Archive for April, 2010

Cheating the executioner

April 30, 2010

April 18, 2010 | Sunday

SINCE I KNOW I have been scheduled for execution on May 19, it will be very soon that the prison administration will be informed and I will be relocated to the cells on Death Watch. I was just on that cellblock a little over a week ago. Death Watch actually consists of 14 cells that make up one section of a cellblock (or pod) with six sections, A through F. Death Watch is a section on a pod, cellblock A, and is isolated from the others on Death Row. Two of the cells on Death Watch have cameras so that the central control can watch those housed there. Why only two camera cells? Those two cells are meant for those two closest to their execution dates. The administration has had others very close to their execution cheat them out of the satisfaction of taking their lives by bleeding themselves to death. One, in particular stands out: Michael Johnson, who, in October 2007, slit his neck open and bled to death. What makes this one man stand out is that before he died, in his own blood, he proclaimed his innocence on the wall. I truly understand what Michael Johnson felt.

I have been incarcerated half my natural life because I’ve been unable to prove my innocence

April 29, 2010

April 17, 2010 | Saturday

LOOK AROUND YOU for a few seconds, if you will. What do you see? Maybe you will see a reflection of who you are in things that surround you. If you are at work, your surroundings will reflect your career, among other things. If you are at home, your surroundings will likely reflect your personality in things. If something about what surrounds you displeases you, eventually it will be made different, changed somehow. Am I right?

For so many years I have attempted to do just that, but I have been unsuccessful and sorely ineffective. I have been incarcerated half my natural life because I’ve been unable to prove my innocence involving a double homicide that got me sent to prison unjustly.

In this entry, I will ask locally, if anybody reading this has any information that would show my innocence, I ask you to please contact my attorneys or investigator at the addresses listed below. Also, I will ask any of you who would help gain attention to my case, that you contact your senator or representative and make them aware of this injustice. That the judge handling my case be contacted and respectfully asked to closely look at evidence that even now is turning up that points to my innocence.

Other state representatives whom you may contact are listed below. Finally, I ask if any who would support me to please help me make a change that will prove my innocence, once and for all.

Attorneys/investigators:

Richard Ellis, 75 Magee Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941; 415-389-6771

Michael C. Gross, 106 South St. Mary’s Street, Suite 260, San Antonio, TX 78205; 210-354-1919

Tina Church, Investigative Consultants, Inc., 111 Livingston Bay Ct., Mishawaka, IN, 46544; 574-255-8364

State Representatives:

Rep. Jessica Farrar; 512-463-0620/713-691-6812; Jessica.farrar@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Lon Burnam; 512-463-0740/817-924-1997; lon.burnam@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Al Edwards; 512-463-0528; Al.Edwards@house.state.tx.us

Rep. Marisa Marquez; 512-463-0638; Marisa.Marquez@house.state.tx.us

My life matters to me

April 28, 2010

April 16, 2010 | Friday

NOW THAT MY pencil has begun to move, I’ll start by admitting something to you: My total confinement to this isolation cell has not shown up on the restriction sheet and so I snuck to the outside recreation cage to stretch and race around. I will also admit that for half of the time I paced around I was in a daze, as if walking through fog. Something like that. I received a legal letter advising me that I am scheduled for execution on the 19th of May, 2010.

I have a few days over a month to live, if indeed my execution is carried out. Things do not look good at all. There is so much that has gone unsaid. I thought that my case was still pending in the courts and still had a chance to retrieve evidence to prove my innocence after all of these years. I’m on the verge of a pity party and that, my friends, is a grave mistake, I think. Literally. Hmmm.

I went to look out through my back window slit so that I could distract myself and straighten out my thoughts. I have not mentioned this before, but on the outside of the fence that surrounds this prison compound is a road used only by a few patrol vehicles. A white Chevy truck with police lights and large letters on its flanks states its business: “Perimeter Patrol Only,” just drove by, as it does every 20-30 minutes.

My life matters to me. I need to patrol my perimeter but what I can do? So many years ago I was unjustly convicted of murder but it seems unbelievable and I have never been able to prove my innocence. I hope to change that. On the night of July 17th, 1990 I was arrested and forced to sign a confession concerning a double homicide that I did not commit. An overzealous investigator named Joe Alvarado threatened to have me executed unless I signed his confession. I asked for an attorney and was denied. For a while I resisted but, alone and scared, I eventually broke and signed a confession that he had prepared. For that moment of weakness I was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

I was not the only person made to say things that were untrue. Elizabeth, if you ever read this, know that I realize that Joe Alvarado and the prosecutor, Luis Saenz, made you say that I committed those murders. I know they threatened to arrest you and take your child away from you.

