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.