Sunday, June 18, 2006

Take that Slowness

Dear Vernon,

I' m Marco, an Italian guy.


Do you think that the worst punishment is life in prison or a death sentence?

Good luck and remember that you are in my prayers.

Marco


>>>>>


Dear Marco,

Life in prison is a slow death, but at least if you take that slowness and create something good, it will always in my opinion be better than the death penalty. You cannot atone from death but you can make a difference alive.

Peace.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Young Reporter

Dear Vernon,

I recall covering the story surrounding the Warren House murders all those years ago. At the time, I was a very young reporter-- the grisly gangland-style executions of David Scott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy still live on in my memory. It was a horrible crime, and if you are indeed guilty of murdering them to keep them from testifying against convicted criminal Anthony Grandison, who reportedly ordered the killings from prison, you deserve punishment for the rest of your life. But you should not be murdered. I believe the death penalty is completely immoral: I fervently hope the state will not kill you and that your attorneys will be successful in stopping the execution from taking place. I also hope you receive another trial; the questions about the eyewitness seem valid on their face. In the interest of justice and truth, it makes sense to reexamine the fairness of how your trials were handled.

In any case, I oppose capital punishment for any reason. As such, I wish you a long life. Doesn't mean that I have a soft spot for murderers, though. If you are indeed guilty of those hideous crimes, I pray you spend that long life behind bars. But if you truly are innocent, I pray that justice ultimately will prevail.

NR Davis
All Facts and Opinions
http://gratefuldread.net

>>>>>


NR Davis,

I understand just what you are saying and I tell you as a man that I was not the shooter that day.

Peace

Saturday, April 22, 2006

With Your Help

Hi Vernon,

I'm a seventeen-year-old Italian girl, and I wanted to write to you 'cause I'm very sorry you're going to die. My English isn't very good. How do you feel now? Are you afraid of death? Do you believe in god? It's strange I'm writing to you now, but in 7 days you will be dead. I really would help you. I can't tolerate this, but I can't do anything to change the situation.


Goodbye by Martina


Martina,

I just want to let you know that I didn’t die in seven days as you thought. Yes I believe in God and I tell you He was very much in charge of keeping me alive.

Peace.

>>>>>


For those that did not ask questions but gave their support in me getting past this killing and for those that showed their love by giving regard to Virginia for creating this avenue to open a dialogue with people around the world, I appreciate you with all my heart. I send you my love for such beautiful words. I have received a stay of execution with the help of all of your prayers being heard by God with the wisdom that He gave my attorneys.

I love you all,

Vernon

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Vicariously

Vernon,

If you could live vicariously through another for say a couple of minutes, meaning that after you are dead one person whom you never met did one thing with your memory in mind, what would you want that one thing to be? I'll do it.

-Jonathan



Jonathan,

It took me a couple of days to think about your question because I think it’s a very important statement. This is what was revealed to me: I think I would like that in memory of me you would locate a young person that is in trouble and bring that person to the state of Christ-like. It is the most rewarding feeling to know you have helped someone, and that help is going to help that person for the rest of their lives.

Peace

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Status

Due to various largely uncontrollable factors, updates on this blog will have to somewhat irregular at this point.

You may want to sign up for a service such as bloglines (see the icon on the top right) so that you’ll know when updates have been posted.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Washington State Mom

[Editor’s note: Please note that Vernon does not have his own email address, or internet access, as suggested by Patti in her question. I monitor the email address 'MeetVernon@Gmail.com.']


Hi,

I live in Washington State and I've never written to anyone in jail before, but when I read that you had an email address, I just couldn't help myself.

I know that you are on death row and I just want to know how you feel. What is it like for you? Are you frightened? What is it like in jail? What is a regular day like for you?

I'm a mom with five children and two step-children. I'm happily married and live in the country. My husband is a truck driver and a farmer. We have a good life here and our children go to a school that houses kindergarten through 12th grade. Pretty simple life we have. So, when I read about people that are living in death row, I have always been curious. However, until now, I've never had an opportunity to write to people like yourself.

