6/25/07


Im having a conundrum. The whole reason I started this blog was to share the words, thoughts and feelings of the women on death row with the world. But today I got something that shocked me. Its hard to do that. I've seen quite a bit of shocking shit in my day. But today it has been done.

I got a letter from Michelle Byrom in Mississippi. In it she laughs about sending me a letter off the same day she got mine. She talks about her health. She has two tumors developed in her back from unknown origins. She was finally able to get a tv but the guards kept it for 40 days before giving it to her.She is also upset because her fan is broken.It can get up to 90 in her cell.

But none of this was shocking. What shocked me was what she included with her letter. It was some jail house correspondence between Michelle and a new girl in the prison. A Mrs.Jennifer Williams sentenced to 40 years for the sexual abuse of her own daughter. In this correspondenceshe spells out to Michelle exactly what she did to her daughter and why. She talks about her husbands reasons and her father in laws, all were having sex with the girl from the time she was 9 years old.

My quandry is whether or not to post the letter here. Its very extremely graphic. The way she talks about things like its no big deal, rationalizing and explaining like there woud be any good reason stupifies me. I think that I will forward a copy of the letter to anyone who would like to see it. I just dont feel comfortable placing it here. I wish I had a secret password room. That would be cool.

6/24/07

Wow, I suck. I just got told so. But in much nicer terms. Ive been begging people to edit and crtique my proposal and sample work on the women's book. Finally someone helps me out. She tore it to shreds and called me a dumbass in a really nice way.

I dont feel like a dumbass even though I obviously should. I feel empowered. I feel enlightened. I believe I can go at least one more round with the writing demon. Maybe two.

So, I'll go back and do all these rewrites and see if it looks any better.

One thing bothers me though. She said that my writing is weak and I cant tell either my story or the womens with any conviction. I FEEL convicted. I love what I do so why isnt it coming through in my writing? What am I doing wrong or not doing?

This book began in 2002 and was going to be similar to what Jennifer Furio did with The Serial Killer Letters.

But over the years I've gotten so much conflicting advice from writers, agents, editors etc. the book has morphed and changed into something different.

It certainly isnt what I set out to do and I feel like it may change still. More and more of my own life is leaking through and I dint really want it to be a memoir. I just wanted people to understand why I care about these women.

Why isnt it coming out in my writing? Do I really suck?

6/23/07

Whew! I could not log on all week long! That sucked! It has something to do with this laptop and the accelorator I use. Sometimes they dont get along and I suffer the consequences.
I wrote to Randy this week. I do hope ev erything is ok with him.

I also wrote to Lisa Jo Chamberlain and to Michelle Byrom and Judy Neelley.
I got a letter from Michelle today. I guess she hasnt gotten my letter. She said that if I just thought that she wanted money and books then not to send them and to just write. She said that shed been worried about me.Sweet.

6/17/07

Im sure Randy Wood has wondered what happened to me. I think I last wrote him in December or so. In his last letter he talked about his visit with his wife. He asked me questions about what Christmas morning was like with such a big family.

He mentioned that cigarettes were $1.68 a pack when he got locked up.

I hope he is well and I hope that he has gotten his priveledges from being a model prisoner for 10 years. I cant wait to hear from him.

I gave my brother $100 last night and told him to take my husband and my dad out for a night on the town. For Fathers day. Hubby came dragging in about 3 am. Then my dad called this morning and said he had a headache as wide as all outdoors and that he kissed my ex-husbands new girlfriend at the bar. From what I hear, it was a real movie star kiss. Bent over backwards, foot in the air smackaroo. Im sorry I missed that.

I sat at home alone with a bottle of champagne and a tray of sushi. Not to terrible.

Im still debating if I should write to Paul Bernardo. I tremble when I thin of the abuse he went through as a child. But I have to say that I am afraid of him. He is a very scary individual to me.

I have almost a full two chapters of my book written WooHoo!Has anyone ever seen those things that show how much youve written and how far you have yet to go? I see them on everyones blogs and I want one.

6/15/07

I guess its just me but things always seems easier, better, right- at my parents house. Well, before my mom died that is. I remember feeling like that at my grandparents too. Its like its some kind of a magic place. A place where nothing bad happens, where you have everything you'll ever need and theres nothing to do all day but enjoy life. I get that feeling now when I visit my Aunt Stephanie. She is my mothers siter and sometimes I feel like the only family I have left.

Since my mother died I have become the impromptu matriarch of the fam. Every holiday finds my family at my house. I field all the arguments and am first on the emergency call list.

