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Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (16) - Alleged cannibal
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 18, 1975
Date of arrest: April 1982
Date of birth: July 16, 1958
Victim profile: Jason Foreman, 5
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty to second degree murder in 1983, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Released from prison on September 11, 2011

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Michael Woodmansee is an American child murderer. He was a sixteen-year-old junior at South Kingstown High School in the state of Rhode Island in 1975 when he murdered Jason Foreman, a five-year-old child who lived nearby, in South Kingstown, Rhode Island.

He was not convicted of the murder until 1983, when he confessed to the crime upon questioning about the attempted strangulation of another child. He was a large boy and preferred to spend most of his time alone. He lived with his father Franklin Woodmansee, a police reservist, on Schaeffer Street in the village of Peacedale.

Disappearance of Jason Foreman

In May 1975, on the day Jason disappeared, he had been out playing with his older brother and three other boys. After announcing to his playmates that he was going home he ran toward the fire station located at the bottom of the hill. The street he lived on was not more than 30 yards from there, however, to make it to his house he would have to pass by the house where Woodmansee lived. Jason's mother, Joice Foreman, last heard her sons laughter through the open window, at approximately 3:30 in the afternoon, he never made it home. It was her 25th birthday.

Arrest and conviction

Jason Foreman's murder went unsolved until Woodmansee was apprehended in April 1982 for a different crime. He had lured a 14-year-old paperboy (surname Sherman) into his house, and plied him with alcohol. After an unsuccessful attempt to strangle him, the boy made it home and told his father of the incident who became enraged, confronted Woodmansee, and then punched him. Woodmansee's father saw the police leaving from the Sherman home, waved the officer over, and complained to the police about the attack upon his son.

The officer requested that they both come down to the police station to talk about the incident. During the interrogation with Woodmansee regarding the alleged attack upon the Sherman boy, the officers had a hunch that he might know something about the disappearance of Jason Foreman. Slowly they steered the interrogation that way and ultimately Woodmansee confessed to killing Jason Foreman. He told the police that when they searched his room they would find a journal but that everything in the journal was purely fiction.

When police searched Woodmansee's room, they not only found the journal but also found Foreman's skull and several other bones on his dresser. The bones had been picked clean of all flesh and shellacked. Woodmansee pleaded guilty to second degree murder in 1983, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison as a result of a plea bargain. The prosecutor negotiated the plea bargain to avoid the gruesome facts about the murder being exposed during the trial.

Early release

Woodmansee was released from prison on September 11, 2011, after having served 28 years of the 40 year sentence. The "Good Time Law" in Rhode Island allows a prisoner to earn as much as 10 days off his sentence, every month, for good behavior. In the 28 years that Woodmansee was incarcerated he was able to earn back 12 years under the provision. John Foreman, Jason's father, stated that he intends to murder Woodmansee after he is released.


'A cannibal ate my baby brother - and now he's going to be freed from jail': Rhode Island woman's shocking story

By Jeff Maysh -

June 10, 2011

A woman whose baby brother was murdered and allegedly eaten by a teenage cannibal has spoken of her family's nightmare as the killer is set to be released from jail.

Raven Aubin, 47, was just ten years old when her five-year-old brother Jason Foreman disappeared in 1975.

It would be eight years before her family discovered the truth of what happened to him - a truth that tore their family apart.

Now killer Michael Woodmansee is set to be freed from jail 12 years early, possibly walking the streets of Rhode Island before the end of the year, according to police.

The news has torn open the old wounds. Mrs Aubin's father John has already threatened to take revenge Woodmansee should they cross paths, telling a radio station in March: 'I do intend to kill this man'.

Now Mrs Aubin, too, is reliving the horror.

'Michael dismembered my brother limb by limb,' she told the MailOnline.

'Soon after, he was eating my brother’s flesh, like the animal he was,' she claimed.

'No. He was worse than an animal. Animals kill to eat, to suit a need. Michael killed for pure sport,' she claimed. 'Michael killed just because he could.'

Woodmansee was just 16 years old when he committed the horrendous child murder 36 years ago.

He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder on February 24, 1983, in a plea deal with prosecutors to spare the Foreman family the horrific details of Jason's death.

