VOLUME JUNE 2004
June 1, 2004
WARS AND PEACE
Yesterday was Memorial Day. I was going to write some thoughts
about it in my journal. But by the time evening came around I was so tired that I decided to go to sleep earlier than usual.
As I always do on such a somber day, I prayed for my country
and her leaders. I prayed for America's armed forces, and for all those who were wounded in the conflicts that are now being
fought simultaneously in Afghanistan and Iraq. And I also prayed for the families of those who have lost a loved one in these
War is a terrble thing. Jesus said that there would be "wars
and rumors of wars" until his return (Matthew 24:6). This time, though, He shall come as the Prince of Peace."
When Jesus the Messiah returns to this planet, He will no longer
be the lowly suffering servant mocked and mistreated by the masses. Instead, on a future day, He will arrive during the battle
of Armageddon to save Israel and the world from total destruction.
Messiah Jesus will then reign and rule from a rebuilt Jerusalem
where He will establish His throne for a thousand years.
Until His reappearance, however, there wil be wars both large
and small. Death will continue to claim its victims. Mothers will weep for their fallen sons, and fathers will bury them.
In war, men die with rifles at their sides and pants plockets
with wallets tucked into them featuring photos of wives or girlfriends, sons and daughters. The wallets of these soldiers
are filled with pictures of smiling faces, faces now contorted with unspeakable grief.
June 8, 2004
Today I appeared before the New York State Parole Board for
the second time. In accordance with the penal law I was sentenced under in 1978, I made my first appearance before the board
I was not looking forward to this event. At approximately 8:15
this morning I was summoned to a small waiting area near the prison's visiting room. For one day each month the visiting room
is closed to inmates and their families in order to accomodate a parole hearing. This is always a big event in every prison
as the inmates try to guess who would be granted parole. Almost no one ever gets it though.
When I arrived at the waiting area there were nine other men
with me who were also scheduled for today's hearing. They hail from all walks of life, each with different crimes and varying
lengths to their sentences.
One man, Douglas, was so nervous that his teeth were chattering
slightly. He made the rest of us a little more nervous than we already were by his continual pacing back and forth in such
a tiny space. I was able to talk to him a bit and calm him down.
For me, however, I was going into the room to appear before
the commisioners simply to answer their questions, to apologize for my past criminal actions, and to show them the courtesy
and respect due them as officials who are appointed by the Governor, and as law enforcement personnel.
I was hoping that my hearing would be brief, and it was. When
it was over I was able to return to my work assignment. For me this hearing was a small hurdle. It was something I had to
face. I was not seeking parole. The commissioners knew this of course. But I was thankful for the chance to speak my piece.
June 9, 2004
MORE ON PAROLE HEARING
Yesterday's parole hearing seems to have passed quietly without
any media coverage whatsoever, at least from what I have been able to tell. I'm so glad!
One of my concerns about the hearing is that the news media
would unnecessarily make it into a big event causing additional pain for those who were hurt by my crimes.
Fortunately, however, this did not happen. There would be no
reason, I believe, to make a big story out of what was to be a routine and unimportant event.
I was not seeking parole. I voiced this fact on many occasions
throughout the years. So any excessive news coverage would have been needless.
As I wrote yesterday, I went into the waiting area outside
of the prison's visiting room at 8:15 in the morning. I was number eight in a line-up of ten inmates who were all scheduled
to appear before the parole board.
So in the oppressive heat I sat until approximately 11 a.m.,
when I was finally called. Having to wait almost three hours in near record breaking heat and humidity was difficult.
Finally, though, it was my turn. A parole officer came into
the waiting area to escort me into the main room. Once in, I sat in a chair before three commissioners. Two were men and one
was a woman. I was a little nervous, as expected. I politely answered their questions. I was allowed to make a brief statement
at the end, and then it was over. The entire hearing took about ten minutes.
