Married for life convicts: the incredible story of a Ukrainian family in the United States
At the end of this article there will be no conclusions or morality. There will be no calls in her to take sides or even excuses or condemnations. This is just a side view on the history of some relations, more precisely, on the history of a young woman, which not everyone will understand and support. Her name is Barbara Isaeva. In June 2011, she married a life-sentenced person and is now fighting for his early release.
Both living and dead heroes of this tragedy, without exaggeration, are almost impossible to find on the Internet. Dmitry has long been dead and the world wide web responds to a request about him only with a photograph of a gravestone on the cemetery website. Maxim, Maria and Gennady were sentenced to long terms, and references to them can be found only on the page of the California Prisons Department. And in the photos from the court session, in which Maxim looks like a frightened teenager.
Only Barbara lives the life of an almost ordinary person. “Almost” because for seven years now she has been married to a person with whom she has never spent time alone, to a person who may never get out of prison, to a person whom she considers the best in the world. Varvara avoids social networks, even her relatives place petitions in defense of her husband on her behalf. She spends all her strength and time trying to achieve the release of her husband. She also works and moves quite often - her place of residence depends on which prison Maxim is serving time in. The prison changes - Varvara immediately takes off and goes to where she can get closer to her husband. After all, she spends every weekend with him. And he tries to call her every day and writes her songs.
“I've already traveled all over California with him,” she laughs and immediately rejoices: “And before that I flew to him from Washington! So I'm not complaining at all. "
There is no sadder story in the world ...
Maxim and Varvara met when they were very young - they were born in a small Ukrainian town and literally played in the same sandbox. Their fathers were friends, and somehow Varvara's father jokingly told Maxim's father: “That's it! A daughter will grow up, we will only marry your son! ”.
Joked and forgotten.
Then the family of Varvara left Ukraine for Siberia, a little later moved to Russia and the family of Maxim - they were deeply religious people and fled from oppression on religious grounds. However, they did not find protection in Russia either, and therefore decided to flee to America. The first to arrive there was the Varvara family, it happened in 1991. Her family chose Washington as their place of residence. Almost ten years later, in July 2000, Maxim's family also moved to the USA. They settled in Sacramento (California).
The fathers of the families sometimes called up, but could not arrange a meeting. Many years later. And in 2010, Varvara accidentally ended up in California - her younger brother always dreamed of seeing these places, and the girl was sent with him to be looked after. Father ordered to at the same time get to the family of Maxim and personally meet with his parents.
“Dad once told me that Maxim was convicted of murder. But I, frankly, ignored all this information, because I did not remember him at all. As it turned out later, Maxim remembered a lot, although at the time of acquaintance he was very small - he was three months younger than me. I came to his house, and my future father-in-law decided to call Maxim. He dialed it and asked: "Who do you think came to us?" And Maxim, who has not seen me all these years, who has not talked about me ... suddenly says “Barbara!”. We were all very amazed.
Young people began to correspond, and at the end of 2010, Barbara flew to Maxim for a date. In April, 2011, he offered her to marry him, and she, without hesitation, said “Yes”.
"I can not explain it. I just fell for him after the first call. Then we began to write to each other, and I realized that everything ... When he called me to get married, I did not know how to inform my parents about this, and asked Maxim Yuri's dad to call my father ... He called and reminded him that you promised Varvara for Give Maxim, well, it's time to keep the promise.
Varvara's parents took the news without enthusiasm. “Well, why get married right away, the more you just corresponded, nothing, just meet for now and that's it,” they said to their daughter. But she was no longer dissuaded. They did not go to the wedding, although they blessed their daughter for the marriage. And then we apologized - we can't, it's too hard for us, I'm sorry ...
“The wedding, of course, was strange. I am in an ordinary dress - there was no other one, Maxim was in his robe. Essentially like a regular date. With only one difference - Maxim has five brothers and sisters and they were never allowed to come to him all at the same time. And then they allowed it. "
Immediately after they became husband and wife, Varvara went home - Maxim was sentenced to life imprisonment, which means the strictest conditions of detention and no indulgences, even if it is your own wedding day.
