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Friday, October 2, 2009

Response to Week-Long Article Series in The South Bend Tribune

For the past six days The South Bend Tribune ran a series of articles about Efrén's case. Below are links to each of the articles for your review.
It appears the author attempted to provide balanced reporting in the series. With the exception of referring to Efrén as a "friend" of Eric and Alex Mui, Steve Miller and Jason Williamson, the remainder of the articles were accurate for the most part.

One thing we want to make clear is that Efrén was not friends with the above-named youths. They were students he knew from school. Even they denied being Efrén's friend. Steve Miller also denied liking Efrén in a statement to police.

The article series demonstrated that there exists clear evidence of problems with Efrén's case and the undeniable fact that he did not receive a fair trial. It did not bring out every piece of evidence which would have increased awareness about other aspects of the case, however, the purpose of the series was obviously not to exonerate Efrén.

Each day a number of comments were made in response to the online version of each article. Some were positive, others were negative, hate-filled and incendiary. Some of the victim's supporters even called for Efrén's execution.

Efrén and our family are committed to not speaking negatively about the Tetzlaff family (i.e., the victims in this case). We will not be a party to dialogue that causes them any further pain. Instead, we will continue to pray for their healing.

We have publicly expressed our condolences to the Tetzlaff family for their tragic loss. We have also always been open to sitting down with their family in an effort to discuss the case and share evidence and information with them in our possession which supports Efrén's innocence. They deserve to know about it more than anyone else.

Our invitation remains open. We are willing to meet with the Tetzlaff family with clergy or in any place of worship to discuss the case, or to help our families and the community find ways to heal. Civil discourse is essential to both families.

Harboring anger or hatred towards Efrén is not going to bring anyone closure, and listening to the inflammatory remarks of outsiders will only serve to further polarize us. If everyone can put their egos to the side for a moment, be open to peace and reconciliation, and put God first we are convinced progress can be made.

Those serious about working to help both the Tetzlaff family and our family truly begin the healing process can contact us via phone at 269-849-9056 or via e-mail. We ask everyone to please keep both of our families in your prayers.

On Behalf of the Family of
Efrén Paredes, Jr.

Velia Koppenhoefer


* We invite people to click here to read a detailed account of what actually occurred in Efrén's case which was prepared by The Injustice Must End (TIME) Committee to Free Efrén Paredes, Jr.