Then, later Tuesday afternoon, I was approached by the Senior
Parole Officer of this region, Mr. Alvarado. He stood in front of my cell and handed me the parole board's decision. This,
by the way, is standard procedure. The board never renders its decision right at the hearing. Instead it is given to an inmate
either later the very same day, as it was in my case, or it is mailed to the inmate via the prison's parole office. I think
that many people are interested in what exactly a parole board decision says. So I will write word for word what my official
"PAROLE DECISION 06/08/04
Reasons for Denial: After a record review, personal interview
and panel deliberation, parole is denied for the following reasons:
You are serving sentences for approximately 21 felony convictions.
Your criminal acts involve you murdering six victims and seriously injuring seven others over an approximate one year period
Your positive programming and excellent discipinary record
have been taken into consideration. However the brutality of your criminal acts which resulted in so much harm to your victims
and society necessitate that you remain in prison.
This panel feels that to release you at this time would seriously
deprecate the nature of your extreme(ly) violent criminal acts and greatly undermine respect for (the) law. You caused irreparable
harm to many victims and society was gripped in fear because of your acts."
June 12, 2004
O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all
them that persecute me, and deliver me.
Yesterday I wrote about the media reports I heard concernng
the FORGIVEN FOR LIFE web site, and how that some of the family members of the victims of my crimes are angry about it.
Although I first learned of this situation when I happened
to listen to the news on a New York City based radio station, the originator of this story is the New York Daily News.
Earlier today a kindhearted guard gave me the June 11th edition
of the NY Daily News so that I could read for myself what the comotion is all about.
This officer has known me for many years, and he could sense
my pain and concern over what is now brewing. He also asked me why the media would be fussing with me now. I told him that
I have no idea.
In any event, having now read the headline story, I wish to
say that I apologize if the Forgiven for Life web site has upset the two parties who voiced their complaints about me in the
One person is Neysa Moskowitz, the mother of victim Stacy Moskowitz.
While the second party is Michal Lauria, whose daughter, Donna, perished by my hand.
Both of these individuals have been angry and bitter towards
me for many years. I can understand their feelings. They have every right, I believe, to feel hatred. After all, many years
ago I caused them much pain, and I deprived them of their loved ones. They may never get over such a loss.
The Daily News, article, however, said that I was flaunting
my writings to the world.
Yesterday one of the newscasters from the CBS radio station
said in a sarcastic manner that I have now become a "cybercelebrity."
But the fact is that Forgiven for Life has been quietly existing
for a handful of years. I have never advertised it, nor have I tried to call attention to it.
Instead, this is simply a Christian/spirititul web site that
is owned and operated by my friends in Callifornia.
The main purpose of Forgiven for Life is to honor and glorify
Also on the web side, in addition to writing about the love
and mercy of God, I share my own story of redemption so that others could draw hope and encouragement from it.
I also make public my journal so that my readers may learn
what it is like to be a Christian serving God from behind prison walls.
I write about an array of topics and subjects. And I especially
write about the lives of men who have committed crimes, and how they struggle to survive in this oftentimes inhospitable and
I try to explain how some of these men try to come to terms
with what brought them to prison. I share how they strive to make amends to their families as well as to a society that has
for the most part rejected them.
Likewise I tell stories about prisoners who seek forgiveness
from both their victims and from God. They want to change their lives, and they do not want to continue to live with self-destructive
behavior patterns and in destructive lifestyles.
Over the years the responses that both I and the web operator
have received from my readers has been wonderful and positive.
Furthermore, here in the correctional facility I'm at, I am
treated like any other inmate. I am afforded no special privileges. And I am doing my "time" in the general population.
I am neither treated as a "celebrity" nor as a "little prince"
as Mrs. Moskowitz said to the reporter who interviewed her for the article.
It is to bad, I feel, that the Daily News misled the public
into thinking that Forgiven for Life is some kind of attention seeking web site when it has been fairly low-key all these
years, and until the newpaper itself put the spotlight on it.
My prayer is that this media fire storm quickly passes.
June 18, 2004
PRAYING FOR THE OPPOSITION
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse
you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
By the grace of God I have been continuing forward on this
spiritual journey. I have been trying to keep my eyes fixed upon Jesus Christ at all times, and not upon the circumstances
which surround me.
