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Trudi Miller RosenblumCassie Bernall was one the victims of the high school shootings in Littleton, Colo., who when asked by the killers if she believed in God answered "Yes". But what makes Cassie's story so fascinating is that only a few years earlier, she was heading down a path very similar to that of the teenaged killers. Obsessed with death, hate, and the occult, she loved Marilyn Manson, cut her arms periodically, wrote long letters to her best friend in which she graphically detailed murdering her parents, and even sold her soul to Satan in a ceremony. When her parents discovered the letters, they took swift action by cutting off all contact with her destructive friends and sending her to a private Christian school. Cassie naturally rebelled against the restrictions, but when she became friends with one girl there, her healing began. The friend took her to a weekend youth retreat that, although it had a Christian theme, was low-key with fun activities for young people and an audience that included lots of Goth-dressing cool kids. Cassie felt comfortable there, and over the course of time she straightened herself out and embraced religion. Eventually, she transferred to Columbine High, a move that ultimately led to her death.
Misty Bernall, Cassie's mother, reads the audio straight from the heart, and it's impossible not to be moved. When she recalls finding out about her daughter's murder and enduring the terrible weeks of grief that followed, her voice is tearful, and in a few places it's obvious she broke down and had to stop the tape until she could compose herself enough to go on.