Bt at Aunt Stephanies Im a kid again. Everything is better than my house. The air conditioning is colder, the snack food is tastier, the t.v. is bigger (WITH Dolby surround sound and HD!) And it just seems like a little slice of heaven. The bath tub is clean and there is always milk in the fridge.

Studying the phenomenon of my feelings makes me realize that I am so many different people. But I think everyone is. The part of your personality that is most relevent appears in any given situation.

I am a stay at home mom of six kids. I am eagerly looking forward to beginning my conversion to the Catholic faith in August, Im a writer, Im a gardener, I love to drink wine and I love dancing. But Ive also been in jail and homeless, Ive drank till I passed out and smoked pot, Ive been raped and Ive traveled the country on a Harley. I was beatten as a child and watched as my mother was almost killed by violent crime.

I think that you have to embrace all that you are, all that you have been to become someone new and better. We are direct results of our past. Not only are we what we eat but we are what we live.

When you see someone who has done something that is deplorable, think to yourself what that person has lived through. All the way back to childhood. How can a person know right from wrong when they were never taught. If you were a child that was abused and abandoned, a child that was born and then no one would take any responsibility for- just tossed aside and allowed to live but nothing else. How would you learn right from wrong? How would you learn a sense of values? How would yu learn anything but how to survive?

6/14/07

I got a request from the ICM lit agency. I almost deleted it. I thought it was spam because it said from "intern" . I guess I should have figured that.

I didnt even remember that I had queried them. It was back in Feb. They asked for a synopsis and sample chapter. I sent it.Who knows.

I looked them up on the absolute write forums and they are touted as one of the biggies! WWWWEEeeeellllllllllll.

I've written to Michelle Byrom today. She has family in my area and I would love to visit them. I also wrote LisaJo Chamberlain again. I hadnt written to her since Michelle told me of all the ruckus she was raising. I know she said some harsh things about me when she didnt hear from me. We shall see.

I am also attempting to put together another newsletter. If anyone would like to contribute with a poem, drawing, essay or article feel free to contact me. They are particularly interested in stuff like crochet, cross stich , book reviews, travel articles etc.

6/13/07

I have had the pleasure of talking with Chief Chrismon of the Murfreesboro police dept. I have been emailing him and playing phone tag for months with this gentlman trying to get the info I need about Judy Neelleys mom and some accusations of contributing to a minor.
I was finally able to reach him and although he told me that the investigator who was on staff at the time of her arrest is still available- he doesnt want to talk with me, but he did tell me all the things Ill need to do to go through all the old court records.

6/12/07


Cathy Lynn Henderson has received another stay of execution. Her original execution date was in April. She received a 60 day stay. elling the truth all along. It is only now that science has progressed so far that they can prove her innocence.

Its a damn shame that this woman has sat on death row all these years as an innocent woman who was tHer second date was set for tomorrow but she has now received another stay. Late Monday afternoon, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals spared her life, for the time being.

It was split decision but in the end, the court found there is sufficient enough evidence that could show Baugh died from an accidental fall.

During the initial trial, the Travis County Medical Examiner testified the baby died after, "being slammed against a hard, flat surface."

The Henderson camp successfully argued to the Court of Criminal Appeals there is new technology, which wasn't available back during the trial in the mid-90s that could show his death was an accident.

A lower court will now have to go back and decide whether or not that claim is valid or not.

Henderson's execution has been delayed indefinitely.


Please consider writing a letter of clemency to Texas Govenor.

How to write an effective clemency letter

Things to remember

* All of the members of the Parole Board will almost invariably believe that the judicial system is essentially fair and just. Therefore, they believe that the inmate has received a fair trial, has received adequate appeals, and is guilty.

When writing your letter, it does not matter whether you agree with this or not: this is what the Parole Board members believe and it is the context in which they will make their decision.

* The members of the Parole Board are appointed by the Office of the Governor. They will almost invariably reflect the views of the governor, Rick Perry.

* Most members of the Parole Board are not attorneys (currently, four of the seven members are not attorneys), so they generally are not going to consider the legal problems in a case. The members of the Parole Board do not think of their role as being a court of appeals. They view clemency letters essentially as pleas for mercy, and they will need overwhelmingly good reasons to grant that mercy.

Things to do

The bulk of your letter should focus on these points:

* Express concern for the victim and their family.

* Emphasize the inmate's humanity. If the Parole Board members are going to consider clemency, they need to be able to see them as a human being and not as a murderer. One thing you can do is stress that they are a parent or a child, an uncle, etc.