Can I ask you? Did you actually commit those murders? And, if so, how do you feel now? Sorry if I sound so naive, but it's an area that I am not familiar with and yet have had an interest in.

Thank you for reading this. Patti


Patti,

Before I found peace with accepting Christ as my personal savior my life was a living hell. The devil had complete control over me. In fact, I was still conducting my drug use from within prison. I was still drinking. I was not aware that the devil was making things readily for me to keep me from seeing the light of day. I had no idea that even in prison, on death row, my life could have peace. That I could be a good man. I was not on death row all these years, but was a part of death row. I was doing a life sentence in the federal system. You could not believe the way my life had become so horrible that I finally got tired and asked God to show me another way. It was slow in coming because I had not given up the desire to put myself through suffering. He finally sorted me out and showed me His mercy. Today I try to pass that love on whenever I do things like writing back to you. I do not fear death, now that I understand the steps I had to take to prepare myself for death, whenever it came. No I didn’t kill those two people.

Peace

Hurricane Katrina

Dear Vernon,

I have suffered many loses in the recent months due to Hurricane Katrina and I have started thinking about what life, possessions, and family really mean, and which are essential for living a happy life. If there is one bit of advice you could give for a young person in this confusing world, what would it be? Anything from growing up, to life lessons you have learned. Thanks for everything and peace to you.

Kate




Dear Kate,

I would give sound advice of making Jesus a part of every life no matter what others may think of you in doing it. Make a way to read The Bible. Surround yourself with positive young or older people. Because would a friend really offer you drugs? Would a friend really offer you a drink? Would a friend really tell you to go and disrespect your parent? I think not. But I really thought those kind of people were my friends. That’s how the devil works. He gives false impressions even using other people to do it. Know for sure it is easy to get into trouble, but over a million of us can tell young people it is very hard to get out of.

Peace

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Court Employee

Dear Mr. Evans,

I was [a court employee] at your trial in Princess Anne in 1984 before Judge Simpkins. I left the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1989 and have worked since then [in another government position.] Anyway, a lot has happened in my life since 1984, but I often think of you, your co-defendant, and defendants in other capital cases… on the Eastern Shore in the eighties. I've followed your case in the paper over the years. I remember you as a likeable person with a sense of humor. I also remember the families of the victims of this tragic crime and the sorrow they did then and must now feel.

In the last 20 years my folks both died, our youngest son went through years of alcohol and drug problems, causing untold grief for my wife, and me, and other things have happened that are normal events in life. I'm not a very religious person, but I have always felt God was there for me, even though I was seldom there for Him. I know with our son I finally gave up hope, and shortly thereafter he called me and said, "Dad, I'll do anything you want, if you'll help me." It's been three years and he's done great. It made me realize then that as much pain and suffering as he caused his mom and me, I caused God much more. Anyway, I'm not preaching. I believe when God gives out rewards in Heaven, I'll be last in line, but I know I'll be in line. My son still occasionally apologizes for his actions, and I tell don't. We apologize once, and then it's forgotten.

So, I don't know why I'm writing this. My wife's dad is dying in [a foreign country] and she went to visit him one last time. I'm home alone with my dog and cat, which isn't all that bad. I've been married for 33 years and my wife is as close to perfect as a person can be.

Anyway, hang in there. As far as I can tell, if you're a Christian and asked for forgiveness for your sins, which aren't any worse than mine or anyone else's in the eyes of God, then one day you'll be in a better place and no one will be judging you anymore. If you're not, then get some born-again preacher in there and listen to him/her. It will bring you peace. I'm sure after 21 years on death row you must have peace of some type.

Whatever happens, keep your head up, and good luck.

Bob ___

Virginia


Mr. ___,

After reading your letter I was grateful for many things but the one thing that really stood out after reading your letter was the fact that you were really blessed to get your son back. Perhaps just knowing there is a God helped serve the blessing that was given in your life. I believe also if you allow the situation with your son to really take hold you’ll find God has given you the strength to help comfort your wife who is in need of you.

