Donovan's spirits are high — he passes time reading science fiction and teaching other inmates how to illustrate — but his chances of seeing sunshine again are slim, as the last Massachusetts governor to grant a pardon or commutation was Jane Swift in 2003. As for receiving a new trial, he has had difficulty securing a pro-bono attorney who has adequate time and resources to move his case forward against less-than-encouraging legal precedents.

Whether he's behind barbed wires in Bridgewater or back home with his family, though, Donovan has no choice but to regularly revisit the decision that steered him onto his unfortunate life trajectory; his right fist never healed properly and he's reminded of his fatal punch every time he writes, eats, shaves, and draws. He might not have wielded the knife that killed an MIT student, but Donovan has no doubt that Raustein's blood is ultimately on his hands. As he recently wrote in his first-ever attempt at correspondence with the Raustein family (Donovan is hopeful for a response, but does not realistically expect one), those thoughts are often with him. Even though he never meant for Raustein to die, his death is a cross that Donovan has long accepted as his to bear. ^

Chris Faraone can be reached at cfaraone@phx.com.

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