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Jodi Cadman finds peace after forgiving man who murdered her brother

Oct 21, 2010

From the article by Cheryl Chan in The Province:

Jodi Cadman still recalls hanging up the phone in shock.

She had just been told that the man who stabbed her 16-year-old brother to death almost two decades previously wanted to get in touch.

"You literally get a phone call out of the blue saying, 'Would you like to receive a letter from the person who murdered your family member?'" Jodi says. "I was pretty shocked."

...Jodi didn't know it yet, but she and Isaac Deas, sentenced to life imprisonment in the second-degree murder of Jesse Cadman, had been on parallel paths -- one toward redemption, the other toward forgiveness.

Jodi was eventually handed Deas's letter. Sitting in her apartment in Vancouver, just before reading the two-page note, neatly penned on lined, yellow paper, Jodi remembers thinking: "I really hope he doesn't ask me for forgiveness."

Deas's letter was sincere and remorseful, Jodi says.

...They had been corresponding for several months when she was asked another unexpected question: Do you want to meet with

Deas face to face? This time, there was no hesitation. She said yes.

Through their written communication, Jodi had learned some things she hadn't known about Deas.

She learned that Deas, then still a teenager, had wanted to plead guilty, but was advised not to.

She learned that he had spent a decade in maximum security as a snarling, uncooperative thug, until one day he decided he wanted to change, and began taking whatever steps he could to make amends.

...They met in a windowless parole office boardroom with two mediators present.

Even after 18 years, Jodi thought she could see in him the baby face of the cocky, disinterested teenager who doodled his way through his trial.

Deas was stocky and rough-looking, but also soft-spoken and serene, like someone who had embraced Eastern religion, Jodi's mother would later say.

Jodi told him that she wanted to focus on the here and now.

She was kidding herself, she says. What she really wanted to know was how someone could get to the point where he could take someone else's life.

...Throughout their initial meeting, Deas said repeatedly that he was sorry. At times, when Jodi spoke harshly, she saw traces of redness creep up his face, she says. At other times, when they talked about her father, the emotions grew raw.

Finally, sitting across from him, Jodi says she had an unsettling realization: She liked talking to him.

"It's a really strange thing to reconcile in your head," she told him frankly. "Because I'll sit here and have a conversation with you, but you murdered my brother."

He nodded and said he accepted that. After three hours, they stood up to say goodbye. Deas repeated: "Sorry. I'm so sorry."

Jodi said: "You know what, you don't have to say that to me anymore. I forgive you."

Caught off guard, Deas managed to thank her.

Thinking back on that moment, Jodi says the words came surprisingly easy.

"In the spirit of everything, it was the right thing to do, and it was just as healing for me." But her forgiveness came with strings.

"I'm not giving it away freely. It's certainly not unconditional," she says. "But if he is doing everything he can possibly do to make things right, then it makes it easier."

Read the full article.

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Carol Crocker
Carol Crocker says:
Jun 29, 2012 08:27 PM

I just read your article about Jodi Cadman finds peace by meeting Isaac Deas who murdered her brother. While the article is brief I feel it is full of emotion and spirit. This is 2012 and it was written in 2010 and I am hoping that all is well with her and that Mr. Deas is still on the path that she helped guide him on. What a beautiful thing to do. She has a beautiful heart. Having been through all the trials and tribulations that she has been through it takes a special person to do as she has done. We as Canadian citizens can learn a lot through her courage. <br /> <br />&nbsp;I've heard about Restorative Justice and I know it doesn't just happen by magic. I can't help but think that those who go through the process would have a lasting imprint as they travel through this world of ours. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse I wonder if we as a group have used this process as well. In my story when asked by the crown prosecutor what I would like to have happen to the person who pled guilty to sexually abusing me I said I would like him to go into a sex offender rehabilitation program. Some people looked at me like I was &quot;crazy&quot;. Even some family members couldn't understand why I didn't want him to go to jail and throw away the key. I felt he had to learn about what he did, why and the consequences and the affects it has. If not, I felt he would just continue. So I guess in way it is a little similar. That was back in 1991. <br />Is restorative justice process valued and helpful?

brian says:
Dec 20, 2012 04:14 AM

I recall back in the 1990's, I was really gung-ho about both capital and corporal punishment (the latter inspired by the hasrh Singaporean system). However, I have moderated my views since then. <br /> <br />I'm now opposed to capital punishment in all cases, even for people like Paul Bernardo and the late Clifford Olson. The problem is, sometimes innocent people are wrongfully accused and executed of murder and other crimes. <br /> <br />I think of the &quot;3 M's&quot; (Donald Marshall, David Milgaard, and Guy-Paul Morin, and also of Newfoundlanders Ronald Dalton, Randy Druken, and Gregory Parsons. All six men were falsely convicted of murder and sent to prison, yet all six were later exonerated. <br /> <br />It's true that in certain cases (such as Bernardo and Olson), there was truly no doubt of guilt. It's also true that DNA technology has reduced the chance of false convictions in certain cases. However, the system doesn't work that way. The system says that if you're found guilty &quot;beyond a reasonable doubt&quot; in a court of law, then you're convicted and sentenced. <br /> <br />People such as &quot;the 3 M's&quot; were found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and yet, they were factually innocent. <br /> <br />re: corporal punishment. As many people have pointed out, it's not like violent offenders don't often receive corporal punishment at teh hands of the police, or even other offenders at times. Thus, perhaps the cane isn't appropraie for adults. <br /> <br />In New Zealand however, if a male between 16-18 years old is committing serious crimes (such as Isaac Deas was doing, with armed robberies and whatnot), then, with the parents' signed permission, he can receive up to 2 strokes of the cane. However, he cannot receive more than 2, and if he has already gotten a total of two strokes of it, he cannot ever get it again, even if he re-offends. <br /> <br />I wonder if Mr. Deas had received it (perhaps even a modified cane which didn't draw blood, but which still hurt), if that would have dissuaded him from committing murder? Also, if he had participate in a &quot;Scared Straight&quot; program, in which young offenders visit prisoners and talk to them, to deter them from continuing deliquent behaviour, if that would have helped? <br /> <br />Understand, I don't know what kind of punishment Mr. deas may have received at home, or if he had ever spoken to prisoners in that kind of program, before he killed Jesse. I'm just speculating and offering some thoughts. <br /> <br />I did definitely disagree with then-Justic Minister Allan Rock, when he gave Mr.Deas a retroactive reduction in parole eligibility (from 10 years to just 7 years). I believe that Mr. Deas and other young offenders of his age (16 at the time) should have to serve at least 10 years in prison before receiving a chance for parole, if they are found guilty of 2nd-degree murder. <br /> <br />One should also consider that Mr. Deas had committed previous offences, and violated curfew conditions when he killed Jesse, and maintained a rebellious and unrepentant attitude throughout the trial. <br /> <br />If he has started to reform though, I wish him well, and hope that he will atone for his crime by talking to young people similar to him at that age, and perhaps he can even be released if he has truly been reformed.

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