The mother never wanted to talk in public about what happened to her son.
For 24 years — since her then-17-year-old son Ronald was pulled off a bus in Washington, D.C., charged and eventually convicted of murder — Donna Heyward always avoided recounting the pain of losing her oldest child to the criminal justice system.
Alicia Barraza started her testimony with statistics. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds who serve time in New York’s adult facilities are twice as likely to report being beaten by staff, she said matter-of-factly.
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After 18 days on a bus to the Mexican city of Reynosa, five days walking through the desert to Texas and two months living in Long Island, the fate of 18-year-old Axel Caballero of Honduras rested in the hands of an immigration judge who hovered above him inside a federal immigration courtroom in downtown Manhattan.