Last words: ‘That is where the execution chamber is located’

May 13, 2010 | Thursday

TODAY HAS BEEN a taxing day so far, and we are not past morning! Billy is now in Kevin’s shoes, although he is not taking it quite well. I have now witnessed the difference in those to after years of knowing them. I do not even think that I truly knew these two men. Many of you may not know the connection between them aside from being scheduled to be executed in consecutive days. They were sent to Death Row for the same crime. Yesterday I saw Kevin walk out and today I watched as Billy left. Kevin was executed last night. Belly won’t be back today.

The speaker just crackled I have been advised to pack because I am being moved to the camera cell after I shower. My meager belongings are packed up already. I’ve been here before, not in the exact cell but in the camera cell above this cell I occupy now. Kevin wrote on the wall. (Kevin Scott Varga March 4, 1969 to May 12, 2010 May God have mercy) I heard that Kevin spoke in this final statement about accepting Jesus Christ as his savior. I always knew that he had it in him. God bless your soul, Kevin.

You may be wondering what a camera cell is. Death Row is separated form the general prison population and Death Watch is further separated form Death Row. Only two cells on Death Watch are equipped with a camera to observe those two individuals who are closest to their execution date. Billy Galloway was taken from one of these cells this morning. Kevin vacated this on I am in now.

Speaker just crackled. My expected legal phone call has been scheduled and will be put through shortly. Excuse me, the escort team is coming for me.

Legal news? It was my expected attorney phone call. Well, from the start? I was searched by the escort team before I was handcuffed. I was escorted to the visitation room where the attorney phone call took place. It was set for 11:30 a.m. The call was put through by an officer working a the visitation room, and, after the connection with my attorney was made, the phone was handed to me. A hearing is being held today so I was only brought up to date on what our situation is. People are coming forward, although the state prosecutor has not released the taped conversation, which we need to prove my innocence. I should know more tomorrow. On execution days, at 12 noon all prison movement is halted while the condemned man is escorted out of the visitation area. Billy walked right by the booth where I stood. I knocked on the door’s window to get his attention and say words of encouragement. Billy looked shaken, frightened, and his gaze fell towards the ground. Shoulders slumped. I did not expect that from him. Billy shook his head and walked away with several officers in tow. I noticed that one handcuffed hand flashed me a peace sign.

At this prices moment Billy is in the belly of a windowless white van. He is on his way to the Walls Prison unit in Huntsville. That is where the execution chamber is located.

(This was the last blog entry I received from Rogelio. It was written six days before he was executed but I received it in the mail two hours before he died. I don’t know if he wrote any more. The mail service in an out of Death Row is horrible, so it’s entirely possible that there may be some more on their way here. If there are more, I will post them. If not, I have fulfilled my promise to Rogelio. On his behalf, on behalf of his beloved Norma and his great friends Isabelle and Margy, and on behalf of his family — and on my behalf — I thank you for taking the time to read these.– Juan R. Palomo, May 24, 2010)


13 Responses to “Last words: ‘That is where the execution chamber is located’”

  1. Isabelle Says:

    Thank you Juan, from the bottom of my heart thank you for your friendship and dedication to Rogelio. Thank you for your friendship to my family and me. Thank you for all these years we have walked together with our friend. I will never forget it is thanks to Rogelio that we met, another reason for being grateful and so glad to have reached out to him.

  2. Lauren Says:

    Juan….thank you for being the connection between Rogelio and all of us out here who got to know him through this blog.

    I honestly cannot recall how I came across this blog, all I know is I have been reading it since before Rogelios original date. I don’t know why I started reading it but I will be forever glad that I did.

    Within these pages lie the story of a man who had so much to tell….and I still cannot believe his story is over.

    Wherever he is now, I hope he is making beautiful art and telling a new story about those that he loved.

  3. Esme Says:

    I, too, would like to thank you Juan for making the time to upload Roy’s blog enteries.

    It’s odd to me to think that the little boy who sat next to me in Mrs. Verduzco’s 2nd grade class at Sam Houston Elementary in La Feria walked a journey so very different from my own. As a matter of fact, I was in elementary school with Roy and Frankie. I don’t remember seeing Roy (or Frankie for that matter) after 2nd grade, at least not until I saw them on a news segment handcuffed and appearing before a judge when they were arrested in July of 1990. I remember being in a state of disbelief and shock. While I don’t recall all of the details of the case then and/or now outside of what I have researched on the internet and what I’ve read on Roy’s blog, I do remember picturing Roy (when I saw him on the news piece and in reading this blog) as the hyper 2nd grader with spikey hair who sat to my right in his adjoining desk. What amazes me is the evolvement he experienced in his adulthood and the strong and well articulated writing skills and thought process that he (with help from those of you who became his friends and joined him on this experience) sharpened into what would also contribute to his artistical and intellectual prowess. Incredible. You should know that all I knew of his academic skillset involved spelling tests and timed math quizzes with addition and subtraction problems.

