"Help Save My Son!"

Appeal From The Family Of Steven Oken

By: Alice Kim

Steven Oken has been on death row in Maryland for eight years.

A recent court decision could free up Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening to set an execution date for Oken. Here, Steven's mother makes her appeal.


Steven was adopted at birth. We chose Steven to be our son, our cherished son. I realize that it may be difficult for people to see and understand what having a son on death row for eight years has done to my life and the life of my family, as we, too, have become victims - silent victims suffering through the stigma of being associated with state-sensationalized violence.

Steven regrets so much and is so profoundly sorry for the unspeakable acts he committed. I often wonder, how could this happen? I don't know, but it happens. There are no answers. It happens, and it seems there is no amount of remorse or apology that can make the pain go away. I am committed to stand by my adopted son.
Times are changing, and I am certain there will be an end to the death penalty in this country one day soon. People can see that our communities have problems, and as the times change, we see that killing a troubled man who really needed psychiatric help does not show that killing is wrong. We cannot kill the ills of our community.

For legal and moral reasons, we want Steven returned to the state of Maine to serve the first sentence imposed upon him [life without parole]. Steven is an intelligent person who now rationally knows that his actions have caused so much pain. People only know Steven by what was printed in the papers and reported on television. He is so much more and has so much to give to others.

Simply, we want Steven to live.

Yours sincerely,
Davida J. Oken