About DeathWatchJournal

ON AUGUST 22, Rogelio Reyes Cannady, received the official word from officials in Texas’ Death Row in Livingston that the date for his execution had been set. The following postings will contain Rogelio’s thoughts as the day, November 6, approaches.*

Rogelio writes his journal longhand, in pencil and sends them to me each week. I will post them as soon as possible after I receive them. I welcome your thoughts and will share with him those I believe he will be interested in reading.

I have been corresponding with Rogelio since 1999 and I have visited him periodically since April, 2000. Our last visit was August 30. 

(A number of people have asked me how much of this is Rogelio’s writing and how much of it is my editing of his writing. As much as I would love to take credit, Rogelio is an excellent writer and requires little editing. I have made only a handful of changes in the material he wrote long-hand and mailed to me. Rogelio is pretty much self-taught, having never graduated from high school. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, he never even attended high school. He also taught himself how to read and write Spanish. — JRP)


Juan R. Palomo

Washington, DC

* According to the official Texas Department of Criminal Justice Scheduled Executions web page, Rogelio is now scheduled to be put to death November 19.


40 Responses to “About DeathWatchJournal”

  1. Ann Chapman Says:

    Bless you!

  2. Isabelle Says:

    Thank you Rogelio for telling us of your daily life and thoughts on Death Watch. It is both powerful and touching. People everywhere have to know the reality of someone’s counting the days till his state scheduled execution. Stay strong and never lose hope !
    Thank you so much Juan for sharing Rogelio’s Death Watch Journal. A precious testimony. And a great support to a dear friend.

  3. deathwatchjournal Says:

    He did the writing and he’s living the reality. I’m just a messenger who would have never even heard of Rogelio if it hadn’t been for your efforts, Isabelle.

  4. Françoise Casanova Says:

    I feel so sad. I am full of several emotions. And anger, too. But I know it is not your case and that it won’t help. So I will try to replace it with compassion. Thank you for your so strong “Death Watc Journal”.
    It is so difficult, from the “outside” to imagine how life, days and hours are going on!
    Thank you for sharing your deep feelings with us. You are so brave!
    With warm affection, Françoise

  5. Christiane Bitz Says:

    I just came back from Livingston for a visit with my penpal Guadalupe. Know that a part of your dear friend Isabelle was with me at Polunsky on the 4 and 5th September…
    I have admiration for what you do… and a lot of emotion when I read your words and of course when I see your picture with your friend Juan. Never lose HOPE Rogelio ! We are all by your side with our thoughts, prayers and hearts !
    Christiane Bitz

  6. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Hi, Ann! Long time no hello. 🙂 These are my days. — Rogelio

  7. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Merci beaucoup pour ton appoyer! Sometimes I have doubted the strength of word because this is only my reality. — Rogelio

  8. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Thank you for reading this. It is my hope that whoever reads this is able to take a few steps with me and understand what facing death is like. — Rogelio

  9. deathwatchjournal Says:

    I won’t lose hope, you believe that. Thanks for your thoughts, prayers and support. — Rogelio

  10. Lucky Says:

    Hi Ray (Rogelio),

    I was reading your letter – thank you very much.
    I will answer as soon as possible.

    Be sure that we will never give up our fight against death penalty.


    your new pen pal

    Lucky from Germany

  11. Ruth Jensen Says:

    Rogelio — I know you are a wonderful, intelligent and sensitive man. My thoughts are with you. — Ruthie

  12. Anna Pearl Thomas Says:

    Dear Roy, Just a note to say, you are in our thoughts and prayer’s. Your journal touches the heart’s of so many. Thank~you, for sharing. Anna & Francisco

  13. Jean-Baptiste Says:

    Hi my friend.

    How to begin? I wonder why I spent so much time in front of my computer, on Juan’s blog, thinking about what I wanted to say to you, without being finally able to collect my thoughts and produce something coherent and sensible.

    I guess I should have written spontaneously, like I’m doing now, without knowing if this time I’ll send the message.

    What happens to you affect us much at home, you know this. It affects me, day after day, because day after day I come here on the blog and read. It affects me since many long years actually, because you’re so close a friend of the family. Kind of a relative, part of the clan, remote but ever present.

