"I know there are a lot of Jeffrey Johnsons in the world and a lot of Jeffrey Johnsons in New York City, but when they said the company he used to work for," she said, "I just went to pieces."
Ms. Johnson, in her 80s, recalls that her son had suffered a head injury in sixth grade that had nearly killed him. Recently, he had developed an attachment towards his cat, Romeo who suffered from a rare kind of cancer that eventually killed the pet. Jeffrey wasn’t able to react to the death of the pet like a normal life and death routine. Instead, he blamed himself for the cat’s death and felt bad that the doctor had to euthanize the cat long back to stop its suffering.
Jeffery mentioned in his letter to his mother, “It embarrasses me that I feel this way. Life is bigger than one cat or me or you. But I can't shake the feeling that life has been diminished tenfold by Romeo's parting."
His mother also recalled that Jeffery was a patriot and had enrolled himself as a coast guard almost three decades. She describes him to be a perfectionist who was hard on himself as well as people around him. Ms. Johnson thinks may be the head injury caused him to turn evil after all these years. After a coma, he wasn’t expected to live and yet he did go on to live a normal life for a long time.
"I don't know," Ms. Johnson added. "This may be some kind of excuse. I don't understand what snapped in him to do what he did."
Ms. Johnson hasn’t seen her son in the last 22 years after he moved out in 1990. He called her every Sunday and rarely spoke about work or his problems. She wished she had known something was wrong. After his death, Ms. Johnson has been replaying every moment of his childhood and adolescence to look for the cause that turned her son into something of a killer.
In her heart, he is still the kind hearted man who loved animals and who, like all of us loved life as well. Guess that’s how mothers are, no matter what happens, they love you for what you are.