s locker room. He stop and shoots me a little look and processed straight into the women’s locker room. Well he couldn't have gotten more than a few steps in before I heard yelling and then saw Shaun quickly shood out of the locker room. I don't know what Shaun ended up seeing during this questions choice, but thinking about it I hope he saw a lot."

sleepytraveller232 karma

It's jarring how casual these boys were about the murder. Were the other boys ever charged with anything?

a_lot2say213 karma

They were not. It's a really odd case. I don't really harbor any ill will toward them, but perhaps if I knew them personally and understood their interactions with Rod I might have a different opinion. For now I have a really clean focus for my feels.

vxx220 karma

Do you want to give him a second chance or want him to rot in prison for the rest of his life? What are the reasons?

a_lot2say638 karma

THIS is the crux of all of this for me. I have previously put a great deal of thought into this question. It would be very easy for me to say he should say in prison forever because of my feelings. However I think that's a kind of toxic thought to live with my entire life. Instead I like to focus on the fact I think Rod Matthews will always be a threat to society. I honestly believe this, and fortunately it lets me ignore my rage and point to that as the reason.

thebbman27 karma

Would you ever forgive this guy?

a_lot2say325 karma

I think for many people forgiveness is a major component of their religious beliefs. Since I am not religious I am not sure I can appreciate the full meaning of that word to many people. I understand the idea of wanting to release toxic feelings like hate, anger, and revenge but I am not really sure what forgiveness in this case means. I think I have done a good job living my life without being controlled by such negative thoughts but I don't think I could ever excuse what he had done and how it impacted my life.

jgirlie9967 karma

I'm not religious, either, and if it helps, I can share my own understanding of forgiveness, and how it's more for you than it is for the person you're forgiving.

Forgiveness is simply giving up the hope that the past could have been any different. It's not saying what happened is okay or excusable. It's accepting the past for what it is, and using that realization to propel yourself forward.

Good luck on your path to figuring it all out.

a_lot2say30 karma

excellent explanation thank you so much. Great job putting it into context for me.

Howdoiaskformoremuny7 karma

Imho I believe forgiveness is a silly word. There is no reason this person should be forgiven. Fuck his right to change, or what others perceive to be the ethical decision. He deserves death. He took a life for pleasure. And if I was you I would take my own pleasure (though i would not commit a crime to see it happen, would need to be legal) in seeing the life drain from his face as the potassium stops his heart. Thats the only way i could ever attain peace. Im not the type to let the feeling of anger cloud my thoughts though. I believe i could go on just fine in your case regarless of your brothers murderers fate, but i could only truely be at peace with the outcome if his punishment was the same as the ateocity committed. Death.

a_lot2say16 karma

From my sample set of one I would say that is a common feeling to have. I am honestly not sure where this feeling is in me now but I do know, there lie dragons.

ReverseSolipsist11 karma

Are you aware of the concept of post-hoc justification?

you should check out this website and request the paper "The Emotional Dog and Its Rational Tail."

a_lot2say18 karma


FirstSonOfGwyn11 karma

Hi- Thank you for doing this. Maybe I am missing something if someone other than OP wants to answer please do.

From the articles posted in the OP I don't understand the statement " Instead I like to focus on the fact I think Rod Matthews will always be a threat to society." I understand the 'fact' is your 'thought'. But at least given the two current articles, the man appears remorseful- I am not saying he IS remorseful, i am just asking you to explain why you think that he is still a threat?

My question is- why is that your thought? You imply earlier in the comment that it isn't simply because of your feelings (as that would be "very easy"), so what is it that convinces you he is still a threat?

Clearly you are infinitely more informed on this topic than me, and I am not challenging your opinion, I just am asking for you to expand on it, as I agree with you that it is the "crux" of the matter.

Thank you again for being here and answering questions.

a_lot2say89 karma

It is a weak argument that cannot stand up to any examination. I feel confident in my statement that Rod Matthews will always be a danger to society because of the facts of the crime. Matthews planned for over a month to kill somebody, delineated his options with friends finally deciding to target my brother, he lulled my brother into a false sense of security by posing as a friend, tricked him into the woods and into walking in front of him in the snow to hide his set of foot prints, then once far enough away from prying eyes he struck my brother once on the back of the head and the considered a moment if he should finish the job and decided he should so he would not get in trouble, and Matthews then immediately went to tell one of his friends and brought them back to view the body. He then went to school every day for 3 weeks and acted like everything was normal, during this time he lied to the police on 5 separate occasions and. he visited the body with a friend an additional time. His only motivation he confessed, was to know what it was like to kill somebody.

