Father of slain correctional officer pens historical novel

The father has written a historical novel dedicated to his son, a CO killed nearly six years ago in federal prison

Bob Kalinowski
The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Don Williams of Nanticoke has written a historical novel dedicated to his son Eric, a correctional officer killed nearly six years ago in a federal prison.

While the novel is based on a real event at the end of the Revolutionary War in 1782, a common theme of the book deals with a topic he’s thought a lot about in recent years: revenge.

“It mostly surrounds revenge for the murder of family members,” Williams said.

Williams, who advocated for the death penalty for the inmate who killed his son, said the book is based on a little-known event at the end of the war, the Gnadenhutten massacre, also known as the Moravian massacre.

“It’s an occurrence very few people know about,” Williams said. “It was an unbelievable tragedy.”

The massacre was the killing of 96 Christian Moravian Indians by a colonial white American militia from Washington County, Pennsylvania on March 8, 1782. Survivors of the dead vowed revenge.

The summary of Williams’ book, Eighteen for Mercy, says he knows the topic well, following the death of his son. His son’s killer was convicted of murder, but spared from getting the death penalty.

“He understands being compelled to seek revenge and didn’t just write about those things; he lived them,” the summary says. “As the characters in his book had to do, Donald also had to move forward and continue to live this life and hopefully experience some joy here and there among the struggles.”

Williams said he wrote the book previously, but it ended up like a history book. This time, he wrote it as a novel and he thinks it’s more compelling.

The fighting described in the book wasn’t just imagined, according to Williams’ website. He was able to describe some scenes from what he experienced during the Vietnam War.

“Breathing in the thick gunpowder and smelling feces and blood, which he described in a battle scene in his novel, Eighteen For Mercy, wasn’t something he read somewhere,” the book summary says. “The smells, the confusion, dryness in the mouth, and the inability to swallow experienced in battle, was something Donald had experience during his time in Vietnam.”


©2019 The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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