7/31/13

Drew Peterson

 I received a new letter from the infamous wife killing cop, Drew Peterson.

I have no previous knowledge of his case other than the fundamentals. I thought it interesting that he mentions in his letter that his case is a travesty of the American justice system.

I think it is worth the time to look into what he says to make sure it isn't true. He says his appeals are looking hopeful.

I wonder about our misguided social state in this country. If he is found to be innocent, will he be ostracised like George Zimmerman. Will all the arm chair detectives in the country who make decisions on partial evidence trumped up by the media, condemn him as a murderer even if an informed judge finds him innocent?

It's a fair question in these United States of America.

Here is a television movie based on the case:

7/16/13

Lisa Montgomery - Federal Inmate

I wrote to Lisa Montgomery today. I hesitated for a long time before adding her to my list of inmates. My goal in doing this in the first place is to be able to offer some kind of support to the women on death row and other inmates. I do not condone the behavior but I maintain that all humans should be treated as such.

Many times, since I have a somewhat jaded and disappointed view of our American justice system, I am more apt to believe in the underdog stories. I have seen so many cases of the woman condemned and other inmates being nothing but a victim time and again. I can see the path of destruction and the breaking point far more clear than most rural moms.

Lisa stands convicted of slicing a baby girl from her mother's belly, one Bobbie Jo Stinnett, killing her in the process. She is on death row in Texas at the Federal Medical Center.

Doctor after doctor has proven this woman suffers from excessive amounts of mental illness, some of which was traced back to head injuries in her past. She displayed signs throughout her life of mental illness. She lied compulsively about everything. She buried herself in books and lived an altered reality that was apparent to those who knew her best.


I write to Angela Johnson occasionally, she was a federal inmate at Carswell until she was removed from death row. In her letters she described Lisa as quiet and confused and eager to please. She took pity on her and eventually came to care a great deal for her.

My indecisiveness on the subject of Lisa stems from my tendency to see the injustices in the criminal justice system. I know in my heart that by writing to Lisa Ill be opening my heart for more heartache and disappointment but as they say, no pain, no gain.

This woman doesn't deserve to die. She should be punished, possibly for the rest of her life, but mostly she needs medical help. How can we prevent these things if we cant treat them?

I'll let you know if she writes back.




How to Write to a Prison Inmate

How to Write to a Prison Inmate | eHow

Very simply explained, this eHow article tells the basics of writing to a prison inmate. I get many letters each day asking for help in this arena. While I answer as many as I can, this article can help guide your way.

Write the Wrongs!

7/14/13

Name and Number by John Hoskison

 Art student Nick Wood risks selling a few Ecstasy tablets at a party to impress friends and ends up with a two year prison sentence.

Nick hopes to spend his sentence in an open prison, the type he's read about in the papers. The ones often referred to as 'holiday camps'. Instead, his worst nightmare comes true.
Locked up in HMP Blackthorpe, a prison known for its medieval-like squalor and brutal violence, Nick lives at the mercy of the drug barons and in fear of the lifers. Constantly stalked by danger he has to find a way to survive in the prison rife with heroin.

To earn protection money he turns to the one thing he's good at - art. But can selling pictures to visitors be enough to keep the mob at bay? Or will he be made an example of by the hard men and suffer the worst type of prison punishment?

Based on the experiences of the author.

ABOUT JOHN HOSKISON:

In 1994, bestselling author and top professional golfer, John Hoskison broke a lifetime rule by drinking and driving and on his way home, he hit and killed a cyclist. As a non-violent first offender, he was told he would spend part of his sentence in an open prison, but was instead consigned to some of the toughest in Britain.

John was only able to survive his time in prison through the incredible forgiveness he received from the woman whom he'd made a widow and by the support of friends and family who knew his actions were so out of character.  John was so shocked by the lack of hope given to inmates during their sentences, he wrote the bestselling book 'Inside - One Man's Experience of Prison', which was hailed as a very brave and important book by Lord Ramsbotham the Chief Inspector of Prisons.

Now John spends time speaking to young people at schools and through community out-reach programs, warning them about taking unnecessary risks and what prison is really like. If anyone is under the illusion that prison is a holiday camp, and that breaking the law just once is worth the risk, read this book.

Helen Ford Chicago

Helen Ford may be the nation’s newest death row female.  She is accused of child abuse and neglect in the strangulation and beating death of 8 year old Gizzell Ford, apparently her granddaughter. She was arrested on July 11th, 2013, in Chicago, when the little girl was found dead in her home.

An autopsy report showed that Gizzell died of strangulation combined with blunt force trauma. There were contributing factors that point to child abuse and neglect.


It is believed there were other children in the home as well. Neighbors have described the little girl as respectful, polite and intelligent. 

Police were called to the aprtment by a 911 call stating someone wasnt breathing.  

