TONASKET – The mother of convicted murderer Lacey Hirst-Pavek has written a book about dealing with her daughter’s life prison sentence.
Hirst-Pavek was convicted in 2010 of the 2009 murder near Tonasket of Michelle Kitterman.
Bonnie S. Hirst’s new book, “Test of Faith: Surviving My Daughter’s Life Sentence,” is scheduled to be released Sept. 24 by She Writes Press. In the book, Hirst “shares her spiritual journey following her daughter’s life sentence in prison,” according to an announcement from the publisher.
Hirst “is a woman of faith who has always believed that everything in life works out for the best,” said the publisher’s announcement. “So, when her daughter, Lacey, was accused of a terrible crime, Bonnie is convinced that God will protect her family from harm.
“But when Lacey is sentenced to life in prison for hiring people to kill her husband’s pregnant mistress, Bonnie questions every aspect of her existence: Her beliefs, her role as a mother and the purpose behind the events that are tearing her family apart. But she also discovers the rewards that come from asking for help and the blessings that exist even in the most heart-wrenching circumstances.”
In “Test of Faith,” Hirst shares the story of her family as they navigated the legal system. She struggled with the facade of being OK on the outside and screaming for air on the inside, according to the publisher.
The book shares her spiritual journey, discovering the rewards that come from asking for help and the blessings that exist in dire circumstances.
“A friend shared this quote and it guides my life currently: ‘One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome a difficult path in life, and it will be become a part of someone else’s survival guide,’” Hirst said. “The highest compliment I can imagine for my book is that it becomes a guidepost for others going through desperation.”
Hirst previously wrote a romance novel, but it was rejected by a couple publishers. After a 35-year hiatus from writing while raising her family, she said she is enjoying connecting with other writers. She enjoys kayaking on mountain lakes, and also prays, cries, talks with her guardian angels, reads self-help books and writes.
She said she initially kept the book from her daughter because she wasn’t sure how Hirst-Pavek would respond.
“When I realized my pages would become a book, I told her, and she said she was relieved,” Hirst said. “She had worried about my state of mind after her conviction - I was a depressed basket case - and she was glad I was dealing with it by writing.
“The first time I shared my pages with her I was worried how she would respond. She said she cried throughout most of her reading, but that she was proud of me for forging ahead with the project. She and her cellmate became my beta readers and Lacey helped me fine tune some of the details.:
Hirst said when she started writing about her daughter’s conviction, “my heart broke time and time again. Recording those memories on paper, I went into a trance-like state. I’d write two or three pages, often crying while writing.
“Days later, when I’d look back on my handwritten words, the sentences seemed to come from a deeper well than my conscious mind wanted to acknowledge. Sometimes I printed meticulously, sometimes my cursive would be jerky and small, and other times, large and loopy. My soul seemed to be purging itself of bad memories. Recording them allowed me to heal as I wrote.”
Her advice for others with incarcerated loved ones is to share day-to-day occurrences, information about vacations and other news.
“My daughter appreciates receiving anything in the mail,” she said. “It means someone thought of her and included her in their day. Purchase books through a commercial online retailer. Each state has their own guidelines of what books they will accept. Put money on their prison spending account for them to purchase stamps, envelopes, etc. Share pictures of home, family, trips, etc.”
Hirst-Pavek has been in prison since being found guilty of aggravated first-degree murder in the 2009 stabbing death of Michelle Lee Kitterman, 25, and manslaughter for the death of Kitterman’s 11-week-old fetus. Hirst-Pavek’s husband, Danny Pavek, was the baby’s father.
Evidence also showed Hirst-Pavek facilitated the murder and manslaughter in several ways.
Hirst-Pavek rented a vehicle that was used by Tansy Fae-Arven Mathis, Brent L. Phillips and David E. Richards to take Kitterman to remote Stalder Road, southwest of Tonasket, where she was killed.
Mathis and Richards were found guilty of murder; Mathis was sentenced to life, Richards got 22 years and Phillips, in a plea deal, got 26 years.