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Season 4, Episode 16: The Decision to Kill: A Teenage Killer and the Mother Who Loved Him by Leslie Ghiglieri

Season #4

Do you ever ask yourself this: why do I watch the news anymore? TV, print media, and social media make it seem like violent crime is happening all around us, all the time. What irks me is that once the shock factor is over, so few voices are giving us information about how to respond when tragedy does land at our doorstep. Today’s guest is going to do just that.

Each of us who is a parent knows what it’s like to be in a tough season with our kids. We need the support of others who have been there and survived! For all of us who are seasoned parents, I want to challenge us to find a parent who is in a tough season right now, and see if they would be open to you helping them. Whether that’s just being someone who will listen to them when they need to talk, or being more involved - the important thing is that we work together. That’s how we will make our families, our loved ones, and our communities just a little bit safer. 

I’m excited that we get to talk to the author of this week’s book, Leslie Ghiglieri. Leslie has a degree in political science and has worked on numerous political campaigns. Her interest in the criminal justice field led her to work as a 911 dispatcher in California. After moving to Oregon, she joined the Josephine County Sheriff’s Department working in the dispatch and warrants divisions for three years, then accepted a position as a field representative for a criminal justice computer system overseeing the needs of seventeen agencies. Now retired, she was able to fulfill the wish of a friend to document the story of her husband’s murder and share a surprising message of encouragement. 


Today I want us to dig into a passage from Scripture about loving our enemies. It’s from Matthew 5 verses 43 through 47. 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”

It’s hard to imagine any of our precious children as enemies. But there are times that we feel like we are in a battle together, and we aren’t on the same side. Cherie wasn’t on the same side of the battle as Dwayne, yet she prayed for him. She encouraged him. She loved him. She wasn’t looking for a reward, she was just trying to be obedient. 

What a great example for us! And notice what it says in the second half of verse 45; that God sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. We are all going to have tough times in life. We will probably all have tough times with our kids. What we don’t want to do is automatically assume that because they are our kids, their behavior is our responsibility - especially the older they get. We do our best, but they decide how they will behave. If anyone out there is suffering because they have a child making bad choices and they feel responsible - please only take ownership of what you did or didn’t do. Your son or daughter is responsible for the rest.


If you liked this episode, you’ll want to listen to these:

Season 3, Episode 10: Murder in the Family

Season 2, Episode 19: How do I Forgive? "Murder by Family" by Kent Whitaker


Please visit my website to access more episodes, read my blog posts, or check out ways you can financially support the podcast so that together we can impact more people, more families, and more communities. If you would like to contact me about booking me as a speaker, or ask about my consulting and investigative services, please email me at [email protected]


Buy “The Decision to Kill: A True Crime Story of a Teenage Killer and the Mother Who Loved Him” here

Connect with Leslie here