“Grace is either given or not ...”
Details of this case no problem can be found on the Internet. Everything, including the description of the type of weapon from which the murder was committed, and even gossip, which, in fact, caused the tragedy. If you do not go into details, then it sounds short.
On the night of the third to fourth of October, 2005, seventeen-year-old Maxim Isayev shot Dmitry Paskar, who was about to be twenty-two years old, shot from a pump-gun. The murder was committed in the presence of Maria Stepanova, who at the time was only nineteen years old. Previously, she was a friend of Maxim, and the day before the tragedy she complained to Maxim about Dmitry’s inappropriate behavior. Gennady brought Maxim to the place of the tragedy, he knew that Maxim put a gun in the trunk of the car, but did nothing to stop him. Maxim spent all sessions of the court in headphones, listening to the Russian translation, by that time his English did not reach that level so that he could easily understand the judge or the prosecutor ...
The jury concluded that all the participants of the incident were somehow guilty of the death of Dmitry. Maria can only ask for parole until February 2019. Gennady later, but also in 2019. But Maxim was only in October 2029 of the year ... Unless, of course, he and Barbara failed to get an appeal, which Maxim at first categorically did not want to file.
“Varyushka barely persuaded me,” he told me on the phone. - She convinced me to try, that I had changed. And I thought, why not? I came from Russia wounded. There he defended himself all the time, fought all the time - the family was very religious, and we were constantly teased. Then two other guys abused one of my brothers, took him to a construction site and ... I was also beaten when I was fourteen and over. I am used to protecting myself and the weak around me, so all the time that I lived in the United States, I went around with a weapon. When Maria called me and asked for a meeting, and then began to tell me what Dmitry had done to her, I saw no reason not to believe her. But I made a bunch of mistakes. I got drunk, started to wind myself up ...
I did not even try to calm down and figure it out, I just brought myself to such a state that I took a gun and went to meet him. With me in the car, when we went there, there were adult men. One in thirty, one nearly thirty. Nobody told me: “What are you doing? Stop! ”. On the contrary ...
And then I returned home, even went to Washington for one day ... In general, I began to live for one day, did not know what to do next - I killed a man! And at some point he began to pray - Lord, I myself cannot change my life, you change it! As I later learned, at the same time the first witness to the murder came to the police, and soon, on October thirteenth, I was arrested. Every day now I think - I ask for a second chance for myself, so the one I killed, even if he did something bad, also had the right to a second chance. I didn't leave him for him ... I was traumatized as a child and very badly. What if he too was injured? I left him no chance, but now I ask him for myself. Although I have no hope, I know that grace is either given or not. My wife believes in me and in our future, if she hadn’t pushed me, nothing would have happened ...
Varvara not only pushed Maxim to the idea of an appeal, she not only comes to his prison every weekend, writes, calls, distributes petitions, she managed to give Maxim an education, paid for it. Thanks to her, he graduated from the Stratford career institute drug and alcohol counseling program. And now he can work with prisoners who suffer from some kind of addiction. Varvara herself is an analyst at High Speed Rail, a company that builds a high-speed railroad in California.
The parents of Barbara over the years have become a different attitude to the situation, softer. Maxim's father died without waiting for his son from prison. Part of the insurance received by the Isaev family after his death was sent by Maxim to the mother of the deceased Dmitry.
“Once Maxim told me that he thought, well, a year, well, our relationship would last a little longer ... Even he did not believe that I would stay with him for a long time,” says Varvara. - But he's so good! Better than he is now, he can no longer be. Therefore, I believe that we will be able to achieve parole, that he will be pardoned. If not him, then whom? "
Currently, Varvara and Maxim are awaiting a response from the governor of the state, to whom they sent a petition for clemency. They also went to the federal court and posted a petition in support of Maxim - it can be found on the Internet. There are no guarantees that they will succeed. Even the best lawyer cannot give them in such a situation.
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