For ever since the news media launched an attack against me
and the Forgiven for Life website, I have had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I feel it even as I prepare this journal
entry. I feel it even as I prepare this journal entry. Yet in spite of the opposition that is now forming aginst me as a result
of what I believe to be ignornance and bias, and even because many have a deep-seated hatred for the things of God, I am praying
Jesus said to pray for those who hate you, presecute you and
despitefully use you. I am told to show love to those who bound me, and who would try to oppress me.
So I have no problem praying for those who wish me ill, and
who would even try to destroy the very faith I live for, and the very purpose for which I live.
Even at this moment I ask God Almighty to bless the Governor
of New York State. I ask the Lord to watch over his family and to give him wisdom and clarity as he goes about the business
of running this region of the country.
I pray too that God blesses every area of his life. And I pray
the same for those who are at all levels of authority in the State Government. may God protect and guide them even if they
do not believe in Him, and even if they think that Christianity has no relevance for their lives.
Likewise I pray for those in the news media who, because of
their ignorance of what God has done in my life, and because of their own agendas an self-ambition, have begun actions which
seek to harm me. I ask the Lord to touch and bless their lives, as well as the lives of their families.
I pray that the loving God who I serve with my whole heart
will give each of these media professionals keen insight and spiritual understanding about God's ways.
For He is a merciful Being who loves His creation and who desires
that every person come to know their Creator in an intimate and personal way.
In addition, I pray for the families of those who have lost
loved ones as a result of my criminal actions of some 27 years ago. I pray too for those who are still recovering from their
God knows the sorrow and regret I have. He knows that I would
give my very life if it would mean changing everything.
And regular readers of my journal most certainly know of my
remorse. Surely any objective person can see that my writings drip with tears.
Finally I pray for my own protection from those in the media,
government, or the general public who would seek to destroy the good things that have taken years to build. These are those
whose blood pulsates with continual anger, bitterness and unforgiveness. Who, when they think of me, have vengeance and violence
on their minds.
May Jesus help these peple, and may He touch their lives for
the better. Amen.
June 21, 2004
God is doing something wonderful with the church that's behind
the walls of Sullivan Correctional Facility. This week-end we were blessed with two awesome worship services on Saturday evening
and Sunday morning.
Later on Sunday afternoon we had our beginners Bible class.
It was then followed by our evening fellowhip in which we were able to watch a video by Pastor David Wilderson of the times
Square Church in New York City.
But more than simply having many events and gatherings in the
chapel, the Spirit of the Lord seemed to stir us in such a special way it's difficult to describe.
On Saturday evening we had a ministry group who came here from
New Jersey. I was asked by their worship leader to open the service in prayer, which I did.
I was surprised, however, that when my time of prayer was finished,
the members of the group then gathered around me, gently placed their hands upon me, and asked me to please "bring forth a
word from the Lord."
All the members of my congregatin had their eyes fixed upon
me wondering what I would do. But I didn't try to get out of it. I nodded okay to our guests. I said that, yes, I would preach
because they asked me tao.
However, I asked both the ministry group and my church to pray
for me. I did not want to dare say anything while I was standing behind the pulpit unless everone prayed for me first.
And God was faithful. As I began to open my mouth Lord gave
me the words to say.
As a rule, whenever we have guests coming in from the ouside,
they're the ones who will do the preaching and teaching. But for reasons that I was not at liberty to question, they wanted
the task to fall upon me.
Ironically, this very same thing happened during a worship
sevice with group of ministers from New York City on April 19. On this date I was unexpectedly called to the pulpit to address
the church, and to preach.
Nevertheless, as God led me, I read Psalm 27, and I asked the
congregation to read it with me aloud.
I began to talk about King David and his affliction. Although
he was a king he had trouble, discouragement and opposition on every side.
I shared with the brethren how that I too, am going through
much of the same right now. I explained about the media commotion over the Forgiven for Life web site, the newspaper reports
about an investigation into the site by New York's Governor, yet how this web site has also been a blessing and a source of
encouragement to many people.
I then went on to say how that King David was oftentimes overwhelmed
with his responsibilities, and how he even suffered because of his own sins.
