By Amy Silverman
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The coach said that the elder Wideman was so interested in Danny's future as a basketball player that he had decided to take a teaching job at the University of Massachusetts the following year so the family could be close to Danny while he played basketball for Brown University.
They planned on leaving Jacob behind in Laramie to finish up his high school work.
In the file, there is a transcribed copy of Jacob's confession; it was read aloud at Jacob's sentencing in one of the tiny courtrooms in Flagstaff. Both sets of parents were present. They never spoke.
"I murdered Eric Kane," Jacob said. "It was not premeditated. It was the result of a lot of different emotions. I had just woken up. It was 1 a.m. I didn't know what I was doing. I wasn't thinking straight. I was restless. I put on my clothes and I saw the knife and I saw Eric and I picked up the knife and stabbed him two times.
"I've had a really tough year, and he was the target of a lot of my emotions.
"I'm very sorry for what I did. I should be given a chance to live and make something of my life. I don't want the death sentence applied."
Louise Kane, Eric's mother, spoke candidly that day:
"I'm sick of hearing about black and white. This is not a question of who's black and who's white, but of murder. The murder of my son, Eric."
Eric's brother, Randy, then 21, also spoke out:
"It's John Edgar Wideman's fault," he said. "He's got an attitude that sucks. I knew him at the camp. He always tried to get things his own way."
Eric's father spoke out, too:
"I read Brothers and Keepers," he said. "The man sounds like someone who uses the system to his advantage. But if it doesn't work out for him, he'll scream and holler about how unfair it is. I'm sure he can eventually bend the system to get his son Jacob out of prison."
Two years ago, John Edgar Wideman wrote a piece for Harper's describing a visit to his brother in prison. His brother has developed huge biceps from constant weightlifting to pass the time.
Robby Wideman has a whole new view of race relations:
"I think I'm finally beginning to understand why they so evil to us," Robby tells his older brother. "They're scared of the black man. Really scared. More scared than I ever knew. More scared than they know themselves."
Robby Wideman's latest request for parole has been denied. He has now been in prison for 18 years.
"None of it makes any goddamn sense," he says. "They don't have to give reasons for what they do. But one of the dudes they didn't deny was a white boy. He even escaped the joint, and now they granted him a hearing with the full parole board. What kind of sense do it make?"
So it goes.