    I just don’t realize what is happening actually. How can I feel so close to somebody, hearing and thinking about him every day and yet being unable to imagine what his everyday life REALLY is? How can I figure out, here in Switzerland, that the State of Texas is trying to… ??? I just can’t. What I can is thinking of you, writing to you, talking about you, discussing what is going on, sympathize…

    Knowing you is a special gift made to us. You are an awesome man, surprising and fascinating. I hope you realize how much you are bringing to Isabelle and to all of us. This across-the-ocean relationship all those people established through YOU is quite a spectacular thing, don’t you think? You are a much loved person Roy, and you deserve it.

    Never lose hope, like we do. Keep on being the extraordinary man that you are.
    liebe grüsse

  14. Françoise Says:

    Jean-Baptiste, dearest nephew,
    You made your loving aunt cry!

  15. Kiki Says:

    Dear Rogelio

    The better I ‘know’ you, the more I love you; my heart will never be the same as before. Had a long chat with Isabelle the other day, I am thankful to her too for introducing me to you….

    Courage my friend; I am always thinking that YOU will be in paradise, when your time comes and not a moment before, that you are worthy of a life after death and that you are in a better position than many on this earth who are not behind bars but should be. If YOU can forgive, everybody else should be able to forgive too!

    I can’t bear thinking about what will be in 10 days time; but I believe that you will be still with us… getting stronger every day and being a ‘doer’ for all those who no longer can. It’s important that we all don’t get complacent and it’s important that we encourage you and others at the other end of the long corridor of daily suffering and humiliation.

    Who was it who said: Only free men never want to escape? In some way, we are probably ALL prisoners… and if ‘only’ being captives of our thoughts, opinions, convictions. You will be truly FREE one day – and never be held prisoners again!

    I give you a big hug and enclose you in my prayer in a moment’s time when I go to bed.


  16. Françoise Says:

    Welcome back, Kiki!
    Where have you been? I was missing your heartfelt comments, so personal and often with a touch of humor. You manage to face the cruel reality and to express it, which still remains difficult for some of us. This dreadful countdown runs too quickly and I have such a yearning for a miracle to come!
    Dear Roy, we are so next to you and you are so next to us. You succeeded in opening even more our hearts to the other. Thank you for that.
    Ti pensiamo forte. Con un abbraccio, Fanfan

  17. Dee Says:

    Hi Rogelio,

    firstly I want to start by saying I think it’s great that you are writing this blog. It gives people a real insight into the inner workings of the prison system and it shows a lot of courage on your behalf.

    Secondly, I don’t mean this with any offense as I myself don’t beleive in the death penalty at all but I don’t really believe that you should have a petition to let you off the death penalty. In the USA, unfortunately, the law allows for the death penalty. By your own admission, you murdered 3 people so you should probably be punished in the way that your country sees fit.

    Once again, I think the death penalty is completely horrendous and if we had it in Australia I would be mortified but just because you seem to be nice and “changed” now, I don’t really think it excuses what you did. You’ve been in jail for a very long time and that’s probably the reason you seem nice now but even in jail you killed someone (whether it was self defense or not). I know that people sometimes deserve a 2nd or 3rd chance but the only reason people should be signing a petition for you is to get rid of the death penalty compeltely. Not because you are writing a blog and seeming likeable.

    I don’t mean this in an angry tone but rather quite calm and just trying to get my point across. I hope you leave my reply posted on the website to show real human emotion which can be both positive and not so positive…

  18. Renate Says:

    Dear Roy,

    it seems that I know you through your blogs here so well. Thank you for sharing your days on death watch with us. It is so needed that people hear about that worldwide and get to know what kind of human rights violations some people have to face day by day. I am Max’ friend and know firsthand what all he is facing there since so many years, being innocent at that. But it is one thing to read about it and another thing to have to live that for year after year. I am glad you are so strong and that you have decided to share your days with us. It is a gift that is really appreciated and will help to show even more people what is happening in a civilised country, one of the most modern countries in the world.
    I ment to tell you this before, sorry I have not done so yet, but I want to wish you all the strength that you need to face all of this and I will hope and pray that you will receive a stay. Needless to say that I try to be as active a part as I can from here to help for this to happen. I keep you in my thoughts and prayers and thank you for sharing with us what life is like at your place. May God bless you and give you strength and I hope you will keep up informing us here for many more days, weeks, month and years 🙂

