Tuesday, June 04, 2013

May 28, 2013

Dear Sis~
Tomorrow Elmer will be executed and I'll be next up to bat, with 15 days to live.   A situation like this tends to make you reflect on the elusive nature of time itself, which some folks - physicists and metaphysicists alike - claim is an illusion anyway. Real or not it sure seems to be going someplace quickly!

This may be my last letter to reach you before you begin your journey down south to be by my side for my final days. These many visits I've recently received from those who love me have been a blessing for me.  I'm acutely aware that some guys on death watch have absolutely nobody to help them bear their burden during their last days and hours on earth, not a soul willing to share some love.  It's a terrible thing to die all alone...  I continue to be inundated with letters of support and love from around the world, many from kind-hearted strangers, and many similar blog posts which you've shared with me.  Many are very moving, and all are deeply appreciated. I am humbled.  While I've answered many I simply cannot respond to them all in my allotted time remaining.  As my shortening days inexorably telescope down my focus turns ever inward as I wrestle with the timeless questions of the universe that have puzzled man since the dawn of consciousness here on Schoolhouse Earth.

I read in a recent newspaper article that the brother and sister of Fred Griffis, the victim in my case, are angry that I'm still alive and eager for my execution.  These are understandable human feelings.  I have a brother and sister myself and I cannot honestly say how I would deal with it if something happened to you or Jeff at the hands of another.  I have thought of Fred many times over the years and grieved over his senseless death.  I feel bad for Fred's siblings though if seeing another human being die will truly give them pleasure.  I suspect when I'm gone, if they search their hearts, they will grasp the emptiness of the closure promised by the revenge of capital punishment.  There's a lot of wisdom in the old saying "An eye for an eye soon makes the whole world blind."

All is well with me here in the death house.  I've been blessed with a strong body and a stout mind and spirit, more than sufficient to see me through this final passage.  The deep love of others, freely given to me by those I'm honored to call my friends, helps ease the journey.  The one thing I am absolutely certain of after 58 years on this rock is that LOVE is the foundation of the cosmos, the very essence of what we call God.  This is the one lesson we all must learn, and will learn in due time, and which gives me my peace.

Light & Love,


Anonymous said...

I would have more sympathy if he would just repent. Griffis brother and sister didn't put him there. In his own bed that he himself made for himself. Stop blaming others. He made his own destiny. He shot at police trying to escape. People could be dead. not just one person. I hope and pray he doesn't die for his and your sake. But just stop blaming others. That's not how a remorseful person acts. My prayers are with Bill and you. Though just as much my prayers are with Fred Griffis and his remaing family. May god have mercy on our souls

Anonymous said...

Me and my children: Daniel, David, Devin, and Mikayla all wish you the most love, the most light, and the most peace in the universe. I must say that if I had only half of your wisdom and inner light that only God blesses with, I would be a much better human being. I am ashamed that I had a bad attitude about my day today, that I complained about the cloudy day, the rain, and the inability to travel due to weather. How small-minded my complaints are! If I could give up time in my own life to give you more time in yours, Bill, I would. We all wish you much love and you are in our thoughts and prayers. I hope this message reaches you. From the Garvin Family in Stuart, Florida, God bless you and God bless Lisa and may people learn that violence does not cure violence...violence only begets more violence...on behalf of my family as citizens of Florida we do NOT consent to your execution as voting Floridians one, because you did not commit the actual crime and two, because the death penalty does not deter crime and never will. God bless you, Bill, always and forever, and you will never be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts and prayers are with you

Ursula said...

I want you to know that your writing has a great effect to so many people even over here. Your strong words are heard and will help to change people's mind towards the capital punishment. You and your sister Lisa are in our prayers. You'll never walk alone.

Chris F said...

Prayers of continued strength and comfort from Fort Pierce, Florida.

Anonymous said...

The science of love can only be learned in a heart to heart encounter with Christ.

Sandee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cilla Baker said...

You are in our hearts, minds and prayers Bill.

We are so priveliged to be your friends.
May God give you the peace that passes understanding.

Cilla and John x x

Carole said...

The death penalty cannot provide closure to a family. Closure comes from within - usually when the family learns how to cope with the loss and moves on with their lives.

As a voting Floridian, I too am against this execution, and all executions. They neither satisfy justice nor make us safer, while promising the false hope of closure.

When will Americans get over this misguided need for bloodthirsty revenge? We should be better than this.


