(KMSP) - Cynthia Sweats copes with unanswered questions.
“Where is he at and what is he doing?”
They’re questions any grieving mother in her shoes would be forced to grapple with.
“Is he hurting somebody else? Is he staying away from children? Is his family going to respect the guidelines that he has restrictions on and not allow him around other children?” Sweats shared with FOX 9 Monday, “that’s a huge concern.”
Sweats’ anxiety is brought on by a deep betrayal that is now more than a decade old, but one no loving parent would easily shake.
“His niece was my best friend,” she said of Samuel Christopher Jones, 35, who in 2003 brutally beat and killed Sweats’ first born, Cameron Norris. Cameron was only three years old.
“He hit him once, hit him twice, hit him three times, he hit him four times. There was no, ‘stop what am I doing?!’” she said. “If I didn’t know who did it, I would probably feel a lot better in a way…knowing I was betrayed and I trusted this person, but not only did you betray me, you took someone that was important to me.”
Jones took a plea bargain and was sentenced to 20 years for second degree unintentional murder. Yet, Jones was released from prison last week on parole after serving 13 years behind bars.
“I get really uneasy. I’m going back checking my windows and doors,” Sweats admitted.
Sweats and some friends stopped in front of prison Jones served in the day of his release.
“I wanted him to know that he didn’t break me,” she said.
Jones is set to remain on parole until 2023.
“This is going to be something I have to deal with for the rest of my life,” Sweats explained.
The mother has chosen to persist despite the fears by channeling her pain into her passion.
“My goal is to impose Cameron’s Law as a child murder law,” Sweats said.
The effort is one Sweats began with a change.org petition to help establish a State statute that would require anyone who kills a child to serve a mandatory life sentence.
“I’m not going to stop until that happens,” Sweats said.
She tells FOX 9 she’s lost count of the many times she’s written lawmakers and Governor Mark Dayton.
“I wish he would respond to me,” she said.
Sweats said her mission has just begun, and it’s a battle she’s embarked on not just for Cameron but for all Minnesota parents who truly understand her pain.
“It never stops hurting."