Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March 9, 2013

Dear Sis~

On March 1, 2013, just three days after Paul Howell unexpectedly received his February 6th last minute stay of execution Gov. Scott, not letting any grass grow under his feet, signed another death warrant, setting an April 10 execution date for Larry Mann (well, technically the governor just signs a warrant authorizing an execution within a certain time frame, say between Feb 28th to April 15th, while the FSP warden sets the actual death date).  I don't know Mann personally, though he's been on the row for 32 years.  I know his case is out of Pinellas County (St. Petersburg and Clearwater) and the victim was a little girl, so it's a sad and tragic one.  You know, I've spent four decades deeply immersed in legal work - long before I came to the row - and I commonly read, every week, all of the appellate decisions published in the Southern Reporters and Florida Law Weekly (also all the Federal equivalents) which includes all the capital appeals issued by the Florida Supreme Court.  Consequently I've read and studied hundreds of death penalty decisions just from the Florida Supreme Court alone; these decisions describe, often in great detail, the events leading up to, through and following the homicide(s) in question.  The ones involving child victims are, as you can imagine, the most difficult to digest, and it is not uncommon for me to cry over some of them, they can be so heartbreaking.  I vividly recall reading one direct appeal decision, back in the 1980's (when I worked in the law library, here, before I came on the row), where a young mother was brutally murdered in her house over a period of time - an extended attack - and the entire episode was recorded because the woman had managed to dial 911 before dropping the phone.  Consequently, the 911 operator listened to the entire attack (back then they lacked the technology to quickly discern the location of any 911 call) and the Supreme Court published the entire transcript as a part of its opinion.  As I read the transcript - much screaming, yelling, praying, begging - and visualized the scene, it just became too much for me and I broke down, crying, then hurdled the book across my cell, cursing the person who did that horrible thing, and cursing a God who allowed it to happen.  That incident is still indelibly burned into my mind.  It's soul-searching cases like that which really challenge your opposition to the death penalty...

On a lighter note I caught two great PBS music shows (part of their regular fund-raising events) which I highly recommend to anyone.  First was Andrea Borcelli (the great blind tenor) with Love in Portofino (Portofino is a small, picturesque fishing village in Italy; I was there in 1971).  This program really showcases Borcelli's wide range and magnificent voice, no matter which genre he chooses to sing.  His love and passion for music of all kinds really comes through here.  He's a master!  The second was Joe Bonamassa, the great blues guitarist.  This show was completely acoustic and unforgettable.  About a third of the way through the program Joe, on acoustic guitar, performed a tour de force piece which begins like a classical Spanish guitar riff and then morphs into an indescribable, wide-ranging, genre-busting extravaganza which is guaranteed (if you appreciate good music) to blow your mind.  He gets a well-deserved standing ovation, and you'll be standing, too!  

Just finished reading September Hope, by John C McManus, which very competently details the September 1944 Airborne invasion of Holland by American, British and Free Polish paratroopers.  As you know, this is where Dad, then a Captain in the 82nd Airborne Division, lost his leg to a German mortar round.  You'll be glad to know that Dad is mentioned and occasionally quoted, throughout the book.  I was, however, a little surprised and dismayed to see me and my current situation mentioned in a footnote in the back (Chapter 15, note 5, page 485) where the author describes me as "a hardened criminal" currently on death row.  I don't see myself as "a hardened criminal", but, being honest, I cannot fault an objective observer for describing me as such.  That is certainly who I was, long ago...

That's it for now, Sis. Give yourself a hug for me!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello I know just what you're going through. My father is also on death row in UCI. His name is Harry Butler inmate #233985