The ups and downs living day
to day on Alabama death row
By Freddie Lee Wright, inmate on Alabama death row
Most of the time I receive an considerable amount of mail from people from many walks of life in this country as well as some others. Its my contact with the world that keeps me uplifted and going.
I look forward to all my correspondence because through this I can see and feel the world through others eyes. I share their joy, and laughter, as well as their tears.
Many of my friends end up saying they are sorry for dumping their problems on me all the time after they think about my situation, that I am living day to day on death row. I always tell them it's no need to apologize because we all have our crosses to bear, but as we go through life some of us end up having a much heavier cross to carry.
I find myself having to answer many general questions over and over some time the same person ask the same question. Mainly what its like living almost the last 20 years of my life here for crimes I didn't commit.
Most say they would be very bitter, and angry. I was very bitter and angry for a
while. I overcame it on January 16, 1980 after I accepted the Lord is my savior. I still feel angry and bitter at the system, but that is only human nature, but as I wake up each morning to face a new day I don't feel any of that bitterness or anger because the Lord gives me strength to forgive and endure.
I know living each day of my life here is something I wouldn't wish on anyone not
even the ones that their lies put here. But living here I believe is better than dying here. But then I really don't know if that's true are not, and if I have my way I have no wish to find out.
Many of the letters that I have answered over the years were pro-death penalty. I am a very open minded person and I look at an issues from both sides before I put my foot in my mouth.
But still it's not easy for me to understand how the American public can be so bitter and blind sided when it comes to the little value it puts on another human life.
Its not hard for me to really understand how they feel when a love one or a friend
has lost his/her life to some senseless violent crime. But none the less we can make the choice not to feed into those feeling.
It's been almost 7 years now since I lost one of my younger daughter to a violent
crime, she was only 14 years old she was pulled from the streets, and raped over and over, then her throat was cut and she was stabbed 17 times by two young boys that were only 2 years older than she was.
I cried and for more than a year each time I thought about my daughter inside I died a little more until I felt each time I was going to explode, but I know all of what I was feeling wasn't going to bring her back.
I also knew that I couldn't allow this ugliness of the acts against my daughter by
those we abhor redefine my own sense of the value of human life. We are now living in a country where its moral values has almost dropped to zero when it comes to human life, with more value put on the life of an animal than that of another human.
Even if the criminal violates the injunction, should we lower ourselves to the level of the criminal?
I know only too well the profound agony of the victims, but then I wonder if they would feel the same if their love ones were wrongly accused, and convicted. There is roughly a 25% error rate that innocent people are wrongly accused and convicted, and their lives will end in one of the death chambers in this country.
I wonder how do we allow ourselves to become so blind sided that we allow our law makers to change the laws making it alright to put the innocent to death in order to carry out our vengeance against the ones that we redeem no longer have a right to live and breathe the same air that we breathe.
I think most people already have a fairly clear concept of what it's like living day to day on death row, before and after the execution occurs, because it's always an ocean of swelled media that totally engulfs the death row inmate and the inter actions he has with his family and friends leading up to his final days and hours in this vengeful world.
I sent a friend of mind a list of the ones that were executed in this country since June 1996, until June 1997, she was a little shocked and said many of the executions that have been carried out the public knew nothing about them.
That made me realize that ever though the state of Texas has carried out about 26 execution in about 45 days and the media covered them all those executions wasn't a ripple in the minds of the public.
It becomes more of a big deal when one of the men waiting execution commit
suicide than when one is put to death by the states. Since I been here on Alabama
death row three of the guys have committed suicide, and there have been a number of attempted suicides.
The cell we live in is very small and hot year round, after the last suicide, the guy
used the cord from a fan or something to hang himself, they came and took all of our fans for more than six months, the system goes out of the way to keep us alive to make a three ring circles out of our execution.
Walter Hill was put to death here in May after spending the last 20 years of his life
here. Walter attempted suicide a few days before his execution, thanks to another
inmate he was found and they carried him to the hospital and pumped his stomach and kept him alive.
Behind his actions some of the guys that were taking medication their medication
was stopped and one inmate they had never had any trouble out of lost it and ended up jumping one of the guards, he is still being punished for his actions that were by no fault of his own other than the system chose to stop his medication because another inmate chose to take his life rather than face execution.
I have sat and watched the strong emotions of the victims family, and listen to them speak about the ones that have taken their loved ones. In a few days they plan to sit and watch the convicted's execution carried out.
As they speak about their anger, and frustration at the system because it's been so slow carrying out their vengeance. I can only shake my head and pray and ask God to touch their hearts, and complete them once again.
What is really sad it's been about 50 some condemned inmates released from death rows across the country because the appeal court rule they were innocent, but this will not move most of the victims families from their cry for vengeance. And this doesn't move any of our local or federal governments from making new laws that will make it much swifter to carry out the executions of the ones sitting on death rows in this country.
In the early hours of the morning I have sat many times in absolutely silent after the United States Supreme Court have dissolved a lower court stay of execution order, and the execution is once again going forward.
As the surrealistic event I suddenly realize that another one of the guys I have spent many years with is being made ready by the death team to take his last walk. I cannot begin to express the helplessness we all feel.
Even after the person has been put to death the bitterness doesn't stop there.
Violence and death are treacherous imposters, once unleashed to do their will, they rarely rampage to the destination imagined or accomplish the desired emotional result within ourselves.
So I conclude maybe if everyone had someone they knew on death row the other side of the wheels of justice, they would have more concern about moving away from revenge to love and forgiveness.
And toward a system that want to protect the rest of the public without the need of
committing another senseless act of barbarous killing in the name of revenge. In the abolishment of the death penalty it will raise us all to a higher level of civilization.