Hope; Jeff’s Voice

It’s hard to believe the Hearing was nine months ago. It feels like an eternity, because so much has happened since then. Most of it was very good, but the passing of my Grandmother was beyond terrible.

She passed exactly two months after my hearing was over. She was able to come to the Hearing all three days. It was so great to finally hug her and kiss her cheek a few times. I’m so glad she was able to see and hear some of the evidence argued at the Hearing. After all these years, I was finally able to have physical contact with her, and many people there on the last day of the Hearing. That turned out to be the last day I saw her alive. So bittersweet. I’ll forever cherish that special day

Of course, it was special for many other reasons as well. I got to see Lori three days in a row and I got to meet Bruce in person. I got to see an aunt and three uncles that I haven’t seen in over 16 years. I also met Mr. Jerry Mitchell and Dr. Baden and Dr. Van Ee. There were also several people there to support and assist my three attorneys, who were very passionate and did an excellent job. The courtroom was packed every day. Everyone on the opposite side of the bar, sans four people, were there to support me. I even took comfort in the fact that some of Chloe’s family were there to witness the Hearing, despite the States attempts to misrepresent a few crucial points at issue. The last day, during a recess for lunch, when the courtroom was empty, except for the baliff, myself and one of the States attorneys, would you believe that this attorney actually said hello to me?

In the Courtroom this time around the vibe was the exact opposite from the last time. This time was so bright and hopeful. It certainly didn’t feel like they were trying to have a monster convicted and executed, even though the States arguments and actions were towards that end. In a word, the experience, for me, was overwhelming. But in a good way. I remain very pleased with the experience, except for one major aspect.

We were not allowed to argue, let alone mention the underlying felony in my case.  But we were allowed to make a proffer (though it was overruled) with some of the evidence that establishes my innocence on this. If you remember, the underlying felony was used by the State as their initial probable cause, the motive (for SBS and/or abuse that led to her death) that gained my conviction. Evenmoreso, it was the reason I was given a sentence of death. These are the four fundamental aspects that my unjust conviction is based upon.

The State would object to just mere attempts to mention this underlying felony. So, as you can imagine, I’m still beyond disappointed. I’m still hopeful and cannot wait to give testimony  concerning all of this to a Grand Jury and/or a trial jury to begin to clear my name.

I’m disappointed by many other well documented reasons too. As I write this I remember things from the Hearing. The DA was present, sitting in the jury box, throughout most of it, so I cannot help but  remember how terrible the ordeal was 16 1/2 years ago. These are some of the reasons why: Sexual assault (the underlying felony) was the initial complaint in my case, making it (essentially) the probable cause. One of the first articles in the local paper said they (law enforcement) would go so far as to call me a suspect at that point, but they were waiting for confirmation of the autopsy before they charged me with a crime. Even the Sheriffs report states this. To me, that’s an obvious indication that the ER staff and law enforcement lacked the authority to diagnose or establish a sexual battery. They were waiting for the autopsy results from their expert, Dr. Hayne. He turned out to be the only expert in the case. I know I didn’t have one.

By 7pm on Friday the autopsy was complete. The autopsy report did not say one word about sexual battery. Not even one iota of a suspicion of it. The next day, between 2 and 3pm I was charged with the very thing the autopsy said nothing about. I never reviewed the autopsy report until it was turned over in discovery some 4  months later. Six months after that, my “trial” began.

At the trial, during opening statements, the State said that Hayne would confirm that a sexual battery had occurred. They presented horrible testimony by ER staff that there were rips, tears and bleeding in the anus, etc. One nurse even testified that it was the worst she’d seen in her twenty years in the medical profession. The State pointed out that Dr. Hayne found a 1 cm. contusion of the anus and asked him what that was indicative of. Haynes response was that it was consistent with penetration of an object. Then he was asked if he had tissue samples and he said he had yet the State replied “…moving right along…” Yet the State never moved to introduce them into evidence for the jury.

During closing arguments the State told the jury that sexual battery had occurred and that  Chloe was shaken to cover it up. Also the prosecution told the jury not to try to understand it, don’t try to figure it out, just know that I was guilty and vote accordingly. During directed verdict, it was conceded by the Court that there were no eyewitnesses or confession, but it was stipulated that I couldn’t give an explanation for the condition of the anus (i.e. essentially the dilation). The State argued  to the jury that because I couldn’t explain it that this was proof of my guilt of sexual battery.

By early 2014 Hayne stated in an article that he didn’t find evidence of sexual assault and he didn’t think a sexual assault had taken place. He also thought his evaluation was definitive and that he found no rips or tears of the anus. Evenmore, he stated that he told the DA and his office this and that he could not support a sexual battery. Hayne also gave sworn affidavits to this to my attorneys. In this same article, the DA was asked about this and he said that Hayne was probably his “weakest witness” but that ER staff and law enforcement verified the sexual assault. Keep in mind that Hayne was the only expert witness and the DA was waiting for him to confirm, even though it was “verified” by the ER staff and LE already. Another thing that astonished me is how the anal condition went from the worst thing ever seen by one of the ER staff to the autopsy less than 24 hours later where it was basically deemed unremarkable? How is that possible?

