'GB' - DEATH ROW
- Part 1 -
Ever been to prison? Know anyone who has been to prison? Well, today I introduce a man who is currently on death row in Angola Penitentiary, USA. I've interviewed him and, because it is rather lengthy, I will run the interview over two days. This is part 1. For his own privacy, I will refer to my guest as 'GB'.
Welcome, 'GB' ...
1. Tell us a little about yourself: age, ethnic background etc.
Age 40, born 5-6-73, black male. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The oldest of 6 children by my mother and father. I have two half siblings. A brother and sister by my Dad. I’ve a brown complexion, with cat-eye brown eyes, but one is a prosthesis. I lost my right eye due to a gunshot wound, where I was shot (4) time’s, once in the middle of my forehead where my right eye brow starts. The bullet went behind my right eye and made circles until it lost its momentum. The doctor’s took my eye out to stop the bleeding and to do surgery.
I was also shot once above my right temple, once behind my right ear, and once in my stomach. All at close range, approximately 4 to 5 feet from the shooter, with a 9mm hand gun on February 1, 1996.
I learned after I was arrested in 1998, and the judge ordered me to take Cat Scan’s and MRI’s of my brain that a portion of it is dead. The part that controls impulses.
Coming up I made good grades in school but kept getting suspended for fighting. My [grand] parent’s on my daddy side would put me in private Christian school whenever I’d got suspended from regular school.
At the early age of (10) I became infatuated with the streets after I beat a few dude’s up that were in the neighbourhood gang where I grew up in Dixie. I started hanging with ‘em. We was called the Dixie Crew and / or Dixie Boys.
At age (13) for stealing cars, burglary and purse snatching I was sent to LTI (Louisiana Training Institute) a juvenile prison, that made me worse than I ever thought I would be.
There you either fought good or you got taken advantage of. I was a very good fighter, one of the best if not the best.
I escaped from Bridge City LTI at age 16, and impregnated my son’s mother while on escape. I stayed on escape for 6 months. They sent me to Monroe LTI when I got caught stealing cars. Within a year I beat up the security guard and escaped but got caught. That got me 3 flat year’s in adult prison. I went out in 1993, and became a well-known drug dealer, jacker and robber of drug dealer’s. I drove the best car’s, wore the best jewellry, clothe’s and kept plenty of money.
1998 I got married and my daughter was born.
2. Where are you now residing? Why?
In Angola Penitentiary on Death Row.
Why? I was railroaded and wrongly convicted of (2) counts of 1st degree murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and attempted murder.
There was DNA (blood) found on the victim’s door frame that was not for me or the victim’s. It’s for two unknown people, which clearly clear’s me, but they still got me to fight for my life.
3. Tell us briefly about your life before you were imprisoned: Married? Kids? Schooling etc.
I’m now divorced and engaged. Last grade I completed was the 8th grade.
4. What’s an average day consist of: Activities, reading, exercise?
I write, read, listen to music, watch NBA basketball, NFL football, but mostly thinking, writing, and listening to my CD player. I watch a little TV if it’s something I can picture happening in real life. I play chess and I just started back exercising.
Are you in solitary confinement? If so, what does that mean?
Yes. It’s a one man cell that’s about (7) by (10) feet, (23) hours a day. I get one hour out of my cell to shower, and exercise, or Monday through Thursday I can give up my hour on the tier and go on the yard for an hour. It’s a concrete yard with a basketball goal and a steel stool to sit on. It’s approximately 25 to 30 feet long and 10 feet wide, with fences surrounding and on top of all (10) cage’s. One man to a cage. I get a (15) minute shower after the yard call.
If I choose to do my hour on the tier, I’ll see if anyone wants food put in the microwave or if they want ice. I can use the phone. I can play cards, chess with inmates through the bar’s, or I can have a conversation face to face with ‘em.
For every two cell’s there is a fan and TV on the tier. We’ve (15) inmates on our tier but it holds (16).
6. Do you have regular access to the Internet and a decent library?
No Internet on death row.
Library yes. Legal and regular, but we don’t get to go to the library. Inmate’s that are not on death row take our request and bring what we ask for if it’s not loaned out already in this large prison.
The hard part is knowing what you want, and getting it before one of the other five thousand and something inmates get it. Depending on who gets it, it might not get turned back in.
7. Now, today, where are you legally: Awaiting sentence? Awaiting the outcome of an appeal … or something else?
I’m waiting to get some more lawyers so I can resume my appeals.
8. Describe where you sleep – the actual place in which you spend most time? What does it contain?
A (7) by (10) cell. A steel toilet, sink, bed with a hard cotton mattress covered in some kind of hard plastic. Two foot locker’s two pull out drawer’s that’s connected to the steel bed. A steel table with a steel stool attached to it. Steel bars across the front of the cell, with a door made out of bars.
We’ve legal work book’s, magazine’s, clothes, tennis shoes and boots. Food that ya buy out of the store if ya have money. CD player, Cd’s, radio, hygiene supplies that they sell in the store, Microwave bowls, ice containers. Electric and / or battery powered shavers and / or clipper’s to shave and cut you hair. Chessboards, playing, dominos, and scrabble games.
9. What do you miss most?
My children, freedom, family and friends, at least those who show me they love and care about me. I especially miss my mom, grandparents on my mother's side, aunts and uncles who’ve died since I have been in here.
My independence and time I would’ve spent with my children.
