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,

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