3/31/10

Two new letters today, Tiffany Cole & Kelly Gissendaner - BUT before I get into those I want to rant.
I want to rant about people who are to stupid to look at this blog and see that I DO NOT BELIEVE in the death penalty.

Dear Regular Reader,

Is there anything else I can possibly put on here to make my position known on the death penalty?
If so, do tell.

In one of the letters I recieved today I was informed that she (the gal on death row) heard from a friend of hers who "had a bad dream and woke up to find a post on her at Woman Condemned".

BARF!! Gimme a freaking break.

She went on to say that whoever this lurker is had copied my words and sent them to her.
Again... geesh ...

In my many years of writing to these women, publishing their newsletter, arranging donations, attorneys and etc I have ran across this type of "mystery girl" before. Lurking around, reading, starting shit but not actually posting here or even writing to me with a thought or opinion.

Oh no...instead they write to the woman condemned and give her even more to worry about. I ask you again, regular reader, what here shows a predilection  toward the death penalty?

And to you lurking shit starter, hows about making yourself known instead of writing to these women who have mounds of worry as it is - just becuase your jealous, or afraid someone will steal your friend.

Think about someone besides yourself.
Tennessee Voices - Letter from a TN Governors Son


As governor, my father, Frank Clement Sr., truly struggled with the responsibility and legal right to decide who lives and who dies under the death penalty. He did not feel it was a responsibility that should be left entirely to the governor.

During his second term, men did die in the electric chair. I remember seeing the anguish my father suffered as the hour of execution grew closer. He would personally talk with each inmate on death row and ask them the simple question: "Why should I save your life?" Some inmates had lied all the way through the legal process, but when facing my father's question, some did say, "Governor, you should not intervene." Even then, the decision was no easier for my father, because he would also meet with the families of inmates, including wives and children. To my know-ledge, he's the only governor who met face-to-face with families of the men he knew he would not save from the electric chair. He felt it was a step he had to take if he was going to accept the responsibility of a state execution.

Appeal to legislature failed

During his third term, my father had a personal conviction that the state legislature must address the legality of capital punishment. He made his plea to legislators in March 1965. At that time five inmates were on death row, with three scheduled to die that month. He also sent a personal letter to every member of the Senate, asking them to abolish capital punishment, telling them that the death penalty was, in his view, contrary to the biblical commandment not to kill.

He wrote: "The Senate sits today as a jury that has in its hands the lives of five men who are confined to death row in the Tennessee State Penitentiary. ... If the experience of 10 states and 38 nations that do not practice capital punishment is not proof that we can get along without the death penalty, and in fact, have a better administration of justice, it seems impossible to prove anything."

The state Senate voted 25-7 to abolish capital punishment. But opposition in the House of Representatives was much stronger. So just three days before the three executions were set to occur, my father decided to make his strongest appeal in a speech on the floor of the House. He raised tough, pointed questions. He asked: "Can anyone deny that this is a law that does not apply to all alike and is therefore inconsistent? Can anyone deny that human judgment is inadequate? This is a law that we cannot justify. It's a law that does not conform to the older law, the Bible."

Despite my father's direct appeal, the House voted the next day, 48-47, in favor of keeping the death penalty. So my father took the only step his conscience would allow him. He personally went to death row to make his announcement to the condemned inmates. He told them: "I cannot save your soul, but I can save your life. Today, I am commuting your sentence from the death penalty to 99 years." The prisoners began shouting, praying and thanking the governor for saving their lives.

The point is, my father could live with the terrible responsibility of carrying out state executions as long as he felt they were unquestionably justified. But he did not believe such a certainty was possible, other than in God's hands. He said if human judgment was wrong, capital punishment might be defined as "legal murder, given the Commandment that says, 'Thou shalt not kill.' " He said, "The question of capital punishment cannot be divorced from Christian philosophy." He was also troubled by the fact most inmates executed were either poor or black.

After the events of March 1965, despite the legislature' s refusal to abolish the death penalty, my father never oversaw another execution. Now, more than 40 years after he left office, my father would be proud that as part of his legacy, Tennessee has experienced the fewest executions among all the Southern states.

Bob Clement is a former U.S. congressman who represented Tennessee's Fifth Congressional District. He is president of Clement & Associates, a public affairs firm

3/30/10

Many of my readers are not concerned with the death penalty at all, rather they are true crime buffs, crime watchers or, like the viewers of Snapped, just interested in women in crime. I am all of these things, hence, this blog was born.

