Carol Angelbeck has been waiting 15 years since her daughter’s killer was sentenced to death. Now she has learned her wait could end in a little more than a month.
24-year-old Mindy Griffin was found dead in her apartment on September 30, 1995, the victim of rape and murder. Her stolen car was found later that day being driven by her neighbor, Michael Shane Worthington. His confession and DNA later tied him to the murder and he was sentenced to death in 1999.
Angelbeck, now 76, was told Monday morning that the Supreme Court has set August 6 as the date for his execution.
“I just couldn’t believe that it was finally going to come to an end. That I was finally going to not have to deal with this portion of the murder of my daughter,” Angelbeck tells Missourinet. “I didn’t have to deal with the justice system or anything else anymore. All I have to think about is my Mindy and what she would be doing by now.”
Angelbeck now lives in Florida with her husband where they raise horses. She has already started making arrangements for others to care for their property and animals, and to fly to Missouri to be here for Worthington’s execution.
She says it’s not a matter of closure or revenge for her.
“I guess I’ve always felt that if you believe … and I could be wrong … but for me, I feel like if you believe in the death penalty as a punishment for the most heinous of murders, then you should be willing to go through with the whole thing,” says Angelbeck.
She says she doesn’t know how she will feel when the execution is over.
“I’m sure that every emotion runs through your mind,” Angelbeck says. “It’s another human being dying, but yet if you think about your child that’s been murdered … I don’t know … I really don’t know what I’m going to feel until it’s over.”
Angelbeck says she hasn’t known how to feel for more than 18 years.
“We were thrown into the justice system when Mindy was murdered. I can remember the day after day after day living with this. The anger when I found out who did this to Mindy, when they showed me his picture. The anger was so bad in me for probably the first 5 or 10 years. I just couldn’t understand how he could do this to my daughter,” says Angelbeck. “It went from anger to not knowing what to do next, to trying to see that justice was done.”
One thing she does not expect is for Worthington’s death to put an end to any part of her life now. Over the years since Mindy’s death, Angelbeck has worked with and encouraged families of other murder victims as a chapter leader for Parents of Murdered Children.
She says she can’t stop that because there are still people that need help.
“One man in particular … his sister was violently murdered by a man in (the prison in) Potosi and he’s up for execution too, and I talk to him all the time,” says Angelbeck. “There’s about four or five other people, and so we all really kind of support each other.”
One of Angelbeck’s frustrations with the system concerns the length of time it takes to carry out death sentences. She notes the recent decision by the state Supreme Court in Florida that upheld that state’s “Timely Justice Act,” designed to keep condemned inmates from languishing on death row for decades before their sentences are carried out.
Still, she says if she could go back now and choose for Worthington to be sentenced to life in prison, to save herself some of the grief and struggles of the past two decades, she would not change anything. She says it is the work she has done that has meant Mindy’s death was not in vain.
“For me, I think it was helping others as Parents of Murdered Children’s chapter leader and for fighting to see that justice is done for these victims, that, to me, is what got me through the last 18 years.”