He's Erasing a 2012 Murder, One Pitch at a Time

Minor-league pitcher Zac Kristofak's mother was murdered by his father when he was a teen
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2023 6:00 AM CDT
He's Erasing a 2012 Murder, One Pitch at a Time
Zac Kristofak, then with the University of Georgia.   (YouTube)

The Athletic profiles a 25-year-old minor-league pitcher named Zac Kristofak, and it's a safe bet you'll be rooting for him to make the majors after reading. That's not solely because of his pitching, exactly. It has more to do with the tattoo of "D.N.K." on his left wrist. As Sam Blum writes, the initials stand for Donna Nations Kristofak, his mother, who was murdered outside their home near Atlanta on December 22, 2012. Her killer? Kristofak's father, John, who is now serving a life sentence. The story tracks the crime, how John Kristofak spiraled after the couple's divorce and began stalking and threatening his ex-wife. "May I ask, your honor, that it is on the record that I fear for my life,'" Donna told a judge two months before her murder, pleading unsuccessfully that he be kept in jail.

The story, however, focuses mainly on the aftermath, how the community rallied around Zac and older brother Harrison—in ways that didn't end with the 300 presents that showed up on Christmas, three days after the murder. The boys moved in temporarily with their neighbors, the Kiebooms, whose son Carter is Zac's best friend and now an infielder with the Washington Nationals, until their grandmother could move to town so Zac could stay in his high school. Onto the University of Georgia, and now Double A Rocket City after being drafted by the Angels in the 14th round in 2019. "I'm not afraid of who I am," says Kristofak. Reaching the majors is about more than baseball to him. "I'll get to write my own story," he explains. "I think that what I want to do, more than anything in life, is rewrite the Kristofak name." Read the full piece. (Or check out other longforms.)

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