Jeffrey Dillingham executed Wednesday for 1992 murder
18 years ago Ashlye Hylton 1
Editor’s Note: Death row inmate Jeffrey Dillingham consented to an exclusive interview 14 days before his Nov. 1 execution. A request to interview victims connected to this case was made, however, the request was denied.
Jeffrey Dillingham, 27, was executed last night after having been on death row for seven years.Dillingham was 19-years-old in 1992 when he was convicted for the murder-for-hire of 40-year-old Caren Koslow of Fort Worth. “I was at a stage in my life where I thought that money was the most important thing in life,” he said.Since that time, Dillingham has been able to make several changes in his life. “September 26, 1999, was the day that I gave my life to God; since then it has made all the difference in the world,” Dillingham said. “I’ve never been happier in my life.”Dillingham, who graduated with honors from Brewer high school in White Settlement, had never had any prior convictions or records, not even a speeding or parking ticket said, “I used to have nightmares, I try not to think about it (the murder).””I wish to God that I could take back what I did, but being in here has been a blessing. The difference is that I have a relationship with God, and he teaches me what to believe,” he said.”What people need to understand is a lot of people who get out go back to the way they were before, but a lot of people don’t,” Dillingham said.”Every time I have put my faith in God he has helped me out. It’s really amazing when God does the little things,” Dillingham said. “I want to give back to him, I want to focus on (religious) counseling and education (within the prison system).”Dillingham corresponded with the University of Wisconsin and had hoped to earn a BA degree in Christian Counseling, and a BA in Religious Education, and eventually an MA in Biblical Studies (New Testament concentration). “I want to do a lot of prison ministry,” he said. “I can relate to other inmates and their situations, and hopefully help them.”I don’t talk to the media because I’m a private person,” Dillingham said. “But I also don’t talk to them because it ends up hurting my family and the Koslow family; I don’t want to cause anyone pain.” Dillingham has painted several pictures while in prison. “God brought me a long way in the short time I was able to paint.” “I don’t paint much anymore; in March 1999, they took away our painting privileges after the escape (from the Ellis Unit in 1998).”I try to help people out as much as I can from my side (in prison),” Dillingham said. “I’m really blessed, I have a really great mother, a great family, and I’ve had a great childhood.””Jeff’s the only one that keeps me going,” said death row inmate Stacey Lawton. “He’s real spiritual; he has a lot of faith. He tries to keep everyone in his family strong.”According to Dillingham’s mother, Tony Hall, the governor’s office and the Board of Pardons and Paroles has received hundreds of letters written on his behalf. Various religious institutions as well as friends, family, and the general public wrote the letters. “I’m so proud of my son,” said Hall, who is an active member in the C.U.R.E. (Texas Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) foundation. “He is a wonderful person.””If they do take his life, I know that he will be home with the Lord and with my family,” Hall said. “I’m just not ready to let him go yet.”
Copyright 2000 by: Ashlye Hylton