    If what has been generated in the media is not all to Roy’s story as is the message impressed in this blog, I join all of you in prayer (St. Jude) that the truth be revealed and justice be served.

    To Roy’s family (Norma included): I am very sorry for your loss and I pray that in time, you find comfort in Roy’s love and promises for and to you and most importantly, in God’s love and compassion.

    To all of Roy’s friends who he met as a result of his journey: I am very sorry for your loss as well. Your compassion for Roy that I’ve experienced via this blog is an incredible example of humanity and one that I will not forget. Thank you.


    I am also struck by the fact that in spite of the thorny road on which Roy’s journey traversed, love was present and eventually grew and helped soften his road–his family’s love, his friends’ love, and the love of someone named Norma. Amazing.

  4. Kiki Says:

    Dear Juan;
    I’ve only just come across this last upload (went under in the large amounts of mail) and now I am shaken once more.
    First of all, let me thank you from all my heart for being the person you are, for being interlocutor for Rogelio and more importantly, for being HIS FRIEND! But also for letting us have Rogelio’s words, faithfully – as and when they reached you…. It must have been heartbreaking to receive mail even after his execution and I don’t know how you could do this last service to him with your inner being shredded. A big Thank You and God’s blessings….

    As Isabelle put it so rightly, YOU were the first link to lead us to Rogelio and the most important. If it hadn’t been for your contact with Isa, we couldn’t have met R. through her etc. etc. You have – via Rogelio – changed my perception of something huge I didn’t know anything about and, which will never be the same ‘after’. THANK YOU DEAR FRIEND for all the good you did and are doubtlessly going to do also in the future.

    Isabelle; my sweet friend – I wrote a loooong mail to you – and when I searched for a photo to add, our local electricity board suffered three ruptures within three hours and all my stuff got lost….. I WILL write again just not right now! You know all about my love for you, don’t you and you’ve learned to be patient…. 🙂

    Dear Lauren;
    I fully agree with every word you said – thank you for voicing them so well!

    Dear Esme;
    you totally blew me over…. Your comment is of such insight, love, understanding, of such wisdom that it put tears to my ears and pain and sorrow in my heart all over again….

    I am just thankful that you’ve made it to this blog and that you shared your thoughts with us.

    You are a very wonderful person and I particularly subscribe to your last paragraph about the changes and effects LOVE has on Rogelio’s life and on the lives of so many others. Family certainly, but then Norma and eventually all his old and new friends, readers…. HIS INFLUENCE will continue to change people’s lives and he will have a very special place in this wonderful place called heaven!!! God bless you for your thoughts and words, Esme.


    Au bout du monde, il n’y a pas de route, mais le terme d’un pèlerinage.
    Au bout de l’ascension, il n’y a pas l’ascension, mais le sommet.
    Au bout de la nuit, il n’y a pas la nuit, mais l’aurore.
    Au bout de l’hiver, il n’y a pas l’hiver, mais le printemps.
    Au bout de la mort, il n’y a pas la mort, mais la VIE.
    Au bout du désespoir, il n’y a pas le désespoir, mais l’Espérance.
    Au bout de l’humanité, il n’y a pas l’homme, mais l’Homme-Dieu.
    Au bout du Carême, il n’y a pas le désert, mais la RESURRECTION.
    Joseph FOLLIET

    At the end of the world, there is no road, but the end of a pilgrimage.
    At the end of the ascent, there is no more climbing, but the top.
    At the end of the night, there is no dark, but the dawn.
    At the end of the winter, there is no more winter, but a new spring.
    At the end of death, there is not death, but LIFE.
    At the end of despair, there is no despair, but Hope.
    At the end of humanity, there is no man, but a godly man. (sorry, this is a term I cannot translate)
    At the end of the lent, there is not the desert, but RESURRECTION.
    Joseph FOLLIET (badly translated by me)

  5. Nicolas Says:

    No. Thank YOU, Juan, for all this.

    This blog should be widely disseminated, even published, because it shows that beyond the image some in the US have of DR convicts, there are human beings.