After the trial, the DA said some things that I still think about and question, such as; Mine was the easiest case he’d ever had. He also said to the local paper, right after my death sentence was handed down, that he took no joy in it, and that it left him with a “hollow feeling.”

Through the years I’ve learned (to try) to put myself in someone else’s shoes in order to understand them. If I were a DA and I knew the evidence was legitimate, and it was the embodiment of what made it worthy of the ultimate punishment (he said, “…If not this case, which one?”) then, I’d rest content in the fact that I did my job by the law and facts, and the process removed an evil man from society. Saying you have a “hollow feeling” suggests being uneasy or maybe even doubtful, but that’s just me.

Looking back on it all, would you believe that I don’t blame him for some of his actions? Though only to a certain extent. What I mean is: if I were DA and initially all of these alleged facts and circumstances were presented to me, I’d probably react as he did. I know if I believed that someone did what I was (wrongfully) accused of back then, I’d be zealous at trying to remove them from society. So, I don’t fault his visceral reaction.

However, there’s a moral and legal line that shouldn’t be crossed. For instance, when the objective and forensics came out (like the autopsy findings, etc.) that showed the  evidence was, at best, inconclusive, he should have paused for more testing or stopped altogether. Exactly the opposite happened. Not only did he double down to prosecute and gain a conviction, he mashed the pedal to the floor and also gained my sentence of death.

Again, I understand the visceral zealousness, but it was the moral/legal line that I can’t understand or ever forget. Surely this could cause a “hollow feeling.” But hey, everyone makes mistakes , big or small. It’s what we do about them that ultimately define us. There is now a golden opportunity to rectify it. I’m still faithful in the system.

Okay, I’ll step down from my soap box, but I hope you can understand my dissatisfaction that none of this was allowed to be argued at my Hearing.

The Hearing went very well though, and my experts made their points and established what I’ve said all along. Even the States witness concessions supported me. Taking their perspective and their versions of the evidence, it’s plain that the evidence was insufficient. I’m so pleased about that.

I could write all day about just the highlights from the Hearing, but let me give just an example of what I’m talking about.

Here are a few direct quotes by Dr. Baden:

“…we have to look at the autopsy findings, and in my opinion when the autopsy findings are consistent with a very early explanation by the person present, that gives me a lot more weight because it’s hard to give an account that will match with the autopsy if you’re not telling the truth.”

” …what I gathered from Mr. Harvard’s description was that the baby fell on its head, striking porcelain, striking the floor, and striking the wall. So, that is consistent with an accidental fall. Did he deliberately let go of the baby? I cannot tell that, except that what he says makes sense and is consistent. ”

Under cross examination by the State, Dr. Baden said,

“…I think in this area of SBS, we’ve been dealing with a condition that’s overstated, doesn’t cause the death and innocent people can be convicted on that.”

” …,In this case, I think, that the fact that there are multiple bruises doesn’t mean it’s a homicide. ”

Even the judge asked Dr. Baden a couple of questions:

Q. The injuries that Dr. Hayne noted to that child, it’s my understanding that it’s your professional opinion that those injuries could not have been caused by shaking alone?

A. Yes, your honor.

Q. But they could have been caused by an impact without shaking?

A. Yes, sir.

I also want to point out something the States expert pediatrician said in his deposition that also came out under cross exam. He was asked  in the deposition what he thought happened. He testified that he thought she was abused, but didn’t feel there was “any attempt to harm her (Chloe). Probably not.” And that he found ” …no definitive signs of abuse. ” I’ll let all of you decide what he means there, but, as for me I don’t know how you’re supposed to accidentally inflict intentional abuse upon someone?

Now, as far as the judge goes: I got the sense that he was  listening to us and that he was very concerned. I got the sense that he is Honorable and deserving of that title before his name. I believe he will make this right.

Just before the Hearing ended he said:

“…The witnesses I’ve heard, and I don’t recall a case I’ve had with quite the collection of expert witnesses that we’ve had in this matter. The subject of this case, the death of a child, the death penalty is serious business. This case involved what I would term a monumental intersection between medicine and science with criminal law. It does, you I ow, for all the lawyers training in here, for all my training as a lawyer, as a judge, thousands of cases I’ve heard in 23 years, all the training of these expert witnesses, the scientists, the doctors, the fact remains there’s only one person in this courtroom that knows what is justice in this case. Only one person. We have some very strong opinions. Everybody does. Both sides of this matter, not just in this courtroom. There’s only one person that really knows what justice is, but this is not a court of justice. This is a court of law. That’s why we’re going through these procedures and dealing with the law as we are. I will tell you I realize this is one of the most important decisions I have faced in 23 years on the bench if not the most important, and I don’t take that lightly, and I will take my time… ”

I’m sure the parts about justice really caught your attention. I know it caught mine. I think that ultimately every courtroom is the place where justice comes to light by  and through the rule of law. Obviously justice is supposed to occur in the courtroom. When the judge said, “…this is not a court of justice” , I believe he meant; we all have our opinions in this matter, thus our own idea of what justice should be. So, when he says it’s “not a court of justice, it’s a court of law”, he means this will not be a court of what any individuals idea of what justice should be, but rather this will be a court of justice by the letter and spirit of the law. Now, when he said that about only one person knowing what justice is, I really believe that says it all. At the original trial over 16 years ago, the way it all went back then my conviction meant that I was supposed to be guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. Now the judge said no less than three times that only one person knows what justice is. Obviously that person is me and at the very least the judge can see a reasonable doubt here and nothing he’s seen thus far from the State can prove otherwise. I know I’m so ready to affirmatively establish my innocence.

