Sympathy for the Devil

Six years ago, a St. Louis judge took a hell of a risk. He let Von Nebbitt go free despite years of drug dealing and stealing, weapons offenses and parole violations. One of them has learned a lesson.

"Each time he do something, it gets bigger and bigger, my chest does," his mom beams. Does the joy feel fragile, does she ever worry that the triumph's temporary? "No, I don't believe he'll ever go through anything like that again," she says quietly, "no more than I would."

Nebbitt hopes she's right. "It can get really good if you work toward it," he volunteers. "I didn't know, when I was younger, that it could really be this good.

Jennifer Silverberg
Jennifer Silverberg
Nebbitt with his mother, Ernestine Underwood: "I was getting ready for work, and he called and said, ®Mama, if you don't help me, I'm gonna die.'"

"I wish I would've tried this first."

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