Conditional Pardon for John Paul Johnson
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John Paul Johnson (“PJ”) was a 19-year old student of Charleston Southern University, who was sentenced to 37.5 years imprisonment for a first-time offense crime. His story is one of tragic misfortune and injustice. This petition is an ambitious attempt to reintroduce PJ into your world, in an unobtrusive way, in hope that you will lend our family a helping hand as we ask the Governor of Virginia to grant him a conditional pardon.
As one Governor so poignantly said, “I took the position that I was the servant of the people, and when a community where a crime had been committed, with the best people signing the petition, said that the criminal had been punished enough, I turned him out (from prison) without regard to criticism”. This is our prayer for PJ.
As PJ has expressed in his own words: “Honestly, I don’t know whether your last memory of me is good or bad, or whether the passage of time has wiped out all recollection of my existence; but I’m optimistic that your memory of my virtuous qualities far outweigh any lasting impressions left by the fallacies and mistakes that I made in my youth. Maybe some of you remember my smile and dry sense of humor; and amazing enough, even after being subjected to 14 years of prison life with all its hardships, our Creator has preserved my smile and light-hearted nature. Perhaps some of you remember my love for basketball and my infatuation with “fly” sneakers, but today my hoop dreams have long dissipated, and my sneaker fetish has been hung up in exchange. I’m satisfied with state-issued shoes, thick-framed glasses; happy and content to spend most of my day in a small library of beloved books.
“In my dreams, I imagine if many of you have experienced success in your worldly pursuits and travel; perhaps some of you have found bliss and happiness in marriage; while others are proud parents of extremely bright and intelligent children. In many ways, I envy you, no question. It’s a pursuit worthy of kind envy, meaning I don’t desire to see any of your blessings and favors stripped away from you, rather I only wish that something similar be written for me. I want to be free, so that I can be a Provider, protector, companion and sincere advisors to my daughter, Arianna, age 19, and Traje’ana, age 16. I want to be free so that I can stop those troubled youth from traveling down the misguided path of ignorance and poor decision-making. Finally, I want to be free so that I can be a shining light, a pillar of strength for my family and our community.”
“I came to prison over 14 years ago for a number of robberies. I’m thankful that no one was killed or injured as a result of my oppressive and ignorant actions. Looking back, I was an immature mischief-maker, but now that the gray hairs have burned their way into my scalp and began to infiltrate my beard, I abhor my former life as a criminal. I’m ashamed of the things that I have done. I want to be free so that I can strive to make the last traces of my footprints here on earth to be good and righteous, and not evil and oppressive.“
With that said, we ask each and every one of you, individually and collectively for a helping hand in seeking a second chance. Please aid PJ in this cause by subscribing your signature to the petition that will ultimately be submitted to the Governor of Virginia; or by going a step further; you may submit your personal comments or character letters to the Governor on his behalf.
Thank you for your time spent reading this request for a second chance. While awaiting your response, I remain very truly yours,
John Paul Johnson (“PJ”)
Address your Letter to the Governor:
Terrence R. McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia
Patrick Henry Building
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Please mail your letters to:
c/o John Paul Johnson
P.O. Box 89161, Atlanta, GA, 30312
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