Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May 1, 2008

Dear Sis~
You gotta forgive me if I'm repeating myself 'cuz I don't recall whether I've already written you re this. At any rate, we now have four guys here with execution dates: Larry "Bill" Elliott on May 13th; Kevin Green on May 23rd (I think); Percy on June 10th and Edward Bell on July 29th (approximately). Now, Elliott's is a "fake date" inasmuch as there's no danger of him actually being executed on May 13. The State signed his death warrant in order to force him into Federal court, forcing him to file his Federal habeas corpus petition. As for Percy, his "18 month stay of execution" given by Gov. Kaine is up on June 8, and unless Kaine takes action and commutes his sentence based on his unequivocal insanity, Percy will be executed. I believe Kaine will commute his sentence, as he should, but nothing is a given. There is a high probability that Kevin will be executed in 3 weeks, and the same goes for Bell in July (although Bell still has a certiorari petition pending before the US Supreme Court, which provides him some hope, however ephemeral that might be). It still remains to be seen how the recent Baze decision by the US Supreme Court will actually play out in Virginia and other states. Having read the 92-page decision re lethal injection I can tell you that it wasn't as cut and dried as the media implied. The court left a lot of room for the different courts in different states to reach different conclusions, although, as a practical matter (especially in Virginia which dearly loves its death penalty) I don't see too many states holding up their executions much longer. In Texas, Virginia and especially the other southern states, including Florida, the gears of the machinery of death are grinding onward without much of a hiccup. If Virginia kills Kevin in 3 weeks, well, then it's clear sailing for everyone else here on the road to the execution chamber...
Four days ago they moved me to a different cell (they moved 7 or 8 of us) so they could paint the filthy, burned-out cells we vacated. The ones we moved into had just been painted so at least now I'm in a clean cell. Looking out my cell window last night, around 1:30 am, I spotted a mother possum, with 4 babies trailing behind her, out front, digging through the big plastic trash bins, snacking on the scraps of food. That's what passes for excitement here! Still, I watched the critters for 20 minutes, until they waddled away, glad to be able to see wild and free creatures at close range (not exactly the plains of Serengeti, but I take what I can get)...
That's it for now, Sis. Give yourself a hug for me!
Love, Bill

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