Back in March of 2016 I gave a quote to a local paper in Natchez. I said the appellate process was”hellish” and “it seems the more favorable to me the true evidence became, the more dilatory the process becomes” and, “…somehow, though, I’ve remained hopeful in the process of justice and truth, That they will eventually prove to be one and the same.”

You know, a  criminal case is like a jigsaw puzzle that’s dumped out onto the table without the benefit of the picture on the box to help you put it together. Back at my trial, the State attempted to put it all together starting with the easiest straight edged pieces to make the pictures outline. They failed to build the complete outline. Fast forward to now consider the evidence (or puzzle pieces) that were or were not allowed at my Hearing, and it’s obvious the puzzle is complete. That picture shows no crime. I believe that one day soon, justice and truth will be the same.


* If you haven’t read the new book, “The Cadaver King and The Country Dentist”, please do. It highlights some of the injustice in my case as well as several others. I want to thank the authors, Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington, as well as John Grisham who wrote the forward, for raising awareness about the injustice detailed throughout the book. Thank you to all of you for showing what’s really going on down here!














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Jeff’s Voice: Long Time Gone

I know it’s been far too long since I have written. I apologize for the long silence. Life has been very difficult, and I’ve avoided talking about it. Nevertheless, I sincerely thank you for your steadfast support. You make a difference, and I’d like to say thank you so much.

This medium of expression is here for my voice, so my long silence may seem apathetic, maybe even notoriously so for some, but I really regret my lapse.

To be forthright, life has not been the same since my grandfather passed away. My grandparents have been the constant. So, naturally when this nightmare began, the support and confidence that I had because of this devotion became immeasurable, to say the least.

Before my grandpa passed away, and ever since, my grandma’s health has been fragile. Just a few weeks ago she had a really bad health scare. She had an acute pancreatitis attack. For me, the gloom and the uncertainty of the days that followed were difficult. A fearful and helpless time, where, at best, hours felt like days, and at worst, time seemingly stood still.

Gratefully, she slowly improved from critical to a more stable condition. Sadly, though, more than half of her pancreas will likely never function. Considering this frightful prospect, the severity of the attack, and how it just came from nowhere, it serves as a cruel reminder of how close she came to dying.

Her condition does seem to be improving. She’s still in pain, but thankfully it’s not as severe as it was, though she doesn’t have much of an appetite. I’m not surprised because she never ate more than average portions every meal. I bet she’s never been told that her eye’s were bigger than her stomach. What really worries me is that for the most part, she refuses to eat. I suppose if she will eat well, to help regain her strength, and complete her rehab course, she will probably make a good recovery. I really hope she does. I know she doesn’t like being away from home, especially stuck in a hospital. The fact that she cannot visit me is bothering her, for sure, more so than being stuck there. I try to call and talk to her every day, as much as I can. All in all, it’s a blessing that it wasn’t much, much worse.

All of this uncertainty, and gloom, and helplessness in not being able to be there is enough to drive you mad. The fact that I am weeks away from my upcoming hearing, and the optimistic, and almost impatient readiness for that, just makes what I’m thinking and feeling impossible to describe. On one side, fear, helplessness, and frustration from not being home. Simultaneously, on the other side is hope, optimism, and impatient eagerness. Talk about being conflicted.

I’m ready to go. I’ve hurried up and waited long enough. I’m very grateful to everyone for the donations to the GoFundMe, even though I never really ask directly because it’s uncomfortable for me, and it’s still needed, no matter how large or small the donation. It is so appreciated. To you who have so graciously donated, I’m so very thankful. The help it gives me in every aspect of my life, making it easier, and better, especially now that my grandfather is gone and my grandmother has had to deal with health issues. It helps with everything from phone calls to friends and family, to commissary. Anyone that’s ever been incarcerated can tell you that, when canteen is delivered, it’s like kids on Christmas morning on the zone. When most meals served here need to be eaten fast, and in the dark, just so you can stomach it, then the option of better food to eat is great.

I also want to extend my thanks for the donations to Lori’s GoFundMe account, too. It would mean so much to her to be at my hearing. It would mean a lot to me as well. She’s put in so much time and effort towards my plight, and has been an extension of myself, of my voice, persistently. Many times I’ve told her that she deserves to be at the hearing more than I do. For nearly half a decade now she’s fought for me, and for the truth. The devotion is relentless. She wouldn’t quit even if she knew how to. She and Jen (who’s also devoted and relentless), have spent countless days and nights working together to turn over every stone to see what’s there. A lot was discovered, and is a part of the whole picture. Probably most of the mortar that holds the pieces together. Lori’s help to me has been invaluable.