Before I was unjustly convicted, the investigator Alvarado testified in open court that I volunteer a confession to him. That was a blatant lie. I pled guilty to avoid being executed. Ironic, I would say.

What I did not know was that, before I pled guilty, Alvarado’s conscience got him to call the prosecutors Saenz and Benjamin Euresti, while recording this conversation. Alvarado was on the verge of suicide and told both prosecutors that he had lied and perjured himself in testimony against me. He demanded from Saenz that they make a three-way call to the judge himself. These recordings will prove my innocence. The state prosecutor’s office has had a copy of this conversation for years although they deny it. There is also a lost copy of this recorded conversation out there somewhere, which surfaced (partially) when Alvarado committed suicide. He did ultimately take his own life. Everything you have just read is true, although it may sound like the makings of a crime novel.

Handcuffs and heartaches. Scars and Smiles

April 28, 2010

April 15, 2010 | Thursday

KANGAROO COURT. I have just had my recreation privileges suspended for the next 30 day, during which I will be confined to this isolation cell, and 60 days of further oppression yet. I can have no visits unless it’s legal or ministerial until next month. Funny thing is that it happened even to Thomas Whitaker and others who blog. I think that I’ll continue to blog because it is necessary.

I could tell you things. The Mrs. drives a white SUV and works Monday through Saturday. The mister may not like me to be so observant of his house, maybe. By the way, on the side of the house is an unattached carport that contains a 15-foot fishing boat pulled by a blue Chevy truck with silver flanges. Smile.

I could tell you of how they purposely aggress prisoners who they have it in for. Hank Skinner, who writes “Hellhole News” about the worst parts of this place. I just might be in their sights now. Such is life in this place, but I wasn’t always “in the place.” I readily admit that as a teen-ager I was a problem child with no guidance, although I never killed anyone to wind up in prison, but here I am all these years later. I once was really outgoing, quick to smile and a jokester who loved to have fun.

Where are my thoughts going with this? I don’t know. I am having an off day. I’ve told myself that I need to write every day because I along with others who blog from here want you to know what the Death Row experience is really about. I’ll be back in a minute, got to go check on my cows.

Yup, still grazing in the pasture out in the distance where I left them. Smile.

Don’t think I’m losing my mind, but actually I’m really enjoying my view to a world so close yet so far away. The cars, the woods. Handcuffs and heartaches. Scars and smiles. Some innocent thrown in among the guilty. The hooting and the hollering. Laugher of all sorts. From the genuine to the insane. It’s all a state of mind.

She believed and so do I

April 27, 2010

April 14, 2010 | Wednesday

ONLY TWO DAYS ago I witnessed several guards in riot gear as they escorted a man onto this cellblock (or pod, however you would like to call it). Steven Staley was shaking uncontrollably and chanting something that only he could understand. Staley has given himself up to a world that only he knows. I am not sure why exactly he was extracted from the cell where he was. I doubt that he even knows. Staley is a lunatic on Death Row. Actually, Staley is temporarily on another prison unit down the road where psychologists can have a look at him. After he was placed in one of these isolation cells, the guards left him to his unintelligible rants only to come back for him hours later.

They deemed him a risk to himself. I’ve often seen prisoners fall apart and wondered at how I have avoided that pitfall. Seventeen of the 20 years in which I have been incarcerated have been in a segregated environment with minimal human contact. Yet my will to live is just as strong today as it was when state officials conspired to unjustly send me to prison. I know that one day this will be proven and perhaps that is what keeps me sane.

My mom always told me, Dios es muy fuerte, m’hijo. She believed and so do I.

So many have not come back from that place

April 27, 2010

April 13, 2010 | Tuesday

IT IS FUNNY how things work out sometimes. Not a week ago I happened to mention watching a white cargo van slowly pulling away from Death Row at noon. I stood at the back wall window slit purposely waiting, watching for this van because I knew there was a condemned man, in chains, in the belly of that cargo van. I have known Hank for 12 years now and today he spoke to me about eating his last meal within sight of the Death Chamber. I have heard of the same experience from two others who also actually sat that close to death and felt it. So many have not come back from that place. Todd Willingham is among those who did not come back and now it’s exposed the he was innocent. I feel close to Todd at times. It was Todd who first called me Cowboy Roy. A crime that I am not guilty of, yet unable to prove it. Nobody believed him and the state took his life. In prison, I defended myself from an attempted sexual assault by an older prisoner. Unfortunately, it caused his death. I was placed in prison unjustly as a teen-ager and still am searching for evidence to prove my innocence. I should not have had to defend myself against that older prisoner.

