What does a mother do when a son is sent to death row for a double homicide he didn't commit? One can only imagine the personal anguish Bobbie Steidl felt for 17 years while her son Randy fought for his life and his freedom. But what she did was attend each and every one of Randy's court appearances and provide him the inner strength that enabled him to survive those dark times.
Bobbie was there, of course, when Randy walked into the sunshine and away from Danville Correctional Center on May 28, 2004. Bobbie lived to see Randy make a life for himself on the outside, maintain employment, purchase a home, and become a national spokesperson against the death penalty. By the end of Bobbie's life, Randy had moved close enough to his mom to be able to stop and check on her every day. He was finally in a position to care for her, just as she had cared for him all those years of his wrongful incarceration.
Bobbie was a tiny woman, but her heart was huge and her love was boundless. Next to any list of exonerees should be a companion list of those family members and friends behind the scenes who push lawyers, investigate facts, raise funds, and lend critical moral support to wrongfully convicted prisoners awaiting vindication.
Barbara "Bobbie" Steidl belongs at the top of that list. She passed away on February 23, 2009, at the age of 79. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her and especially by her sons Randy and Rory Steidl.
(Randy Steidl and his mom on the day of Randy's release from prison)