Forgiveness

I want to write about this because it won’t leave my mind. 


I’m in San Diego. I’m in town to play The Belly Up tonight. But that’s not what I want to write about. 


I flew in a couple days early because I had to go to court. A friend of mine named Steve Foth was murdered back in late September of 1999. He and I wrote the song Hitchhiker Joe together. 


There were 3 people convicted and sent to prison. 2 guys and 1 girl. It was a brutal senseless killing. I think of him often and at times I’m filled with sadness and at other times a crooked smile will cross my lips.  He was a funny, charming guy and had a way of making you laugh. He was best pals with my friend Dennis. The three of us would hang out and make up songs and drink beer and sometimes surf. 


So anyways, I was with Steve the day he died. In fact, I was one of the last folks he was with. He came over to visit me at Windansea where I was living. I don’t want to get into details but Steve had run into some hard times. I was worried about him and I must’ve had a premonition because I begged him to stay and go to the movies with me. The sun was setting and it was a perfect Indian summer day. 


Well, Steve left me and was carjacked, robbed and stabbed to death. We had to ID him at the morgue. It was brutal and horrific. 


All 3 people were convicted and sent away to prison. The 2 males were sentenced to life. The female got out of prison a few years ago because she was a prime witness to the killing and confessed. 


Fast forward to now. 

There was a problem with the instructions the jury were given back in 1999 or 2000 and so there has been a retrial. Forgive me if some of my facts are hazy but this is how I’m hearing it in my head. 


Since I was with Steve the day he died I had to go back to court and testify. I had to talk about what he was wearing and other timeline details. This was last Thursday. I flew in early on Wednesday but there was a delay so I testified on Thursday. 


The female that was involved in the murder of my friend has since turned her life around. She’s out of prison and had to come and testify and relive the grisly details of the killing. 


I’ve never been face to face with this woman. I was traumatized by my friend’s murder and have had nightmares of a photo of his stabbed corpse at the morgue. Trust me, you never want to ID someone at a morgue. It’s kept me up at night. I’ve woken up with the sheets soaked. 


So I finished testifying and walked out of the courtroom and turned left to go down the pristine hallway on the 18th floor. As I was walking I saw one of the detectives and a paralegal and they were speaking with a woman. She was about to go in and testify. She was after me. It was Steve’s killer. We were walking toward one and other and it was an inescapable confrontation. She knew who I was and I knew who she was. I could have just kept walking with my head pushed down and gotten the hell out of there but something stopped me. Forces out of my control. For a split second I wanted to punch her in the face. I wanted to grab her and shake her and scream at her. But instead I just looked her in the eyes. She looked right back at me. It was very powerful. Neither of us broke eye contact. I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I saw her tears streaming down her cheeks. I held out my arms. She reached into me and we hugged. A powerful hug. The strongest hug I’ve ever felt. I was shaking and she was shaking. I finally pulled back and I looked her in the eyes and I simply said “you take care of yourself. Bless you. Go do something good. Please. I forgive you.”

As I walked away my knees were trembling. 


Thanks for listening. I’m crying now. Peace. Out.

steve poltz