Sunday January 30th, 2011
Hey y’all. Well, we had oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court on October 13th, 2010. So one way or another we’re making history, here. When I sat down and figured out how to file this civil rights suit against D.A. Switzer (and, let me say right here too, I did not do all the figuring; my attorneys deserve most of the credit. I came up with the structural frame of the claim. The basics of what I wanted to do. But they are the real architects and engineers making this plane fly).
Speaking of planes flying, on 11.24.10, the day before Thanksgiving and 8 months to the day after my execution date (NDE 03.24.10) the private attorney representing D.A. Lyn Switzer, Greg Coleman, was flying his mother-in-law and her brother to meet Coleman’s wife and other family for Thanksgiving in Destin, Florida when he crashed and burned 1500 ft out in the water from shore, killing him and everyone on board. There have been a lot of strange deaths associated with my case over the years. As one attorney recently noted on Scotusblog, the case has been brutal. I think Coleman’s mishap was his own making; he’d apparently been running on 16+hr workdays for years and only 3-4 hours of sleep a night. I think he was just too stressed out and suffering exhaustion. After reading all the news articles and NTSB findings on the crash, I’m convinced that’s what happened. There seemed to be no indication of mechanical failure so that leaves only weather conditions (sea fog low and heavy) and pilot error.
This guy had written some really hateful and very untruthful stuff in his brief in the Supreme Court about me. I was really hot at him and beaming some bad and upset feelings at him. I think any agent of the state should adhere to a higher level of honor and integrity than to lodge arguments with the nation’s highest court (or any court) that are patently false; full of guile, deceit, sleight of hand and treachery. But, now he’s dead and I feel really bad for being mad at him. Some days I think I really am crazy as hell: this man tried to help usher my death for a crime I didn’t commit yet I feel bad for him. I feel really bad for his poor wife and kids, who are now without a husband and the kids are gonna grow up without their dad.
Had to get that outta my system and off my chest! It’s been eatin’ my lunch. It still is. I cannot reconcile in my mind how a guy who was supposed to be such a great advocate of the downtrodden, a wonderful husband and father, could stoop to the levels he did, to write the kind of malicious stuff he did in his briefs in my case.
I’m tired of talkin’ about my innocence and my case; and all the associated effluvia and errata it’s generated. 17+ years. I’m tired. Exhausted.
Hey check this out: what if you were technically guilty as hell of capital murder as it is described in the statutes but totally justified morally, physically and in actuality? What if you could say, I had not choice. It was self-defense. Do it or die myself. I did it, I’m not the least bit remorseful, nor should I be; if I had to do it over again, I’d do exactly the same. I’m about to relate to you three such cases.
The first is Rogelio Reyes Cannady #99245 who was executed May 19th, 2010. RIP Roy. We called him “Cowboy Roy” because at one time, every time the police tried to get him out of his cell, he thought it was rodeo season. I spent a lot of time ridin’ with Roy after he first came to D.R. in December 1997. We ended up in solitary together at Ellis and were the first two off the bus when they began to transfer us over here to Polunsky. Roy was like my own personal guide because he’d been locked up in a succession of these 2250 prototype SHU supermaxes TX had constructed all over the state. This place is so different from Ellis and all they had over here was ad seg and they were aggravated all to hell – “agg” – so were the bosses (officers). Psych patients, feces slingers, etc.
Roy was one of the best people I have ever met in my years on death row. Just a real solid dude on all four corners, head-to-toe. He was thrown in prison for a crime he didn’t commit – a crime which was actually committed by a cop’s son and the cop framed Roy. Years later, when this cop learned of Roy’s fate, he made some tapes where he confessed how he framed Roy and set him up, then shot himself, committed suicide. Roy’s case was tragic. He was a juvenile certified as an adult, given a life sentence and thrown in prison with grown men twice his size. But Roy learned how to fight and he survived. He had a particular hatred for the police and whipped guards relentlessly.
They got tired of him beating up the officers and they set him up, more or less. They put him in a cell with a known booty bandit named Bonal. Roy was a small fellow who had a lot of heart. Bonal started coming on to Roy. Roy told him point blank he wasn’t into homosexuality. Roy was sick with the flue and in a weakened state. He feared if he fell asleep this guy Bonal would try to tie him down and rape him. Bonal attacked Roy. Roy had his belt wrapped around his hand, threaded through two combination locks.
They fought. Bonal was twice Roy’s size and outweighed him by a considerable margin. Despite being the underdog, Roy prevailed and killed Bonal. He was locked in a cell and literally fighting for his life and for his ass. If you snitch or get “turned out” (raped) in prison, you lose respect and all the sharks will attack you and take you for everything you’ve got. So Roy quite literally had no choice in the world except to do what he did. The state of TX put Roy in that position, then killed him over it. What’s even worse is Roy should never have been in prison to start with. And more than that, the law they used to kill him wasn’t even in effect when Roy killed Bonal; it was applied to him years later, ex post facto, which is illegal. But this is Texas! As if that makes it ok.
