Monday, June 25, 2007

June 21, 2007

Dear Sis~
Well, today is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and technically, the first day of Summer. We had almost 5 hours of outdoor rec today, out in the blazing sun (it was over 90 degrees and not a cloud in the sky), stuck in our little concrete, fenced-in dog-run type cages and it definitely felt like the longest day! I got about three shades darker today, for sure. But I cannot bring myself to complain; I look forward to my outdoor rec too much to whine when I'm occasionally stuck out there. Usually, they only let us stay out 1 to 1-1/2 hours and that's what I complain about, not enough rec. Today it was so hot that even all the little birds were panting, and they weren't even interested in eating the bread I threw out to them after the first couple of hours. We're getting a lot of brown-headed cow birds lately; they're pretty bold, not shy or skittish at all. Sometimes they skip right into the cages to peck at the bread, ignoring my presence completely. And there's one brilliantly colored male Red Wing Blackbird that is there every day like clockwork, waiting on his bread or rice rations, chirping and singing or hopping around, flashing the crimson badges on his wings ...

Today I received a complimentary T-Shirt in the mail from the SPCA; I donate to a couple of animal rescue type foundations and now I'm on every animal rights type of organizations' mailing list imaginable. The SPCA sent me this T-Shirt while simultaneously requesting a donation. Anyway, the property room declared it unauthorized contraband so I had it mailed to you. I never did get to see what design it had on the front, but you can tell me when you get it (or wear it up here next time you visit)...

I had a long conversation with Emmett out in the rec cages as he tried to explain to me, to the best of his ability, the circumstances of his last-minute stay of execution last week. But, he couldn't offer much insight. As he put it, once he got that phone call from his lawyer, just 2 hours before he was scheduled to die, telling him that he'd just received an unexpected stay, "I didn't hear anything after that." So while his lawyer told him why he got the stay, it just didn't sink in...It's hard to imagine the level of emotion involved in that situation, when you're scheduled to die, you've said all your final goodbyes to family and loved ones, you've had your last visit (which Emmett said was, unsurprisingly, a very, very tough thing to endure), you've made your peace with God and the universe, and then, after your lawyers have already told you there's no hope left, out of the blue you get a last-minute stay. And now, after the initial joy wears off, Emmett must begin to contemplate going through it all over again (his stay expires in October if he doesn't receive relief from the courts in the interim)...

It's past midnight, Nightline is over and I'm going to bed!
Love & Peace,

A Belated Entry June 20, 2007

Dear Readers~
My brother, William, sent me a blog entry (letter) the night Christopher Scott Emmett was to be executed and the letter he sent got mutilated (don't ask me how) but anyway, the main message of the blog was that Emmett received a last minute stay of execution, so Emmett lives! I told Bill about the letter getting destroyed, so he will send another letter further explaining how Emmett got the stay. Stay tuned...

Friday, June 08, 2007

June 6, 2007

Dear Sis~
Today some guards from the Records Dept came and took a photograph of Emmett, a standard head shot type of photo the Dept of Corrections will release to the press following his execution seven days from now. This is the last thing they do before transporting the soon-to-be-dead prisoner to Greensville and I'm guessing Emmett will be taken away tomorrow. They used to take you to Greensville exactly 4 days prior to execution; that was the procedure for my first 7 years here, but lately they've kept us guessing; sometimes it's 8 days, more often it's been 6 or 5. Anyway, I spoke with Emmett out in the rec cages today, candidly discussing what's in store for him. These on-the-eve-of-execution conversations are never easy but Emmett is taking things well. He's still able to joke and smile, though he's acutely aware that there will be no reprive, that this is his final week on earth. Still, this must be a tough time for Emmett, alone in his cell, living in his own private slience, enduring his own solitude, knowing that each tray shoved in through the food slot marks another moment of his life drained away, that each sunrise streaming in through his little slot window moves him that much closer to his last one...
Well, that's enough morbid ruminating. I need to change the channel in my mind so I'm going to kick back, read a book and listen to some music.
Love, Bill

Monday, June 04, 2007

May 30, 2007

Dear Sis~

Last night the Assistant Warden came by at midnight to ask Emmett to sign off on which form of execution he chooses: lethal injection or electrocution. They have a standard form for this (if you refuse to sign or select an option, they automatically pick lethal injection) and they always come by at midnight (who knows why?) two weeks before your execution date. Then, this morning they put "the book" on Emmett's door; this is a green, cloth-bound log book, placed in the plastic bin attached to the door.

Starting at the two-week mark, the floor officer must look into Emmett's cell every 15 minutes and log into the book, reporting whatever Emmett is doing at that moment (reading, sleeping, pacing, etc...) and confirming that he's still alive (they don't want you committing suicide before they can kill you themselves). The arrival of "the book" on someones door brings into sharp focus the reality that the cell's occupant only has days to live. The book somehow makes it real, it is a constant reminder, there for everyone to see. About four days before his execution, they'll come in, chain Emmett up and take him away, about 10 miles, to Greensville where they do the actual dirty deed. Every time I go to my door I see Emmett's cell, with the book in the bin, and it's like a punch in the gut. I've seen this procedure far too many times and I never get used to it. So, yes, I'm in a grumpy mood and I know I will be for the next few weeks...It's sort of peculiar for me to witness this whole procedure here; I feel like a passive observer because none of this - Virginia's procedures - applies to me. I've been here almost eight years and I've outlived close to 40 guys here, watched them all marched off to Greensville to be poisoned or burned up. Virginia executes its prisoners faster than any other state (nobody else is even close) with 5 years being the average life expectancy. My case, of course, is controlled by Florida's procedures. If my death warrant gets signed, they'll just appear at my door and tell me to pack up. Then it's a quick trip back to Florida State Prison to die. So, while I'm here, I'm just a fly-on-the-wall spectator of Virginia's version of due process...I'm going to lay back and meditate for awhile (it's as silent as a tomb in here) so I'll wrap this up and post it.
With Love,