By Robert Pruett 999411, aka Simple Man

Week 15 2007

April 15, 2007

Several things have kept me from writing over the past couple of months, number one being a broken typewriter. These things are so cheap that they seem to break when you breathe too hard on them, but I guess I’m fortunate because mine lasted over four years. Still, it broke at the most inopportune time. Things are speeding up in my case. Last week I received copies of the State’s response to my federal Writ of Habeas Corpus and my attorney’s response to that. If I’m not mistaken, the next step is for the judge to review everything and make a ruling. Given the political nature of my case, I’m quite sure he’ll rule sometime this year. I can’t stress enough how important it is that I be ready to proceed, so I’m thankful that I was able to get a new typewriter as quickly as I did. Much thanks to the property officer and unit commissary.
    At this point, my main concern regarding my case remains raising the money to hire an investigator. I know in my heart that if I send an investigator to interview people who were there when the murder happened someone will reveal at least a piece of the truth, maybe even shed some light on who actually killed Nagle. There were over a hundred people with me in that hallway when we were forced into the gym and most of them know that I wasn’t even on the building where he was killed. Most of them know who did it. At first, everyone kept their mouths shut because the people responsible for Nagle’s death are extremely dangerous and would no doubt retaliate. My trial lawyers informed me that once the word got out that I was being blamed for the murder, quite a few people wanted to speak up for me, but TDCJ pressured them and many feared retaliation, so they refused to speak on my behalf. It could be that nothing has changed and no one will want to say anything about what REALLY happened, but I’m hoping that enough time has passed since the crime that someone will change their mind and say SOMETHING that can be used in my appeal. So yeah, I gotta give it my best shot and that means trying to raise money for an investigator.
    The problem is that I haven’t been successful raising money to this point. I know these things take time, but I don’t have time. I’m nearing the end of my rope and every second is crucial. But I won’t beg anyone for help.

I’m in A-pod #64 cell now. I can see the area where they load us up to be shipped to Huntsville and executed. The only person killed since I moved into this cell was James Clark, but I was asleep when they took him out of here. If I can remember, I’ll get up in my window and watch the men as they get into the van on their last day. I used to watch them walk down the sidewalk from visitation to the van when I lived in B-pod #25 cell. It was kinda hard seeing dudes that I knew with panicked looks on their faces as they marched to their graves, but more often than not they radiated a palpable calmness and looked as if they were ready to make the transition to the next phase of existence. I only hope that I’m in a tranquil state of mind the day I’m executed, if it comes to that. I think I will be. I’m not afraid of death any longer; I know it for what it is: a stepping stone.
   Alright, enough of that sad shit. Life’s about living and that’s precisely what I intend to do. My friends and I have started up a competition called “Death Row Idol!” :-) All the contestants can either sing a song, tell a joke, or perform some sort of skit to entertain the rest of the section. After each performance, everyone involved casts a vote based on a five star system, with five stars being the highest vote you can get. We’re still working out all the kinks, but most of the performances have been highly entertaining so far. Ronald Pribble, aka “Jeff,” is hands down the best comedian of the bunch. He does a river dance skit where he involves the entire section by asking everyone to mimic his movements. He starts off with the river dance (swaying left and right while kicking each leg high into the air) and then he does a fairy (acts like he’s flying left and right), a butterfly (sort of like a shortened jumping jack), Richard Simmons (a real jumping jack), and Gene Simmons (plays the air guitar). When he calls out fairy, butterfly, Richard Simmons, or Gene Simmons, everyone’s supposed to switch with him. And when he says Richard Simmons he does a jumping jack and quickly says, “Not to be confused with Gene Simmons!” as he switches to the air guitar! :-) It’s really hard to describe it, but it’s the funniest damn thing to watch. I laughed so hard when I first saw it that I cried. The dude could’ve been a professional comedian, he’s that good.
    We also do group skits that aren’t voted on. They usually start off with one or two people narrating and describing a scene, then everyone else chimes in with interjections or some sort of sound effect appropriate to the skit. For instance, we did a Vietnam skit the last time. There was gunfire, bombs, people getting extremities blown off, and a rescue by helicopter. It was pretty fucking crazy. Another skit that we did was coon hunting. It lasted over five minutes and with the sounds of dogs barking, coons chirping and hissing, and hunters yelling out where the coons were running. We treed several coons that night! :-) I had my eyes closed throughout the entire skit and, let me tell you, we all escaped from this place momentarily that night. We were there and having a whole lot of fun. In the almost 12 years that I’ve been locked up, that was the first time that I truly felt free. We make the best of this place here on this pod.

I’ll wrap this up. I’m gonna try to write at least once a week and let everyone know what’s going on in my world. Hopefully I’ll have some good news to report in my next entry. Until then keep your heads up and hearts true and stand firm in the struggle.