For my son, 18 years is too many

By Joseph Donovan, Sr.  A Letter to the Editor, The Boston Globe

THE GLOBE’S Christmas Day editorial (“If sentences vary too widely, courts should make corrections’’) meant a great deal to my family. My son, Joseph Donovan Jr., is serving life without the possibility of parole for a crime that took place when he was a teen. Joey was convicted of murder, though he did not kill Yngve Raustein. By every account, he had no intention of participating in a murder. But he was convicted of armed robbery under the state’s felony murder law, which means he is ineligible for parole.

Joey’s actions were immature, stupid, and regrettable. But Shon McHugh’s desire to kill created a lifetime of sorrow for Yngve’s family as well as ours. Yngve was a brilliant, studious young man whose bright future was brutally taken from him. And my son, who had never been incarcerated before, became a lifer. What should have been his senior year of high school became his freshman year in the state’s most notorious prison, MCI Cedar Junction.
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