T. Carlos Anderson is a longtime Protestant minister, and author of the book, “There Is a Balm in Huntsville: A True Story of Tragedy and Restoration From the Heart of the Texas Prison System.”
The book concerns Anderson’s work with a man who killed two teenagers in a drunk-driving collision, years after the crime.
“I had family relations with the perpetrator of this crime,” Anderson says.
By that, Anderson means that the man’s grandparents were congregants of his church.
That person, Andrew, served 17 years in prison, and when he was released, Anderson asked him to speak to the teenagers in his congregation about drunk driving. Anderson says hearing his story in person changed him.
“I thought, ‘Wow, this is a story that’s gotta be told on a wider scale,’” Anderson says.
He says Andrew was a “teenage alcoholic,” and had also dropped out of high school. He killed the teenagers in a head-on collision, and eventually pleaded guilty out of remorse.
“He was, up to this point, told to plead ‘not guilty, that’s how the system works,’” Anderson says. “But he decided to plead guilty [and] received a long sentence.”
While Andrew was in prison, he decided – and attempted – to make an amends for killing the teenagers. Anderson says his book is about how Andrew went about that process – something Anderson says is probably one of “the worst mistakes in [Andrew’s] life.”
“And so he attempted to do that, and that’s what the book is all about,” Anderson says.