In June last year in California, James Tramel was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church of the USA. In themselves, ordinations aren't particularly newsworthy - just the church going about its business. James Tramel's ordination was different. He was ordained while in prison for a 1986 murder committed when he was 17 years old. That is not all. Tramel was due to be parolled last year. The California Board of Paroles had recommended Tramel's release on parole but California's Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger, denied it. This year, Tramel's name came forward again...and Schwartzenegger allowed it to proceed. Tramel is believed to be the only Episcopal priest ordained while in prison. He earned a master's degree in theological studies from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley in 1998. The father of the murder victim does not sound forgiving and below is his comment on Tramel's new life and his release from prison.
Edward Stephenson, Michael Stephenson's father, said last week that he believes Tramel's so-called conversion was a clever way to secure his freedom."Twenty years doesn't fit the crime," he said.
"It was a very brutal and heinous crime. It was his idea. If it wasn't for him, there's a good chance it wouldn't have taken place."