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09.12.22 Statement of Support - Michael (Mike) Hatcher

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To: Nebraska Board of Pardons & Parole

Re: Statement of Support for a Commutation of Earnest Jackson’s Sentence

Dated: September 12th, 2022

To the Honorable Governor Pete Ricketts, Secretary of State Bob Evnan, and Attorney General Doug Peterson,

My name is Michael (Mike) Hatcher born on May 21, 1999 in Omaha, Nebraska. I was born to my mother, Elizabeth Smith, and my father, Larry Perry. I currently reside in Council Bluffs, Iowa, but I spent my childhood years in Omaha. I follow Jesus Christ and abide by the Christian faith. My home church is Hope of Glory Church located in Omaha.

When I was only three months old, my father Larry was shot and killed in a gunfight in North Omaha. Shortly after, I was adopted and raised by my grandparents, Melody and David Hatcher. Although I was adopted by my grandparents, I’ve developed a great relationship with my mother. My grandparents are hardworking people. Growing up, my grandfather was the closest example of a father to me. Although my grandfather is now deceased, he taught me everything I know and how to be a good man.

I feel like I have suffered the ultimate loss in this tragedy, as I never was able to get to know my dad. I first learned about the passing of my father when I was a young kid. I was hurt and felt like I had missed out on having a relationship with him. I lost my father over stolen rims. Rims should not be the price of someone’s life. From what I’ve been told, my father was a family-oriented person and he was very guarded and protective of the people that he held close in his life. My father’s death and growing up without his presence taught me that violence only destroys lives - it never builds you up or makes you a man. I have built my life far from any type of violent or gang-related activity because of that lesson. I can live out my father’s legacy of being a protective family man and pass on the gift of hard work and good character given to me by my grandparents.

Upon learning about Earnest Jackson’s case a handful of years ago, I felt as though the men who admitted to being present at the scene of the shooting and killing my father were ultimately responsible for my loss. For my tragedy. I do hold them accountable in my mind, but they are not alive today to apologize to me. They cannot atone for what happened.

I firmly believe in the value of creating your own future. Although I’m not perfect, I’ve always believed in hard work and self-determination. I know that a good man seeks the truth and has Christ-like compassion. Because I live by these beliefs, I requested a call with Earnest Jackson myself. At first I was nervous, because I did not know much about him other than what he was convicted for. But I still wanted the phone call. My impression of Earnest that I’ve gathered over time is that he is a remarkable man. Before any other words were said, he told me how sorry he was that I lost my father and that he has felt a similar pain since he, too, lost his father. He seems to be a bright guy with high spirits. After speaking with Earnest, I felt more than ever that I had to speak on how I feel about how the tragedy affected me from the time I was a child and also about how I feel about him.

Although connected by the loss of my father, I think we will continue to get to know each other and become positive influences in each others’ lives. If given a chance, I believe that Earnest is the type of man who will give back to the community by helping young men make better choices in their lives. I truly believe that he will make a difference if given the chance. I won't be able to come to peace with everything that has happened until he is granted freedom and mercy by the State of Nebraska.

I am speaking up and asking for a commutation of Earnest’s sentence because it is the right thing to do. As a Christian, I believe in forgiveness and mercy. This will help me find healing even though I can't change the past and meet my father. I hope that these words reach your hearts and lead each of you to grant Earnest a second chance at life to do impactful things in his community.

Thank you so much for reading my statement. I hope that you will take my words and feelings into consideration in preparing for September 19th’s hearing.


Mike Hatcher

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