February 20, 2013

Growing up without one of your parents is difficult, no matter the circumstances attached to losing that parent.The children of Carmen Richards and the children of Carl Blue, each had a parent ripped away from them on August 19, 1994.Each family has had to cope in their own way, and for each it has not been easy.

Terrella Richards was 22 years of age when she received the phone call that her mother was in critical condition in the hospital.To this day, 19 years later, the smell of her mother’s burnt flesh still haunts her.“I smell that smell right today.That burning smell.I smell that right today.”Terrella’s mother died 19 days later.

Terrella has struggled to move on from her mother’s death, admitting that she often turns to alcohol as a way to deal with her overwhelming pain.Relatives say that she continues to “always talk about her momma.”One relative recalls her last conversation with Terrella, “The last time we spoke she cried and told me how much she misses her, missing that motherly love.”


Terrella’s feeling towards Carl Blue are conflicted.The two families are close, even after her mother’s death.Terrella’s aunt is married to Carl’s uncle.Carl’s brother frequently hangs out with her family.This close association makes it difficult for Terrella to sort out her feelings.She does not hold any ill feelings towards Carl’s family, but they are a reminder to her of what she lost, her mother.Terrella has not decided if she will attend the execution.

The daughter of Carl Blue, Quanitra Gooden, is also undecided if she will attend the execution.If she does, she hopes to give her father one last hug, an action she has not been able to do since childhood.Quanitra’s brother, Carl Gooden, has no indecision; he will not be attending the execution.

Quanitra was just seven when her father went to prison.Carl was six.Both were too young to understand or know what was going on.Shortly after their father’s arrest, the children were moved from Bryan, Texas to Mexia, Texas, and told that their father was in jail.No details were given to the children.

Quanitra was sixteen when she discovered the truth about her father’s actions.She wrote her father a letter asking for the truth.When her father wrote back telling her the whole story, she was mad.She did not write to him for six months.These days, Quanitra writes just about every week and usually receives a response.“He [Carl] always sends words of encouragement, says he proud of us.He tells us not to worry about him.”Carl also strongly encourages his children to stay away from drugs, which played a part in his crime.

Carl Gooden also writes to his father, but not as frequently.He thinks his dad has done the best job being a dad that he could, considering he is housed on death row.Carl also just recently found out the whole truth about his father’s crime.“I couldn’t believe it,” he said of finding out the truth.

Both Quanitra and Carl have some resentment towards their father.His actions caused them to lose their dad, and inflicted a great deal of pain on the Richards family, and their own.They also struggle to see their father as the man who committed such a heinous act.“I can’t really put it together.I was a kid.The only memories I have of him are from childhood.As far as I knew, he was good,” Quanitra explains.

Two families have suffered losses from the crime committed by Carl Blue.Three children have lost a parent.All struggle with the present situation.Please pray for peace for Terrella, Quanitra, and Carl.Please pray that they find a way to move forward in their lives.