Time has really flown since I was given a date for the hearing.   When it was set, it was 14 months away, which seemed like an eternity, but that was just over a year ago. Twelve down and two to go.

I’m looking forward to what comes next…

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Jeff’s Voice; Capital Punishment

We’re off lockdown again, but for how long, who knows? I imagine you are as sick of hearing about lockdown as I am of living it. I’ve got a big complex about being locked down, especially considering that I haven’t violated any rules. It’s insult to injury, really, in every possible way.

The punishment of inmates – loss of privileges for something they didn’t do, or that they have no control over, actually creates the opposite of the desired effect.

Surely Administration can come to this realization if I can. Don’t lose sight of the fact that there is no due process in any of this, not even a hint of it. This style of blanket punishment is extremely volatile and more dangerous than the original reason for the lockdown. Especially for the safety of the guards here.

A large faction of the prison population already lives by the “nothing to lose” mentality, and for the most part, prisoners are given privileges as a measure to control them and promote SOME peace and order. So, when guys that already have nothing to lose are unjustly punished, by losing all, what incentive do they have to walk the line?

Anyway, enough with the lockdown dissent. I’ve deviated from what I intended to write about.

First and foremost; I’m doing okay and my family and friends seem to be doing okay, too.

My case is progressing slower than I’d like, but at least it is progressing in the right direction. Still, it’s a matter of “hurry up and wait.” I know this is a jaded attitude, but you hope for the best and expect the worst. Actually, to be really honest, my faith in the truth overrules the jaded mentality.

I’m not looking for special treatment, Rather, all I want is fair treatment. Hope springs eternal.

Hope springs eternal for many other reasons. It’s a brand new baseball season. Like all fans of the game, early spring is a wonderful time and full of expectations and possibilities. As they say, every team is in first place on Opening Day. I really hope the Red Sox do well this season. Since we finished in last place last season, there’s nowhere to go but up. I do have reasonably high hopes this year. Guess all of Sox Nation does since the club just gave a contract to one pitcher worth well over 200 million dollars over seven years. It must be nice to make that kind of money playing the game you love.

One day, when exoneration comes my way, as it should, since I am surely innocent, I hope to become a member of Witness to Innocence. Given the chance, I believe I’d do well speaking about the horrors, and, believe it or not, the decent times that you experience in an ordeal like mine. But not just to speak out on the legal reasons why and how the innocent are wrongfully convicted, but to also shine a light on the fundamental absurdity of capital punishment.

For instance, the process is so arbitrary. One jury will give a life sentence to a man for a crime far worse than a man that receives the death penalty. Or, for an almost identical crime, one gets life but the other death. And how many cases are the people who are paying attention seeing two or more defendants for a particular crime? I’ve lost count of the times that the actual killer will get a life sentence, but the other defendant will get death because they were present or somehow involved in the underlying felony, though they killed no one at all.

I get the Felony Murder Rule meaning, but how can it be justified that the actual murderer receives a mere life sentence?

Yep, that’s some real JUSTICE by the state. Oh, almost forgot, how many millionaires are on death row in America? And one more thing, Since I have been here, I have seen 12 men executed. Ten of those men were white but death row here is split squarely down the middle regarding race. I could stand on a soapbox all day about the utter ridiculousness of capital punishment. I haven’t even skimmed the surface of my ocean of reasoning on this topic.

Let me digress a bit here…I’d also like to be a witness to my experience of the humanity of a place like this. I’ve come to know that there are four types of condemned men here, so I assume (naturally) that it is universal for all of the hell holes. First you have the innocents, perhaps not as few and far between as people tend to think. I am sure I am not the only innocent here. Then there are the insane and/or mentally deficient. You have guys that are guilty of the crime, that made a terrible choice and are remorseful that likely if given a chance at freedom, would never break another law. Then, of course you’ve got the guys that the gallows were supposedly made for. The kind of guy that if given the opportunity, would do the exact same thing that they were convicted of, or worse. The kind who mock everything that is good and wear evil like a badge of honor.

But who am I to judge a persons worth or culpability when it comes to life or death? If you believe in God then you believe He is the spark of life. Logically, only He could and/or should snuff out the light of life, especially when it comes to judgment by fallible humans. So, if by nature man is fallible, then man’s legal process is too, right? Again, who am I to judge a man on the ultimate punishment? Let’s just leave it up to an imperfect legal process and twelve of our fallible peers.

Stepping off the soapbox again, for now.


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Jeff’s Voice; Waiting

Well, the final filing on my case has been before the trial court for several months now.

I wonder how long it will take for the court’s decision, or rather, their compliance with the Mississippi Supreme Court’s unanimous order for me to be able to pursue the new evidence in my case? How long should this take? How long should it take for the court to take advantage of this opportunity to set right all that is wrong?

It’s been FOURTEEN YEARS since this nightmare began, and throughout the hellish duration of this appellate process the most difficult part of it all is the waiting. The waiting between a final filing and a court’s decision. It’s the realization that I’ve done and said what I can within the bar set by the Mississippi Supreme Court in the the filing, and now it’s out of my control and in someone else’s hands.