My opinion comes from these facts and my limited knowledge of similar individuals.

SuccumbedToReddit28 karma

Calculated, cold-blooded murder. Absolutely unbelievable a 14 year old boy can do such a thing. What was his home situation like?

a_lot2say39 karma

Matthews stated that his parents were separated and there was hostility just below the surface in his parents relationship, but the kid grew up in leafy green suburb and didn't really want for anything. So Despite him using stating that was a contributing factor I feel it is bunk.

alphadog111158 karma

How do you feel about capital punishment? If there was capital punishment in Massachusetts how would you feel about Matthews being tried with the death punishment on the table?

a_lot2say559 karma

This is a VERY important question to me. I want to be clear I am not talking for any other family members right now. This is my personal opinion but I think the death penalty should be abolished in all cases.

If Matthews was facing the death penalty I would 100% be against it. I don't think it's necessary to kill people who are no longer a threat. I also can't stand when people try to paint people against the death penalty as light on crime. I really don't think life in prison is a light sentence and that's what I think is appropriate for Matthews.

davekingofrock147 karma

I only got through the first paragraph of the first link where it's stated that he murdered your brother for the thrill of it and then showed his friends what he did. That's some pretty sick shit right there. Have you corresponded at all with Matthews? You stated in another answer that his remorse seemed false. Has he made any attempt over the years to reach out to your family?

a_lot2say118 karma

I have never talked with Matthews and I'm pretty sure it's illegal for him to try to contact us on his own. Perhaps he can if he goes through the proper channels, that hasn't happened.

FriendVriendin25 karma

You have a right to "minimized contact" under the Massachusetts Victim's Bill of Rights, and his ability to contact you may be further prohibited specifically in his sentencing order.

a_lot2say39 karma

Thanks for the info I know I can start a process to see him, but it's not something I've explored, but man I love reddit, random people dropping the facts!

MengTheBarbarian106 karma

Would you trust D'Angelo Russell as a teammate?

Should the Titans draft Tunsil or Ramsey?

Are you excited for Game of Thrones?

What are you watching on Netflix?

What's your favorite color? Would you dye your hair that color?

a_lot2say117 karma

I honestly love these kind of questions in AMA's I mean it's right there in the name ASK MY ANYTHING

Would you trust D'Angelo Russell as a teammate? -I realize I'm wearing a Celtics shirt in my photo and i might be run out of Boston for saying this but I don't really follow sports anymore. I am a Boston fan all the way but after the Red Sox Yankees pennant I just stopped caring about sports. I don't think anything could ever top that.

Should the Titans draft Tunsil or Ramsey? -No hablo Futball, well not that's not entirely true but it would be hard for me to be a more casual fan.

Are you excited for Game of Thrones? -My Girl Friends is! but actually don't watch Game of Thrones I find shows like that however awesome I'm sure they are very hard to watch because of all the violence. Don't think shows like that should be stopped because they are violent, it's just not for me. Then again I can watch a good war flick, so go figure. I think it's probably the up close and personalizes of lot of the violence in GoT.

What are you watching on Netflix? -Right now I'm re-watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. But I watch tons of different stuff, mostly nerdy.

What's your favorite color? Would you dye your hair that color? -My friends would say brown, but probably blue. I might dye my hair that color but for now I'm keeping it natural.

JediCheese37 karma

Since you like these questions, would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses or a horse sized duck?

a_lot2say94 karma

Wow! it happened.

100 duck size horse clearly. Ducks are fucking crazy! have you see the inside of there mouths? They can run, fly, swim, dive there's no escaping them. I'm really big I'll take my chances with the swarm.

