Tabitha Lee Maynard

Tabitha Lee Maynard is 43 years old and has been in a Michigan prison since 2001 for the murder of her father. Her earliest release date is 2025. Ms. Maynard grew up in a tumultuous family atmosphere, where domestic violence and sexual abuse was considered “normal” and ignored. As a child, events such as escaping from her father in the middle of the night while he chased her mother with a 44, moving to many different states with family members she barely knew, and being held hostage by her father to control her mother, was her “normal.” Ms. Maynard was a ward of the court from the age of 8, though she stayed in custody of her father even after he was arrested for sexual abuse. By age 12, she was engaging in risky and life-threatening behaviors as ‘suicide attempts,’ including Russian roulette with the same 44 that her father used to threaten her mother. She has always worked at least two jobs since the age of 15, including farm labor, security, and retail. She joined the Marines at 17 and shipped out two days after graduating high school. However, she was injured soon after and cut loose, sent adrift with no other goals. She was sentenced to 25 years on September 11, 2001.

The labels Christian, middle class, blue collar, Republican, Tea party, law enforcement & military, white, NRA member, and hunter can all be applied to her family. Before her conviction, she was a ‘law abiding citizen,’ had never even received a parking ticket, and never drank, smoked, or did drugs. She wonders now how others would label her: murderer, felon, criminal? After 21 years free, only 3 of which as an ‘adult’ and 25 years locked up in prison with an excellent prison record, Ms. Maynard will be released. She wonders, what then?