Nate got arrested during the early morning hours of Christmas Eve, 2011. Holden was a few days shy of turning six-months-old. Nixon was six, and Nathaniel was four.
They say he stabbed someone.
I was supposed to go up to Pennsylvania the night before but was too tired, and decided to wait until the next day. Sometimes I wonder if I had gone up how things would be different. I awoke at 9:00am on Christmas Eve to a call from the people with whom Nate was living. They asked if I had spoken to him, and told me he’d been arrested. I left immediately.
According to the bits of the story we’ve been able to put together, Nate went out to return a tablet he bought for himself that he wasn’t happy with and stopped at the bar on his way home. Stopping at the bar wasn’t the best idea, because he was on Xanax and Prozac at the time. This is where the blackout starts.
He remembers leaving the bar. He remembers walking through the graveyard close to his house on the way home. He remembers a police officer shouting at him to get down. He does not remember breaking into a house along the way. He doesn’t remember stealing random washcloths and knives. He doesn’t remember breaking into another home, walking past a sleeping child, and going upstairs. He doesn’t remember a woman coming to investigate the noise, or stabbing her in the stomach. He doesn’t remember the woman’s boyfriend chasing him out of the house.
It’s been three years and he still doesn’t remember, but that’s what the police say happened. He remembers being taken to the woman’s house and being identified by the boyfriend. He remembers sitting in holding for hours and having his mug shot taken at 6:00am. He remembers lots of questions, and not having the answers to any of them.
I remember the article coming out online and people attacking him. I remember them calling him a crack head and saying his children would turn out like scum, just like him. I remember getting all worked up and responding to these people, as if it would make a difference.
We hired a lawyer (we mainly being Nate’s mother, because she’s the only one who had any money) who got our hopes up. He met with us and talked to us and made us think maybe we could beat the ten to twenty year deal the DA was trying to make with Nate. We paid him $1,000 and then found out that he couldn’t practice in Pennsylvania because he was a New Jersey lawyer. We never saw a dime of that money back.
Nate got to depend on public defenders from that point on. The process took entirely too long. None of them mentioned the medications he was on or his mental health. When he was sentenced, he got over fifteen to thirty years (by a couple months), because the judge said he seemed unremorseful.