MABASHER100 karma

I grew up in Norwood and was in the 6th grade when this happened. I remember We were in the school library and the librarian had us gathered around and told us the details and it left a forever mark. I remember I started being aware of my surroundings and who I associated with more, but I was a kid, and kids are not always the best at facing reality or thinking of the future. Your tragedy became more of a mysterious side-show to gawk at and have opinions about and less about the boys and their families. As a 41 year old father of two, the whole thing takes on a new meaning. Every time he's up for parole, I'm invited back to that library. I'm invited back to that imaginary picture I had in my mind, as the librarian was reporting the story, of a path in woods I've never been to. As a dad it stirs my emotions. I wonder what I would do if I lost my child to a senseless murder.... I wonder what I would do if my child murdered another child. It's a sinking feeling in my stomach either way. So... I guess my question would be... How was your life at home after? Were you sheltered? Were your parents reluctant to let you go out with friends, or even out of their sight? Was normalcy ever regained? I hope you are doing well in life and still am sorry for your loss.

a_lot2say17 karma

I'm not sure how I missed this question before but yeah, intensely insightful questions, and right on the money.

My parents never said as much but it was understood by me, because of the way my parents acted my goal in life was to not die. I think its fair to say after the murder my dad's outlook on life changed and he was a less happy person. The restrictions placed on me were always more than my peers.

If they could cross the street alone I could only stay on one side. Later I could cross the street but not go to the park, I could later go to the park but I had to be home well before dark. I was the last of my friends aloud to use the bus or T. I was the last to be aloud to have sleep overs. The list went on and on. All these years later and I can't fault my parents for this. I would do the same thing if not more if it was my child (hypothetically if I had one). Eventually normalcy was regained, but it just took a long time.

NanoBuc98 karma

Have you spoken at all to Rod Mathews since he killed your brother/Was given life, and if not, would you ever want to?

a_lot2say148 karma

I never have. I'm thought about it, I'm not sure I would, but I'll thought about it.

IrishGuyGolfer73 karma

I am so very sorry about what happened to your brother and the rest of your family. Can you tell me how you and your parents have gone about recovering in the years since this happened?

a_lot2say121 karma

hmm... as I'm sure you understand that can be a sensitive question. Technically Shaun was my half brother however that's a distinction that's never really been made in my family and not something a 7 year old boy understands.

All I will say about my father in relation to this case is he prefers not to talk about it. And I can't blame him.

For me speaking at the parole hearing and doing things like this AMA are things that I have done in part to help my recovery. For most of my life I have avoided thinking about this unimaginably traumatic experience.

massiswicked70 karma

I listened to your Mother's statement on NPR Boston this morning, on my way to school. They also played Rod Matthews statement. He recounts wanting to see what it "felt like" to kill a person, and telling his friends about wanting so. I don't believe his statements of remorse.
What I do want to say though: Utmost respect to your mother, she said she has forgiven him, which takes a lot of strength to do. I hope for your sake, and the sake of your family, this man does not receive parole.

For the sake of asking a question: What do you think about James Alan Fox's statement about brain development?

James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminologist, highlighted Supreme Court cases that have found youthful killers should be treated differently because their brains are not fully developed and because they remain vulnerable to peer pressure.

a_lot2say137 karma

Just to be clear Jeanne is not my mother, but I can assure you she is a very strong person.

I have some interesting thoughts about Professor Fox's involvement in this case. If you wanted to do some research I would look at the dates of the Rod Matthews parole hearing and when Fox's books are released. To me his involvement feels self serving.

Edit: a word

Erinnerungen3 karma

Ignoring whether it is self-serving or not, what do you think about his opinions?

a_lot2say6 karma

At the hearing he talked mostly about the Montgomery supreme court decision which does not even directly affect my brother's case. In my opinion his testimony seemed in-congruent with this specific parole hearing. I did not feel his testimony of especially effective. Despite their strong poker face I do no think he was convincing to the board either.

GeraldBrennan66 karma

Oh, man. What an awful story. A couple questions: How did you deal with such a senseless loss at such a young age? Have you found any peace of mind over the years?

a_lot2say113 karma

I would say I dealt with the loss poorly. After the initial shock wore off, several years later dude to the high profile of the case and the frequency media coverage I bottled it and didn't really deal with it. I did do therapy for many years but only now would I saw am I starting to fully process this.

The peace of mind bit.....I'm working on that.