This portion of time could drive me crazy. Truly. Not because I don’t have confidence in the filing, but because I generally lack confidence in the decision making process. The anxiety I experience is drawn from the thoughts of whether or not the decision makers are fair or even care about the truth or facts. Sadly, all too often the “facts” do not reflect the truth, and truth and justice have little in common. Even sadder is that this has been my experience throughout the entire process.

It is nothing short of this; because of my ignorance of medical science I could not explain why I am innocent, thus unable to meet the burden of proof improperly placed on me. Therefore, as the state argued to the jury, my inability to explain “it” was the proof of my guilt.

Throughout the appellate process the oppositions line of defense has been nothing but direct factual contradictions and a line of Catch-22’s.

I’ve digressed a bit from what I wanted to say about the waiting. Like the song says, “the waiting is the hardest part”.  Also, with a play on words from another song, “this waiting turns hours into days”. Torturous.

It seems the more favorable to me the evidence becomes, the more dilatory the process becomes.

Somehow, though, I’ve remained hopeful in the process of justice and truth. That they will eventually prove to be one and the same.

And I’m still waiting…


I would like to mention that February 21st marked the anniversary of the accident and Chloe’s death. If only we could have that one second in time back again…

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The Defense’s Rebuttal to the State;

“Jeff Havard’s defense team recently filed their response to the State’s opposition for post-conviction relief. There is absolutely no reason to deny Jeff a hearing at this point. His argument for innocence has never been stronger. The prosecution’s case has been completely shredded”.
Reply To State’s Response In Opposition To Petition For Post-Conviction Relief
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Jeff’s Voice; Lockdown

Well, we are on lockdown AGAIN! It’s no big deal for death row since we’re always locked down. Lockdown for those that live here is the loss of yard privileges, canteen and limited showers. But when those things are the all some guys have, it really matters to them.

Recently, a lieutenant in the building next to mine was stabbed by a state inmate. This immediately got the entire unit locked down. Then there was an inmate-on-inmate stabbing in another building ( while we were on lockdown). How’d that happen?

We were finally taken off lockdown Friday, but the following day another guard was stabbed. So we’re back on lockdown AGAIN.

I can understand a person’s fervor against prisoners’ rights and privileges, but only to an extent. Just as there are rights and due process in society, the same goes for those who are incarcerated. But to take an inmate’s privileges for something he did not do, much less has no clue about, is just wrong.

The fact that assaults continue to happen, even while on lockdown, just goes to show that lockdowns aren’t necessarily effective. They obviously keep occurring despite this “punishment”.

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Jeff’s Voice; Justice?

I know it’s been a while since I have written. I couldn’t buy stamps as we get no canteen when the prison is on lockdown and it was several weeks this time, but I have stamps now. Hopefully, there will be no more lockdowns for a while.

I watched an episode of 60 Minutes last night and I saw a piece about a man, (Glenn Ford) that spent 30 years on Louisiana’s death row for a crime he didn’t commit.

The best part was that the DA that was responsible for his conviction, (Marty Stroud) seemed to be sincerely tormented by his role in Glenn Ford’s conviction. It seemed he was really trying to atone for it.

However, the current DA for Caddo Parish, (Dale Cox) was asked if he thought what happened to Glenn Ford was fair. Cox said it was justice. It was justice because, during those 30 years, Mr. Ford was not executed.

Apparently, fairness and justice are two different things or ideas. In my almost 14 years of hell, I’ve come to realize the chasm there. All I want is fairness or equality, but the State wants justice, which seemingly isn’t the same thing.

When did justice become something other than fair, equal, truth, (pick your word) etc.? Maybe when “winning” replaced those words.

All of this reminds me of several things about my case. As you know, there is a lot of newly discovered evidence in my case that proves what I have been saying happened all along. A portion of the State’s contention is that: for the sake of finality and justice the sentence of death should be carried out, (despite the new evidence) because the courts have already affirmed my conviction (before any of the newly discovered evidence was in litigation).

Another favorite contention of theirs is this: that all of this newly discovered evidence isn’t really new, but should have and could have been discovered before trial; while maintaining that my ineffective counsel claims are moot, because they believed my counsel was effective and just fine, though they did absolutely NO independent investigation at all.

The State’s one and only qualified and tendered expert witness stated (recently) that he never saw evidence of sexual battery, and that he never thought there was a sexual battery though this never came out during my trial. Now the State claims that this is not new evidence because this has always been the opinion of this expert. But before this information came to light, the State asserted at my trial, and no less than 17 times, over a decade, in their responses, that this expert believed there was a sexual battery.

So, for more than a decade the State has asserted and maintained that this expert found evidence of sexual battery, but when the information that the expert never found evidence of it and that there was no sexual battery was revealed, the State now claims it’s not new evidence because it’s always been known that the only expert never found evidence of or thought there was sexual battery.

This sole expert’s opinion – in 2002 – was the “make or break” in the charge of sexual battery and the sexual battery was the reason I was sentenced to death.

Also, the State asserts it was MY fault that I didn’t discover the evidence that came from THEIR star expert witness; hence, evidence THEY obviously knew about and were obligated by law to share with me.