    Blessings, much love and respect from Germany

  19. Anna Pearl Thomas Says:

    Dear Roy, Francisco and I are thinking of you daily and these few words are from our hearts,as the 19th. approches. ” May your spirit soar above the highest mountain tops;to the ancient pyramids of Egypt;across the great oceans and may you find yourself in the company of heavenly angels where you will never again remember the pain and suffering of this life;yet in your leaving,you are not alone as those who love you gather near to you in spirit and prayer’s. Your written words shall forever live to tell your story. our love & prayer’s,Francisco & Anna

  20. Krystal Says:

    Dear Roy
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings,
    It is very difficult to put my feelings in to words, I want to assure you that the thoughts and prays of so many people around the world are with you now and for a long time. You name will be spoken about for years to come. You will be remembered as a good person who made some mistakes. You are a truly kind and selfless man, for being so brave as to be able to share your feelings with some many.
    How evil is our world? How barbaric is Human Kind?
    You will be forgiven for your faults as everyone who pleads forgiveness and means it will.
    No longer will you need to live in such an evil world no longs will you need to see the evil deeds humans inflict on each other.
    You will be free you sprit will live on, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind of that.
    My thoughts and prays will be with you on your journey before and after you leave this earth.
    God bless you.

  21. jess Says:

    Dear Roy,
    thank you for sharing this personal time in written to me and many other people around the world.
    I never usually read this sort of stuff bout life, but for some reason yours has drawn me in and for that i am very grateful.
    To me you are a good person who just went on the wrong path in life, but everyone has made mistakes in their life time and has been forgiven.
    I’m sure your name will be remember through everyone of us that you have shared your story with. I know i will never forget you and i only started reading your blogs yesterday, cause saw it through the news on the net and already been talking about you to a friend and sent them the link to your blogs.
    My prayers are with you in this time and know that god is watching over you and will be there til the end and after life with you.
    Just know that your story made it to australia and i’m grateful that you shared it with me.
    God bless you, my heart is with you!

  22. angel Says:

    If somebody told me that I had 5 days on earth and then i would die, probably I would be terrified..Then I would accept it and do all these thing that I wanted to do in my life..Travel, have fun, but mostly tell the people I love all my thoughts and all my fears so I purify my soul..Above all just tell them that I love them and I am thankfull for having them and being loved by them..However you are in a position that is more complicated..You can’t travel, maybe you can’t have fun in the way you had in mind, but you can still do the last thing I wrote above…
    You did terrible things and you know it..You pay for it now..You spread pain, grief, misery and now it’s time to spread love..If I was in position to govern a country I would have withdraw the death penalty..You can’t panish people with death when you convict them for the same reason..It’s stupid..Prison is for making things right, give people the time to think what they did , make them regret and turn them into better people…Not give them time to think, regret and kill them..
    I can understand the pain of these families you put in grief..I am praying for them to recover and go on..I can also understand your side in a way..but one time is a mistaken choise, three times is a choise you did after good thinking..So live and die by this choise..Ask God for forgivness and mostly ask these people you made sad to forgive you..Believe me, they won’t feel any better when you die, because their beloved will not come back..
    God bless you..

  23. Diane Says:

    Thank you for sharing these days with us. I’m sure it will help me gain insight into my own brothers struggle (Ohio Death Row), as he is always trying to protect us, his family, from the realities.
    My prayers to you, your family, and friends.
    I found Day 69 particularly hard to comprehend…the need for “more” camera cells should offend our nation and each one of us personally, so much so that we end the death penalty.

  24. Athina Says:

    Hola Rogelio,

    I’m from Greece and i found this blog by luck…
    I don’t know what to say,only that this HORRIBLE and CRUEL thing MUST STOP one day in America…They can’t do this to people,even they did make crimes etc.
    I hope that you wouldnt have to pass through all this..REALLY…

    A huge hug and muchos besos..



  25. jess Says:

    Dear Roy,
    Thinking of you as the days lead up to the 19th.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you as you live out your final 3 days on this cruel world..
    I do hope you get a stay and praying with all my might that you do.
    God bless you!


  26. BayLady Says:

    Hola Rogelio:
    My Thoughts & Prayers are with You and Your Family at this very difficult time.
    With God’s help a decision will be made in your favour, he will show you the way.
    God Bless You.

  27. TinamarieMizzero Says:


    I want to say thank you for the blog… IT means alot to know EXACTLY what the TEAXS system is doing…


  28. shoves Says:


    I’ve been following your journal daily!
    With God, anything is possible! Hang in there!