I touched on his adulterous affair with Bathsheba, his murderous
plot to have her husband killed, the persecution David endured from his own family.
And I talked about the array of family problems he faced. How
one of his own sons tried to incite a rebellion against David to have him dethroned. That in all this he did not give up on
the Lord or lose his faith. Instead, King David praised God all the more, and he continued to trust in the Lord with all his
Next I began to speak about Daniel the prophet. Once upon a
time he was thrown into a den of hungry lions for defying King Darius' order not to pray to any "god", but only to the king
himself. And God delivered Daniel without a scratch
I then moved onto the story of the three Hebrew men who were
thnrown int a blazing furnace because they refused to bow down to an idol. God delivered them from that furnace. And I told
the congregation that God will likewise deliver us from our fiery trials as long as we continue to trust in Him.
Finally the Lord had me to remind the brethren that He has
called us not only to be His children and His servant, but we have also been called to be His "soldiers"
We have our individual crosses which we must carry, and each
day we must deny ourselves as we put the Lord and other people before our own desires, plans an agendas.
I read to them Romans 12:1,2 where the Lord has instructed
us to be "living sacrifices" for Him and to be "holy". That we are not to have sin ruling our lives any longer.
Now that we are Christians and we have been forgiven, we have
been called to "fight the good fight of faith" through the indewelling power of the Holy Spirit, and by the proper use of
the word of God.
Then, approximately thirty muinutes later when I finished my
sermon, I stepped back from the pulpit and I allowed the ministry group to take over. They too followed with a few brief messages
of encouragent until it was time for our altar call and closing prayer.
Yet God wasn't finished blessing us; for the following day,
Sunday, God's power and presence came upon us once more. Yesterday morning there was excitement in the atmosphere of the chapel.
We began the service with our usual opening prayer, followed
by various introductions, a Scripture reading, and then some praise music.
During Yesterday's service, however, we had the celebration
of our Lords's Supper. In many churches it is commonly referred to as "Communion." We use both terms here.
This is always a special time when we ask the Lord to examine
our hearts, and where each of us privately confess our sins and shortcomings to Jesus for forgiveness. Then, under our chaplains
guidance and direction, we each partake of the bread (matzo)) which represents the broken body of the Lord, and the wine (grape
juice) which is symboloic of His shed blood.
It was also Father's Day. On holidays such as this, with men
who are incarcerated, it is easy to get down on one's self for failing his own father, or for failing to be good parent and
role model for his own children. Yet there was no gloominess in the faces of these men, only joy.
And when the Communion portion of our service was completed,
with its introspection and reflection, we began to praise the Lord with great intensity.
I know that music can arouse ppowerful emotions. But this was
not the case here. Instead, when our guest and evangelist, Sister Yvonne, began to sing, I could clearly sense God beginning
to mend broken hearts. There was an outpouring of His strength upon the congregation. A supernatural peace seemed to flood
I believe that, on this Father's Day, God responded to our
sufferings. He looked upon our sorrowful hearts. He took pity upon the prisoners, and His visitation was very special and
June 25, 2004
WAR IN IRAQ
Several days ago I wrote a letter of encouragement to my friends
in Utah who lost their son, David, in Iraq. David was serving in the Army (see my Journal entry for February 23, 2004).
These days I am constantly hearing about soldiers dying in
Iraq. No doubt the hearts of my friends are in great pain whenever they hear of these reports. They know that other parents
are now suffering as they are.
I believe that the land which is now modern day Iraq is a diabolical
place of perpetual destruction. I've said this in many previous journal writings. Wars have been fought in this region since
the beginning of civilization.
As a Christian, I think this particular area of the world is
under the subjection of powerful demonic entities who have set up their strongholds.
Of course many would mock such an idea. But suppose it is true?
Suppose there realy are demonic beings, operating in an unseen
realm, yet fully capable of influencing humanity and inspiring men to do great acts of evil?
There is so much suffering and violence in Iraq. And as a man
who has faith in God, I must continue to fervently pray for America's military.