He was jailed - but the early plea meant that the charges of cannibalism were never proven in court.

Mrs Aubin, however, remains convinced.

'This deranged killer murdered my baby brother, and as he watched him die, he scribbled notes in a journal,' she said. 'It was a how-to book on murder.'

The disturbing journal has been legally sealed and protected by the courts, because it reportedly contains sickening details about how Woodmansee ate the boy’s flesh, and shellacked his bones as souvenirs.

Mrs Aubin said the killer should remain in prison for life, because of the nature of the crimes.

According to a local newspaper, Woodmansee was a withdrawn 16-year-old boy on May 18, 1975, when he lured Jason into his home.

He stabbed the little boy in the heart and hiding his small body in a trunk.

It remained undiscovered for eight years as authorities searched for the missing boy in a huge manhunt.

'The search went on for years,' said Mrs Aubin.

'It was insanity. It’s hard to explain what this did to my family. We’d been torn apart.

'My father became and alcoholic and my mother became depressed and they both suffered mood swings.'

But on April 15, 1982, a bearded Woodmansee tried to strike again, luring a 14-year-old newspaper delivery boy named Dale Sherman into his house.

After plying the boy with alcohol, Woodmansee attempted garrote the boy, police said.

But Sherman fought back and police were called - and suddenly, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

When Woodmansee was interviewed by police he admitted that he fantasized about murder: 'It would be easy [to kill someone], easy to get away with it, and some form of fun,'' he said, according to a newspaper.

Shortly thereafter, he confessed to sexually assaulting and killing Jason Foreman, police said - pleading guilty to second degree murder before the case could go to trial and the cannibal charges be proven.

But soon, details of the horrific murder began to leak out.

'Atop Michael’s dresser was a box,' Mrs Aubin, who was privy to much of the police information not released to the public, claimed.

'Inside were my brother’s shellacked bones: his arms, legs, a small jaw, a few spine and rib bones, and his skull. The bones were washed and finished for display,' she claimed.

'Michael coveted them; he treated my brother’s bones like trophies,' she alleged. 'Next to the box was the disgusting journal.'

According to Mrs Aubin, within hours of killing Jason, Woodmansee had boiled his body parts to speed up the process of removing the flesh from the bones.

'This lunatic ate my baby brother,' she said.

'Imagine a life trying to accept that as fact?

'To cannibalize someone for the sake of wondering what it is like, that to me is more demented than the thought of killing someone.

'To this day, I have nightmares about this. I wake up screaming, and I know it’s not just a dream. It’s my real life.'

But prosecutors agreed to a plea bargain to spare the family more grim details of the boy's death and to avoid a grisly trial, and the journal was sealed for ever.

Thirty years later, Woodmansee, now 52, is set to be released from prison 12 years early due to good behaviour.

To Mrs Aubin, the thought is terrifying. 'How can this man be let back out on the street? What if he thinks about killing again?' she said.

'With Michael, thoughts are dangerous. He doesn’t see the world in the same colours as normal people.

'Nobody wants him on the streets. And to be honest, he won’t be safe on them.

'My family and the whole state of Rhode Island are rallying to keep this maniac behind bars, but legally, there is little we can do.'

To her father, however, the pain of his release may be blinding.

‘I do intend, if this man is released anywhere in my vicinity, or if I can find him after the fact, I do intend to kill this man,’ he told WPRO-AM radio in March.

Superior Court Judge Susan E. McGuirl, the former state prosecutor who agreed to the plea bargain, said that news of Woodmansee's pending release was 'shocking'.

She told a local newspaper: 'Certainly there would not have been any anticipation of him getting out in 28 years.'

The killer, who has served nearly all of his sentence at prisons in Massachusetts for his own protection, faces huge public anger if he returns to Rhode Island.

But police say they are preparing for that possibility.

‘We do not know what his plans are or if he is [planning on coming back here], but it is definitely something we plan on discussing,’ a spokesman for the South Kingstown Police Department told AOL News in March.


Child Killer's Journal Could Keep Him Confined

By Anne-Marie Dorning -

March 16, 2011

Rhode Island prosecutors and prison officials are using a convicted child killer's gruesome journals to make the case that he should be involuntarily committed if he is granted early release from prison this summer.