I appreciate you just taking the time in your times of sorrow to write about such joy and sadness but still I can not help but think how great God is. One more thing, it was a slow process but yes I have found peace in reading and demonstrating the word of God.

Peace

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mail

The first of Vernon’s responses to your questions have arrived. These replies are dated February 1, 2006, about a week before Vernon was scheduled to be executed. I’ll be posting them over the next few days.

Please bear with the unusual timeline of this blog. Due to the logistics of the mailings, the correspondence posted here will always appear weeks after current news events. I suspect that Vernon’s replies to the questions that you sent him after his stay was issued last week will be arriving in the mail soon.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Replies Updates

It’s my intention that this blog be Vernon’s words and Vernon’s interaction with those who choose to write to him. His replies to your current questions should be in the mail soon. I’ll post them when they arrive.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Last Minute Stay

The Baltimore Sun
February 6, 2006

"The state Court of Appeals issued several orders this morning granting defense lawyers' request for a stay in the execution. The court scheduled arguments in the case for May.

We continue to think that we have strong claims and meritorious appeals, and we're very glad that the court is going to give us a chance to show them that," said A. Stephen Hut Jr., one of the lawyers who has represented Evans in his appeals.

The attorneys said they were still sorting out the appeals court's orders this morning, but that a majority of the judges appeared to grant the lawyers' requests for a stay on each challenge pending before the appeals court...

"Evans, who had been moved to a cell closer to the state's death chamber, was told of the court's decision shortly before noon, the Associated Press reported.

He said, "Praise God," according to Jeffrey O'Toole, one of his attorneys."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Vernon Update

Vernon has been moved from the building where death row is housed to the building where executions take place. He was not allowed to take any of his belongings with him. Maryland schedules executions in week long blocks. The execution could take place anytime from Monday to Friday.

Read and watch more news updates here.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

As Execution Nears, Students Reflect on Correspondence with a Death Row Inmate

Baltimore Sun
February 3, 2006

"Evans' influence on Pilisz, from Scranton, Pa., has been so profound that after years of not knowing what to do with her life, she now intends to seek a teaching job in an inner-city school after graduation. "Knowing Vernon and some of the things that have happened in his life has inspired me to work with kids to keep them from getting into things like that," she said.

Reflecting on the impact that Evans has had on her students, Conway remembered a prayer that he told her he repeats often - that God would grant him a period of time when he would know what it means to be a good man.

"Being in prison, and the period of reflection that that has afforded him, he has figured out a way to be the person he wanted to be," Conway said softly. "I told him that I thought in many ways his prayer has now been answered."

Read more here.

Consensus Statement

On Friday, Vernon's attorneys delivered a consensus statement in support of a moratorium (pause) of the death penalty in Maryland.

Signers of the agreement are concerned:

(1) that innocent people are being sentenced to death in Maryland,
(2) that capital defendants in Maryland are not receiving adequate legal council, and
(3) that Maryland's death penalty is applied in a racist manner.

Those signing the documents include Bruce Gordon, the President and CEO of the NAACP, Raymond Paternoster, the man who authored the study that proved racial disparities on Maryland's death row, and several other Maryland legislatures, religious leaders, and educators.

See the statement here.

Death-Row Inmate Evans Loses Another Appeal

RSS Feeds From ABC 7 Friday February 03, 2006 8:41pm

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the latest appeal from convicted murderer Vernon Evans.

In a one sentence order handed down this afternoon, the court upheld a lower court ruling denying Evans' stay on the grounds that lethal injection amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

Evans' lawyer Julie Dietrich said she will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Click here to read more.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Pope Appeals for Evans' Life

(WJZ/AP) Baltimore, MD

" Two U.S. cardinals and the Vatican's envoy to Washington have appealed to
Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich to spare the life of condemned inmate Vernon Evans,
who is scheduled to be executed next week for two 1983 contract killings."

Click here to read more and to see local television coverage.

