‘I plan to live as fully as I am able.’

Thoughts of a Texas Death Row Inmate as his execution date approaches.

On August 30, when I visited Rogelio Reyes Cannady on Death Row in Livingston, Texas for two hours, our conversation was focused on his having received a date for his execution, November 6 (although it appears it has been moved to November 19) after it had appeared that the state’s judicial system had forgotten about him, leaving him in limbo for months after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down his final appeal. 

Rogelio told me that he had started to keep a journal of what he assumes are his final days in what is known as Death Watch, a special section of Death Row where inmates who have received their dates are housed. He asked me to publish his journal on the Internet. Rogelio writes his journal in pencil (he’s got beautiful handwriting) and sends me a week’s worth at a time, to save on postage. 

Since the first entries were posted, I have received numerous questions from readers who are amazed that Rogelio can write as well as he can. They want to know how much editing or rewriting I have to do, and are surprised when I tell them I do almost no editing, and definitely no re-writing. I can understand the disbelief. I have been corresponding with Rogelio for about nine years, and I have received hundreds of letters from him (mostly in English, but a great number of them in Spanish, and some in both languages) and I continue to be amazed by his writing ability, in both languages, given that he never even went to high school. He is pretty much self-taught. 

Although I am immensely saddened that his execution is now more of a reality (all these years it has been something vague and far away, something we talked about but never as a definite possibility), I am glad he is keeping a journal. I have been encouraging him to do so for years. If Texas does kill him, I want as many people as possible to understand exactly whom they have killed — a living, breathing, thinking, passionate, highly intelligent, caring human being who in no way resembles the foolish boy who first entered the Texas criminal justice system many years ago.

I hope that, as you read these journal entries, you too get to know who Rogelio Reyes Cannady is, and what a terrible tragedy it would be if the People of Texas take his life away.

You can read his journal by clicking on the pages, on the right side of the page.

Thanks for reading.

— Juan R. Palomo | September 20, 2008

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11 Responses to “‘I plan to live as fully as I am able.’”

  1. Sara Says:

    Thank you Rogelio Reyes Cannady for sharing your journal and Juan for conveying it. This is important communication. There is a growing community of people who have you in our thoughts.
    Sara

  2. Sophia Berger Says:

    Dear Rogelio, I am touched by your journal and thank you for it. For us outside it is precious and most important to read your thoughts. You are in mine. May the sun shine many a time on you!
    Sophia

  3. Tina Church Says:

    Roy,

    I so appreciate reading the journal, and appreciate you my friend.

    Love ya

    T

  4. Françoise Casanova Says:

    Thank you, dear Juan, for this marvellous letter on Rogelio. It helps a lot all new Rogelio’s friends.

    Rogelio has the Chance to have so wonderful close friends. But thanks to his journal, he will have even more friends, thinking of him, speaking of him.

    Warmest thoughts to both of you.
    Françoise

  5. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Sara, What would I do without this messenger, my friend Juan? I only want those of you “out there” to have a chance to walk in these shoes.– Rogelio

  6. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Sophia,
    I am touched that you would read it. Honestly. Thanks, — Rogelio

  7. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Tina,
    You know what you mean to me. Love ya back. — Rogelio

  8. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Francoise,
    I appreciate your encouragement. — Rogelio

  9. Rhianon Says:

    You are in my thoughts and in my heart. Love you, Rhianon.

  10. Marianne Rasmussen Says:

    Dear Rogelio.
    Today I received your letter, it was most welcome and heart warming. Thank you for letting me in when I came knowcking on your door. You ask me if I wouldn’t mind hanging out with you? I answer you, absolutely! You know, they say people come into our lives for a reason, some for a short spell, some a bit longer, some will stay for the longest time, and others will stay a lifetime. You will stay a lifetime, I’m sure of that already. And not your lifetime, but mine! Wether our time of friendship be short or, by the grace of God, longer, you will leave a mark where ever you set foot, in peoples memory or in their hearts.
    I know your time is limited, I pray a stay will change that, but I will deligently award my time to writing to you as often as I can. I read Juan’s letter from 33.000 feet up and recognised each and every sentiment and emotion, every train of thought, every move, from my long friendship with another death row inmate, in Arizona, who is very special to me. And I appreciate that the worst of situations always do bring the best out in people, and that very often it takes someone like yourself to bring to mind all the blessings and wonderful things we can in this life and the opportunities we have and take for granted.
    I will keep track of your posts here in the blog as I proceed in writing to you, sharing with you my everyday experiences, what my senses pick up, my thoughts, feelings, joys, fears and all in between.
    Keep up your strength in body and spirit, know that there are many people who care about you. My thoughts ride with you. Siembre una amiga, Marianne.

  11. Stranger Says:

    Pretty interesting site you’ve got here. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything connected to this matter. I would like to read more soon.

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