HIS FIANCÉE PAMELA
& VERNE BETLACH
ROSE, NIKOLE MARIE, JON & CHRIS
PATRICK & PHILOMENA ROSE
RELATIVES & FRIENDS:
AUNT LEEANN, LAWTON, ED, DEREK, HILIARY,
JASON, SOCCER TEAMMATES &
TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION
JULY ~ 1997
TOP - LEFT
TO RIGHT :
DAD, JESSE, JESSE'S MOM,
BOTTOM - LEFT
ANGELA & NIKOLE & JESSE'S NEPHEW, ZACHARY PATRICK
JESSE AND MOM
AGE 4 ~ 2000
AND FELLOW NAVY BUDDY, LAWTON
& ANGELA AND JESSE
APRIL ~ 1998
HIS FIANCÉE PAMELA
It is now one
year - on 3 July - that you took my son's life. Of everything that
I struggle with, "why" has to be the hardest. It seems so senseless
to me. Perhaps you can help me by supplying the answers. Was
he the intended victim? If so, why? What did he do to make
you need to cut his throat and leave him to bleed to death? I did
not know he was capable of instilling such rage in anyone. What did
he do to warrant your wrath?
ON 3 JULY 1998
SEAMAN JESSE P. HENRY WAS FOUND DEAD IN THE TPU BARRACKS AT THE SAN DIEGO
HE WAS 19 YEARS OLD.
AN OPEN LETTER TO
(S) BY HIS MOTHER:
TO MY SON'S
Do you know
what you killed that night? My only son. My grandchildren.
My daughter-in-law. The father figure (and idol) of his nephew.
His sisters only brother. His incredible sense of humor. His
infectious smile and laugh. His determination to provide for me in
my old age. Everyone that knew and loved him. His future.
Jesse did not
want to die. He always felt he had the worst luck in the world, even
up to his death. Our final conversations were about his new life.
We just did not know they were our final conversations. Couldn't
you at least have given us a good-bye? thankfully we always told
him we loved him and were very proud of him. Every conversation ended
that way. I always figured we didn't have much in life, but we did
have love, and each other.
He missed not
knowing his father as he grew up. He knew the pain of rejection,
so he strived to succeed and achieve. He felt the sting of going
without the necessities of life while I struggled to raise and provide
for him and his two sisters. By his standards, he had a hard life.
Nothing came easy.
He was so excited
about marrying his sweetheart and having children. He was researching
how to be the best father and husband to his fiancee.
In the moments
you took Jesse's life, those who knew and loved him died as well.
spend our days at his grave. Holidays involve trips to the cemetery
as well. You killed him days before his birthday and mine.
He had to be buried on his sister's birthday. July is no longer a
happy month for us. Mother's Day was very hard for me
this year. I clutched his previous cards to my heart all day.
When he was home on his last leave, he gave me my Mother's Day gift.
It was the Boyz to Men CD, "Ode to Momma." As he played it for me,
he danced with me in our kitchen. His hugs washed away all cares
in the world.
Over time I
took him to the airport to leave us, I silently wondered, as I watched
him walk away from me, if this was the last time I'd see him alive.
On May 14, 1998, it was. I hate airports now. We expected him
to walk off the plane when he came home in July, not arrive in the cargo
hold. I expected him to carry his belongings, not have them shipped
to a warehouse for me to pick up.
Not one breath
we breathe does not have his name on it. We long for his voice, his
laugh, his humor and his hugs. We all feel we failed him...for not
protecting him...for not something...
I want you
to know I do forgive you. I hope you have not done this before or
since. I pray for you daily. You must have a momma too.
I pray for her as well. I would be devastated if Jesse had killed
you. You have hurt her and your family by this act also. Do
Jesse went right to Heaven that night. He believed in Jesus and eternity
in Heaven. I feel so bad that he died alone. Without family.
Without friends. Just you and angels. Did you see or feel the
angels that night? I wonder if he felt lonely? What were his
I know today is just another day to you. But our lives will never
be the same again. Ever! The pain is unbearable. I often
cannot even breathe. It seems to be getting worse, not better.
I hate it. I hate what you have done. I am trying to understand
it, but I do not hate you. I guess you had more pain than Jesse,
and strength. And help...the guy that held him while you killed him.
Not a fair fight - not a fair anything.
I would like
answers, could you at least give me that? All I have is the memory
of looking into a casket and seeing a face I barely recognized as my only
son. Swollen! Bruised! Young! Nineteen years young.
MEMORIAL WALKWAY BRICK
MEMORY OF JESSE
CHILDREN'S MEMORIAL WALKWAY~
HEART WILL GO ON"