Letter Excerpt

Excerpt from letter from Vernon to a local student, Dated Oct 5, 2005:

"My friend before you are old many people you will put your trust in will let you down. It is a fact, but know this young one it will not compare with the number that will not let you down. Pray for change in those that show deceit and give thanks for those in your life that love you. Whatever you gave from your heart let it always remain so. Whatever you lost will some day be given back to you in another way. Carry on."

Email Exchange

Below is an email exchange between myself and someone else working on the case.

>>>

Thursday, February 2, 5:34pm

Has anyone talked to Vernon? Do you know if he received the email questions? There should be more arriving each day. How is he?

>>>

Thursday, February 2, 10:33pm

I saw him last night and he was busy responding to them. He said he ran out of stamps but someone gave him some. He's hanging in there.

>>>

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Send a Letter to Ehrlich

The Amnesty International online action for Vernon Evans is live.

Click here to send a message to Maryland Governor Ehrlich.

Evans' Appeal on Execution Turned Down

The Baltimore Sun
February 2, 2006

"A U.S. District Court judge denied Wednesday night a request from death row inmate Vernon Lee Evans Jr. to postpone his scheduled execution, ruling that "it would be an exercise in speculation" to find that Maryland's lethal injection procedure exposes Evans to a substantial and unnecessary risk of pain and suffering.

Evans, 56, who could be put to death as soon as Monday for the 1983 contract killings of two Pikesville motel clerks, had challenged the state's execution procedure in a federal lawsuit on the grounds that it violates his constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment."

Read more here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Letter to a Student

Below is a letter from Vernon to a local college student.

January 24, 2006

Sedira,

Today, I had a visit from your mother and Paulette. I told her that I wrote you a brief letter along with John Miller letter to your roommate. But still I feel I must write you this one.

When I received your letter it felt good to know I have a friend such as you. It also Sedira made me appreciate the Bible. Christ and people such as yourself makes me want to live a long and fulfilling life. My fulfillment would be touching peoples lives in a positive way. To give them meaning to the purposes they take up in life. One of my goals is to show people especially young people sometimes you will grow old in fighting a cause for good. But when you prove that you want change in an evil event, more people will have to take notice and join your effort. Every opportunity you get you must speak against a wrong. Sometimes your words will fall on deaf ears. That the way it is. But your aggressiveness will not always fail.

We have met and friendship have develop from our meeting. However we met the friendship has mature. We know what this struggle is about. No matter if I or you perish we know in our soul what remain to do.

Sedira make your being always ready for heartbreak. Heartbreak comes with this struggle because of the closeness that grows. Just know it is part of the struggle.

Love you
Peace & Blessing

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Clemency Video

Vernon’s new legal team presented a clemency video to Maryland’s Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. today. Click on this link to see the video.

Or you can type this url into your browser: http://www.savevernonevans.org/ClemencyVideo.html

The video presents compelling evidence as to why the Governor should grant Vernon clemency, including:

(1) That Vernon was not the shooter, and is thus not eligible for the death penalty in Maryland. (The only eye witness to the crime never testified at Vernon’s trial.)

(2) That Vernon grew up in a dysfunctional family, suffered from severe physical and sexual abuse as a child, and attempted suicide at the age of 10. (These facts would have played an important role during his sentencing trial.)

Because of Vernon’s original incompetent court appointed attorney, the evidence in this video has never been presented to a jury.

The video also details the supportive role Vernon has played and continues to play in his children’s lives, the care he provided to fellow inmates who were HIV positive, and the role Vernon has played in shaping the career paths of students at Mt. St. Mary’s University in Maryland.

When you finish the video, if you want to send a message to Vernon, you can write to MeetVernon@Gmail.com and I’ll mail him your comments. If you want to write to any of the other people who appear in the video, including his mother, father, sisters, sons, daughter, or Professor Conway, you can email them to MeetVernon@Gmail.com as well, and I’ll do my best to deliver them to the right people.

Most importantly please call, write, or email Governor Ehrlich to request he grant Vernon clemency. If you live in Maryland, you can also write a letter to the editor to your local paper.

