That hatred led me to the very cusp of suicide. I know that without forgiveness I wouldnot be able to survive, much less get on with my life. However, that does not makeforgiving you any easier.Mr. Depner, you killed my wife, Eva Marie Burleson, my son, Daniel James Burleson &my daughters, Tiffany Nicole Burleson and Dallis Leigh Burleson.I vividly remember when the doctor in the ER told me that my family had been killed. Hesaid my family did not suffer. I don’t think Eva and Tiffany suffered physically; Eva andTiff died instantly. Yet, what were their last thoughts in that second before you droveyour minivan through my family? What were your last thoughts before the accident, Mr.Depner? Do you remember or were you too drunk to realize what was happening rightbefore your eyes?My son, DJ, laid in a puddle of his own blood, alone in the middle of Rt. 120: gurgling,fighting for his life; a hole in his head large enough to accommodate a human fist. Mydaughter, Dallis, lay pinned in my microbus, struggling to breathe, fighting for her life.What did you do that night Mr. Depner? You called your wife on your cell phone. Didyou ask Mrs. Depner to call 911? No, you did not. You asked her to call your lawyer.Then you lit a cigarette and smoked it while my family lay shattered, broken and dyingall around you. Did you look down at my son and just walk away? Why didn’t you call911 then? What would you expect someone to do if that was one of your family memberslying there, instead of my son?I have nightmares about Daniel and Dallis. I see Daniel ejected from my VW microbus. Isee the look on his face when Daniel realizes that he is about to die. I watch Daniel hit theconcrete. I hear the crunch of his skull. Suddenly, I am standing over Daniel, lookingdown at him, watching the blood pour out of my son’s head. The last vision I have isstanding in a puddle of Daniel’s blood. I wake up screaming, covered in sweat.I watch Dallis struggle to free herself. I can read her thoughts. Dallis does not understandwhy her mommy and daddy are not there to help her, to save her, to stop the pain. Thelast thought Dallis has before she dies is: Do my mommy and daddy love me? Onceagain, I wake up screaming, covered in sweat.In July of 2001, Mr. Depner, you mailed a letter to the Daily Herald explaining your so-called innocence. In the letter, you made the following statements:1.
You saved my life by pulling me from my microbus.2.
You smelled alcohol on my breath.3.
There was a can of beer between my legs.4.
You were ordered by the McHenry Cty. Sheriff’s Police to not mention any of these supposed facts.5.
You accused me of having an alcohol and drug arrest on my record. And finally,6.
That you are a good man.3