* The Parole Board members want evidence that the person for whom you're requesting clemency has changed for the better. For example, In Cathy Henderson’s case, it would be good to note that she has taken advantage of having spiritual advisors, culminating in Sister Prejean serving as her spiritual advisor.

* The Parole Board members will take into account a person’s criminal history. People with extensive criminal histories have no chance at clemency. For example, In Cathy Henderson’s case, she had no felonies and no violent offenses in her background, so highlight this in your letter.

Things to avoid

Your letter might briefly mention the following things, but you should generally avoid them, and the focus of your letter should not be on these issues:

* Philosophical discussions about the shortcomings or the immorality of the death penalty. As far as the members of the Parole Board are concerned, the death penalty is a fact of law, and it’s not their role to change it. They have probably heard all the arguments before.

* The facts of the case. Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, the members of the Parole Board are not going to be weighing the merits of the case or the inmate's guilt or innocence. It would not be out of line, however, to discuss the perceptions of the facts.

* Avoid personal attacks on the people who have been involved in the case. Again, unless there are extraordinary circumstances, the members of the Parole Board are going to be inclined to believe in the integrity of the process and the people who are a part of the process.

Something to consider: Napoleon Beasley's Last Statement, May 28, 2002:

The act I committed to put me here was not just heinous, it was senseless. But the person that committed that act is no longer here - I am.

I'm not going to struggle physically against my restraints. I'm not going to shout, use profanity or make idle threats. Understand though that I'm not only upset, but I'm saddened by what is happening here tonight. I'm not only saddened, but disappointed that a system that is supposed to protect and uphold what is just and right can be so much like me when I made the same shameful mistake.

If someone tried to dispose of everyone here for participating in this killing, I'd scream a resounding, "NO." I'd tell them to give them all the gift that they would not give me...and that's to give them a second chance.

I'm sorry that I am here. I'm sorry that you're all here. I'm sorry that John Luttig died. And I'm sorry that it was something in me that caused all of this to happen to begin with.

Tonight we tell the world that there are no second chances in the eyes of justice...Tonight, we tell our children that in some instances, in some cases, killing is right.

This conflict hurts us all, there are no SIDES. The people who support this proceeding think this is justice. The people that think that I should live think that is justice. As difficult as it may seem, this is a clash of ideals, with both parties committed to what they feel is right. But who's wrong if in the end we're all victims?

In my heart, I have to believe that there is a peaceful compromise to our ideals. I don't mind if there are none for me, as long as there are for those who are yet to come. There are a lot of men like me on death row- good men - who fell to the same misguided emotions, but may not have recovered as I have.

Give those men a chance to do what's right. Give them a chance to undo their wrongs. A lot of them want to fix the mess they started, but don't know how. The problem is not in that people aren't willing to help them find out, but in the system telling them it won't matter anyway. No one wins tonight. No one gets closure. No one walks away victorious.

6/8/07


Cathy Henderson - Execution Date: June 13, 2007 in Texas
this is from stopexecutions.blogspot.com

Cathy Henderson (pictured with Sr. Helen Prejean) is scheduled to be executed in Texas on June 13 for the 1994 murder of Brandon Baugh, an infant she was babysitting. Henderson would be the 12th woman put to death in the U.S. since capital punishment was reinstated. Since her arrest, Henderson has maintained that the child's death was accidental. She said that she dropped the baby, fracturing his skull, and then panicked after realizing she could not revive him. She then buried the boy's body and fled to Missouri, where authorities captured her nearly two weeks later. Henderson said that she is sorry for Brandon's death and that she feels regret every day for the pain she caused his family. She notes, "I wish there was something I could do to comfort them, and if it's going to comfort them to end my life for an accident, I hope this gives them comfort."

Henderson's spiritual advisor is Sister Helen Prejean, well-known author of "Dead Man Walking." Sister Helen believes Brandon's death was an accident. She said that the public needs to understand that Henderson is not a monster. "It's easy to kill a monster. It's hard to kill a real human being," she noted.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Henderson's final appeal. She is seeking clemency from Texas Governor Rick Perry.

6/7/07


OK, where have I been, right? I had an 8 lb tumor in my tummy and I had it removed. No shit. Ive felt like crap and I had a bunch of web content to write. That was all the writing Id been doing.

I have an agent from Talcot Notch whose requested another chapter but its been a month and I havent been able to send it yet. Tragic.

But the latest news is that they have removed Kenisha Berry from death row.

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