Day 001: So much is uncertain

August 22, 2008, Friday

 

I WOKE UP IN A normal Death Row cellblock, as I have for years. After breakfast, I was unable to sleep, and so I paced back and forth in this cell – three steps forward, three steps back – until the morning shift came on. I was asked by the cellblock officer if I was going to go out into the recreation cage to stretch. Having been locked up 24 hours a day and getting out whenever possible, instinctively I said yes. I went to do my morning chores and washed my socks and boxers before going out.

As I got done, two special escort officers arrived at the cell door and informed me that the Death Row captain requested that I be taken to his office. I put my prison jumpsuit on and gathered myself. Somehow, I knew why I was being taken to the captain’s office. A month earlier, I had stood before a trial court judge and been scheduled to be executed on the 6th of November, 2008. The captain was to notify me officially.

I entered the captain’s office where stood several officers. I sat before the Death Row captain, who had a document laid out titled, “Execution Summary.” This document requests information, such as names of those you want present to witness your execution, name of your spiritual advisor, last will and testament, last meal request, disposition of property and remains, etc.

The captain began by explaining what the procedure to an execution will be and why the execution summary is necessary. Not long into this, he stopped and dismissed all officers from his office, except for one. Left in his office was a lieutenant, the captain and me. A frown overtook his face and, in an almost threatening manner, he demanded to know if I had violence planned against them. He must have mistaken my relaxed manner for one of disinterest. His unexpected change in demeanor and challenging attitude surprised me.

Ignoring the challenge, I told him how I felt about myself and my circumstances after all these years: I arrived in prison as a misguided teen-ager. Today I am a grown man, different. I would like to be left in peace to deal with what is before me. So  much is uncertain and I only know that they plan to execute me in 76 days’ time. I plan to live as fully as I am able.

I was escorted to my cellblock, and into the recreation cage I went. I was questioned by fellow prisoners about what took place at the captain’s office. I told them that I was being moved to Death Watch and they knew exactly what that meant. I spoke with two friends before leaving. God willing, one day I hope to see and speak with them again. My property was already packed, as I knew that I would be moved into the Death Watch cells, where confined are all of us, men who have execution dates.

Upon arriving on Death Watch, I was allowed the rest of my recreation time. I was taken to an outside cage next to another man (Joseph Ries), who is to be executed on his birthdate! I had not seen “Joey” in years. He seemed nervous and did most of the talking, which was OK with me. After our time was over, I was escorted to the shower and back to this cell. Exhausted, I decided to wait to unpack what little I have after I woke.

I awoke to noise. The noise came through a small hole in the wall and sounded like a football game. As I listened, it became clear that the Dallas Cowboys were playing! I have no radio, so I sat in the dark, listening to my favorite team play football. The Cowboys beat the Houston Texans, and the world became a better place. Go Cowboys. 

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10 Responses to “Day 001: So much is uncertain”

  1. Carmel Diaz Says:

    76 days? How do you count down 76 days? I mean…I don’t know what I mean. I just can’t imagine knowing that I have only 76 days left.

  2. deathwatchjournal Says:

    It IS impossible to imagine, isn’t it. Yet, that is the reality. I wonder how many of us could live those last 76 days as bravely as Rogelio does.

  3. Chris Says:

    Rogelio, if you have access to this, believe and know that there are people “out” who are thinking of you and praying for you.

  4. deathwatchjournal Says:

    I print all comments and questions and mail them to Rogelio once a week, so he does have access to your comments, and appreciates your support. –JRP

  5. Françoise Casanova Says:

    The reading of your *Day one* let me without breath. You seem so calm! Because of the shock you received or may be because of the fact that, since all these years, you were awaiting this confrontation in the captain office?
    I imagine that, in your mind, everything must be very different that what appears and that thousands of thoughts are crossing them?
    Thinking of you and praying for you, too.
    With my affection,
    Françoise

  6. Mike Says:

    Bless you Rogelio.

  7. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Carmel,
    It is strange but I try to keep a straight head about it all. — Rogelio

  8. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Chris,
    Your thoughts and prayers are certainly appreciated. Positive thoughts create positive salvations. — Rogelio

  9. deathwatchjournal Says:

    Francoise,
    I just try to see things for what they are. Is that’s why I may seem calm? I think so. — Rogelio

  10. Tia Liz Says:

    Roy you need to keep on with your journal. Your have touched so many people’s lives with it. I miss reading it myself. Come on buddy we are all waiting for more.

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