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29th May 1995

Column 1

Hello, my name is Dean, I am sitting here in my cell on Death Row in San Quentin Prison. I do not intend to discuss my case because that is not why I have agreed to do this page. I would not feel comfortable using this forum to try and focus attention on myself, I am not the issue here. What I do feel is important is I give you a perspective of the Death Penalty, the justice (or "just-us", as a wise man once said) system, life in prison and hopefully I can give you a reasonably coherent account of what it is like from where I sit. You have all heard what the media, politicians, and others who have their own agenda, have to say about crime and the Death Penalty, so maybe I can provide some balance to that.

Although I said that I do not intend to discuss my case, I want to say that I vehemently deny committing the crimes that I am sitting here on Death Row for. The reason that I mention this is because I feel it is important for you to know this since it is why I have the attitudes and opinions that I will be talking about.

After Ed and I discussed doing this page, I hung up the telephone and it started to sink in and I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Trying to explain what life on Death Row is like, fighting for your life in the court system, and trying to keep a grip on your sanity in the process. One of the difficult things, is to keep your perspective and not let yourself become overwhelmed by the incredible pressure and stress that you have to deal with. Not just in dealing with the system, but also in just trying to stay alive and survive from day to day in here.

There are people in here that give up and commit suicide, others slowly lose their mind and end up being medicated. The prison is concerned to the point that anyone here is able to function from day to day until they are to be executed and psyche drugs help towards that goal.

After talking with Ed, I didn't have a clue where I should start, what to say and how to say it. There are so many different dynamics involved that I seriously doubt if it is possible to adequately explain what it's like. It would be like somebody from another country asking you to explain what America is like. You can talk in generalities, but when it gets down to the nuances that really get to the heart of it, you just cannot put it into words that will do it justice. The best I can do is talk about some of my experiences and observations and let you draw your own conclusions based on that.

I am not a spokesman for anyone else on Death Row, or in prison, or the county jails, nor is it my intent to be one. Every person going through the system has their own thoughts and opinions about this insane environment that we try to survive in and I wouldn't presume to speak for them. But, you are stuck with me and, even though I will try to be objective about it, I can't help but be subjective in many of the things I will say. You can take what I say with a grain of salt, you might think that I am full of shit, or you might agree with what I say, all I want is for you to keep from making a judgment until you hear what I say. The news media says that more than 80% of you support the Death Penalty and since we all seem to dance to whatever tune the news media plays, I will assume that most of you are not sympathetic towards me, or the others sitting on Death Row. All I ask is that you keep an open mind.

There is the sense that people on Death Row are slobbering animals that should be kept in a cage and executed as soon as can be arranged. I have even heard on talk shows where people have advocated an electric chair right in the courtroom, and as soon as the verdict is rendered, strap the person in and cook them. Never mind that the system makes mistakes, what are a few innocent people being killed, as long as you can get rid of the others in the process. But most of the people on Death Row are fairly normal. Sure, there are the ones here that I would never turn my back on. There are some people here that would make Hannibal Lechter seems like a nice guy. But as I said, most guys here are not slobbering lunatics or cold blooded killers - but there are some here that could be put in that category.

If anyone is interested in asking me any questions, I will do my best to answer them. You can send them into the e-mail address on this page. It takes about 3-4 weeks, after the mail arrives at the prison, before I will get it, so be patient, and I will do my best to get back to you. I will not talk about my case, my personal life, or anything else that could be interpreted as self-serving. I will be glad to talk about the issues, life in here, or other related topics if you want to ask about them. Just don't be discouraged if it takes a little while. Also, if I get too many questions, I will not be able to get to all of them. A bit presumptuous of me, but I was just trying to cover all the possibilities.

One last thing before I go. I am not being paranoid when I say that I will do this page for as long as I can, but I have no doubts what-so-ever that the prison will harass me for doing this. And they do some really dirty things to people that they have a grudge with. They hate for anyone to talk about what it is really like in here, or what the system is like, so they could come down on me or set me up in some way so that they can cut me off. If this happens, Ed will be able to inform you. It isn't that I intend to try and portray anyone or anything in a false manner. . . it isn't necessary because the truth is enough. I will write for as long as I can and I look forward to being able to "talk" to all of you.