Anonymous said...

I read this with interest. I understand the writer's anguish. I am not certain as to the validity of his punishment.
However, the one thing that strikes me about a certifiably guilty death row prisoner is that there are so many people in the world under a death sentence who have done no harm to anyone.
My mother, in her seventies, has terminal cancer. She will be gone by this fall. She knows it. She never harmed a soul in her life.
She raised us three kids and did her best every single day.
There are people in this world so have done such heinous things that a death sentence is the only possibility.
Now mind you, I am not talking about your brother--I really don't know the details. Someone like the man in Cleveland who kept three women prisoner for 10 years--what do you do about someone like him?
I am so sorry for all the sorrow and grief.
So very sorry

Anonymous said...

I wish you both peace. I work in the legal field (criminal defense) and I am not an advocate for the death penalty as I have seen first hand that it does not bring peace to the victim and family. I believe you have impacted a lot of people and hope you can at least take that with you. The world had a chance to read what life inside was truly like through your eyes and you never sugar coated any of it. I feel lucky to have stumbled upon your writings and they will only help me to grow as a person in this world, even long after you are gone, I hope that happens with many others as well. It is sad to know that we may no longer read any of your letters...

Thank you for what you have given us.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill, You don't know me, but I've read your blog for quite a long time now. I believe you are a changed man. Even though I am a strong supporter of the death penalty, I do not believe that your case even comes close to warranting the ultimate punishment. I believe you have been punished enough and you should be RELEASED from prison. I have just emailed Gov. Scott at, and pleaded with him to show compassion and commute your sentence to life.

Every case should be decided on it's own merits, and you clearly do not deserve the death penalty.

I hope some powerful person will stand up for you. There are times when we should all remember that if we don't forgive, we won't be forgiven when we need it.

I wish you the best. Stay strong.

Mark K.

Bum4evr said...

You need to take responsibility for your crime. You brought a gun to the crime and you fired at police when they chased you - thats enough to justify life in prison without parole. It does not matter who fired the shots, you knew it could happen when you committed the crime, so you are just as responsible as the shooter. I don't believe in the death penalty but you should get life without parole. That prison guard had a family and a life and did not deserve what he got.

Anonymous said...

In a Godless world, we must believe that redemption is a gift to be earned here on earth and may only be recognised in the eyes looking back at us in the mirror.

I use the word 'gift' advisedly because, while all but the very young have call to seek redemption, not all are permitted the self-awareness or more importantly time required to earn the comfort it may bring.

Whatever the rights and wrongs, I hope that when the time comes for Bill to nod a final farewell to the face in the mirror, his eyes reflect an earned redemption of sorts.

As Bill has probably come to terms with by now, death makes no judgement. It comes for us all, the innocent, the guilty, the devil and the saint.

Whatever cards we’re dealt, however cleverly we play them, the death card sits snuggly somewhere in our hand. For most of us that particular card is played unintentionally, but for some the play is forced by another at the table.

If Bill should die on the 12th, then he will be sharing that date with around 150,000 others all making the same journey; almost 20,000 of whom will be children whose only crime was to be born in a place where there was not enough food. Another 20,000 will die from cancer, most of whom will be innocent of any crime except that of bad genetics, or unhealthy lifestyle.

On that day, in the crowded foyer of eternity, no one will pay any mind to a middle aged man as he shuffles through a little earlier than perhaps was expected.

Just don’t shuffle too slowly Bill. There’s a lot of us on our way through behind you and nobody likes a queue.

Anonymous said...

Remember, God is a kind and merciful judge. He knows us through and through.

Liam said...

Bill, I truly hope this gets to you.

This is your pal Liam in Ireland. I want you to know I have received your letters but it will be too late for me to send post (mail) back to you.

I'm going to keep this short & sweet. You have been an amazing pen pal & I have learned so much from you. Though you may have been confined for some time, your thoughts and knowledge certainly know no bounds. I will never forget you or the wisdom you have imparted to me.

Until the next time Bill, I promise i'll keep my chin high & my thoughts positive.

Your pal, Liam.

IamAsylum said...

Hi Lisa,

I started reading Bill's blog on the 5th of June and have really grown to love him as a person. I will be so sad to know he is no longer with us. I pray for you and your family. I just bought, 'A Checkered Past' and am already hooked. I'm glad he had the opportunity to tell his story. His/your story has really opened my eyes to the issue of the death penalty. I'm not sure I could say I've completely changed my mind, but I can definitely say, I don't think the death penalty should be dealt out to people like Bill who did not actually commit the murder and has so much to offer society, even from behind bars.