    And reading his moving writings, his thoughts and his precise way to explain these, I believe that your friend Rogelio was indeed a very decent man, and a very special friend to you and tro others.

    Don’t forget him.


  6. Gudula Says:

    This is a message for Juan.

    Juan, I hope, that you don´t mind, that I apply to you with the following question.

    I have a pen-pal who is prisoner in Polunsky Unit-DR, South Livingston. He has written to me that he never receives any visit ( apart from his attorneys). Living in Germany I can´t visit him. Therefore I would like to ask you, if you know people in Texas who are willing to visit prisoners in Polunsky Unit-DR. Or could you give me an address where I could write to with further details?

    My pen-pal is a Mexican and I write to him in Spanish. His English is not very good, but any visit – english- or spanish spoken would be welcome.

    Juan, I can imagine that you need some rest after having been involved so much with Rogelio and his situation. I have read his blog and I have sent a few letters to Rogelio too.

    But I don´t know whom I could write to concerning my request.
    Thank you very much.


    • deathwatchjournal Says:

      Please send me your friend’s information. I will pass it on to two women that visit other men at Polunsky. One of them actually goes weekly.
      Thank you, Norma

  7. Norma Says:

    Thank you, Juan, for posting the blogs and for the friendship you extended to me… and thanks to everyone that read, shared, and commented.

    Isabelle, somehow, we will get through this together. Our talks always leave me with a little more peace.

    Esme, thank you for your thoughtful words. I also grew up in La Feria. I’m so glad you got a chance to know the person Roy became, if only through his writings. Now, if only everyone else in La Feria would take the time to get to know the man he was.

    Lauren, Kiki and Nicholas… Roy’s story will live on in each of us and everyone else that got to know Roy in one way or another. It is just so heartbreaking to know that the story shouldn’t have been over… to know that there was so much more to tell…

    Gudula, I met some wonderful people through Roy. They visit men who would not have visitors otherwise. I will try to contact you directly.

    It is so hard to wrap my mind around the idea that Roy is really gone. My mind knows and tries to understand, but my heart refuses to. Someday, I may be able to re-read these blogs without the lump in my throat, the pain in my heart, and the tears in my eyes… but I doubt it.

    • Lauren Says:

      You are an amazing and beautiful person. I am so sorry for your loss….

      To know that you have lost your love is probably the most upsetting part of this story. No matter how two people find each other, the fact that they did is always amazing. Knowing that Roy found love despite his circumstances is wonderful. His words were always richer and deeper when he spoke of you on this blog. I only hope that one day in my life I have the chance to find someone who loves me they way he obviously loved you.

      Carry his love with you forever, and one day you will find him again.

      Much love…..

    • Esme Says:

      Norma…I know you. I’m completely blown away that you’re the Norma although I must say that when you stated your height in one of the blog enteries, you’re the first one who came to my mind! I remember standing next to you, shorty 🙂 Suddenly, this entire story continues to evolve in incredible ways. From what I know of you, STRONG is a word that’s always come to mind…I’ve every confidence that you’ll pull through. You and yours are in my prayers. Cuidate muchisimo.

  8. organyk Says:

    I have been following this blog since early April. I’m touched at the warmhearted community Rogelio built. I was particularly moved by a prayer he mentions (April 22 entry) in the blog. I’ve said it every day since. I took the liberty to have prayer cards made up. I hope that was OK. If so, I will send them to Juan.
    Blessings to all.

  9. WackyTacky Says:

    Project Innocence scores an important victory. The ruling will make it clear once and for all if State of Texas executed a wrong man. This news is worth following.


  10. Kiki Says:

    I have just been back to re-read a few entries…. Rogelio is in my heart and in my prayers (and in my husband’s prayers!) every single day.
    Being sure that R. wouldn’t want to come back on this earth, we still ache for his beloved ones, for the unnecessary death, for the failings of the system, for so many things
    I’ve also tried to get through the link by WackyTacky (again), but I am afraid that my legal knowledge and maybe my English is not up to this level of discussion.
    If Rogelio’s death has done nothing else (and it did BIG THINGS, as we can read in all the comments on his blog), it was helping many people to focus on what WE can do to make things better for everybody. The first 30 days of Roy’s death are gone, a date I believe is important for Catholics and the balloons I fixed on the gates of our garden with the cards bearing the wishes for his soul are gone too, but his presence is with us day after day and we will never be the same again.
    RIP Rogelio, RIP victims of crimes, RIP innocent souls, those who ‘did what they did’ for their convictions and God help us ALL – because we can’t make our way alone.

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