Each year, "The Castle"—a West Harlem halfway house whose nickname comes from its miniature lookout towers and its gray crenellations—puts on a Halloween celebration for its residents and the general public. As a huge fan of Halloween, which is not generally observed in my native Germany, I was eager to be there when Angel, one of 60 or so halfway house residents, celebrated it for the first time in more than three decades.
I had been reporting on Angel's life since shortly after his release from prison in March of 2007. In 1978, shortly after turning 18, Angel had murdered a 16-year-old girl. He was 47 when he was [...]