Good luck to your family in these painful days to come.


Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I am praying for you. This makes my heart sick.

Mukund Ragunathan said...

Hey Bill, uyou probably wont read this, but for all its worth, please know that there are people who dont you to die. We support the fact that the State of Florida killing you isnt justice, its revenge.


My old friend...Today is the day that the State will take your life...I'm simply numbed by the cycles of violence that's masked as justice. It's incomprehensible to me that over the past month, you've been contemplating this day. To know the exact hour and method of your own death is horrifying to me. did the crime, a man died, and you've done the time...but what in God's name will come of executing you 26 years later?? What will become of us while we cozily sit at home and drift off into our collective slumber...while horrors are being exacted in the name of some catch phrase like "Timely Justice"??
In this purportedly "Christian" country of has to ask "are we acting in accordance to our stated Christian belief system...or are we simply parrots (chiming out lovely phrases like "peace be with you, and also with you"...or God so loved the world..." or Thou Shalt NOT Kill") that really don't know WHAT the Christian philosophy really is?" We are an enigma, Billy...and I'm so very, very sorry that this so-called system of checks and balances failed you so miserably. I saw the photos of your mom and dad that Lisa posted on a web page. My God, they were beautiful people. They wait for you with arms wide open, Bill. We will all cross that River...and I reckon I'll see you on the other side. Keep a light on for us, Bill. I hope this lunacy has an upside, and we as a culture finally understand that "an eye for an eye" really does make the whole world blind. Isn't that the message that Christ brought forth and teaches us ??
I'll be with you in spirit at 6pm,'re not alone.

Anonymous said...

God take you in his arms x free now x

Unknown said...

my heart aches as i write this. it is now 7:36. 36 minutes after Florida has executed a man not deserving of his punishment. i have randomly came across this blog and over time forgot about it just to come across it again. I have laughed at his post, smiled and now cried because of his post. I realize that nothing can change what he has done in the past but that something did change inside of him when he was sentenced to death. while i dont know him personally and wasnt even around nor thought about when he commited his crime i have everlasting sympathy for him. he will be in my heart every day until justice is truly changed around in this state i call home. it is unfair and not humane for us to be taking lives. yes i understand that the family of his victims want "what is coming to him" but if the role were reversed would they want the same punishment for there family member? i wish many moons ago i had gotten the courage to write him a small letter and let him know he is in my heart. but i wont, and now i never will get the chance. I hope and pray that when his soul is laid to rest, our father opens his heavenly gates and lets him in. he might have been a bad person long ago but clearly he has changed. our state murdered a rehabilitated man. someone who probably would've made a great contribution to society if he got the chance too. My thoughts are with you Lisa, in your time of grievance.

Anonymous said...

When seven o'clock rolled around, and I sat less than an hour's drive from where it was happening, I cried for the first time in ten years. I am sorry for what has happened, and I hope this blog will be maintained and perhaps added to to grant some closure to his last moments. He was a far better writer than any of the journalist hacks who came to see him go, and the tripe they have scribbled does not even come close to doing him justice. Again, I am sorry; that is all I can say. I can do no more though I wish it were otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I have read Bill's blog for over a year now. I checked his blog once every few months or so... and I did not check the blog since April so I was unaware of these events. Very sad.

Bill's writings and words have inspired me not only to fight the laws concerning the death penalty--as I think they're unjust and immoral--but more importantly, Bill inspired me to enjoy life and appreciate the things I do have.

All the best,

in Tally, FL

Anonymous said...

I can't stand this punishment! Why do they want to do this to inmates? You're good people, only you made bad choises. Remember that. I think everyone should get a second change.

Mike Ellis said...

I think the main problem I have with long stays on death row is that most people do change and he is not the same person he was 25 years ago. Had he been put to death at that time, then you would have executed the man responsible for the crime. But now , he is no longer that man.

Anonymous said...

Jesus already took responsibility for his crime, and all our crimes. I know you're at peace William; that many in this world will seldom have.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree. I love my family and friends immensely. I don't believe in god and never will

P said...

I agree too. I love my family and friend and Christ in nothing but Judeo Christian MYTH!