Michael Woodmansee, 52, was sentenced to 40 years in prison after he reached a plea deal in the murder of a 5-year-old boy. But because of a law that allows prisoners to have time shaved off their sentence for good behavior, Woodmansee could be released this summer, after serving just 28 years of his sentence.

The possible early release has caused outrage in Rhode Island, and the young victim's father even said he would kill Woodmansee if he is released in August.

On Monday, the South Kingstown Police Department handed over Woodmansee's private journal pages to the Rhode Island Department of Corrections as part of the effort to keep Woodmansee from becoming a free man.

Two court-ordered psychiatrists will read the journal, conduct face-to-face interviews and review Woodmansee's voluminous prison records before making independent recommendations to the Department of Corrections.

The journal contains descriptions relating to the brutal murder of 5-year-old Jason Foreman that are so graphic, the court ordered the journal sealed when Woodmansee was sentenced in 1983.

"It is a booklet, several pages in length. It is written in paragraph form," said South Kingstown Police Chief Vincent Vespia, one of only a handful of people who have read it. "I will not tell you what was in it, but I will tell you that it was a horrible, horrible crime, among the most gruesome investigations I have ever participated in and I've been around the block a few times."

The victim's father, John Foreman, said the police have told him that Woodmansee describes in the journal how he had "stripped the bones" and "eaten my son's flesh."

In 1975, the 5-year-old boy was playing with his sisters and brothers and a bunch of other neighborhood children on a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon. Then he disappeared.

"We searched all night long," John Foreman said. "The whole town was out searching, every day. But there wasn't a clue, nothing. So much of it is blurred out of my mind."

It took seven years but, finally, in 1982 after Woodmansee, a neighbor of the Foreman's, was arrested for another crime, he confessed to the murder of Jason Foreman and in a plea agreement was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

"You know it was a little bit of a relief at least I knew where he was," foreman said. "But my wife and I, we cried and cried, all those years our son was just across the street."

Vespia said there is "major concern" in South Kingstown that Woodmansee might be released. Last weekend, hundreds gathered to demonstrate against that possibility.

Like many states, Rhode Island has a law that stipulates prisoners can "earn time" for following the "institutional rules."

According to the Department of Corrections chief A.T. Wall, Woodmansee was a very compliant prisoner who had only one small infraction during his 28 years in prison. As a result, he was able to shave a full 12 years off his sentence, making him eligible for release on or before Aug. 12.

Legally there is little the DOC can do to prevent Woodmansee's release, other than an involuntary commitment.

In order to make the determination, psychiatrists must certify that the inmate would benefit from the care and treatment of a mental health facility and that if left unsupervised he could do serious harm to himself or others.

Wall said this kind of involuntary commitment assessment has happened only one other time that he knows of in the state. In that case, the psychiatrists did petition for the inmate to be committed involuntarily, but before that could happen the inmate chose to commit himself voluntarily.

Last week, Woodmansee was transferred to a Department of Corrections facility in Cranston, R.I., where he is housed in a special protective custody unit with other high-risk inmates.

He has a single cell and can interact with other protective custody inmates. They eat together in a separate dining room, and have access to the outdoors in a small courtyard.

Woodmansee has not made his wishes known as of yet. Both of his parents are dead and he has no known relatives in the South Kingstown area.

"I have no information that he wants to be released and I have no information that in the unlikely event he is released he would want to come back to this community," Vespia said. "So this is all very premature."

But premature or not, the news of Woodmansee's possible early release still hit John Foreman hard.

"I got real mad, I got angry. I got upset. I got scared. All of these emotions were going through my head," said Foreman. "I didn't know there was such a thing called early release. Parole, yes. But not early release."

Foreman, 61, got so angry that he told a radio station he would kill Woodmansee when he got out of prison.

When asked if he regretted his remarks, Foreman said, "That's not the right way to go, but I would probably do it just the same. There are no words for him."

Wall said he is in the process of hiring the psychiatrists who will review Woodmansee's case and he hopes to have their decision by later this spring.

There is also legislation being drafted to change the early release statute in Rhode Island so it would not cover killers like Michael Woodmansee.