JediLibrarian41 karma

What would you say to Rod Matthews' brother, assuming he had one reading this AMA?

a_lot2say94 karma

It's something I haven't really thought about. It's like we are part of a shitty little club. Our lives were forever changed by the actions of his brother. I can't imagine what it must be like for him knowing his brother is almost universally viewed as a monster. I don't blame him for any of it, or for loving his brother, but I doubt he would like that thoughts I have about his brother. I think the word rage is through around a lot but trust me I know what it feels like. I think those thoughts would probably keep us from being too genial.

mackpack36 karma

(I saw you responded to another question from another redditor regarding basically the same question, but I am really not trying to be a troll here)

After the murder laws in Massachusetts where changed to allow Matthews to be tried as an adult.

Regardless of how horrible of a human being he is, how can he be tried according to a law that wasn't in effect when he commited the crime? The guy is clearly a monster and "deserved" what he got, but I am interested in how changing laws and then having them affect a crime that happened prior to the change can even happen in the US legal system and be seen as just.

a_lot2say38 karma

IANAL, but laws can be passed to applied retroactively. I did try to answer the context of the trolly question. It's complicated but for Matthews I think it's appropriate.

rudolf_the_red35 karma

how has your opinion of the punishment changed? has it changed in 29 years?

a_lot2say87 karma

Yes, when I was younger I just assumed I would never have to worry about Rod getting out of prison, now I know it's a real possibility and I find that challenging. In understand how some people can think long sentences like life are inappropriate for juveniles but in Matthews's case I earnestly think it's for the best for the rest of society.

CMonkHunta34 karma

Your brother's body was hidden for weeks even though other people knew about its location. Do you hold any ill will towards those people, for not coming forward earlier?

a_lot2say57 karma

Of course there is a part of me that finds that fact difficult. However Matthews had already killed once so I feel this was an actually intimidating situation. Someone did do the right thing eventually and come forward and I don't think it would have mad an difference to the status of my brother so no I don't hold any ill will to that aspect of the crime. If my brother s body had only recently been found and people knew the entire time I would have drastically different opinion.

Chesapeake06tree29 karma

did they grant him parole?

a_lot2say44 karma

It will probably take up to 2 months before a decision is made. As it stands the hearing is still technically open for another 2 weeks to allow for any additional written testimony and document submissions to be entered.

taksee28 karma

What have his friends done since that time? Have they reached out to your family with regrets? Are they participating in the parole hearing at all?

a_lot2say10 karma

Who's friends?

LifeWin28 karma

As someone who has been irrevocably affected by a serious crime, do you think prison should used for punishment, rehabilitation, or some combination of the two?

a_lot2say46 karma

At the very lease the the balance should change. We need to focus more or rehabilitation, but in the same breath I would say for Matthews case I'm don't think rehabilitation is an option, so instead the focus should be to keep the public safe.

geo84526 karma

What was his demeanor at the hearing?

a_lot2say67 karma

Barely audible, rambling, erratic, confused, mousy. He doesn't see like a sharp person or perhaps the moment overwhelmed him. His tears seemed forced and if I can editorialize more it seemed to me he was more upset about how his life has been impacted despite him repeatedly saying he will never forgive himself for killing my brother.

hahahahnowhy13 karma

Do you ever consider that being in prison since age 15 after having a questionable upbringing could cloud the opinion of what you'd expect a "normal" person to behave like in this situation?

a_lot2say38 karma

Sure, but answered the question directly and I do no think any of that changes whether or not he is a better candidate to be released.

suaveitguy20 karma

What would you advise a family do to help a 7 year old who faces such a traumatic loss? Anything that they did that helped you, or didn't happen that you think could have helped?

a_lot2say23 karma

Man.....I have no idea, outside of specific memory's it's hard for me to put myself back into my 7 year old self to analyze what could be done better. I would say my parents did there very best and I'm not sure much else could have been done. Perhaps? but I'm not going to judge them on it.

If they didn't do anything to help more or were shitty parents I'm sure I would have more advice about what could have been done better.