Supposedly, it’s MY fault that I did not discover something they already knew and were obligated to share with me? Something that I did not know existed and they did? Is it my fault that I am not psychic, too?

It was also my fault that I, a 23-year-old layman, could not explain anal dilation, something only an expert is qualified to explain, an expert that I never had, an expert that was never contacted by my counsel. Again, MY fault for not being a pathologist/expert or a psychic?

As with Glenn Ford, you could go on for hours about the injustice here, or should I call it inequality, unfairness or untruthfulness, since justice doesn’t equate with those words anymore?

Hopefully, someday, for everyone’s sake justice will again be and remain what we all expect it to mean.

As in many cases and certainly in mine, the truth is also very much the victim.

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Jeff’s Voice: A Nightmare While Awake

I know some people may question a few things concerning my case, and I am also aware that many others have misconceptions regarding the same.

Baby Choe’s Death

The night of Chloe’s tragic death, I was taken from the hospital bat around 10:30 PM in the back of a sheriff’s car. When we arrived at the jail, I was placed in a room where I wasn’t permitted to use the phone. My pleas to speak to a guard or prison official were ignored, despite my repeated requests.

Chloe passed away at 10:55 pm. I didn’t know this at the time, as I was sitting at the police station for close to four hours.

When I was brought into the interrogation room, I found out Chloe had died in the following way: Immediately after sitting in a chair, I was advised me of my rights and my right to an attorney (which I understood and informed them that I didn’t need a lawyer, I hadn’t done anything wrong). To that, the deputy replied to me, “Jeffrey, Chloe is dead and she’s been raped, son, she’s ripped from end to end. This is a crime that carries the death penalty, so if you don’t tell us exactly what happened, you’ll be put to death, executed right up there at Parchman for this”.

Keep in mind, my head was spinning pretty much from the moment Becky carried Chloe from the bedroom. When they told me this, there weren’t any dramatic pauses or anything. Just as fast as you can say those words was the same amount of time I had to digest them. Like I said, I was already freaked out, and then hearing this, well, it was impossible to process. I mean what the hell could I say except bullshit and no, you’re lying, etc.? I don’t recall exactly what my words were to that, but you can imagine. I was horrified and in disbelief. It was like trying to wake up from a nightmare.

I asked how Chloe died, and they wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me how or why. To me this seemed like the least of their concerns, I was asking how she died and their responses were all about rape, rape, rape. All I could do was sit there looking angry and stupid. They told me they’d be doing a DNA rape/assault kit on me. I said something along the lines of, “Damned right you will…then you’ll know I didn’t do this”. The encounter didn’t last much longer. I was placed back in the holding cell/drunk tank, (I hadn’t been arrested yet). I kept asking to use the phone to let my grandparents know what was going on, but they refused to let me.

I sat there until Saturday. I was in shock, I think. At the hospital, right before I was taken to the station, a doctor or nurse had first come out and said Chloe may have been having an allergic reaction. Then she came out and said that Chloe was “pinking up” and had a 150 bpm heart rate, so it sounded like she was going to be okay.

I have never really been able to mourn Chloe properly because I was immediately accused of a horrible, disgusting crime. I would never have hurt her on purpose. I cared very much about her. The hardest days of the year for me are August 29th, her birthday, and February 21st, the day she died.

In the mornings, I would often get up with Chloe and let Becky sleep in. I had a surround sound system and I would turn on “Blue’s Clues”. I would watch her try to follow the sounds coming from the different speakers. It was so funny. Once, I stuck her, in her carseat, in the middle of all her stuffed animals and Becky came out of the kitchen and asked where Chloe was. We all laughed when Becky realized she hadn’t seen her in the stuffed animals.

I think often of what Chloe missed. She never had an ice cream cone. She never had a first day of school or a summer vacation. She would have been 14 this year. She will never get to be 14. It causes me great pain.

On Saturday, I was taken to the hospital so they could do the DNA sexual-assault kit on me. The whole time I felt hopeful because I knew I hadn’t done what I was accused of. And I knew DNA tests would prove it. Boy, was I so naive.

After we got back to the jail, I was handed an official arrest affidavit for capital murder. I was placed in a cell, in a block of cells, with no one else on the block. I couldn’t believe what was happening.

I had been cooperative, except for being angry and belligerent for being constantly accused of raping and killing a child! I mean, who wouldn’t be? Not long after I was placed in the empty cell block, I made myself read the actual arrest warrant, and it said that Chloe died as a result of a subdural hemorrhage…this was the moment when I knew (somewhat) what was going on, or how Chloe had died.

I got the jailers attention – it took a long time but when I did, I told them I needed to talk to the Deputy’s. It took a some more time before I was brought down to be questioned. Again I waived my right to an attorney, etc. because I wasn’t guilty of anything.

I explained to them how I accidently dropped Chloe and how very quickly she appeared to be okay. Becky had thought she was okay. After I told them what happened, they seemed content with what I had said, except they kept asking me about the rape. How this, how that and on and on. All I could do is ask them what in the hell were they talking about and to say I did not do that. It was as if that was all that they were worried about, just rape, rape, rape, over and over again.