Woodmansee Talk Stirs Up Lost Memories

The possible release of South Kingstown's most notorious criminal has sparked a public outcry and wreaked havoc on the family of his victim.

Posted by Carl Critz -

March 10, 2011

When convicted murderer Michael Woodmansee was quietly sent down from Massachussetts to Cranston to begin the final phase of his incarceration last week, the news of his return quickly sparked a whirlwind of emotional response that has captivated the state. But to the family of his victim, the outcries have stirred up emotions that had been long since buried.

“They say that time heals wounds, but never completely. And it doesn’t take much to open up that wound,” remarked Peter Schofield, Sr. on Monday afternoon, a day after the Providence Journal reported that Michael Woodmansee, confessed killer of his nephew Jason Foreman in 1975, was back in Rhode Island.

Woodmansee was transferred from a prison in Massachusetts to the Adult Correctional Institutes in Cranston last week, and could be released as early as August due to good behavior rules that shaved almost 12 years off his 40-year sentence.

The report has drawn furious reaction from the victim’s family and from countless Rhode Islanders, who have protested his release in virtually any way they can: From John Foreman’s incendiary interview on WPRO Monday afternoon to a Facebook group entitled “Protest the release of Convicted Child Killer Michael Woodmansee,” which boasts more than 1,300 members after its creation less than two days ago. An even larger, similarly named Facebook event claims nearly 10,000 guests in protest of Woodmansee's release. Within the walls of these pages come raw emotion: frustration, rage and comments from citizens with a desire to protect future children.

But the flurry of traffic, both online and off, has come like a meteor strike to the family of Jason Foreman as they struggle to deal with the upwelling of long-interred emotions regarding the man they thought they would never have to face again. The news has impacted the community itself, which had placed their thoughts of the gruesome murder far away, guarded like Woodmansee’s diary, which to this day remains sealed within the South Kingstown Police Department, according to the Providence Journal’s report.

Like the derelict house on Schaeffer Street, the death of Jason Foreman has faded from the limelight with years of neglect and the urge to forget. But it has not disappeared.

“This is a man who committed the most heinous crime that has ever occurred in our area, and got away with it for seven years until he tried to do it again,” said state Rep. Teresa Tanzi in a release issued Tuesday. Her own daughter turns five next month, and she lives just blocks from the Woodmansee home.

“Crimes against children are in a category by themselves, and parents like myself look at what he did — and tried to do again to another boy — and we are all asking ourselves what can be done? I can assure you we are looking at every possible angle to protect our community and others from Michael Woodmansee ever being able to offend again. The crime this man committed still haunts our community.”

While the news made headlines nationwide this week, Jason Foreman's family has struggled into damage control mode as they digest the reaction. Schofield stated he has successfully argued several times to take the image of his nephew Jason off the internet whenever possible over the past few days.

“It just infuriates you," Schofield said, recalling witnessing Woodmansee in the Washington County courtroom. "The man had no remorse ... he never said I’m sorry. He just shut up and stood there. And that’s the sad thing.”

Schofield, former military man, was stationed at Fort Dix in 1975 when he was called back home to help search for Jason. “I received a phone call Monday morning, probably Sunday morning around 7:30 or 8, my wife said the FBI was on the property. I asked her why and she explained. In the meantime they had searched my home, the attic and everywhere else. We lived on High Street upstairs above Jason’s grandad.”

With permission, Schofield was transferred back to South Kingstown and served out his two weeks under then Detective Ronald Hawksley as they searched for Jason. “There were high emotions among the family, to start with,” Schofield said. “It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe when you have a total loss of something. My wife and I used to babysit when John and Joice had to do something. We were aunt and uncle but also close members of the family and it’s been that way for years.”

When Woodmansee attacked Dale Sherman in 1982, Schofield was on active duty again, this time attached to a Marine Safety Office in Boston.

“My wife got a hold of me and she was in tears. It was a very stressful time, a very saddened time. I keep thinking about it constantly, and I have since that time. It's something you don’t forget. It’s something that stays with you for the rest of your life.”

While corrections officials are considering trying to have Woodmansee, now 52, involuntarily committed to a secure psychiatric facility if he is deemed mentally ill, Tanzi is exploring legislative possibilities to help protect the public from him, according to the release.

