After the murder of her brother, Steve Leone, on Feb. 12, 2003, local Charlottean Therese Bartholomew struggled with the grief of having lost a loved one. The intensity of that experience was penned in Coffee Shop God, an emotional memoir about her sibling's untimely death and restorative justice.
But that still wasn't enough to bring Bartholomew to closure. In her continued efforts to reach that point, she met with her brother's killer, Karl Staton, at the Kershaw Correctional Institution in South Carolina. Her purpose was to learn more about what happened at the scene of the crime (a strip club in Greenville), who Staton really was, why he shot her brother, and if she could forgive him of the life-altering damage he had inflicted on her and her family.
Bartholomew, now a member of Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation (MVFR), took things a step further by filming the encounter for what resulted in a documentary titled The Final Gift.
The Final Gift screens at 7 p.m. tonight, June 8, at Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte. The event will be facilitated by Melissa Mummert with a special guest appearance by Bartholomew, who served as both director and executive producer on the film . Admission is free. Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, 234 N. Sharon Amity Road. 704-366-8623. www.uuccharlotte.org.
Delette Nycum was my great-grandmother.
Goddamn this town is a drag.
His voice just creeps me out. That is all.