Ronald Simpson lost his only son on Father’s Day in 2001, when he was killed by a 14-year-old boy.

Ronald said the teen was under the mistaken impression that Ronald’s son had been physically abusive to his girlfriend, who was the boy’s sister. The boy confronted Ronald’s son and shot him.

Ronald was devastated at the loss of his son, but he believed the boy was capable of change and rehabilitation. Ron advocated for the boy to be tried as a juvenile.  The courts honored his request, and the boy  was sentenced in juvenile court to serve time until he reached the age of 21, assuming he demonstrated he had been rehabilitated and met various other requirements.

Ronald recognized that, at the time of the crime, this teen little grasp for the severity of his actions. When Ronald initiated communication with him, the teen immediately expressed remorse. When the boy’s case was reviewed after seven years, Ronald supported release because the youth had undergone significant change while incarcerated and deserved a second chance at life. The court released the young man, and he and Ronald remain in touch. In fact, they are now related; the boy’s sister gave birth to Ron’s grandson.

Ronald always understood that “it would serve no purpose for the boy to serve life in prison.” Sending a child to prison for life would only bring more harm to him, his family and the community. Instead, he believes rehabilitating and reintegrating youth into society serves a beneficial purpose to them and their communities. While he believes that everyone who commits a serious crime must be held accountable, he thinks “we must seek accountability that makes sense.”