The second case is similar. Leet Taylor who we call “Tiny” #99344. Tiny is a ‘wood that was known by the prisoners at the time but not the prison administration. Tiny was convicted as a juvenile, certified to stand trial as an adult just like Rogelio. Tiny was placed on a cellblock full of Blacks. Some day it was intentional. Tiny had a reputation as someone who would stand up and fight no matter what. Some units in Texas are racially segregated. Tensions stay high. Violence can erupt any second. So when these dudes cliqued on Tiny, he had literally no help. They told him, at breakfast when they roll the doors, “it’s on”.
At Tiny’s trial the state faulted him for “not notifying any officer and alerting him to the potential trouble” sot they could’ve got him out of harm’s way. That would’ve certainly got Tiny killed. It’s called snitching and catching out. i.e. telling it and running. In Texas (or any prison) if you tell it, you got a jacket (reputation) as a snitch. Catch outs are considered cowards and become targets of the strong arms (extortionists) and booty bandits (rapists). No prisoner in his right mind is going to “notify” or “alert” any officer. That’s an instant death sentence of an excruciating kind. Also you gotta figure it was the laws (ranking officers) who got you assigned to this Black cellblock and since they don’t do anything without a purpose, they must’ve intended for this result to occur. What good’s it gonna do to tell them anything? They are not going to help you. They’d just laugh and tell you som’ like “you got yourself in it, get yourself out”.
When it went down, Tiny defended himself – they brought it to him, he didn’t instigate anything. He prevailed against the guys who attacked him and ended up killing one of them. All of this happened only because Tiny was misclassified and put in a situation where he didn’t belong. Texas did that to him and now they’re trying to kill him for it.
What’s worse in Tiny’s case is the underlying case he was serving time for that put him in prison was committed as a juvenile. The U.S. Supreme Court has outlawed the execution as punishment for a crime committed as a juvenile. In Texas, this underlying conviction is what was used to elevate the murder he committed in prison to capital murder. Tiny was doing life for aggravated robbery. Under TX law that’s what’s known as a 3rd degree offense. The law says that if you’re serving time for a 3rd degree offense and kill someone in prison, it’s capital murder. That law was meant to deter willfully aggressive
Wouldn’t you know, I saved the best for last! None of them are best; they’re all bad really. But this last case I’m about to relate to you is the wildest thing I’ve heard in awhile. Texas has a reputation to over-the-top, hot-doggin’, abusive cops. But this one really takes the cake.
Meet office Nix. “Psycho Nix”. Aptly so called. Officer Nix here is a Dallas cop who has a habit of jerking citizens off the sidewalk and slamming on their faces (Anthony Williams, 14 years old, 08.23.06) and shooting people he don’t like just because they’re scared of him and running from the abuse he threatens (Raquel Sosa and Jesus Ortiz. On July 21st 2002, Nix chased them on foot into a big drainage pipe over a mere traffic violation. When they emerged from the other end, Nix drew a bead on Ortiz while cussing him and shot him in the buttocks, killing him). At the time officer Nix demise he had two uses of excessive force sustained against him and many more pending. If he had not died on March 23rd 2007, he likely would’ve been fired from his job shortly after.
OK, meet Wesley Ruiz #999536. Born Nov 1979, he’s 27 years old on 03.23.07. He lives in a very rough part of town. He’s armed with a pistol for his own protection. He borrow a friend’s car to run some errands. Two cops on a task force who’re UC in a plain truck see Ruiz be-boppin’ down the road and arbitrarily (and very incorrectly) decide this car Ruiz is driving matches the description of a car involved in a murder that’d happened recently – it didn’t match. So they call in a marked unit to make a traffic stop and use that as a springboard to search the car and its occupant. Such pretextual “stop and arrests” are illegal but they do it all the time in TX.
Ruiz knows if he gets stopped he’s going to jail. So he runs. Who’d blame him? Gotta take that small chance. Maybe he’ll get lucky and get away. He’s got enough problems as it is. Other than just refusing to stop and trying to get away, Ruiz has done nothing wrong. Even in TX, mere evading is not a killing offense.
He spins out trying to make a corner and winds up in someone’s yard. Pyscho Nix pulls his cruiser nose-to-nose with Ruiz’ stalled car, leaps out, draws his weapon, runs over to the passenger side while screaming at Ruiz “if you try to get away, MFER, I’ll kill your ass!” Nix puts his gun on the ground (ain’t he brite?), grabs his asp off his service belt and starts pounding the read passenger window. An asp is a telescopic series of coil springs with a big lead sap weight on the end of it. It’s a mean weapon. When you swing it, the spring makes the weight whiplash into the target with a force magnified exponentially. Ruiz hears the crack of the asp against glass and thinks it’s a gunshot. Believing this crazy cop is making good on his threat to kill him, Ruiz reached into the backseat, grabs his pistol and fires one shot at Nix’s shoulder just to disable him so he can’t shoot at him again. He’s not trying to kill Nix, just to stop Nix killing him, Ruiz.
He drops the pistol and faces the front where the other (5) officers involved insanely open up a fusillade of bullets that takes the terms “excessive force” and “overkill” to new heights.
