December 9, 2014
Ms. Ellen Kirschbaum
Arizona Board of Executive Clemency
1645 West Jefferson, Suite 101
Phoenix, AZ 85007-3000
Re: Jacob Wideman
ADC # 070340
Dear Ms. Kirschbaum:
When I was a kid, my parents took me to the San Diego Zoo. Back then they had earthen pits instead of cages, round in shape, no bars and you could look into the pit with nothing but distance between you and the animal. At one point, my father and I were standing on the side of a pit looking down at the lions or tigers, some kind of predatory cat, and I noticed one of them just walking around the pit’s perimeter, round and round, staring out as he was walking. I was standing next to my father and said; “I wonder what he’s thinking.”
Without hesitating, my father said; “He’s thinking of a way to escape.”
I asked “What do you think they would do if they did figure out a way to escape?”
My father said; “They would eat you.”
My father went on to explain that he believed that all the tigers or lions ever thought about was escape; getting out. All day, everyday, they walked in circles, checking the perimeter for any opening, any weakness, any change in routine that they could exploit to get free. And, he said, they probably never give up until either they escaped or died, whichever came first.
Jacob Wideman, and all of his ilk, are just like that lion or tiger. All day long, day after day, year after year, they think of one thing: getting out. They look. They think. They act. They go to parole hearings to study the faces and thought process of the parole board honing their pitch, their physical appearance even the sound of their voice. They do and say everything with one thought: getting out, or better said, convincing you to let them out.
You cannot do that.
Like the man who shot and killed my own son, who is also serving a “life term” in an Arizona prison, Jacob Wideman thinks only of getting out. He does not think of the life he stole. He does not think of the misery he visited upon Eric and his family. He does not better himself or look for real change. He thinks only of himself and his goal – getting out. Everything he does. Everything he says and every “change” in his life has a single purpose– getting out.
Do not think that I come to this conclusion because I am the bitter father of a murdered child. I was a criminal defense attorney for 23 years before my son was shot. I helped clients just like Mr. Wideman with their strategies. I intimately know their persona. No matter what he says. No matter what the Wideman family swears is evidence of Jacob’s change as a human being, it is all an act.
Jacob Wideman has not changed because he cannot change. And he cannot change because deep inside he does not believe that he sits in prison because of what he did to the victim in this case, Eric. He believes he is in prison because of someone, something or anyone else, other than himself. Whether it is feigned psychological problems or because of alleged drug or alcohol or abuse problems, or because he was poor, whatever the excuse, in his heart, he is not to blame.
Since Jacob Wideman does not blame himself for the murder he committed, it is easy for him to look contrite, or sad and remorseful because, in his mind, he should be free. Manipulation comes easy to those who perceive themselves as wronged.
But the truth is, he knows how to act now, because he has been before you before and whatever he did, did not work. And if the upcoming hearing does not get him out, he will consider his options and make the appropriate changes in his demeanor for the next hearing, and the next, until either you let him out or he dies.
Like the lion or tiger, at the San Diego Zoo, you can take him out of the jungle, and lock him in a cage but his core self, the one who killed, can never change.
Let him out, and he will eat you, or if not you, someone else.
Very truly yours,
Daniel J. Marco