She said she has been in discussion with the General Assembly’s legal staff, which will be working with the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Corrections to research existing legal strategies, as well as reviewing laws that can be strengthened to protect the public from Woodmansee and killers like him, especially if they are released back into neighborhoods.

“Since we’ve heard the news, it’s been a stressful time,” Schofield said of the past week. “We haven’t been able to sleep. Trying to run damage control on people claiming to say ‘I knew Jason in kindergarten.’ He never went to kindergarten. People need to realize, you’re not in it for the glory … when we had the funeral for Jason, half the town turned out. That’s great support, but these people claiming to do all these things, it doesn’t help, it just makes everything worse.”

Schofield gave credit to the South Kingstown Police Department, everyone from the officers working under Chief Clinton Salisbury in 1975 through those who worked under Chief Vincent Vespia in 1982 when the case was broken open. Schofield championed Hawksley, the individual who he said did the most and who traveled all over the United States looking for Jason.

He added that the good behavior rules allowing Woodmansee’s release don’t make sense. “I’m infuriated that they come up with these good time days. Truthfully, how do I feel? Would you let Hannibal Lecter out of Jail? Would you like to see Charles Manson around again? Would you feel comfortable having Jeffrey Dahmer, this type of sick individual on the loose again? No, nobody would.”

Even if Woodmansee were to be released, the outpouring of emotion in South Kingstown and elsewhere could make life difficult for such an individual, perhaps even dangerous. The South County Independent reported Monday that Police Chief Vincent Vespia would be concerned for Woodmansee’s safety if he decided to reside in South Kingstown again.

“I don’t know how he’s going to survive once he gets out into the community,” Schofield said. “Technology has evolved … it’s on everybody’s mind. I would think that some people have compassion and would say he should go about and live.

“I just hope he’s smart enough to realize it. I hope people don’t take me out of context here. I’ve tried to be a fair person, but he’s created a lot of harm to my family and I have a lot of ill feeling about him. Personally, I don’t know what I’d do if I saw him.”


Michael Woodmansee: 5 Facts About the Murderer and Alleged Cannibal

By Torie Bosch -

Mar 8, 2011

It was an unspeakable crime: a 5-year-old boy murdered, the perpetrator allegedly eating part of his victim.

Now, Michael Woodmansee, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1983, may be getting out of prison, according to AOL News.

John Foreman, the father of the victim, Jason Foreman, is furious, telling a Rhode Island radio host, "I do intend, if this man is released anywhere in my vicinity, or if I can find [him], I do intend to kill this man."

Surge Desk rounds up what we know about Woodmansee.

1. A high school student at the time of the murder

Woodmansee was a 16-year-old junior at Rhode Island's South Kingstown High School when he killed Jason Foreman.

2. A loner

According to The Providence Journal, Woodmansee was a loner and had been experiencing violent thoughts for some time before he committed the crime. "Years later, he would tell police and a psychiatrist that he had been thinking about 'what it would be like' to kill someone. He thought it would be easy, easy to get away with it, and some form of fun," the Journal's Tom Mooney recently reported.

3. The son of a police reservist

Jason Foreman was killed in 1975, but his body wasn't discovered until 1982. When the town of South Kingstown, R.I., was searching for Jason, Woodmansee's father, a police reservist, was told to search his own home for the missing boy. But he did not uncover his son's crime.

4. Caught when he attempted another crime

In 1982, Woodmansee was accused of luring a 14-year-old paperboy into his home, plying him with alcohol and attempting to strangle him. The teen escaped and reported the crime. When police were questioning him about the incident with the teen, they also asked about Jason Foreman, and Woodmansee confessed his crime.

5. Kept a mysterious journal and souvenirs

When police searched Woodmansee's home, they made a grisly discovery: Woodmansee kept Jason's skull and some other bones on a dresser. They also found a journal, which Woodmansee had warned them about. He claimed it was fiction, but the journal allegedly contained information about the boy's murder.

The journal was destroyed after Woodmansee was sentenced, because the judge said it would be too upsetting for Jason's family to read. But John Foreman has said that the journal led him to believe that Woodmansee cannibalized his son.


