Grieving mother relives son's murder every two years with letters to parole board

James Stahl fatally stabbed in 2003; Donna Obregon convicted

By Deven Clarke - Crime and Justice Reporter, Adam B. Higgins - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - A San Antonio woman said she's forced to relive the grueling details of her son's slaying since she buried her son in 2003.

Every two years, Liz Stahl Jackson petitions the Texas Parole Board to keep her son's killer behind bars. 

"Every year that passes, it's harder. It's like someone goes in here and just pulled your heart out while you're still breathing. But he's my son," Jackson said.

On March 21, 2003, James Stahl had an argument with his roommate, Donna Obregon.

"(She) took a knife from the kitchen and stabbed him, and severed his aorta and pulled out the knife," Stahl Jackson said.

After Obregon served 12 1/2 years of her 25-year sentence, Stahl Jackson petitioned the parole board to keep the convicted killer behind bars in 2015, 2017 and this year.

"Our whole family serves a sentence for the rest of our lives. Every day, every day," Stahl said.

A traumatic process that Jennifer Browne, a victims advocate for Not Above the Law, said many grieving loved ones are routinely subjected to once parole eligible offenders serve half their sentence.

"Protest, write letters, or make visits, if possible, with parole board members. Send photographs, anything you can do in an attempt to influence the parole board to keep that inmate incarcerated," Browne said.

Here is part of Jackson's latest letter to the board:

"Each time that I am forced again to relive the nightmare of his murder by petitioning the parole board to keep this violent inmate in prison, it rocks my very world for months at a time."

Jackson claims since Obregon showed no remorse, she should serve her entire sentence.

"I don't want vengeance. I want justice. She did the crime," Jackson said.

The parole boards review process takes between two to six months, so it's possible Jackson could be waiting until November to see if Obregon is released.

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