- Associated Press - Saturday, February 15, 2014

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Alec Kreider was the one who pleaded guilty to murder, but “it took me years to forgive myself,” his father, Tim Kreider, writes in a new book, “Refuse to Drown: A Father’s Unthinkable Choice.”

Tim Kreider turned in his son to police after the Manheim Township High School sophomore told him this:

He had stabbed to death best friend Kevin Haines and his parents, Tom and Lisa, while they slept in their Blossom Hill home in May 2007.

The police hadn’t even considered Alec Kreider a suspect, but “there had been times … where the thought entered my head,” his father writes.

Not turning him in is “the unthinkable choice” referenced in the title, even though “a father’s instinct is to protect his children,” he writes.

And his son expected that protection even after what he had done, the book reveals.

For years, Tim Kreider tormented himself about his own role in the tragedy.

“I got caught on the downward spiral of blame and insecurity wondering what I could have done to keep Alec from doing what he did. There was a constant voice in my head asking me, Where did I fail?” he writes.

He had the sensation of drowning, drowning in self-recrimination.

“Every time I had lost my temper or had been a poor role model festered in my mind.”

In an interview at the Lancaster Newspapers offices, Tim Kreider recalls that he put some restrictions on violent video games his son played, but he should have been stricter. “Filling his mind with negative images didn’t help his attitude,” he says.

And knowing his son had anger issues, he also writes, “I should have forced Alec to get help,” not just urged him.

“I should have been a better spiritual leader for my family - having faith may have helped Alec in his fight against his illness, given him strength to reach out.”

It was too late for that, he realized. Too late for his family (the Kreider parents were divorced and shared custody of their three children). Too late for the Haines family and their surviving daughter, Maggie, then a college student.

But it might not be too late for someone else.

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