An Absolute Maybe

There's little doubt that Johnnie Bernal was not a really good guy. The question remains, though, how bad was he?

Bernal talks in a soft, even voice. He has long eyelashes, a shaved head and a small cursive L tattooed on his right hand for his ex-girlfriend, Leticia. He says he wishes he'd stayed in school. He wishes he had used his father's social security checks to pay for college. "I wish I could make a future, have a future," he says.

He's frustrated that the state took three years to file a response to Rosenberg's writ. But Rosenberg explained to him that the delay works in his favor and keeps him alive. "If I complain, it'll speed up the process," Bernal says. "I'm tired of being here. But I don't want to go easy because I know I didn't do it."

He wears a chain with a gold cross on it that his grandmother gave him. Like many inmates who find Jesus, he's been reading the Bible. He says God endorses the death penalty, and he quotes from the Old Testament about wrath raining down and eliminating evil. But he says he doesn't believe that he himself is evil.

Attorney Rosenberg says Bernal did not receive a fair trial.
Monica Fuentes
Attorney Rosenberg says Bernal did not receive a fair trial.
Dilley led Lutheran High North's football and soccer teams to the playoffs.
Dilley led Lutheran High North's football and soccer teams to the playoffs.

He likes to think that he's going to heaven.

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