Ineedmorebooze14 karma

Have you been privvy to any of the information submitted in support of his getting parole? Do any of his psychiatrists have high hopes this guy can be rehabilitated?

a_lot2say22 karma

I got to hear everything that was discussed in the hearing including some expert testimony as well as some I thought was "expert" testimony. The witnesses defending Matthews seem to believe he is a low risk to re offend.

cclunsford12 karma

Irrelevant, but I can ask you anything here. Do you realize your driver's license picture looks quite a bit like Adam Jones? And are you a fan?

a_lot2say13 karma

Uh I am not sure who that is, post a pic so I can tell you

mxtrav6 karma

The first result in Google looks JUST like you!

a_lot2say16 karma

My girlfriend says, " Kind of when Jones has a a beard". Also I feel stupid for not realizing who you were talking about.

rcam9511 karma

Hey man - my heart goes out to you, I truly wish you peace of mind in all this.

Anyway - I kinda just wanted to know what your favorite ice cream flavor is? Recently tried straziatella (I'm probably spelling that wrong) and I fell in love.

Also: what hobbies do you have and how seriously do you take them?

a_lot2say18 karma

I would probably say Neapolitan, also pistachio ice cream mixed with almond joy or mounds ice cream is amazing

The amount of hobbies I have had in life are spectacular but like many they fall in and out of favor. I love to cook, bake bread, play video games, I love cars, and I have gone to burning man a bunch.

shouldbeworking2311 karma

I didn't read the case, but what happened to lead up to the death? and does Rod seem remorseful?

a_lot2say42 karma

Rod expressed remorse at the hearing, but personally it seemed more like a person trying to act like they left remorse I was not convicened even a little.

The lead up to the murder is a broad question. This is a involved case with facts that seem hard to believe so attempting to give you a summary better then the one provided in the links would be useless.

CherubCutestory27 karma

The Times article mentions an obsession with fire and that it was a thrill kill. Take that and the planning he did at such a young age and maybe this was the first act of a serial killer. Truly sorry for your loss, but maybe one terribly small silver lining is this stopped a monster before he could grow up to become something even worse.

a_lot2say23 karma

That is a thought I have had before and has provided me some comfort, if only a small amount. Astute observation.

shouldbeworking2312 karma

gotcha. just read through the first link. Pretty fucking crazy. sorry, man. Do you remember your brother much? or were you pretty young?

a_lot2say32 karma

I don't have many memories of my brother and I gave testimony to that fact yesterday. At the time I was 7. I had a full understanding of what my brother being dead meant, but not the why....I'm still trying to figure that one out.

Dongo66611 karma

I googled and I found this:

Are inmates considered for parole more than once? Inmates serving non-life sentences who are denied parole are granted a review hearing one year later. However, if substantive new information is received by the board, the case may be reconsidered at the board's discretion. Inmates who are serving life sentences and denied parole must, by law, be reconsidered for parole at regular intervals not to exceed five years.

Do you seriously have to go through with this bullshit every 5 years?

a_lot2say26 karma

Matthews has been up for parole 3 times, 2001, 2007 and in 2012....but that hearing was scheduled 4 different times and cancelled each time (once the day before IIRC) until yesterday. It's hard to put into words how much the spin up and let down each time impacted me. It fucks my sleep, my work, and my personal life.

Now the parole board will decide if Matthews get parole. If not they schedule the time before the next hearing and it can be 1,2,3,4, or 5 years. I'm obviously hopping his parole is denied and they schedule the next parole for 5 years in the future.

BungeeBunny9 karma

What do you think Rod is like as a person now? Do you think he realized the extent of his actions and how horrific they were?

a_lot2say19 karma

I have never had an interactions with Matthews really. So I cannot really judge that. But having spent 29 years in prison I am willing to bet he has some understanding of the extent of his crimes.

doingthisonthetoilet9 karma

What's your take on the prison system in general? Let me be specific. To me, theres 3 kinds. There's American prison as it may be/is on TV; you show up, there's rape, working out, and getting tossed into solitary confinement to rot. There's foreign prison which consists of hard labor and very little food. Then there's utopia prison, which is re-education, therapy, college classes, and a clean slate after your sentence is over.

I read several of your answers to the AMAs, so I take it you want him to remain in prison. What type of prison would you prefer someone who had done you wrong be sent to?

