Freedom day: October 12, 2016
Representation: The Innocence Project provided assistance to Mr. Siehl’s attorney, Lisa Freeland, of the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
What was it like to spend Father’s Day away from your kids for over two decades?
It made me miserable. Up in Huntington [State Correctional Facility], you only got 15-minute calls each day. Trying to call everyone just didn’t work out well. You try to move on and make sure your family is all ok. I think I did more worrying than anything else.
What you miss the most is the love and everything. The little things.
Related: Kevin Siehl Exonerated and Released After 26 Years in Prison
My kids were teens [when I was wrongly convicted]. What hurt most was not being there for my kids. I couldn’t send them to college. They had to fend for themselves. They weren’t able to go to college but everything turned out great for them. Even my grandkids. By the time I got out of prison my granddaughter was 21 and my grandson was 18. I missed the best years of their life too.
What are you looking forward to most this Father’s Day?
Just talking to them–my kids and grandkids. They’re down in Florida, and I live in Pennsylvania.
“Make sure your kids know you love them.” – Kevin Siehl
Is there a fond memory that sticks out?
Just recently, we all went to a friend’s wedding in Pittsburgh–all of my kids and even my ex. We had a good time.
Do you have any advice for other fathers in prison?
Hang in there. When I was up in Huntington, there were a lot of guys whose kids wouldn’t even talk to them. Keep on writing and keep on trying to reconnect. It really helps when they come to visit you. Most of all, make sure your kids know you love them.
What about your dad?
He and my mom passed while I was in prison. He taught me how to treat a woman and respect; to gain respect you’ve got to give respect. When I was growing up, we’d go to town to shop. If there was an old woman with a heavy bag, we’d help that lady. If we didn’t, we’d get smacked upside the head.
I was taught to be kind to others. I got major love in my heart for people; that is the major thing that my parents taught me, especially my Pops.