Murderer and Accused Cannibal to Be Freed in August

By David Lohr -

March 7, 2011

A plea deal intended to spare a murdered child's family the horrific details of his death has come back to haunt residents of a historic town in Rhode Island. The killer, an accused cannibal who was a teenager when the crime was committed more than 30 years ago, will be free before the end of the year, according to police.

"We do not know what his plans are or if he is [planning on coming back here], but it is definitely something we plan on discussing," a spokesman for the South Kingstown Police Department told AOL News today.

While police have yet to formulate a plan for the impending release of convicted murderer Michael Woodmansee, the father of his victim, a 5-year-old boy named Jason Foreman, is not mincing words.

"I do intend, if this man is released anywhere in my vicinity, or if I can find [him], I do intend to kill this man," John Foreman told Rhode Island's WPRO News talk radio today.

According to The Providence Journal, Woodmansee was a withdrawn 16-year-old boy on May 18, 1975 –- the day he lured Jason into his home, stabbed the boy in the heart and hid the small body in a trunk.

Woodmansee lived up the street from the Foreman home. The day he took Jason's life was the boy's mother's 25th birthday -– a time of happiness that would forever after be associated with pain and heartache.

Woodmansee later told police he had fantasized that "it would be easy [to kill someone], easy to get away with it, and some form of fun,'' according to the Journal.

For eight years, frustrated authorities conducted a nationwide manhunt for Jason. Some feared he had been kidnapped, but no one suspected the whole, horrific truth -- that a disturbed killer had taken his life, removed his flesh and shellacked his bones.

The pieces in the case began to come together on April 15, 1982, when a bearded Woodmansee invited a 14-year-old newspaper delivery boy named Dale Sherman into his house. After supplying the boy with hard liquor and beer, Woodmansee attempted to strangle the teen, police said. Sherman fought back and managed to escape and run home, where his dad called police.

Taken to police headquarters, Woodmansee initially denied any wrongdoing. Because the allegations involved a boy, investigators decided to question him about Jason. Shortly thereafter, he confessed to sexually assaulting and killing the child, police said.

When authorities searched Woodmansee's home, they found Jason's skull and other miscellaneous bones on top of the man's dresser. They also discovered a journal in which he detailed the young boy's gruesome death, police said.

On Feb. 24, 1983, Woodmansee pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. According to The Associated Press, prosecutors agreed to the plea bargain to spare the family the horrific details of the boy's death and to avoid a grisly trial.

After sentencing Woodmansee, Superior Court Judge Thomas H. Needham ordered his journal and all other evidence in the case sealed. Needham said the accounts within it were too disturbing for Jason's family to see.

For decades, rumors have surfaced about the journal. Speaking with WPRO today, John Foreman alleged that Woodmansee was a cannibal and said the killer had eaten his son's flesh off his bones.

The boy was finally buried in March 1983, roughly two weeks after his killer pleaded guilty. Jason's mother, Joice, who often spoke with the media about the case, died in 2000.

For more than 25 years, Woodmansee has remained behind bars, all but forgotten by the general public. All that changed last week, however, when the now 52-year-old convict was transferred to a correctional institution in Cranston. The move is part of a process to prepare Woodmansee for his August release date.

The killer, according to the Journal, has benefited from a prison reward system that shaved roughly 12 years off his 40-year prison sentence.

Superior Court Judge Susan E. McGuirl, the former state prosecutor who agreed to the plea bargain, did not immediately return calls for comment from AOL News today. Speaking with the Journal, she said news of Woodmansee's pending release was "shocking."

"Certainly there would not have been any anticipation of him getting out in 28 years," she told the newspaper.

While Woodmansee's plans for the future remain unclear, one thing that is clear is that he is won't get a warm reception if he decides to return home.

"I have taken the position that he is not welcomed in this community and that as a resident and the police chief, I don't think it would be safe or prudent for him to be here," South Kingstown Police Chief Vincent Vespia told The South County Independent.

Jason's father cannot bear to think that his killer could return to their town.

"I have been able to visit Jason and his mother, Joice, at their gravesite with only love in my heart for them. But now I'm afraid to visit, now that the terrible memories are back to haunt me and my family," John Foreman told the Journal. "There is no forgiveness in me, only revenge."



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