My life matters to me

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.


3 Responses to “My life matters to me”

  1. Norma Says:

    Your life matters to me, to Isabelle, to Juan, to all those that love you, and to all those that are against capital punishment. We will not give you up easily. Tina, Richard and Jose continue to work tirelessly for you. Stay strong, Love, because we draw our strength from you, and the love we have for you. We are with you.

  2. Kiki Says:

    Rogelio; it also matters to me and all those I have included in telling about you, over the time….
    It just cannot be that you will be executed; the truth must surface – and death penalty must stop. You are not alone and as Norma said, so many are working for your liberation. Stay strong, friend, the world needs to know! It shows the weakness of the system that all those who have a voice to carry beyond the prison walls, are being ‘punished’ additionally… but in the end, the truth will come up. I believe that and wish you strength to endure these renewed days of humiliation. I am praying for you – daily.

  3. Françoise Says:

    It matters to me also.
    We know you for such a long time now, year and years and years. You became a companion, from very far away, sharing with us feelings, emotions, silences and jokes.
    This cannot change. And it won’t.
    Thank you for your courage, your tenacity and your constant hope in tomorrow, in life and God.
    With love and thoughts,

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