Good Ole Boys, and Girls Part 3
By RHONDA BIGOVICH, TRT Contributing Writer
She is unlike any other girl in town.
The last time Rebecca Owen was in the newspaper, she was 14 years old and the story wasn’t anything to be proud of.
In 1997 Owen, along with two others, were arrested for kidnapping, carjacking, armed robbery and escape using force, topped off with a violence on a peace officer charge.
Three out of five suspects were charged. The two others went unpunished for their involvement.
“I thought I was going to get a life sentence,” she said.
Owen took the majority of the responsibility for the crimes. Court hearings and proceedings took nearly three years to complete.
Owen served her first stretch of time in Humboldt County Juvenile Hall. When she learned of her possible sentence, she, and two other minors escaped from Juvenile Hall. She was on the run for a month before being brought back into custody.
During Owens’ trial, the victim testified. She said it wasn’t fair for Owen to receive a full punishment while others, who were equally involved, went free.
“I didn’t expect the victim to have sympathy for me, but she saved me from receiving a life sentence,” Owen said.
When sentenced, the judge was lenient and gave Owen 14-plus years.
Her journey through the state prison system began. Owen spent almost 15 years locked down in California Women’s State Prisons.
“I saw so many different types of woman in there,” said Owen. “Some who didn’t even belong. They were working class citizens who were led to desperate measures because of the bad economy.”
It made Owen sad to see some woman who wouldn’t ever make it out.
But, she did in December of 2011.
“My dad told me, if you do wrong, own up to it and do what you can to fix it,” Owen said.
She comes from a close knit family. Lloyd Owen Sr. took care of his children, and did his best to look after his eldest daughter from afar.
Owen smiled when she spoke of her father, who kept close contact with her during her prison term.
“I would rather be broke,” Owen said when asked how she avoids trouble. She refuses to get caught up in situations that might compromise her parole conditions.
“There is just too much too happy about,” she said, when she referred to her freedom today.
Owen discharges from parole in 2013.
She is now enrolled at College of the Redwoods where she plans to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education. Her fiancé is also a college student.
To improve her employability, she is working to have her records expunged with the help of the Yurok Tribe’s Clean Slate Program. She has applied for work at various places, but hasn’t had much luck so far, but she’s confident that she can move forward.
“It’s a good thing I know how to take care of myself,” Owen said.
For now she enjoys cooking with a variety of recipes. She cleans houses and helps out wherever she can to stay afloat until she finishes school and finds employment.
She is engaged to marry Quentin Donahue and the couple is planning a wedding in June. She enjoys looking up ideas on how to plan their wedding online.
“I did not have a problem with drugs,” she said. “I was an alcoholic.”
Once home, in December of 2011, she tried to drink alcohol, but she found that it made her sad and depressed.
For her, it wasn’t so difficult to leave the bad lifestyle behind. She watches the company she keeps. She does not want her six sisters and one brother to travel down the wrong path, the path she knows all too well and has worked all too hard to steer clear of.
Rebecca Owen today looks forward to having complete freedom once she is discharged from parole. Her parole officer roots her on, proud of her drive to stay out of trouble.
Donahue and Owen look forward to having a family, and are working towards their very own American Dream.