Also, since it's an AMA, what's your favorite beverage?

a_lot2say21 karma

Insightful question /u/doingthisonthetoilet. In general I think the US prison system needs massive reforms. The Privatization of prisons have done some really fucked up this to the incentive to jail people. There are entire regions, update New York because a good example that has a prison based economy. Then there is the institutional racism and overcrowding, the jailing of no violent drug offenders....I mean at this point I feel like we should throw everything out and start again. Despite my personal feelings about what I hope happens to Matthews in jail I think it would be good of us as a country to treat our prison population better. I think we should shift more to a European prison model and as long as Matthews away from people he can hurt forever I intellectually am fine with receiving better treatment despite my personal feelings, and yes I'm aware that last part is different from the European system.

My favorite beverage.....I'll brake that into a couple answers. I think Reeds Ginger Beer is about the best beverage ever made but that's a some time drink. I love good beer, but my drug of choice is Diet Pepsi....I'm weird.

s1001819 karma

What is your personal opinion regarding life sentences for juvenile offenders?

I'm so very sorry about the loss of your brother.

a_lot2say24 karma

I think in extreme cases which I think Matthews is, it is totally justifiable. The supreme court also seems to support this decision with the possibility of parole. Personally it would be much easier for me if Matthews stayed in prison the rest of his life without possibility parole but I think part of being a good American is understanding even if something directly impacts you it is important to stand up for those whom you might even hate but need to have their rights defended as well.

Bigfloppy8 karma

How have your interactions with the people that work for Parole been so far? Are you dealing with parole officers or directly with the parole board?

a_lot2say15 karma

It's been mostly good. I have been dealing with victim support personal in the parole department. They are trained to help people in my situation but they deal with murders and high profile cases all the time so I'm sure it's closer to a normal day at work then the amazingly overwhelming life event it was for me.

However there was some miscommunication on their part. I can't really blame them for looking at it now but at the time I was not happy and made sure they were aware.

198jazzy3497 karma

Purely hypothetical thought experiment: Would you support a law that allows a murderer sentenced to life in prison the opportunity to inject themselves with lethal drugs to end their own life? Why or why not?

Edit: you have added that you are 100% against the death penalty, but what if it were self inflicted as I've described?

a_lot2say9 karma

I support medical euthanasia, but as I guess you might have suspected this is a tricky one. If they were physically sick and in pain 100%. Even with the rage I feel, but man I'm going to have to cop out and say I would need to think about this question more. Like really ponder it, not something I'm going to be able to figure out during this AMA. Well done, you stumped me.

HorlogerieNYC7 karma

In other posts you have said that you think keeping Rod Matthews in jail for life is best for society. Why do you believe this? Have you tracked who Rod Matthews has become while in jail for the last nearly three decades? Do you believe that there is no potential for him to change and to become at the very least a non threatening member of society?

a_lot2say18 karma

I think in a lot of ways Matthews crimes speak for themselves. I am allowed almost no access to information about Matthews incarcerations with the exception of documentation included in the parole hearing. These documents do include some relevant information but only a fraction needed to make a judgement of such things. I think that there is a tendency to see Matthews now and see his small slight figure and not feel intimidated. Personally my concerns would be for the weaker members of society and how he might interact while having the advantage in a power dynamic. Fortunately there are experienced and intelligent people who make this decision and so far they have felt keeping Matthews in jail is the best for our community. However, who knows what I would think if the parole board were to reverse their previous decisions. This really is an exceptional emotional quandary to consider. I am only human.

cyberjunkyfreak5 karma

Hello, I was wondering if your family may have lived in Hudson Mass in the late 70's or early 80's? I remember going to school with a kid named Shaun Ouillette, he was a great kid! So sorry for your loss.

a_lot2say7 karma

I don't think that was us.

the_evil_akuuuuu5 karma

How are you notified when a hearing takes place? Do they send someone in your family a letter/phone call/etc, or do you need to stay abreast of it on your own?

a_lot2say9 karma

Official communications are by mail. However because of the profile of the case and the numerous delays and cancellations of previous parole hearings I made sure the parole board was aware that I wanted to be notified immediately when they had the date of the new trial. So they notified me by phone. I called the parole office every 6 months just to make sure they had not forgotten about me, they had not.

MainSailFreedom5 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA.

