Death Blog Feb. 2, 2009

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Death Blog

Texas Death Row

February 2, 2009  5:07am

Welcome to my nightmare, the insanity tour continues.

It’s a new month and thus far we have only three Texecutions set for the month of “love”, February 2009. For the month that just passed, seven men were set to die, but only five had their executions carried out. One was set off for later this year and another has cheated the Executioner once again out of his death payment… “Dead Man Sill Walking”

I’ve been having my own personal problems the past few months, as if you haven’t noticed, but the past few weeks have been extra hard on me… and hell no I’m not seeking any sympathy just placing my thoughts into this blog. Not only am I doing my best to show the outside world what goes on behind these walls of death, but I’m also leaving a diary of my final days for all of my loved ones and children. It’s what keeps me going.

As for the extra emotional turmoil I mentioned, onto that subject now. On June 30, 1913 an awesome life was brought into this world, Altena Degaugh Hancock, in a small little town called Talty, Texas. She was one of the best people in the world in my eyes. Though she was not my actual blood kinfolk she has been in my life since I was 7 years old. She is the great great great grandmother of “my” children’s mother… known to me as grandma. She passed away at the age of 95 on January 22, 2009.

On January 21st a rare occurrence took place, Chaplain Yalls came to my death cage and he opened the conversation with “I have bad news” Well folks, my heart sank to the floor. I knew someone had died because you never get the news beforehand. It’s always after the loved one die’s that a prison chaplain notifies you, if at all.

So as we speak, he tells me I’m going to be allowed an emergency phone call in a few hours to call home and speak to my family. I’m absolutely shocked. He then tells me he has approval by Major Smith, our Death Row Major.

So a few hours later, which seemed like weeks to me, two female prison guards, fresh out of high school, come to take me to the emergency phone call. I’m placed in handcuffs behind my back and off we go. I’m taken to the “use of force” office, which holds all the riot helmets, tear gas, shields, etc. I’m sat in a chair before Chaplain Yalls, still in handcuffs, and he makes the call. Thankfully because the office of Inspector General has confiscated all of my address books back on November 15, 2009, and has yet to return them. So he does the call on speaker phone… note there are 5 other prison guards sitting at a table in the room, so that’s 7 total, plus Chaplain Yalls. So as you can imagine I’m an emotional wreck. I’m able to speak to my loved ones and since grandma is at hone on hospice care I’m able to say my final goodbyes… one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. The tears are flowing and I didn’t give a damn who saw them. It was so emotional that all 7 officers even bowed their heads. I was blessed to be able to say “I love you” and “goodbye”.

Chaplain Yalls and Major Smith – THANK YOU for this act of human compassion you have shown me, much obliged.

The following day, grandma died. RIP

Now as for what I have been thinking the last few years about my finals days, that since I’m so hardened by death row I’d be able to face my final days and goodbyes with ease. Well I’ve just realized it’s not gonna be as easy as I had thought. Saying goodbyes… not sure if I can do it now. It worries me deeply.

Now I know there’s gonna be a lot of you out there who are pro-death and are probably already screaming how I don’t even deserve to have had a chance to say goodbye or even say my final goodbyes when my time comes, but that’s what you don’t understand. I’m not here to be punished; my punishment that has been placed upon me by the people on the jury was and is DEATH. Not punishment then death. You can’t have it both ways.

Well not let me get this closed out. I feel as if I’m unraveling… need to re-group.

True American

Mark Stroman

Texas Death Row

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