Often when I watch television or movies a certain woman will jump out at me and I will be fascinated by her story. This happened recently with Dawn Schiller. I watched Wonderland for the first time this weekend. I know, where have I been, right? Not only did I not know about the Wonderland Murders (I know, thats it incredibly wierd for someone so up on crime and murders. What can I say- I slipped) but I had no clue who John Holmes was. (If there is anyone out there as clueless as I was, John was a famous porn star with a huge weenie).

Dawn was the 15 year old girlfriend of the married and 31 year old John Holmes.  WTF!? you say? So did I. I went went straight to Google and searched for Dawn after the movie and found she is very much alive, produced the Wonderland movie and does some pretty amazing research. Amazing because what she researches, lectures and writes about (besides her life of beatings and forced prostitution with John Holmes) is how young girls, throwaway teens, can and will eventually become drug users and criminals.

She proves my point with eloquence and facts. A combination definetly worth perusing.

3/27/10

Dastardly day of disappointment…

I’m crushed. I had my heart set on meeting Dog the Bounty Hunter Sunday.I interviewed him a few years back for our local paper, The Saturday Independent. Just my luck they have cancelled their trip here. I could travel 4 hours to Chattanooga or Columbia but I don’t see that happening with all 6 kids. Sigh…

I so admire Dog and Beth and the hard work they put in to help people, even though they have been or are in trouble. They seem to be a few of the few. You know, those that realize that just because a person has made mistakes in life doesn’t make them something you have scraped off the bottom of your shoe.

Your best life starts after you know better.

3/23/10

Tennessee Supreme Court seems to be taking it's sweet time dciding what to do about Gaile Owens. Seems odd with so much to base a decision on. All they really need to do is look at every single previous case to a woman convicted of killing their husband and compare the details.

Gaile hired someone to kill her husband after extreme abuse and they have her on death row. Other women like the smiling, happy and free Mary Winkler who actually did the killing of her husband are free. What gives?

3/18/10

Needle point: The die was cast when Pavatt killed NewsOK.com: "The die was cast when Pavatt killed"
James Pravatt is complaining that the method of execution to be used in his death is unconstitutional.The piece above is a very Pro stance on his upcoming execution and the fact that he is complaining about the method.

3/11/10

It seems there have been several developments in the Alyssa Bustamante case since I last checked.
She has been granted the right to have jury from outside the county.
They have decided to allow cameras in the court room so there is a lot more footage.
I heard through the grapevine that she has asked to wear her own clothes in all future appearences.
 A local blogger seems to think that changing the jury may not be much help, and I cant help but agree. This case is known all over the world.
Her attorneys are now able to view her juvenile court records. That should have happened long ago. They are certainly dragging their feet in this case.
Fla. Supreme Court Denies Appeal for Woman Guilty of Killing San Marco Couple Firstcoastnews.com Local News: "TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The woman found guilty of killing a San Marco couple in 2005 has lost her appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
Tiffany Cole was sentenced to death in 2007 for the murders of James and Carol Sumner after being convicted of two counts each of first degree murder, kidnapping and robbery."

Today is a bad day for Tiffany. I have already mailed a letter to her or I would have tried to send her a little something to raise her spirits.

In the letter I received late last week she talked about how unfair she believes Floridas criminal laws to be as compared to SOuth Carolina, her home state.

"A couple people I knew were charged with murder but they got time ranging from 25 to 30 years. Not even life without parole. They are eligible for parole. Here in Florida, a person sentenced to life gets natural life without parole. In SOuth Carolina life is like 25 years. I just dont understand the justice system."

And she is right...that is my problem exactly with the death penalty. Arent we one nation, under God, indivisible? Indivisible only by our criminal justice laws, apparently.

3/10/10

I recieved a letter from Tiffany Cole on Friday. I havent ansered it yet. But to my unending surprise I got a letter from Kelly Gissendaner in Georgia. I've written to her twice and never gotten a response. I mentioned that to her and she replied that she had become anti social and that it was better that way in prison.

3/4/10

My letter from Tiffany Cole. I wrote her back last week but have heard nothing yet. I also write Kelly Gissendaner last week but have had no response. I wrote her before and she does not answer. But I thought it was worth another try.

Matthew Perkins Triple Murder

The man who committed these murders recruited my daughter into the Army. We had quite a bit of contact with him at the time. Can you ima...