Waking up to my mom’s voice

April 27, 2010

April 12, 2005 | Monday

I WOKE UP this morning to a voice asking me if I was going to go out and stretch in the “outside” recreation area. Was I surprised? Definitely. I splashed cold water on my face, brushed my teeth and stretched myself, then folded my mattress so that I could stop on it to peek out through the back wall window slit. I found fog hugging the ground and flashing lights out on the street. Keep in mind that it was roughly 6 in the morning, on a Monday.

The flashing lights were on a school bus waiting for students to board. I was reminded of school days. Mornings, waking up to my mom’s voice saying something in the distance and dozing back to sleep. My mother waking me again. Having to get up and splashing cold water on my face to force myself awake. Getting dressed, lying somewhere and dozing back to sleep. My mother shaking me awake again and guiding me to the door where she could give me my bendicion. I was still young enough to kiss my mom without being embarrassed (I was my momma’s boy) and off to school I would go. I’ve forgotten my brothers up to this point. Why? Sibling rivalry, maybe? Mom said get up! ROGEELIIIOOO! Rogelio is my given name. That’s me, Cowboy Roy. Yee-haw!

I cannot allow this sadistic administration to dictate my attitude

April 26, 2010

April 11, 2010 | Sunday

Another lazy Sunday afternoon and I’m enjoying my view. Yesterday’s storm has subsided and even though my brother’s visit was deliberately cancelled, I cannot allow this sadistic administration to dictate my attitude. I’ve been told that in all situations the best revenge is indifference and living well. Think so? Well, let’s try it!

I will allow you a unique view into the bowels of the Death Row Beast where I exist

April 25, 2010

April 10, 2010 | Saturday

WHAT A PLACE to wake up to! Full realization of where I am now has finally set in. I have lost most of my privileges to a false accusation and sadistic reaction by the administration. A tight feeling of dread has taken hold of me and is assaulting me in waves of negative emotion. How else do I describe my immediate situation? I guess, like many I could pretend to be made of steel and unfeeling to protect myself from those who would love to witness my distress. I won’t crawl into a corner and hide myself from this, though. Instead, I will allow you a unique view into the bowels of the Death Row Beast where I exist. The world isn’t always a pretty place. I have been pacing back and forth, as much as this confined space will allow. I am confined in an isolation cell in the securest section on Death Row. My door is welded with extra metal plating and a reinforced plastic shield covers a thin exposed crack that allows me a view to the front of my cell. A secured recreation area is directly underneath on the first floor. However, the bars reach up into the ceiling.

Here comes another negative emotional wave. I am supposed to visit with my brother tonight but I have yet to be advised that our visit is indeed happening. This definitely is not good, but I will get past it. I always have. Maybe looking out through the back-wall window slit might distract me.

My view? It’s actually not that bad, if I look past the watchtower. I can see much more than where I was caged before, but that is only due to this building’s layout. Before me is restrained freedom. What an oxymoron: restrained freedom. Past this electric fence, past these razor wire-tipped double fences and beyond the guard tower there is a street where I see activity. Automobiles going to and fro. Past the street, I can see more than two dozen cattle gazing. Beyond the pasture is a private airport of which I can see hangars. One in particular is open and two small planes are visible. Light clouds are overhead and the sun is on its downward swing.

A sight that you would be surprised by? The warden’s home is only 100 yards beyond those razor wire-topped prison gates. Shouldn’t he be afraid? Anybody lucky enough to make it past all those gates would surely run away from that house, not to it!

I am on the worst cellblock on Death Row

April 24, 2010

April 9, 2010 | Friday

I AM ASKING myself what you would make of this present situation that I find myself in. Would it surprise you to know how quickly things change in this place? An officer falsely accused me of threatening somebody, but it was until hours later that I found out. I have been moved into an isolation cell. Truly, I agonized about this last night and into today. I still do not feel well. However, I have decided to turn this situation into something positive. I’m two cells down from fellow prisoner who blogs at minutesbeforesix.com. Thomas is in an isolation cell because of a false charge and believes that his blogs are at the center of this aggression. Two others who also blog are on the first floor. What could I have possibly said? I will not stop blogging even though my postage will be severely limited due to my status in this isolation cell. Up until this point I have not expressed the true nature of this beast. That is about to change. I am on the worst cellblock on Death Row among the “perceived” worst prisoners in the state of Texas. I wish you could witness this particular spot for an hour or so and you would see for yourself how big of a scam capital punishment really is.

So, I’m in isolation now and it’s not enough that I have been stripped of all privileges (Joke: like I really had a lot!) But I am being fed this thing called a food loaf. Basically it’s what is served on the regular food tray. However, it is all mixed together on a cooking pan, baked and served to me in a brown paper sack. Yummy! I haven’t eaten it.