Office of the Governor
Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
State House
Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925

410.974.3901 (p)
410.974.3275 (f)

Toll Free 1.800.811.8336
TDD 410.333.3098
MD Relay 1.800.735.2258

http://www.gov.state.md.us/mail/

Monday, January 30, 2006

Emails- Kirk Bloodsworth

Vernon has received hundreds of emails in the last few days. Some are kind and thoughtful, some are genuinely inquisitive, some are angry and hateful, some are ill-informed, some are incoherent, and some are spam.

It will be a few days before I receive Vernon’s replies to these messages in the mail. In the meanwhile, I’ll be posting some of the emails that are catching my eye here.

Around noon today, Vernon’s email account (which I maintain, as he doesn’t have internet access) received a message from Kirk Bloodsworth. Mr. Bloodsworth spent eight years on Maryland’s death row before he was exonerated in 1993. Mr. Bloodsworth was the first death row inmate in the United States to be proven innocent based on D.N.A. evidence.

Here’s is his message to Vernon:


DEAR VERNON

JUST WANTED TO SAY THAT I REMEMBER YOU WHEN I WAS THERE AND TONIGHT IM SUPPOSED TO SPEAK AT A CHURCH ON YOUR BEHALF.

I HOPE YOUR WELL I KNOW ITS TOUGH FOR YOU MAN. I KNOW ITS HARD BUT KEEP LOOKING UP. I WROTE GOV EHRLICH A LETTER TO GRANT YOU CLEMENCY THEY TOLD ME WAS GOING TO LOOK INTO IT? IVE BEEN OUT FOR 13YEARS NOW AND MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. I HOPE I CAN HELP IN SOME SMALL WAY. GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU ALWAYS...

WITH YOU IN SPIRIT

KIRK BLOODSWORTH

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Vernon's Replies

Here’s are Vernon’s replies to the most recent questions I sent him last week. He said “The questions you have put to me I will answer with sincerity…they are questions that are constantly being asked of me.”

Please continue to email me your questions and comments and I will mail them to Vernon.


How did you find out about the warrant?

I found out about the death warrant looking at the news on Channel 13.


How did you feel when you found out?

At first I was angry because I just heard from my lawyer that the Court of Appeals had set oral arguments for May. Then when my reasonable spirit returned, I was able to admit that Baltimore County is doing an aggressive job in trying to carry out this execution.

So in essence their aggressiveness moved me and others to stop them. For them it is not justice at all anymore but pride has taken over.



How do you get by day by day? From where do you draw your strength?


I think having the knowledge that the death penalty in this country is not about justice but instead used as stepping stone to prosper in careers. Plus, as a born again human being, thru Christ.

I have written before about how the death penalty has caused people to act like people did when God first sent Christ here to save the human race.

So when I speak against the death penalty I also would like Christians to know that if you really believe in Christ’s word, show mercy. I also believe that I get my strength from reading God’s word.

How have your fellow inmates reacted?

The ones I socialize with show their hearts to me. They express that I am in their prayers. Some react by hitting the law books more often:)

How is your family handling this situation?

My sisters are being strong because they know that I need them more than ever. But my young sister I had a chance to get attached to when she was born. I watched and appreciated her first step. I’ve seen her as a little sister. Whereas my older sisters were already there sort of speaking. So my younger sister got to really hang with her big brother. She can handle things, but there is a spirit with her that shows more compassion. She’s ok. She knows that this is an on going battle to the end of the death penalty.


What would you want to convey to your attorneys and others who have worked on your case?

Speaking of my lawyers honestly, it was a process that was slow at first. We at first never attempted to know each other as real human beings. It was just a relationship that had legal only boundaries. After years and learning others spiritual enlightening, I began to feel they wanted to save my life. Yes I still have moments I can still say that I honestly appreciate my lawyers. They have followed issues in Court that have allowed them to raise on my behalf. God is truly great.

The students I love very much. I love the student teacher that helps motivate the students. I admire Dr. Trudy Conway for helping me to feel love. Her efforts with the students at Mt. St. Mary’s University are helping others become aware of a penalty that should not be. Even at American University there is growing concern about the death penalty. People around the U.S. that are offering prayers are helping in ways that they really don’t realize. Look at what Wesley Baker stated: “I didn’t know that people really care.” I appreciate the minds that young people are putting together to make plans and carry them out. It's a wonderful feeling they are giving to death row men and women across the U.S.A.

