Posted by Literary Titan
From Miracle to Murder is about surviving domestic abuse, a misogynistic religious cult, and being falsely accused of the murder of a disabled child. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I began From Miracle to Murder as a letter to my daughter, Anne. I needed her to know how much I loved her and her brother, Adam.
I fought like a mother to protect them but opponents overwhelmed me and I failed. After Adam was murdered, I was accused, and Anne was given to my abusive ex-husband. There were times I became so despondent, giving up would have been easier then continuing to live but I learned how to be an advocate for my daughter.
I have no super power, talent, or strength, so if I can survive a Pandora’s Box of horrid events, I hope others will be inspired by Miracle to know they will not only survive, but they will become a presence and a voice for those who are unable to speak for themselves.
You share a lot of emotional and personal moments in this story. What was one thing you were not sure you could discuss in this book?
Discussing the extent to which Anne and my relationship with her was damaged was extremely painful. Adam’s death was horrid, but watching Anne be destroyed in increments of days and months as the years passed by people who were trusted by the authorities was evil. The first priority of a parent is to protect their child. I failed to do that with both Anne and Adam. I hold my inability to shield them from harm accountable for the misery that followed.
What do you hope readers take away from your book and your experiences?
If you are in a relationship and are wondering if you are being abused, listen to your inner self and seek help. It is possible to break the cycle of abuse. It begins with you.
Never, never lie. Tell the truth at all times. If I had told even one lie all those years when I was accused of murdering my own child, it would have been found and my credibility would have been destroyed. Never telling a lie saved my relationship with Anne when she was ready to work with a counselor. My prayers for her return were rewarded when she looked at me and said, “Mom, you are the only one who never lied to me.”
Forgive yourself for your mistakes. I did the best I could with the tools I had to use at the time. I was too naïve and trusting. These aren’t sins but please be aware of your environment and the credibility of the people who are in your space.
No matter how awful the situation, please avoid any medication, prescribed or otherwise, that may lead to an unintentional dependency. Follow the advice I was given and wait until the situation improves, then indulge in a glass of your favorite beverage. Better yet, go on a hike, a walk, or vacation, and visit your favorite healing place.
Writing a memoir often causes one to reflect on past choices. Is there anything you see differently now that you wrote this book?
If I could return to the past and change one of my decisions, it was when my father told me to go to my high school counselor’s office and turn down the scholarships and grants I had earned. I wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor. I was too timid and too dominated by the rules of my father and the religion in which I was raised to stand up and say, “No. I’m going to college.” That one declaration of independence would have totally avoided the hell that followed.
I now firmly believe an advanced education for both men and women is the key to a lifetime of enlightenment, success, emotional and financial independence.
From Miracle to Murder: Justice for Adam is about surviving domestic violence, the trauma of being raised in a misogynistic religious cult, the murder of a disabled child, and being falsely accused of that murder. It is the memoir of a true crime. It’s the story of a mother who was determined to survive. It’s a, “Oh my God, this really happened to a mother and her children! But she survived! She’s doing all right! Then, maybe so can I.”
From Miracle to Murder is not an essay into court or investigative procedures. Instead, the reader is invited into the author’s life. She wants them to see what she saw, thought, heard, and felt as she says her last goodbye to her son and when she’s formally charged. Experience what she does when she is pushed to the edge of insanity, adjusts, acquires skills to survive, and then creates a different normal as she forgives and finds joy again.
Joyce loved her son. She treasured every minute of his short life. In spite of what the rest of the world viewed as terrible physical deformities and mental disabilities, Adam laughed. He enjoyed being alive. Joyce was devastated after he died. When police showed up at her door and accused her of murdering her little boy, her world shattered.
The characters are real people. What they did, what they said, and what they wore happened. All scenarios are depicted as accurately as possible and are based on police reports, depositions, court records, a grand jury transcript, criminal trial transcripts, psychologist’s written evaluations, eye witness accounts,journals, victim impact statements, different avenues of public media, Adam’s autopsy, and the author’s haunting memories recalled to the best of her abilities.
From Miracle to Murder: Justice for Adam is for anyone who believes in the presumption of innocent until proven guilty. It is hoped that readers will walk away from Miracle with a greater faith that they can survive the impossible, forgive the unforgivable, learn how not to become a victim, and the importance of creating moments of clarity in the midst of chaos.
Posted by Literary Titan
In May of 1977, Joyce gave birth to her second child, a son named Adam. Adam was a beam of light in an otherwise dark world surrounding Joyce and her daughter, Anne. Joyce was faced with the daunting task of raising a child with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome–a child she was told would never thrive and would require intense specialized care the rest of his short life. Joyce, a woman already trapped in an intensely abusive marriage, vowed to raise her son and his older sister together for as long as he may survive. In May of 1977, Joyce began a journey of new love with her two small children. In September of 1983, she was accused of Adam’s murder.
From Miracle to Murder: Justice for Adam is the true story of Joyce A. Lefler’s harrowing experience as a battered wife and a mother accused of murdering her young so told in her own words. From the first pages of Lefler’s story, it is painfully clear that Joyce is a fighter. The abuse she endured at the hands of her husband was nothing short of horrific. The author describes in vivid detail the moments of hair-pulling, his verbally abusive tirades, and the incidents of rape she endured as her children slept. Her husband, Allen, was a monster by all rights and possessed no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Several times while reading, I gasped audibly at the terrorizing scenes described by the author.
When accused of murdering her young son, Adam, Joyce faced obstacles at literally every turn. I cannot imagine losing one of my children and having the other ripped from my arms and turned against me. Joyce is a special person indeed. She is a survivor in every sense of the word.
The circumstances surrounding Adam’s death and the light shed on the many mistakes made during his murder investigation are overwhelming. She describes the most infuriating neglect on the part of the police department. All of these oversights led to one heartbreak in Joyce’s life after another. From having her husband awarded custody of her daughter to having trusted friends run the other way after her own arraignment, Joyce watched her life fall out from beneath her, but she somehow held her own.
It’s difficult to say this is a great book because it’s a tragic true story. I will say this–if your life has in any way been touched by abuse, this is a book you should read. By the same token, if you are the parent of a child with special needs, Joyce’s life story is one with which you should familiarize yourself. So much can be learned from her experience with her son and some of the medical professionals Joyce encountered in Adam’s first days. From her childhood to her marriage with her first husband to her painful existence looking back in fear of being accused again of her son’s death, Joyce describes for readers an incredibly difficult life of choices no one should have to make but everyone should read.
Pages: 309 | ASIN: B07FMGGHTG