Does Rod Matthews' behavior whilst in jail have any bearing on the decision? For example, if he sought education and had tremendous personal growth, would that affect your opinion as to whether he should be released?

a_lot2say9 karma

My understanding it has tons of bearing. I think that in many situations and many crimes that would make a difference to me. Like a stated several times before, Matthews' case in an exception.

flgflg10s3 karma

What is your all-time favourite video game?

a_lot2say11 karma

Probably Civ-5

3domfighter3 karma

I was nine when I heard this story. Of all the CSI/Cold Case/First 48 style shows I've seen since (and there have been many), this one is probably one of a dozen I actually remember, presumably for the fact that it was a kid killing a kid and I was a kid. My question is: Do you think the notoriety of the case has made it harder to cope with, or do you feel like you've had access to more resources, or even just more ability to vent?

a_lot2say3 karma

There is a dichotomy to this answer. At the time I was very young but I know the increased publicity and the media machine made things incredibly challenging for my side of the family. but now that I am taking an active role in my brother's case there have been several situations where the notoriety and the severity of my brother's murder has made it easier to get help and information. It is a unique experience to see a veteran to the criminal justice system's face drain of color in recognition of the case. I also feel the media can help with my current goal of making sure people remember my brother's case. I am for the first time considering reaching out to the media to reach this goal. However, I only have the experience of my brother's case so I have no idea how a (and it feel weird to say this) how a "normal" murder case feels like.

WirSindAllein2 karma

Hey hey canton native here! Unrelated to everything else: Floods or Pages?

a_lot2say2 karma

Unfortunately I don't know any of these places because I grew up in Brookline are they sub shops? Give me a recommendation and I will check it out

WirSindAllein1 karma

It's a corner store. A while back the corner store, Floods, was bought by the owners of a liquor store chain from Stoughton (only 2 exist afaik), called Pages. Us losers in canton still debate over whether it should be called pages or floods. Just a stupid silly townie question :p

a_lot2say1 karma

No fucking awesome I'm really glad you asked it. What's life without local color?

Fighting_the_Foo2 karma

With this traumatic of a life event this early in your life, how have you been able to cope? Have you had to go through therapy? I couldn't imagine the toll on your family. Are your parents as willing to talk about it as you are?

a_lot2say10 karma

that's tough to say it's been so long I barely remember what life was like without massive trauma. I have coped by just keep moving forward and trying not to let the thoughts about my brother become overwhelming or controlling.

I have gone to TONS of therapy but honestly I'm a very tough case and I doubt 90% of therapist are actually capable of actually helping me.

My side of the family does not talk about the case, with me being the clear and resent exception.

I also just want to say, I have had to deal with some really terrible things in life and in fact I'm dealing with several right now, but I am a happy person I live a fulfilling life and I have literally hundreds of AMAZING friends. With few exceptions I can't complain.

noodle-face2 karma

So sorry for your loss bud. We have a few friends in Canton and my wife used to be a USPS mail carrier in Canton for a few years.

Did Rod express much remorse for his killing? Did you get a feel that it was genuine for what he did, or did you feel it was moreso that he got locked up for it?

a_lot2say3 karma

He expressed remorse, I don't feel it was genuine.

Dain--Bramage2 karma

Now let's get to the hard question. You said you like nerdy shows, so... Futurama or Rick & Morty? You have to pick one.

a_lot2say3 karma

For me that is easy, Futurama. But perhaps my age is showing.

4rkless1 karma

Ok, this is going to make me sound like a prick but here ito goes.

Do you honestly think someone should pay their entire life, for something they did at 14? I get the severity of what he did, but did he at the time? God knows I've done a million things that were dumb when I was 14.... how do you know he is a threat to society? Has he shown remorse in his ac5ions? I find it hard to hold anything against someone that they did when they were 14 .

a_lot2say1 karma

This is something I keep repeating but I think Rod Matthews is the exception. Normally I do think a 14 year old spending his life in jail for a crime would be too much. Look into the facts of the case and let me know if you still feel the same way. I know I'm really close to the event here but the murder was unimaginable horrible.

smookykins-64 karma

After the murder laws in Massachusetts where changed to allow Matthews to be tried as an adult.

That is a disgusting miscarriage of justice. How can you live with yourself?

a_lot2say22 karma

I think in some situations trying a juvenile as an adult inappropriate but in my brothers case I think it was appropriate. You're trolly questions makes the assumption that the laws changing was a bad thing. I'm not sure that's the case