I must say I also appreciate the people in Brazil that express concern about my situation, but more importantly I love when they express their desire to rid the world of the death penalty. It is no deterrent. A fact that people really need to realize. They are spending money and it doesn’t even seem to alter crime at all. Not even in the harshest country.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New Death Warrent- Feb 6, 2006

On January 9th, Baltimore County Circuit Judge John Grason Turnbull II signed a new death warrant Vernon- for the week of February 6, 2006.

This blog was paused last spring due to various concerns, but it may have updates again soon.

Thank you to everyone who has written to Vernon with your questions and comments.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Prison Conditions

Hi Vernon,

I'm from Brazil. Here, we do not have death penalty; however, our convicts live in sub human conditions inside their own cells. Here, being sent to jail is already a death sentence…. As a convict, what would you say about the way that prisoners are treated in the USA?
- Wilame Lima, Sergipe, Brazil



Wilame,

To answer your question, I think that any prison can present harsh treatment at any given time. In the history of the USA, a lot of inmates have been killed just for being leaders or just for being weak. There are men who sometimes get power stuck and those men will create situations in which blood will be spilled.

Wilame don’t be mistaken, inmates in the USA have not always had hot water and health care. Many men and women fought in the sixties to even have hot water or heat. Today in the USA, a lot of prisons are cutting work training programs. That can mean that a person has only his or her hustling jobs to look forward to once he or she is released.

Convicts that are willing to change conditions in prisons here or abroad should organize, think legally, and start writing to leaders of human rights institutions. Just remember, change comes with patience.

Peace,


Vernon

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Religion

I have noticed a theme of Christianity in your letters. I, myself, am not a religious person, but I am very interested in the role religion plays in the lives of others, especially people who are faced with extremely difficult circumstances. I was wondering if you could talk a little about your faith and how it affects your daily life. Were you raised in a religious home? Do you find that your religion is a comfort to you in prison? – Penny, Boston, MA


Hi Penny,

Penny, religion is not for everyone, yet there are some who can not get around without it. As I understand more and more about religion I can clearly see that being religious is a a way of life where most have not tried. Meaning they have tried everything under the sun to see if they could find peace. Money didn’t do it. Having jewelry that they are too afraid to wear because of crime didn’t do it. Going in and out of prison never seems to be the answer. So I think that religion has a way of finding someone down on their luck. So I have talked about how religion has given me peace and a different lifestyle. So let me say this, there are men and women that will never be able to convert to religion. It’s not for everyone but yet it is there for the taking. Religion has helped me to deal with things more wisely.

Peace to you Penny,

Vernon

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Music

I read an article in a Brazilian newspaper about this website and came here to read what you have to say. I was reading about what you do in your time on death row and then I thought a second about myself. I'm 20 years old and moved from Brazil to Canada more than a year ago to study. I left family, friends and my girlfriend there. I find it really hard to make friends here and that's why I spend my days at home on the internet talking to my friends overseas. I never go out at night nor go to the movie, the park, or anywhere because I really don't want to... I feel always tired, bored and sad.


There's one thing, however, that I do that makes me really happy here. I play music. Not only do I play music but I also write songs and poems. This has become a kind of therapy for me. I can release my pain, I can have hope, I can write whatever I think and turn it into a song or a poem. I also realize that my songs and poems get better as time goes by. This makes me feel really happy and makes me have a more positive mind. I wonder if you ever wrote songs or poems. It may seem strange if you have never tried it, but it really changed my life here. By doing that, you can not only feel better with yourself, happy with what you have done, but also you can show people what you are feeling in a way that only these kinds of texts can express.