I also pray for law-abiding Iraqis who are caught in the middle
of this confllict. No doubt the Christians who are living in this nation are living under a double-edged sword. They're surrounded
by Muslims who sometimes openly persecute them, and they have to survive in a war torn country.
I know by reading the Bible that this part of the world shall
one day play a major role in what the Scriptures refer to as the "end times", the latter days", and the "last days".*
At some future time, over the desert sands and dry streets
of what is now modern day Iraq, will march an army of two milion troops from the east enroute to the final battle of all battles,
June 27, 2004
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul
trusteth in thee: Yes, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be over past.
This has been another spiritually productive weekend. It's
been more than two weeks since the media launched a surprise attack against the Forgiven for Life web site, my story of God's
redemption, and everything that I live for.
Even though my faith in Jesus is very strong, and even though
I know that my Lord always causes me to triumph in all situations, I am stll human. These attacks do hurt.
Jesus the Messiah, the Bible tells me, was a "man of sorrows"
who was well "acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). He knew the depths of humanity's rejection. How much, therefore, will
His followers know of such things?
Yet God, I believe, allows me to emerge stronger from every
period of suffering that I endure for His sake. I do not want to suffer. I'm not a masochist. But as a Christian I do go through
some difficult days.
Nevertheless, I want to thank the Lord for being so merciful
to me. While I have indeed felt the devil's hot breath going down my neck, the Lord has protected me. He has not allowed those
who hate me to crush my spirit.
God's peace remains in my mind and heart. It is a peace which
surpasses all human comprehension.
By His grace I shall go on.
June 29, 2004
Sometimes I have to face spiritually dark periods when people
come against me. While at other times, however, I am overwhelmed with a busy schedule or varios problems come up that cause
my faith to be tested to the limit. Yet the Lord has ways of refreshing my soul and bringing encouragement to my heart.
Whether it be from an especially enlivening worship service
in the chapel, or perhaps a visit from frinds, or maybe some news from the outside, my times of refreshing and hope do arrive.
So today I was thrilled to hear from my friend, Rick Conner*.
He, along with some other members of his church, have visitations with "at-risk" youth in his area who are corrently confined
at various juvenile facilities.
Rick has, throughout the past several years shared my story
with these kids. The responses have been good, and they listen.
These at-risk teens could relate to my past as well as with
the poor choices I made which eventually brought me to prison.
In this letter to me dated June 22, my friend Rick wrote this:
"I showed the movie "Choices" last Monday night in Bon Air
Correctional Center. The kids were really moved. This is a rough group of 14-17 year olds."
Afterwards some of these young men wanted to write a few words
of encouragement to me.
"Your movie was very inspirational." John J.
"Your video message made me think about things." James H.
"I like the movie you made. It's inspirational." Montie B.
"You made me rethink a lot of things..." Michael G.
"Your movie made me think a lot of things over..." Marcus H.
"David, you really inspired me to look towards Christ." Brandon
"David, thank you for helping me try to do the right things
in life..." Jonathan B.
"Thank you for making that movie. You really made a change
in my life and made me wanna accept Christ in my life."
"David, you have made me really think about choices. thank
you." Bryan D.
"David, I had the same problems and now I'm changing. Thanks!"
"The Guys from Unit 66" Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center
*Rick Conner is a member of the Victory Tabernacle Church of
God, Midlothian, Virginia
June 30, 2004
A friend sent me this short piece titled "Anyway". I have seen
it before, and so have many others. But with all that has been going on these days with different people coming against me
with their anger, hatred, and ridicule, and in thier efforts to destroy my ministry, what could be more appropriate for a
close entry for the month than this?
1. People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway
2. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfsh, ulterior
motives. Be kind anyway.
3. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends
and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
4. If you are honest and sincere people may try to deceive
you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
5. What you spend years creating, others may try to destroy
in a moment. Create anyway.
6. If you find hope, peace, and joy, many will be jealous.
Be full of hope, peace, and joy, anyway.
7. The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway
8. Give the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give
your best anyway.
I hope this encourages you as it did me. Thank you for reading
my Journal and may God Bless you.
End of June 2004 Journal