I thought to myself that they had to be lying or there is something seriously wrong with their information. I kept thinking, why would a cop, or anyone, come up with a lie so vile and evil? But the disparaging remarks kept coming my way. A continuous barrage. Their demeanor, the veracity in their voices almost had me believing there was a rape. But who? Who could or would do something like that?

I knew damned good and well that I did no such thing. Again, during this interrogation, it was very testy, because of the outrageous accusations being leveled at me. I believe I said something like, “You’re both sick for even thinking this”, because by now, I was convinced that they were lying or didn’t know what they’re talking about…(turns out, in long overdue hindsight, that it was a little of both, but more of the latter).

Keep in mind all of this was before they ever turned on the video recorder. There were about two hours of this barrage before the video was even turned on. I asked twice for a polygraph, but they refused that.

During this (unrecorded) questioning, there was a mention of Chloe’s diaper rash. She had always had diaper rash, but I was trying to be helpful as possible, so I asked them if maybe the towel I dried Chloe off with could have irritated the rash. All they would say is that, no, she was ripped from end to end, even though we were talking about diaper rash. When I was telling them about the towel, I said maybe I went too far in on her, but I didn’t mean internally, inside her body. That’s not what I said. I meant the space between the buttocks, the gluteus fold. I thought the towel may have irritated the diaper rash. IF that was supposedly an admission of anything, why didn’t they stop right then and there and tell me to elaborate on that statement?

You know, when the cops read you your rights and say, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law”, they really need to amend it to say, “whatever you say will be taken out of context and/or distorted to be used against you.

So, don’t say anything at all and then they cannot twist what you don’t say. Believe me, now I know exactly why you should have an attorney present while you’re being questioned. But for my part, naivete ruled the day and I have suffered for it.

At trial, the most egregious element – and what kept me from receiving a directed verdict – was the anal dilation, which as a layman, I certainly had no clue about but after the long arduous years on death row the truth has come out.

At trial, the state went to great lengths to show the jury that I could not explain this dilation, (the dilation was, according to the state, sexual battery) but it turns out this dilation is caused by a TBI (traumatic brain injury). All of the medical authority in this case – to date – verifies this. Even Dr. Hayne – remember, my lawyers never spoke with Dr. Hayne even though the state and the trial court suggested they do so, and Dr. Hayne did not think a sexual assault happened. But, in fact, my lawyers never spoke with any expert despite knowing they should have. It was their JOB.

So my directed verdict went basically like this; my lawyer asked for a directed verdict, saying the jury could see the death occurred from an accidental fall, that there was no confession, no eyewitnesses, and the state had not proven sexual abuse. The court stated basically, there was NO CONFESSION, NO EYEWITNESSES, and the jury COULD see the death occurred from the fall – BUT, I (HAVARD) HAD NO EXPLANATION FOR THE DILATION.

So, my life is ruined and I am sent to death row because I can’t explain something only a medical professional, i.e. expert, can explain. An expert which I didn’t have. A kind of cruel Catch-22. Put the burden on me to explain something only an expert can explain, but provide no expert to help me meet this burden. That is not how our judicial system is supposed to work.

Dr. Hayne’s revelation that he didn’t see evidence of a sexual battery or that he found no evidence that anything like that had ever happened did not come out at trial.

The state – at trial – told the jury that I “hurt that baby” and that I couldn’t explain the dilation.

The court refused to grant a directed verdict for this same reason.

Turns out, I did explain it to the best of my knowledge, (but unknown to me).  I also now know that there were other medical explanations that likely caused her death that were set into motion by the fall, but in 2002 I had no one to explain it to me, so I COULD explain it to the court.

The Traumatic Brain Injury explains the very (non-criminal) reason for which they want to execute me.

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Jeff’s Voice; Set Up?

Two months ago I didn’t want to write about this, I actually swore the few people that knew to secrecy.

I was viciously assaulted by another death row inmate while I was at visitation with my grandmother.

I didn’t want to share this, not that I have anything to hide, but to shield you from the horror of what happened on May 19th. I guess in a way it was hiding, so to speak. Instinctively, though, I feel that I should hide all the horrible parts of my incarceration because I don’t want to cause more worry for you than I already have.

I struggled with revealing this or not. When I decided to do this blog it was for the purpose of exposing and expressing my life as an innocent person on death row. Therefore, I will write about this because it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t. So…

I was having a great visit with my grandma, as always. We were talking about old times with my grandpa. As you can imagine, the grief we share is still very raw, even at this moment.

Towards the end of our visit, I saw an inmate lunging at me out of the corner of my eye. Keep in mind that as a death row inmate, though wrongfully, I am in full restraints – both wrists and ankles chains and on top of that, the ankle restraints are chained to the stool I am sitting on.

Every death row inmate is supposed to be restrained this way, except this inmate was completely out of his restraints, free of custody and barreling towards me.

My first thought was to wonder if he was coming at me or someone else. A nano-second later, I realized it was me. He cocked his fist back as he was running towards me to punch me.

I was a sitting duck with no range of motion, no way to defend myself or fight back, so all I could do was duck and turn my head so that I wouldn’t get punched in the face. At the same time, I am thinking to myself, “Oh, shit! What the hell”?

