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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor are welcomed from all prisoners (this includes non-death row prisoners)and the outside community. In submitting letters,we ask that compassionate and introspective guidelines apply to your communications.

Limit size to 400 words or less. Letters may be edited for clarity and space considerations.

E-Mail Address: Seek Compassion
Website Address:
Compassion on Death Row
Compassion ’ s Editor
140 W.South Boundary Street
Perrysburg,OH 43551

Dear Compassion,

Thanks for letting me write a letter for your publication, I didn ’t know how long I could write it so it ’s short.There should be more programs like this.

My name is Robert Howard.I took part in a horrible crime in 1981 which claimed the life of a woman who was a wife,mother and grandmother. I was a juvenile.It wasn ’t until several years later (when I started to mature)when I realized all the people my actions hurt.So many times over the years I ’ve thought of that night,and the way the daughter talked through her tears at the trial.So much pain,so much hurt,please forgive me. I know that ’s virtually impossible.I could never forgive someone who killed my mom.I don ’t deserve what I have -breath.

In hopes that she reads this:

I want to take this time to express my deepest remorse and to let you know I ’ve never regretted anything more than what has happened to your family.I ’ve cried so many tears for you and your mom.I would give anything to have the opportunity to tell you why,why your family.

Please forgive me.

Robert Howard
South Bay Florida

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Dear Compassion,

Thank you for sending me your bi-monthly issues!They are very encouraging to a lot of inmates here on North Carolina ’s death row.I see a lot of poetry in there by inmates.

I have been writing poems for a while. I saw in the back of your last issue asking for poems from inmates. So,I ’m here on North Carolina ’s death row and would like to encourage some brothers up there in Ohio with this poem of mine that God laid on my heart. Continue with the struggles of injustice concerning the death penalty.

Truly yours.

William C.Gregory,
North Carolina Death Row
Raleigh, NC

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Dear Compassion,

On a cold December morning my beloved Grammy went for her daily walk in the park. Little did any of us know that that would be the last thing she ever did. I will never forget those words my mom uttered to me,“Honey,Grammy has been killed.” I knew then that all of our lives had changed forever.

My grandmother had been murdered in what would later be labeled as one of the most gruesome crimes in New England ’s history!Not only did we all have to work through the grieving process,but the unimaginable had happened.My aunt ’s brother-in-law was arrested for the heinous crime!Immediately the media descended upon us.We were living in a fishbowl and the whole country was looking in!The photographers,news media,and community members had invaded our lives.We were all just trying to stay afloat,as the questions,accusations,and pain continued.A murder investigation was taking place around us.

This was a very difficult time for all of us,but especially for my Aunt Kathy, as her brother- in-law,Eddie,had been arrested for my Grammy ’s murder.Needless to say,this caused problems within the family. We had always been a loving family that laughed a lot and had a lifetime of adventures,but this caused a rift between family members.Aunt Kathy and Uncle John stood by Eddie,while my Grandpa and two aunts were convinced that the right man had been arrested.At the time, a lot of gruesome details were kept from me,but I could see how it all was negatively affecting my family.

Eventually,through the release of DNA evidence,Eddie was released.However,his life had been ruined.An innocent man had gone to prison.He had endured scorn from the community and was harassed on a daily basis.His name and face were plastered all over the newspapers and television.The pain that he endured must have been horrendous! I feel sorry for Eddie, and other victims of false imprisonment.

This past year,a stranger already in prison for another murder,was accused of my Grammy ’s death.It ’s time for everyone to move on. I hope people can accept the fact that Eddie is innocent and allow him to live his life in peace. I wish him the best in his search for happiness.

Kelly Mitchell
Granite Falls,WA

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Dear Compassion,

My husband Michael was killed in a convenience store robbery in March 1994.He was a customer.To date no one has been arrested for the crime.

Michael was my childhood sweetheart. We married young and had four wonderful sons.It was devastating to go with the police to identify his body. My 15-year-old son,James,was with me.I was revived from fainting when my son asked me what we were going to do.I didn ’t know. It was like a dream; something I read about,that couldn ’t be happening to me.Somehow I got through getting the arrangements done. My faith and family and friends were a tremendous support.

My youngest son,Michael,had a severe bout with depression after loosing his father.He attempted several times to commit suicide and had to be hospitalized for three years.When I asked him why he wanted to die he said,“I miss my dad and it hurts too bad to live.” I knew how he felt.. I wanted to stop breathing myself,but knew my sons needed me.I am glad to say today Michael lives a productive life. His medication was very expensive for his care.Although I had good insurance,mental health was not covered under the policy. I sought help from the board of the institute and fought for Michael ’s treatment.

My husband,Michael, had told me early on that he opposed capital punishment.Besides the fact we were raised religiously to know it was wrong,he learned that it wasn ’t distributed fairly. Today I fight for abolition of the death penalty because I am outraged that most people who are executed are poor people of color who often can ’t get adequate representation.It is no human being ’s right to say who lives and dies,not to mention the number of men found innocent after years on death row.

I think the monies spent on execution could better be used for helping supply dollars to mental health so that the victim ’s family ’s needs could be met.The prisoner ’s family could also be helped because both sides are victims.

I visit the gentlemen that sit on death row in my state;I know their families and their stories.Many of them are victims who have had very hard lives.Although each had different circumstances they all had difficult times and small chances of overcoming the environment driven life dealt to them and their families.I would love for money spent on executions to be utilized to do preventive,restorative and reentry programs.

I pray for abolition in our country.Maryland is close to it,but it ’s a shame it is state to state.I am optimistic we will end it.I will continue to pray for everyone with capital sentences and their families.

Keep hope and faith.I believe in forgiveness and redemption. Not all victims ’ families seek death;;I am in an organization called Murder Victims for Human Rights.and Maryland Citizens Against State Executions.I also am a member of Open Society Community Fellowship-Baltimore.My project there is Abolition.

Bonnita Spikes
Baltimore Maryland

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