Jackie Carpenter of Ellaville, Georgia, is the mother of two sons, Jim, 35, a pastor, and Jason, 32. She is the author of “The Bridge: Between Cell Block A and a Miracle Is Psalm 91” and its sequel: “Georgia Justice (Journey To Faith).” Both books chronicle a 10-month ordeal entailing her son Jason’s murder trial and her gradual rediscovery of her deep faith in God. The two books are being turned into a movie, “A Cry For Justice,” due for release this Fall. The Carpenters also have four grandchildren: Hannah, Anna Grace, Patience and JJ. For more details, please see www.bridgetoamiracle.com
That afternoon, we found out that while you hid in those woods, a white van had pulled into the driveway that night at 12:45 am. Its headlights shone directly on you in the woods. You fell off the little bucket that you were sitting on and called 911. Then you called Stephanie’s dad, Billy, who also knew you were out there in those woods.
“Billy, they’re back,” you whispered. Billy asked you if you wanted him to come over there and you told him you were scared to death. Billy said he would get dressed and would get over there. Little did you know the deputy had never alerted law enforcement that you were out there. The local police were on the other side of town getting gas when they received the 911 call. Then they got lost trying to find the house.
As you saw a vehicle pull in behind the white van, you were relieved the police had arrived. But then you saw a man approach the driver’s side of the van. It was Billy, unarmed, holding a flashlight. You came out of the woods with that old double-barrel shotgun that granddaddy gave you years ago and that you had never fired. You fired a warning shot into the air so nobody would hurt Billy, and then you and Billy ordered the men out of the van.
Now you were about to make a citizen’s arrest, just as the deputy had advised you. You were legally allowed to do so.
The two men in the front seat were totally cooperative, but you could still see shadows in the back of the van. This other man was very rebellious and refused to come out. You told the men you were acting under police orders, that you did not want to hurt them, and the police were on their way. All you wanted to do was bind their hands and feet and let the police take it from there. The third, very rebellious man then finally came out of the back of the van.
Now all three men lay on the ground. It was pitch black except for the headlights on Billy’s truck and the flashlight Billy held in front of the rebellious man. As you tried to bind the hands and feet of the first man, you saw the rebellious man getting up. You had no idea whether he was going to go for a knife or a gun. All you knew was that he was going after Billy. You grabbed your shotgun and ran over and pushed him down with it. The gun misfired, shooting the rebellious man, who later died.
The deputy who had originally advised you went to the judge in the early morning to say he never told you to take these actions and he wanted you charged with murder. While we visited you in Cell Block A, the same deputy took the other two alleged copper thieves back down to the construction site along with a TV camera crew to tell the world you had executed their cousin. The court of public opinion had found you guilty. We were under a gag order, prevented from saying a word to defend your innocence.
Larry, Stephanie and I were all three together allowed to see you for a total of 15 minutes. The police had placed you in Pod A, which I refer to as Cell Block A, representing the worst of the worst. As I looked into your eyes, I trembled inside and what I saw would be burned into my mind for the rest of my life.
P.S. – Please see part 3 tomorrow.