Because my head was turned away I didn’t really have a good look at his hands, so I was very worried that he may have a knife or a shank.

Then the first blow hit me on the side of my head, then the blows from both his hands began on both sides of my head. I pulled my hands up to cover my neck and my face, still wondering if I was about to be stabbed.

My face was as far as I could move my hands. I certainly couldn’t move away from him, deflect his punches or punch back.

I looked up through the glass at my grandma and saw something I never want to see again. There are no words to describe the look of horror on her face mixed with her screams for help.

The was not one guard around, not on my side in a locked room, nor on her side in a locked room. When the guards came, none of them had the key to the rooms and had to go and find the keyholder. Odd, huh?

After I don’t know how many blows to me neck and head area, I finally fell off the stool, (that my legs are cuffed to) onto the floor. As I was falling, I looked at my grandmother again and thought to myself, “Please don’t let her witness my murder”. I was still wondering if he had a shank.

You’d be surprised at the amount of thoughts that can cross your mind in the blink of an eye. I thought, ” She just buried my grandpa, I don’t want her to have to bury me”.

As I hit the floor, he started kicking and stomping on my head, neck and upper back area. I was laying on my back when I hit the floor. He stomped me in the temple before I could manage to flip over onto my stomach so my vitals wouldn’t be so exposed. I was reacting on instinct, moving and contorting my body and head as best I could to absorb the kicks and stomps from him. I was still worried he may have a shank. Then I remember visualizing in my mind the plot in the cemetery where my grandpa is buried.

Amidst all the testosterone and the adrenaline coursing through my body, I felt a calmness come over me. I thought about Pawpaw and how I may be meeting him on the other side sooner than I thought. I guessed I’d be buried right beside him in a few days. A part of me resigned myself to the situation and was accepting of it, and a huge part of me just wanted to be with my grandpa again, either in this temporal realm or the spiritual realm.

I didn’t want to die, but if I did, I’d see my grandpa again. I was okay with it, either way.

Meanwhile, the beating continued. By this time I figured he did not have a shank, so I just told myself not to lose consciousness and not to let him kick my teeth out. I was on my stomach with my hands covering my face and neck.

Finally, after what seemed like an hour, a bunch of guards came and unlocked the door through the door, eventually breaking up the assault.

He told me, “Next time I’ll fucking kill you”, to which I replied, “Like you weren’t trying to now. If you weren’t so damned weak you would have”.

I was taken to the prison hospital where they X-rayed my head. No fractures. They did not do an MRI. I think they should have done one. I still have headaches, blurry vision, and memory issues four months later, but when I asked to talk to the nurse, she said I was just dehydrated. Right.

My head, neck and ears were red and blue. I had about fifty knots all over my head. My head felt like an elephant was sitting on it, like it was about to explode.

I was able to call my grandma a few hours later to let her know I would be okay and for her not to worry. I told her I was a true Havard, and that was a good thing since our heads are so hard!

Now, to add insult to injury, because I plan to seek a judicial review of this assault, I have to come up with a Four Hundred Dollar filing fee. Also, unless I find a lawyer to help me, I will have to proceed pro se, which I don’t mind doing if I have to.

The fact that he was able to use some type of key to completely remove his restraints, unnoticed and undeterred by any staff members who are supposed to be monitoring the visitation room is more egregious than the assault from a security perspective.

Add to it that the assault was prolonged because the guards had to be alerted by the visitors screams or they would have remained unaware.

Where were they?

Where was the staff as the minutes ticked by?

If we were monitored properly, he wouldn’t have been able to remove his restraints, thus no cowardly assault.

*NOTE: Jeff put this in the mail on June 26. It reached me on August 16 and had been opened and taped shut. Unless you are being sanctioned, which Jeff is not, it is only incoming mail that is supposed to be monitored at Parchman Farm (Mississippi State Penitentiary.

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Jeff’s Voice: Cowardice…

About a week ago, my Grandmother went out on her back porch and found something very interesting.

She found an original article, from our hometown newspaper, from the exact date that I was sentenced to death. The article had a headline announcing that I had just received the death penalty. My Grandma, who just recently lost her husband of 63 years wasn’t very surprised at this act of desperation and cowardice. I wasn’t that surprised, either because I had discussed the possibility of things like this with my grandparents years ago.

The reasons that I classify this as an act of desperation and cowardice is because: to put an article on an 85 year old (recent) widow’s back porch in the dark of night is just that. Cowardice. Period.

It also reeks of desperation because the one that put the article there has obviously had this article for over 12 years. Now after all that time, just after a favorable ruling on my case, this 12 1/2-year-old article is placed on her back porch…for what? To intimidate? Why wait this long? And only when things are finally beginning to change, and the truth is coming out? Coincidence? No. Desperation…yes!

My grandma did reassure me though that she was okay, and everything was being taken care of. I asked her what she meant and she simply said, “Web-cam” and “Cuddeback”. It took me a second to remember that my grandpa had installed camera’s all over. Inside and out. So I do feel better about the situation now.

But it does bother me that some people are just gonna be what they’re gonna be. Some people will never recognize the truth of things even if the truth tapped them on the shoulder.

No disrespect, of course.

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