I wish you the best.
- Felipe




Felipe,

Listen to me, I am not always right, but listen to me anyway, and you might get something out of what I have to say. Felipe, know this to be true, you already have a friend who made it possible for you to do music. So be grateful for that one major friend. He watches over you all the time. Now here’s the deal, you are young, and you should not have such fear when you are a talented young man. You could have friends if you stopped being on guard. Your music is a perfect tool to lure a friend. Everyday should be a blessing because you can get up and do something you really like doing. I’ll tell you what, summer is coming, set up somewhere and just start playing in that location a couple of days and see what happens. Instead of going to the movies, go somewhere where men and women play music.

Be strong. Get rid of fear.

Vernon

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Whining

Why don’t you stand up and take your punishment like a man? – Robert Trouts


When I first read your sentence the first thing that came to mind was how Jesus was tested by Satan in the wilderness. I pass your statement. I could not get angry. When I was in society I did used to whine. But I would whine about things that didn’t involve life. I would say: “They tax me too much” “It sure is hot out today” “It’s too cold.” But now that I’ve been living with a death sentence for twenty-two years, I have had an education on how meaningful life is. I have come to understand that others may put little into life, no matter what end of the stick they are on. When I whine now I whine because I have spent my life learning what others know to be true. I whine because there is a system in place that is not fair when it comes to taking a life. I know what others know to be true but turn away from.


Robert I want you to forgive me for my whining,

Peace

Vernon.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Vernon's Stay

-
How did it feel to receive a stay on April 1st? – Bob

[Editor's note: Before Vernon's stay, he was set to be executed by the state of Maryland during the week of April 18, 2005]

To Bob,

I hope that I don’t offend you with this answer. For a long time now I have believed that certain things you have to leave in certain hands. When the stay occurred, I only knew that my prayers had been answered and that now I would have more time to prove that I did not receive a fair trial in 1984. I knew that some people would be disappointed and that others would be relieved. Bob, making friends and getting mail are moments that can make a man or woman on death row emotional, but a stay is right below getting your conviction overturned.

May you continue to believe in God,

Vernon

Saturday, April 16, 2005

This Site


Thank you for setting up this site. I think it is a wonderful idea. It is not only good for Vernon but good to educate the rest of us. Congratulations! - Ruth


Ruth,

You are right about this site. For too long people have only heard one side of the story concerning the men and women on death row. The justice system has allowed the media to paint all prisoners as animals. There is no doubt in my mind that this site can make a difference.

I pray that you can help in the cause to make that happen.

Vernon

Friday, April 15, 2005

Innocence Issue

I was curious if you are claming actual innocence or, did the crime and believe it should be commuted to life?
– Laura, Washington State


To Laura,

Since 1983 I have held that I did not pull the trigger that killed David Scott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy, but I was still convicted in my first trial in 1984. I had a second sentencing trial in 1992. (My original death sentence was ruled unconstitutional by a case called Mills v. Maryland.) In the 1992 trial, I was told by a lawyer named Sally Chester that the only way I could get off death row was to tell the new jury I was guilty and to show remorse. I was sentenced to death again.

Laura, I did not kill these people. There was only one eye witness to this crime and she said I did not commit these murders. This witness was never brought to court for my trial in 1984. When I asked my lawyer why he didn’t put her on the stand he told me that she had nothing to offer.

This witness saw the entire crime through her shop window. Her store has a surveillance tape that shows her watching the crime. She gave the video to the police, but no one introduced the tape during my trial. The police finally handed over a lot of evidence in 2002 that shows that I was not the shooter.

Laura in this case alone five prosecutors who helped to convict me have become judges. They built their careers on convicting me. There is too much at stake for people to just hear me scream. I need the help of others.

Vernon

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Debate

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While we are waiting for more replies from Vernon, there is a debate going on in the blogosphere regarding MeetVernon.com. Interestingly, as someone pointed out, it appears to be mostly between female bloggers.

Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft wrote “Meet Vernon- the First Death Row BloggerA quote: “Meet Vernon even has a blogroll, and TalkLeft is proud to be included on it. This is an experiment, but wouldn't it be great to see every death row inmate with a blog?”

