January 10, 2016: When it Rains it Pours

December didn’t turn out quite the way I imagined. Where to begin? It was Sunday the 6th and I was listening to the early NFL games wind down. The Broncos were about to kick off in the 3pm time slot. I had tacos already wrapped up and heating up in the hot pot. Throughout the football season my ritual basically included waking up early (around 9am if I was lucky! ;-)) to write letters and catch the end of Acoustic Sunrise (an awesome acoustics show on Mix 96,5 KHMX out of Houston every Sunday from 7am-10am), listen to the NFL games, then hook up some tacos to munch on during the games and the rock shows later in the night. Last Spring I didn’t think the odds were in my favor that I’d ever hear another football game again, so I totally took advantage of the season and really enjoyed every moment of the games. Anyways, I was sitting there listening to the early games finish up when I decided, fuck it, I’m gonna get in the lab and play mad scientist. My reasoning was that the holidays were about to roll around and I thought I’d celebrate Winter Solstice by paying homage to Dionysus, if you get my drift! ;-)

So, the 2nd half games kick off and as I’m listening the guards show up at my door and ask if I want to go to the shower. I gathered my stuff and got handcuffed and they escorted me to the shower. Once I was returned to my cell 45 minutes later I immediately noticed that they’d been inside my cell searching it. I checked my stash and, sure enough, it was gone! There would be no Dionysian festivities for Young Pruett this Winter Solstice ! L

Here’s the deal: Last April I came within 2,1/2 hours of being executed. I’ve had 3 dates. I figured that a little celebration for what might be my last holiday season wouldn’t hurt anyone. I don’t give these people any problems. Or at least I haven’t in nearly 5 years. I kick back in my cell, mind my own business reading and writing, listen to music and sports, and pretty much stay out of the guards’ way. Everyone that has been here for any period of time knows this about me, especially the rank. All of that being said, it was a bad judgement call on my part. I took a risk that wasn’t worth the reward. I ended up losing my level 1 status and being placed on all kinds of restriction. I don’t mind taking responsibility for my actions and paying for my mistakes, but this not only costed me it costed the people I love and care about the visits they had planned. It was such a horrible feeling, sitting here knowing I screwed up and how it would hurt them.

When it rains it pours, they say, and that certainly applies in this situation. On December 28th I got a late Christmas present from the Judge in my case; one of the motions my attorneys filed was denied but he hasn’t ruled on the other two and he issued findings of fact against me. He also said he would sign another order for an execution date when the prosecution sends him one. From what I heard, my attorneys tried to get the prosecutors to hold off on setting a date as it would be premature at this point. We can appeal. But no, they apparently were having none of that and asked for April 27, 2016 and the judge signed the order.

I should be seeing my attorneys this coming week. I’m curious to learn what their exact plan is and how they feel about everything. I know I have a due process of law claim on the DNA issue. I believe there’s more testing that can be done. And I also believe that the DPS lab made errors and possibly tried to cover those errors up. But I don’t want to speculate on anything at this point. I do think there’s still hope. All is not lost…. yet. At the same time things are always more difficult when an execution date is pending. Seems like most judges look for any little technicality to deny a dude. I’m hoping that some judge will realize that the state’s case against me is tenuous at best and grant me some type of relief…. I’m sure I’ll have a better feel for things once I talk with my attorneys. David Dow and Jeff Newberry have been straight up warriors for me. I feel confident that they’ll do any and everything possible to help me.

Honestly, I’m not really sure what to think about having another date. Four dates for each of the past four Springs. I’m working on 21 years straight of being caged up. 21…. the age of reason. Yet I was 15 when all of this began; anything but reasonable about me or what happened to me back then. I heard about the “affluenza teen” from Fort Worth who was 16 when he was drinking and driving and killed 4 people. Sure, those are extenuating circumstances and I think they were right to not lock him up and throw away the key. But let’s face it, money bought him a slap on the wrist. The poor simply aren’t treated the same way the rich and powerful are in this world. Everyone seems to KNOW it and agree that the system is fucked, but the people who are in positions to make changes haven’t bursted a grape to try to. And those who have are out-fucking numbered…. So how am I supposed to feel about my 4th date? I just spent my 8th New Year on F-pod, the disciplinary pod where you’re all kinds of restricted, since 1999. Eight out of fifteen ain’t bad, eh, Meatloaf?! ;-) And that’s 15 out of 21 years in administrative segregation. 21 out of 36 years as property of the state. And we just spent the holidays on lockdown for shakedown to boot! Yeah, my motions were denied on the 28th of December AND that same day we were put on lockdown. Happy New Years! Yay! Shakedowns and cold sacks for meals! Yey! But to be fair, they only lock us down for shakedown four times a year. As if they aren’t already mashing on us, right?! So how do I FEEL about it, this 4th date? Well, I’d sure hate to give up ALLLL of this! ;-)

Seriously. I’m smiling as I write this. I mean, yeah, this is not an easy existence. It hasn’t been the past 20 plus years. At times I’d rather it be over, somehow… some way. But here’s the thing: I understand that’s selfish thinking. That’s thinking from a narrow perspective. It’s resistance to what IS, here and now, and it’s thinking without awareness. While there’s part of me that’s fucking tired of this shit, that sometimes feels weak and wants it to just fucking be all over soon….. there’s a deeper and greater part of me that realizes I’m off the mark when I succumb to such thinking. I smile because I know I won’t be overcome by my self. I smile because I am aware that all of this is temporary, that nothing on this plane lasts forever, and I WILL use the struggles of my life to grow in strength and understanding. It really is all a matter of perspective. Matter being me, a sentient being, with limited perspective. I’m here, at this very moment in time and space, experiencing this, for some reason(s) / purpose(s). To lament my fate and holler, “Woe is me!” would prevent me from being totally present and learning from the experience. I smile because I know that, essentially, I’m eternal and all of this is illusory. No, I’d rather NOT have a fourth execution date and put my loved ones through the trauma and stress of everything that comes with it, but it’s futile to resist what IS: This is my destiny; this is my fate. And, as I have repeatedly said, it has been the pain and struggles of my life that have helped me grow in the ways I have so far. This life has helped me gain the awareness that enables me to make the best out of any and every situation, to be able to smile staring down the barrel of the gun, so to speak. I’m not really having a bad time…. I’m just saying, fuck, there’s a selfish part of me that wouldn’t be mad if my time is coming to a close in this form. Especially if I’m gonna get to become a golden eagle next go’round! ;-) I absolutely CANNOT wait to soar over the mountains and valleys in the land of the midnight sun!  ;-)

But who knows what life has in store for any of us? What’s around the bend? I find the uncertainty of what’s next exciting and it ignites my sense of adventure. Of course, having a 4th execution date is NOT the type of adventure I care to take my loved ones on! Yet this is what we’re dealing with and I’m doing my best to stay centered and aware. I’m not sure what lessons there are in this, but I want to try to be open to whatever’s here for me….. It’s pouring rain right about now, but I’m not drowning in it.

Love and Light

Robert