Pam and Lance
The story of Lance and Pam Booker is a story of love, faith, hope, and commitment. Together we experienced the heights of happiness and the depths of despair. We began before prison, thrive during prison, and will continue long after prison.
Ours was a decidedly average life; family, home and work. We both worked as Counselors/Case Managers and I was pursuing my master’s degree. The things we liked to do as a couple were similar to what those we did as a family. We loved taking long drives to the country, walking around the pond to feed the ducks, outdoor festivals, amusement parks, riding bicycles along the river while watching boats sail by, hanging out at the arcade, hosting backyard cookouts, going to drive-in movies, 4-wheel driving in the snow, family movie night and more. Life, as we knew it, came to a crashing halt with a knock on the door…
As the police invaded my home, I was exposed to a world I never knew existed. Prosecutorial misconduct, police coercion, harassment, professional incompetence, denial of right to counsel, police misconduct, case fabrication, witness misidentification, wire taps, surveillance, search warrants, withholding of evidence, judicial error, overzealous prosecution, persecution, wrongful convictions, media and legal manipulation, and perjury. These were the subjects of suspense novels, not real life. Not my life. Nevertheless, here I was, smack dab in the middle of my very own John Grisham novel.
Lance’s long battle with addiction resurfaced with a vengeance. Until you’ve experienced addiction, you can’t truly understand its effects. Lance’s relapse caused him to be vulnerable. His body, mind, and spirit were weakened and compromised. He trusted people who did not care about him and who would later use, abuse, and violate him. One of these people was the man who orchestrated and implemented the crime for which Lance was convicted. Others who violated my husband were many of the people in the criminal justice system. Lance Booker was a witness who was treated as a defendant.
A high profile case with a tremendous amount of media, public and political pressure fueled the flames of the fire of a corrupt police department and a rogue District Attorney. Conviction at all cost; find a patsy and build a case against him; scorched earth policy; destroy everything and everyone in the way; use whatever means necessary. These were the tactics used against my husband and I.
I grew up believing the justice system was just and that the people we entrust to work in the system will uphold the law with integrity and honesty. I quickly learned differently. Although I was not charged with, or affiliated with the crime, I was persecuted, abused, and harassed. I do not have a criminal record and I was taught the system worked. Believing in both my husband and the system, I cooperated with law enforcement and the District Attorney.
In turn, I was followed, had my telephone wiretapped, was threatened with prosecution, manipulated and harassed. My agreement with them was simple; stay away from my family, my home and my work and I will answer your questions to the best of my ability. They violated all three terms of the agreement. The cops were a regular presence at my doorstep, which caused my lease to be terminated. They showed up at my place of employment, which directly resulted in me losing my job. Even after Lance was arrested, tried, and convicted, detectives in his case tried to cause me to lose another job by going to my employer and questioning why I was employed with them. Moreover, this occurred more than once. In addition, the police and DA needlessly contacted my family, which only served to worry them. Much of the harassment my family experienced occurred early in the investigation when the police were attempting to coerce me into participating in a sting to set Lance up. When that didn’t work, their campaign of harassment kicked into high gear and, in part, continues to this day.
Whenever I’m asked why I stay married to a convicted murderer, I respond by asking “Why not?” My husband is a wonderfully gifted, intelligent, witty, generous, warm-hearted man. He is a loyal, loving, and protective husband, father, and son. He will give the shirt off his back to help someone in need and ask for nothing in return. He is my biggest supporter and advocate and knows me better than anyone. He encourages me to be the best that I can be and takes great pride in my achievements. With Lance, I have learned the true meaning of unconditional love. Together, we have survived more than our fair share of crises and challenges, and any one of which, would tear most couples apart. But we weathered them together and grew stronger as a result.
When I suffered a major stroke, my husband didn’t back away from me, or my paralysis. He faced the crisis head on. Lance wouldn’t let me give up, he urged, encouraged, and prodded me to move my fingers, take the first step, lift my arm, etc. He took care of me then and he takes care of me now. Lance didn’t turn his back on me in my time of need, so how could I turn my back on him?
His children understand their father is human. He is their father, and they love him and need him in their lives. Their need for their father’s love, advice, guidance, and support didn’t end because he went to prison. In fact, they need him more than ever and he is right there lending a hand or a shoulder, and always sharing his love. This is the real Lance Booker; the man I fell in love with, the man I married, and the man I will grow old with.
Never in my wildest dreams did I envision being married to a prisoner, or that my life would be focused around prison. What happened to my family can, and does, happen to average people; innocent people. It can happen to you. Never doubt that fact. Prison is the reality of my life today. It has locked up my husband’s body, but it can’t lock up our hearts, souls, or minds. Living a rewarding life and maintaining a fulfilling marriage, with a spouse in prison is difficult, but not impossible. How we operate as individuals, as a couple, and as a family, is as it was when he was home. We do everything as we did before – we just do it differently!
LOOK AT ME AND TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE
My eyes tell a sad story of a man who’s been hurt countless times
Do you see my pain?
I wake up everyday in a prison cell, alone and cold
Can you feel my pain?
They said Life Without Parole, that means forever
Can you understand my pain?
What about my children, my mother, my wife
What about me?
No one can ever see, feel or understand my pain
I feel it everyday
And now my life feels like a rainy day
And the pain will never end because they said
Life Without Parole
FEELINGS OF A MAN LEFT TO DIE ALONE
I try so hard to be a good person, but no one respects good people
They tend to take advantage of good people
I’m sick of being Mr. Nice Guy
I need to stop caring about others
Because no one cares about my situation or me
I’m left here to die alone
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LOVE?
Many brothers in prison ask this question.
I think love is very simple
But when we forget about it
It forgets about us
LANCE BOOKER (05-A-0049)
Clinton Correctional Facility
PO Box 2001
Dannemora, NY 12929