Without another shot fired by Ruiz, these officers expend 56 (fifty six) rounds of ammunition, hitting Ruiz 14 times. Ruiz is not in an offensive posture when he’s shot. He’d already dropped his weapon and surrendered. But still he’s shot fourteen times (14) !!!?? Unbelievable.
All of these actions D.P.D. officers violate every procedural protocol in their operations manual. They weren’t supposed to force a high speed chase in a residential section; they we’re not supposed to bum rush the stalled car with guns drawn; officer Nix was not supposed to go running up to the car with gun drawn threatening death to Ruiz for nothing; and they surely weren’t supposed to shoot him after he’d relinquished his weapon, fourteen times (14),
Although they took him to the hospital and gave him very minimal treatment, within a day and a half they threw him out of took him to an isolated single cell at Dallas County jail, hoping he’d die. He still somehow managed to live anyway.
Officer Nix wasn’t as lucky. He was hit in the shoulder/collarbone area but the bullet struck his badge and ricocheted into his neck, severing his carotid artery. Officer Nix subsequently bled out on the ground and in the car on the way to the hospital – the officers thought they could get him to the E.R. faster than waiting on an ambulance.
You can blame Ruiz all you want but the fact remains that these officers openly and very damn viciously attacked a citizen on false, pretextual pretenses later found to have no basis in fact, tried to assassinate him in order to cover it up (another citizen witness on the scene who observed the incident says the police opened up on Ruiz and shot him first), then convicted him of capital murder for defending himself against Nix.
Here’s the kicker: it’s capital murder to kill a cop who’s acting in furtherance of discharging his lawful duties. Office Nix, when he was shot, was not acting in furtherance of discharging any lawful duty. Had he merely used the P.A. system in his vehicle to address Ruiz and tell him to exit the vehicle with his hands in the air where he can see them and to place his hands on the hood of the vehicle and assume the position officer Nix would still be alive today. Officer Nix’s illegal actions got him killed.
Now, I got some questions for y’all and I want some answers! I get tired of being a lone voice on this sphere of new balls I chunck outta the hellhole from time to time. Time for you folks out there to give me some feedback. I demand interaction, now! Ha/Ha J
Seriously though, here’s my questions:
This is not a debate on the death penalty here. This is an assessment of potential consequences of someone’s actions in abstract. In any of the three instant cases I described, do these guys’ actions merit death and, if so, why?
Rogelio’s dead. Put some flowers on his grave. Tiny’s not dead but soon could be. Ruiz is just starting out his appeal process. Please write and offer him support and encouragement to Tiny and Wesley, OK. You know, when I first met Wesley and he told me the story himself, I would’ve swore he was lying. Embellishing, aggrandizing, shading it his way. Nope. He was 100% truthful in every fact he related. I’ve read his brief written by Lydia Brandt, a well-known D.P. appellate attorney. She’s 100% reliable in citing the evidence and trial record. It’s just too insane to be real, I tell you! But it’s real!
Tiny’s case has some mean twists and subterfuge engaged by the swine, too. But it involves gangs and stuff I can’t speak on because I don’t know what’s permissible to say publicly. I’ll let Tiny explain to you what he can, if you write him. You should!
Well, I just wanted to give y’all some’ to think about. You never know what’s gonna happen in your life from one day to the next, eh. I’d guarantee you, on the days it happened, neither of these guys woke up and thought “hey today, I’m gonna kill a prisoner and get sentenced to death”. You think Ruiz knew, when he left to run errands, he’d wind up shot 14 times, on the 6 o’clock news, with a cop dead and he’s charged with it? Nope. No way.
That’s the Hellhole News for this edition, Sunday January 30th, 2011. Goodnight and have a pleasant evening. Write me too! At the address below:
999143 Polunsky Unit
H W Hank Skinner
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston TX 77351-8580
For those of you who use JPay to write, don’t forget to always include your postal address and your e-mail address after your signature, so I can reply to you. www.jpay.com don’t forget to enter my TDC number as an 8-digit number: 00999143.
PS. Two more things about the Ruiz case: to anyone who doubts that the swine tried to assassinate Mr. Ruiz – after they expended 56 rounds, hitting him 14 times, they left him, unconscious and bleeding. Laying half out of his car for over an hour and later had the temerity to call it a “standoff”!! On Nix MySpace page he answered a survey question about how he wanted to die, saying he wanted to go out “in a blaze of glory”. I guess he got his wish. After Mr. Ruiz arrest, once they learned he lived, Dallas police spin doctors went on a long propaganda smear campaign against Mr. Ruiz, calling him everything from a “zetas drug cartel associate”, to a “known methamphetamine dealer” to a “confirmed gang member” ad nauseum. None of these accusations were ever proven true because, of course, they are not true at all. All of this was designed to counter the allegations D.P.D. knew (or thought they knew) were coming about their ambushing a citizen and trying to assassinate him with no justifiable or plausible probable cause at all, except the pretext stop and arrest I mentioned earlier; which of course was illegal. Unfortunately for Mr. Ruiz, he was appointed a sellout lawyer who wholly failed to adequately represent him pretrial or at the trial itself. So here he sits on death row.