Michelle Malkin’s comments: “PRISONBLOGGING?!?!?!” A quote: “I don't think it would be "great" for prison officials to allow these Death Row convicts to flaunt their lives on the Internet while the relatives of those they brutally murdered suffer…Free speech? Spare me.”

Jeralyn’s reply: “Upsetting Ms. Malkin: Why Death Row Inmates Should Have Blogs” A quote: “The faces and stories of those on death row show what the present is like for those without a future. When a death row inmate has a blog, it brings the reality of the death penalty right to the American public. If every death row inmate had a blog, people would no longer be able to view the death penalty as somebody else's problem, as merely something that makes the news once in a while. These blogs would be googled and spidered the same as mine and Ms. Malkin's, and the public would see that death row inmates are human too.”

RightThinkingGirl has also weighed in: "Meet Vernon - the First Death Row Blogger" A quote: “Sometimes I love the interwebs and sometimes I wish there were higher barriers to entry. Exhibit A: ‘ Meet Vernon’. Vernon Lee Evan is a killer on Maryland's death row who accepts email (via gmail) and answers them on his blog. Such hanging soft balls include, ‘Can you please describe what it's like on Death Row?’ ”

And Meet Vernon was also mentioned by Jeff Jarvis of the buzzmachine.com: "Blogging Behind Bars."

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Vernon's Children

I heard you have seven children. Can you tell me about them? Are you able to keep in touch with them? -Mike, Washington, D.C.

Peace to you Mike,

I only have six kids now. One was taken by an act of violence. My son had given the young man who shot him a place to stay. The young man was sixteen. He shot my son because he thought that my son wanted his girlfriend.

My five sons and one daughter have gone through some very difficult times since my confinement. I failed my kids as a father. I missed out on a lot of their activities while they were growing up. In my heart, I know that this is why they have run wild and at some points even ended up in prison themselves.

Since I have been back in the state of Maryland I have managed to get my daughter into a drug treatment program. She has been drug free for nearly two years now. My oldest son was also a victim of violence. Now he is in a wheelchair. He and I are probably the closest. He made me proud last week when he told me that he had accepted Christ into his life. My oldest grandson brings his father over in his wheelchair when he can. I talk to my oldest grandaughter Nik all the time too. You know what Mike? They actually still love me even after I was not there in their lives all that time. So things are looking up to becoming Christ-like.


As I came Mike I leave you in peace,

Vernon

Monday, April 11, 2005

Time in Prison

Do you have anything you feel is useful or productive you can or do while you are in prison?

What do you think you would be doing if you had not been in prison for the last twenty-two years? - Jay, New Hampshire


April 7, 2005

Hello Jay,

Thank you for taking a few minutes to contact me. Now, as for your question, which is a topic that I think is worth talking about. Jay, in this kind of prison, which is a SuperMax, a man must find even in the worst things something good or positive to focus on. Sometimes if the forces are with you, blessing will come your way. In my case, I have people who have come into my life for a purpose. They are people who believe that even men or women who have done evil should not be executed. So that said, I spend most of my time giving and receiving knowledge about this punishment they call legal punishment of death.

Another positive thing I do in here is change my lifestyle. I once lived in a way that I thought I needed to live in order to survive. Some men and women seem to think that a man or woman that once was in a criminal environment has no way of changing their idea of life and survival. I think that those that think like that have at some point created a mental block in their thinking. I believe that they think that for the purpose of justification of believing the killing of a man or woman on death row will ease their conscience. So I work at a strong Christian character.

The students at Mount St. Mary’s University give me the friendship I receive from their teacher in the class they seek to educate people about this punishment of death or should I admit a punishment of revenge.

Jay, let me continue to be honest with you. I think that because I was not born to be in prison or to be a bad man I think that if I was not on death row, I would have been more involved with my family and with my kids. I properly would have been able to help my father now that he is much older, with his business adventure.

I hope to continue to hear from you.

Peace and Solidarity,

Vernon

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Excerpts


From a March 4, 2005 letter from Vernon

“When I was first arrested an agent told me to my face that it’s alright for us to kill each other but when we start killing other whites in this country we are going to execute your kind.”
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