Helen first told authorities Gizzell had hurt herself in anguish over her absentee mother. A short investigation revealed the girls obvious wounds. Ford tried to explain away the damage to the little girls body by saying she was clumsy and the mother's boyfriend had abused her. 

She then told the police that after asking for a sandwich Gizzell became achy and complained of soreness and was placed in a hot bath. Ford said she gave Gizzell water to drink and she stopped breathing.



7/12/13

Paula Cooper IN Set Free

(CBS/AP) INDIANAPOLIS - Paula Cooper, an Indiana woman put on death row at age 16 for killing an elderly Bible school teacher, is scheduled to be released Monday after serving a prison term that was shortened after the state Supreme Court intervened.
Cooper's death sentence at such a young age sparked international protests and a plea for clemency from Pope John Paul II. Now 43 years old, Cooper is being given a second chance at her life.
Cooper was 15 when she and three other teenage girls showed up at Ruth Pelke's house on May 14, 1985, with plans of robbing the 78-year-old Bible school teacher. Pelke let Cooper and two of the teen's companions into her Gary home after they told her they were interested in Bible lessons.
As the fourth teen waited outside as a lookout, Cooper stabbed Pelke 33 times with a butcher knife. Then she and the other girls ransacked the house. The four girls fled with Pelke's car and $10.
Cooper's three accomplices were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 25 to 60 years. But Cooper, who confessed to Pelke's slaying, was convicted of murder and sentenced to die in the electric chair. At the time - in 1986 - she was the youngest death row inmate in the U.S.
Some people believed Cooper deserved to die, but the punishment enraged human rights activists and death penalty opponents around the world, including those who viewed the teen as a victim of a racist criminal justice system.
Pope John Paul II urged that Cooper be granted clemency in 1987, and in 1988 a priest brought a petition to Indianapolis with more than 2 million signatures protesting Cooper's sentence.
The Indiana Supreme Court set Cooper's death sentence aside in 1988 and ordered her to serve 60 years in prison after state legislators passed a law raising Indiana's minimum age limit for execution from 10 to 16. The state's high court also cited a 1988 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court barring the execution of juveniles younger than 16 at the time of the crime.
Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has found it unconstitutional to execute anyone younger than 18.
"People still know about this case," Indianapolis attorney Jack Crawford, who was the Lake County prosecutor during Cooper's murder trial, told The Indianapolis Star. "The name Paula Cooper still resonates, and she's going to attract some attention when she is released."
But, he said, Cooper has done her time and may yet contribute to society. Crawford said he has come to oppose the death penalty since Cooper's conviction.
Cooper's sister, Rhonda Labroi, said she hopes people will see Paula as more than a killer. After getting in trouble 23 times during her time in prison, Paula Cooper turned to education, earning a bachelor's degree in 2001.
"She was just a child at the time that happened, and now she is an adult and people should wait and see and give her a chance," Labroi said. "Give her an opportunity. Maybe she'll do some wonderful things for children who are growing up and aren't so fortunate, like she was.
"There are second chances," she said. "It seems like God has given her another chance. I think if people give her a second chance, she'll do fine."


(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

7/7/13

Dane Abdool - Florida

Dane Abdool wrote to tell me he has a hearing in the county court where the crime was committed in early July. Dane is a very special penfriend of mine. He means the world to me. In my heart I know that he never meant for the terrible murder of Amelia to occur. He was a young man who was angry and out of control and not thinking. No matter what you believe about his case, he deserves punishment but not death.

Christina Walters - North Carolina

Christina Wlaters is no longer on death row. She is now sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. In 2012, a judge ruled in her favor when she alleged racial bias played a role in her trial and sentencing. Hand written notes from the judge and jury members were used as evidence. Christina was placed on death row for her gang initiation murders of two young women. She also car jacked and kidnapped another woman. She shot her but she survivied.

Horrible Injustice

7/4/13

Kimberly McCarthy Executed in Texas

I wrote to Kimberly McCarthy for many years. She was executed in June of this year. While she was guilty, her trial was less than fair. There was issue upon issue of incompetence and when someone’s life is at stake we cannot take those liberties.

Kimberley was killed with animal tranquilizers. The very manufacturer of the chemical is disgraced at the state of Texas saying, “It’s against everything we stand for. We invent and develop medicine with the aim of alleviating people’s burden. This is the direct opposite of that.”

Kimmie’s last words were “This is not a loss. This is a win. You know where I’m going. I’m going home to be with Jesus. Keep the faith. I love you all,” 

I know that she was guilty but to kill someone to punish them for killing someone is beyond immature. How can we as a country keep our head up while still practicing this barbarism in our own backyard?

We’ve already been told that a life sentence is cheaper than a death sentence. It’s been proven that death row inmates make a huge positive impact on the younger inmate population. Many victim’s families prefer to let the offender live years behind bars as a more fitting punishment than a quick and painless death.

Capital punishment is an antiquated and useless procedure, not to mention expensive.