10. Can you tell us something about how you've been hurt by others - by life. What's that been like for you, and what is it like today?
I was a very successful drug dealer, jacker and robber of drug dealers. I was feared by most, hated by many, but I thought I was loved by my family and a few others I allowed into my world.
I must admit I terrified those whom I didn’t allow in my world, and looking back I can feel / see why they thought I was a monster from what they heard, but to my family and those I allowed into my world I thought they truly loved me because I truly loved them and I showed it no matter what was going on. I took good care of ‘em all, they knew one thing if the whole world turned on ‘em I would have their back under the worst of the worst circumstance’s.
Oh, how I let them down from the instant I was wrongfully wanted for these bogus charge’s and placed on America’s most wanted because I didn’t turn myself in.
I wasn’t on the run, even though everybody thought I was. I didn’t turn myself in because I had too much money owed to me in the streets. I was trying to collect it, then turn myself in. But just like I was ducking the police to try to collect my money, those that owed me were ducking me so they wouldn’t have to pay me.
If there was ever any truth in the saying of ya life going from sugar to shit, that’s how my life was flipped from sugar to shit.
Just as quick as that happened, back’s started turning.
I truly realized how cold hearted the world was when my eyes were opened and my heart was damn near ripped out when I came face to face with the real, raw, and uncut reality that the moment these people wrongfully snatched up and freed the vast majority of those who I thought truly loved me, didn’t love nothing but my money and the ghetto fame that came with being around and / or affiliated with me.
Much as I hate the hell out of what I’ve been through, and how heart-breaking it was to learn who truly loved me under the worst of the worst circumstances, I love even more the very well taught lesson’s I’ve learnt, and I love all that much more knowing what loyal, real raw and uncut love is all about.
I’m able to identify real love, and I give it back only to those that deserve to be blessed with the most precious gift in this world (real love) that anyone can give. I don’t think many people ever know what real love is. If there was this world would be a much, much, much better place.
11. How is your health?
My health is good, but I’m about to make it better through exercise and diet. I’m a borderline diabetic.
12. Do you have good medical facilities?
Yes, a majority of the time.
13. Describe yourself in five words?
Loving, lovable, realistic, loyal, positive.
14. What was the happiest moment of your life?
15. What was the saddest moment?
Being locked up for these crimes I didn’t do; when those who I love very dearly died and I couldn’t be there to say goodbye → my Grandparents on my momma’s side, Uncle Dalton, Mom, Aunt Janell, Uncle Murphy, Uncle Pop, My God Mother and Cousin Shirley Mae.
Not being out there to take care of my dad and Grandparent’s that are getting old.
16. What has surprised you most?
That these people are able to keep me locked up this long when I’m innocent.
17. What was your greatest disappointment?
Not being able to raise my son and daughter.
18. How would you describe the US prison system?
Unfair and one that slowly suck’s all the life out of you mentally and physically, if ya allow it to.
19. Describe the American justice system in one sentence.
It varies state to state, but Louisiana lock up more people per-capita than anywhere in the world.
20. Who did you misjudge in your life? Why?
My ex-wife’s brothers and sisters. I wouldn’t have never thought they would turn their back on me. My brother Dalton didn’t but the rest did. There’s no way in this world ya could’ve made me believe they would do that under any circumstances. I showed them too much love for them to forget I’m still living, but like a majority of people are when you’re out of their sight your're out of their mind’s, or better said when they can no longer use you, you’re of no use to them. As long as they could depend on me when they needed me, I couldn’t keep ‘em out my face or from calling my phone, but now I need them they don’t want to see my face, hear my voice, or read my letters. The few times they do nowadays, it’s like they didn’t, so the results are the same.
21. What or who was your biggest challenge?
Being convicted when I’m innocent and overturning my convictions.
22. What has been your biggest regret?
That me and my children don’t have the relationship we are supposed to have, and that even though I’m locked up I still should’ve been able to take care of myself, children, fiancée, and family that stuck by me. It hurts me to the core that I can’t do that, that’s how I started writing books, I’m determined not to allow that to last much longer.
23. What would be your dying comment? Why?
I won’t invite death by answering that question. I believe positive thinking brings positive results and negative thinking brings negative results.
24. Who or what stunned you the most?
My fiancé Emma Myles who’s been by my side since I met her a little over 4 years ago. Mr Shane and the interns who worked on my case, went home overseas but never forgot about me. They find time in their busy lives to write and send gifts, but what’s so stunning to me about them is I didn’t know none of these people when I was free. I met them all since I’ve been on death row, but they’ve showed me more love than most of my so called family and friends. I truly and whole heartedly love each of them for it. I love you Emma Myles, Mr Shane and Kate Marshall, Stephanie Ellis, Anna Williams, and Hannah Foster.
Know that you all are highly appreciated and loved. Mr Clancy Tucker you’ve just come into my life, and I know that you’ve chosen a true friend in every meaning of the word to help. I won’t let either of us down. I sincerely and highly appreciate you.
25. What would you like written on your tombstone? Why?
Whatever my true love ones think I’m worthy of. I think they deserve the last say.
Clancy's comment: Thank you, 'GB'. Rest easy tonight.
*** Stay tuned for part 2 - tomorrow.
And, on a brighter note - happy birthday to a great achiever, great humanitarian and extraordinary community worker ... my mum, who turns 88 today.
Love you, love ya work, Mum!
Love you, love ya work, Mum!
Think about this!