My name is Keith Rappuhn, and I have spent the last 48 years in a Michigan prison on a sentence of Life Without Parole for beating and stabbing a friend to death after a night of drinking and an argument. That was in 1973, when I was 22 years old.
Shortly after coming to prison, I started reading books on psychology and human behavior, trying to learn what led me to commit such a violent crime. I learned that I had what was called Repressed Aggression, meaning I kept things bottled up inside me. Then the combination of alcohol and anger let it all come out in one violent act. This was confirmed by professionals years later.
That knowledge led me to seek the tools to become a better person and ensure I never commit another violent act. Along the way I completed high school and went on to obtain an associate’s degree in science. I have also completed over 40 self-help programs and/or classes, and I have vocational certifications in Food Technology, Building Trades and Building Maintenance. Additionally, I completed the Inside-Out college program, Restorative Justice and a 12-year Siddha Yoga Meditation program. I am currently a core member in the Chance for Life group and the Next Step Christian Recovery (faith-based substance abuse) group. Also, for the past five years, I have been raising/training Leader Dog for The Blind puppies. It requires a great deal of patience and discipline but is a true blessing, which allows me to give back to the community.
During my incarceration, I have never received a misconduct ticket for any kind of violence or for drinking alcohol. My last major misconduct ticket was 25 years ago (1996) for the possession of a small amount of marijuana.
Even though I have repeatedly demonstrated my empathy and remorse for the victim and the victim’s family, and regret the impact my actions had on the community, the Parole Board still has no interest in forwarding my case to the governor for the possibility of commutation.
I remain hopeful that I will one day be returned to society and given the opportunity to show the man I have become and be an asset to the community. Until then, I will continue trying to make life a little better for those around me.
Take care and be safe. God Bless.