    You are in our thoughts and prayers!

    And remember, if God brings you to it, He will carry you through it!

    God Bless!

    (Cape Town – RSA)

  29. John-Paul Says:

    Just thought this would be some interst to everyone here, on you tube there is a series called “Penn and Teller – Bullshit” where they correct misconceptions of the world. In one particular episode, they oppose the death penalty. They speak to some people who are all for it, one of whome lost his daughter to a serial pedophile and murderer, who is now on death row, possible already executed, and they also speak to people adverse to it, one of whome was on death row for 5 years, before it was proved that he was innocent of the crime, despite already being in jail for car theft at the time of the murder. I think it is worth watching, as it breaks appart all the reasons for the necessity of the death penalty, like revenge – dispelling the “eye for an eye” biblical mentality that Jesus himself overturned in lue of “turn the other cheek”, and deterant – showing that US states with the death penalty has less murderers per population than states with, and giving psychological reasons behind it. Also shows the inhumanity of the methods used, even the lethal injection, which after autopsies of executed people were shown to be administered in a standard not fit to put down a pet with.

    Here are the links, unfortunately, it was split into 3 10 minute lots, but I urge all of you to watch it.
    part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICZ-akWgTaU
    part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMezG001NhY&feature=related
    part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOIPRaTZ3kQ&feature=related

  30. John-Paul Says:

    I correct myself, read “showing that US states with the death penalty has less murderers…” as “showing that the US states WITHOUT the death penalty has less murderers per…”

  31. Prince Christopher Says:

    I hope that God forgives Roy for what he did. And I probably will not be able to comprehend how scared he is, I understand that. But he put himself in that situation because he knew that if he killed those people, he could get the death sentence. Unless you are defending your life or well-being from great harm, there is no excuse to kill. None. However, I do have a big heart, so I do feel for you, Roy, but you will now have to pay for your crime. If you have found God, I hope you go with him.

  32. John-Paul Says:

    Prince Christopher, while I agree that Roy put himself in this position, and there is no excuse to kill, I feel that you hit the nail on the head there. “Unless you are defending your life or well-being from great harm, there is no excuse to kill. None.” The people that are executing criminals now are not defending themselves, the criminal is in handcuffs. There is still NO EXCUSE to kill. Some of the poeple that get excecuted have commited horrid crimes, but it is not our right as human beings to deem them worthy to be killed, that decision rests with God and God alone. I wholeheartedly agree with lengthy jail sentences to keep criminals off our streets, and deter potential criminals, and to rehabilitate the current offenders, but killing them does not rehabilitate, and does not seem to be a good deterant.

  33. jess Says:

    Also with the comments before hand unless your defending youself are your forgetting in one of his blogs he wrote about the incident in jail that he kill the man, cause he was making sexual stuff towards him…I’m sorry but if i was in Roy’s position with someone doing that to me and you had no where to run to cause your stuck in there i too would of killed him…

  34. John-Paul Says:

    Jess, idealy in that situation, I would have tried to defend myself without it resulting in the death of a man, but in the heat of the situation, who knows what can happen? For all we know, Roy probably didn’t intend his cellmate to die either. I do feel that this incident shouldn’t warrant the death penalty, even by the standards of the system that implements it.

  35. jess Says:

    just a quick question is roy still going to write daily entries even thou he is now off death row?

  36. Jodee Says:

    Hello there…I found this page through Thomas Whitakers journal MB6 but I was wondering is there a homepage to this death watch journal where other prisoners also write blogs or is this a one off? Also is there a link where I can read up on the case that lead Rigelio to end up on Death Row please? Many thanks to you

  37. Post pra tapar buraco antes do Carnaval. « AnarcoBlog Says:

    […] deathwatchjournal.wordpress.com/…: Isso é legal: aparentemente, um preso do corredor da morte mandou os posts pra um amigo, pelo correio, e o amigo postou. […]

  38. ucvnbszkxs Says:

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  39. Jeff Says:

    With a new execution date of 5/19/2010, are there any updates? Is he still writing this blog?

    • deathwatchjournal Says:

      Rogelio is still writing the blog. I have several more entries to post and I presume that by the time I post them all, he will have sent me some more. That is his intention, anyway. His legal team is doing everything they can to get that original conviction overturned. Nothing new to report at this point. — JRP

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