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If you believe in Justice, Believe in Jesse
Jesse Brooks arrived as an early Christmas present when he was born on December 11, 1976 in Concord, New Hampshire. At the time, his parents Lorraine and Jay were young and struggling financially, but they welcomed him with excitement and joy. He was truly a gift as he would be their only child. Sweet, kind and compassionate, his parents believed Jesse had a promising life. Both Jesse’s parents worked hard in a prosthetics and orthotics office, making braces, splints and corrective shoe inserts and then, after hours, the couple developed a home-based side business inventing or adapting new medical devices.
Jesse was a devoted and conscientious son and - as the family was defined by its work ethic - he was right there at his parents’ side. In between baseball and school, Jesse would also make time to accompany his father to the orthotic clinics he offered at a residential program for severely physically and mentally disabled patients or he would routinely help his parents package and ship orders.
Growing up near the White Mountains in New Hampshire, Jesse had a passion for skiing, but his ability to navigate moguls didn’t prepare for the jolting news he received just after enrolling at the University of New Hampshire Manchester campus. After injuring his lower back skiing for the second time, a full body scan revealed that the 19-year-old had a spinal compression to his L5-S1 vertebrae - but even more tragically - doctors found a tumor in his left arm.
The news was devastating to both his parents and it changed the course of Jesse’s life.
The doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital Oncology Department chose to keep a watchful eye on the tumor and monitored it with x-rays. He moved around the country to Colorado, got his pilot’s license in Florida and eventually settled in California but he couldn’t escape himself. He was crippled by chronic back and ankle pain and hobbled by the belief he would soon die of cancer. His parents were deeply worried. By this time, their hard work and inventiveness paid off and Jesse’s parents had profitably sold the medical supply company they built. The couple decided to sell their Londonderry, NH house, as well, and move to Nevada, primarily to be closer to Jesse but also to Lorraine’s sister and her husband who lived in Las Vegas.
Then, what seemed a miracle happened.
In 2002, after years of monitoring, Jesse’s doctors in California suggested a new test called the PET scan, which detects cancerous activity. They determined that because the tumor had remained unchanged for so long and there were no signs of activity, it was unlikely to pose any threat to Jesse. Encouraged, he furthered his flying skills and started helicopter training, spent time with his family and friends and tried to work towards a normal life. But unfortunately, doctors told him he required more surgery and the pain from his previous injuries put him on painkillers, upon which he was growing increasingly dependent.
Then, three weeks before his surgery, the absolute unthinkable happened.
His father and three other men were arrested in connection with the June 27, 2005 murder of a New Hampshire handy man Jay had hired to pack the family’s belongings and move to Las Vegas after one of the two loaded moving trucks disappeared.
But it got worse.
On November 9, 2007 Jesse, himself, was also charged with being a co-conspirator to a murder he knew nothing about and was 3,000 miles away when it happened. There was no concrete evidence of any kind against Jesse - only the questionable testimony of the two convicted felons who each had negotiated sweetheart deals in exchange for lighter sentences.
Jesse was to pay the ultimate price for a crime he didn’t do.
Since Jesse was taken into custody and his conviction days before Thanksgiving, 2009, he has been moved seven times. Jesse now spends his days in an 8 x 6 foot Arizona state prison cell which is bitterly cold in the winter and can reach 117 degrees in summer. Jesse has not, however, given up hope for a promise of a life.
Although he lost his appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court on October 27, 2011 when his attorneys failed to present Dennis Chamberlain’s coerced interrogation, Jesse has never wavered in his claim of innocence and continues to believe that some day justice will be served and he will be free again.
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