Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Last Words That Are Not Famous: The Sounds Of Death Row

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I am not a believer in the death penalty.  It amounts to murder and those most often subjected to this cruel and unusual punishment, are often poor and of color.  Justice is not blind and in fact it regularly privileges those that are already living with advantages.  Once someone enters the penal system we have a tendency to think of their crime and forget the fact that they are still human beings that feel pain.  Many believe that they are deserving of said pain because of their actions, but if we lower ourselves to that level, are we really any better than those we seek to punish?

I came across the Texas Department of Criminal Justice page with a listing of executed prisoners.  It has their crimes and their last words.  I believe that it is important that these words be heard and that these men be remembered.  These are the words of men who were murdered by the state because the US has not moved past the point of believing that answering violence with violence is acceptable.  As much as they may be guilty of heinous crimes, they are also victims.

Johnson, Johnny 02/12/2009: The Polunsky dungeon should be compared with the Death Row Community as existing not living. Why do I say this, the Death Row is full of isolated hearts and suppressed minds. We are filled with love looking for affection and a way to understand. I am a Death Row resident of the Polunsky dungeon. Why does my heart ache. We want pleasure love and satisfaction. It. The walls of darkness crushed in on me. Life without meaning is life without purpose. But the solace within the Polunsky dungeon, the unforgivesness within society, the church Pastors and Christians. It is terrifying. Does anyone care or who I am. Can you feel me people. The Polunsky dungeon is what I call the pit of hopelessness. The terrifying thing is the US is the only place, country that is the only civilized country that is free that says it will stop murder and enable justice. I ask each of you to lift up your voices to demand an end to the Death Penalty. If we live, we live to the Lord. If we die we die to the Lord. Christ rose again, in Jesus name. Bye Aunt Helen, Luise, Joanna and to all the rest of y’all. You may proceed Warden. (began singing)

Scheanette, Dale Devon  February 10, 2009 : Is the mic on? My only statement is that no cases have ever tried have been error free. Those are my words. No cases are error free. You may proceed Warden.

Davis, Larry  July 31, 2008 : Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. It is finished.

Chamberlain, Karl June 11, 2008: I want you all to know, everyone with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Thank you for being here today to honour Falicia Prechtl, whom I didn't even know. To celebrate my death. My death began on August 2, 1991 and continued when I began to see the beautiful and innocent life that I had taken. I am so terribly sorry. I wish I could die more than once to tell you how sorry I am. I have said in interviews, if you want to hurt me and choke me, that's how terrible I felt before this crime. I am sorry, it is her innocence and her life which began the remorse every since December 1, 1991. I have embraced life. Thank you for being a part of my life. I love you. May God be with us all. May God have mercy on us all. I am ready. Please do not hate anybody because.......(end of statement)

Pippin, Roy March 29, 2007: Yes sir,  I charge the people of the jury.  Trial Judge, the Prosecutor that cheated to get this conviction.  I charge each and every one of you with the murder of an innocent man.  All the way to the CCA, Federal Court, 5th Circuit and Supreme Court.  You will answer to your Maker when God has found out that you executed an innocent man.  May God have mercy on you.
My love to my son, my daughter, Nancy, Kathy, Randy, and my future grandchildren.  I ask for forgiveness for all of the poison that I brought into the US, the country I love.  Please forgive me for my sins.  If my murder makes it easier for everyone else let the forgiveness please be a part of the healing.  Go ahead Warden, murder me.  Jesus take me home.

Charles Nealy March 20, 2007: The reason it took them so long is because they couldn't find a vein.  You know how I hate needles - I used to stay in the Doctor's Office.  Tell the guys on Death Row that I'm not wearing a diaper.  I can't think of anything else.  You all stay strong.  Now you can put this all aside.  Don't bury me in the prison cemetery.  Bury me right beside momma.  Don't bury me to the left of dad, bury me on the right side of mom.

Kim Schaeffer, you are a evil woman.  You broke the law.  The judges and courts helped you and you didn't have all the facts.  When you look at the video, you know you can't see anyone.  You overplayed your hand looking for something against me and to cover it up the State is killing me.  I'm not mad or bitter though.  I'm sad that you are stuck here and have to go through all of this.  I am going somewhere better.  My time is up.  Let me get ready to make my transition.  Doug, don't forget Marcy.

It’s all so civilized isn’t it?  They are presumed innocent (yeah right).  They get a judge or a jury of their peers.  When they cannot afford a lawyer one is provided for them.  (Remember you do get what you pay for in this life)  The prisoners eat one last meal (as long as it comes in under ten dollars, no sense breaking the bank)  They are given a chance to make a final statement, which is quickly forgotten or not even reported in the media.  Then they are put to sleep.  It all seems so nice and easy doesn’t it?  Thank goodness the drugs prevent their bodies from contorting, we wouldn’t want the witnesses to be traumatized by watching someone in the throes of death would we?  No matter how humane the government seems to think this process is, murder is murder regardless of whether or not a single drop of blood is spilled in the process.