“Being deeply loved by someone give you strength, while loving someone gives you courage.” -—Lao Tzu.
On January 11, 2016, while sitting in my cell on Texas death row, I received a letter from my old appeal attorney informing me that the state of Texas had prevailed in having an execution date set for my legal revenge/murder. The date on which I was supposed to die in the name of (in)justice was June 2, 2016. Two hours after I received this letter, an escort team appeared before my cell informing me that the major wanted to see me in his office. when I asked the C.O. what this was about he said, “man they have set you an execution date.”
I went to the major’s office and after officially being informed that I was slated to die on June 2, 2016; I was escorted to my cell by the same two C.O. (Commanding Officers) to my new cell on death watch. I was to live in that cell for the next five month with a CCTV camera [Close Circuit Television] in the cell so these devils could monitor my movements and make sure I was healthy and whole [not commit suicide] before June 2nd , 2016, so they could murder me. About two months after being moved to death watch a supervisor from the Texas board of pardons and parole who I’ll call Ms. Smith, come to interview me regarding clemency. I proceeded to spend the next four hours with Ms. Smith and was deeply impressed by her and her genuine desire to help me. I was moved by here complete effort in preparing the report that would ultimately make its way to the governor of Texas who would decide if I should be given clemency thereby having my death sentence commuted to life.
I smile when I think of this meeting because you never know where kindness and compassion will come from, where a helping hand will come through to take yours and guide you through a very difficult part of your journey in life. One thing Ms. Smith informed me of was that I could write a letter to the Texas board of pardons and parole and each member of the board would read it. In this manner I could expressed in my own words how I felt I had “changed” while on Texas death row. Until then I had never given any thought to participating in a such a farce. Nobody in Texas is given clemency but the kindness and effort that I felt through Ms. Smith made me want to participate. And for the first time I gave the topic of how I’ve changed while being on TX DR serious thought.
I was born into a christian family, my father was an elder in the Church of Christ and an ordained minister. Dad was also an Air Force Veteran, who was proud to be an American a man who had great love for his country. Both he and my mother owned and operated a small roofing and construction business. I learned my work ethic that I used today in my relentless efforts to win my freedom from my parents who were both hard working Americans of Mexican descent. They were not outlaws, rebels or criminals. They were just the opposite – hardworking law abiding citizens who earned everything they ever had.
As the years went by while on Texas death row, five, ten, fifteen years – and as I went within myself to do the work I needed to do upon myself I matured I became aware of how far away I had gone from the values my parents had taught me, from the honor and integrity they’d instilled within me as a child. This was one of the things I regretted the most because I knew better – I had just lost my way. And this was one of the reasons why I began my transformation on Texas death row
ultimately becoming a man who wakes each day and puts himself to work for the good. Because my parents taught me better and it was well past time that I began to live my life in this manner and in the process become the man I was destined to be. A good person, one my parents would be proud of and one who would never sully their name again. So I sat down and wrote that letter to the Texas board of pardons and parole and told them that I had changed and one of the reason for this change was the honor and integrity my parents had taught me as a child. And every word I expressed to the board in that letter was the truth and came from the heart. when I was done I gave the letter to Ms. Smith to go into my file. Well, thankfully I did not get down to having to count on [non—existent] clemency. I won a stay of execution, my legal situation made a complete turn around and things started looking very sunny for me. Well not so much – In fact my father passed away on May 19th 2016; two weeks before my execution date. Then my mother passed away on February 28th 2019. And for a little while there I felt unmoored as I dealt with the loss of my parents. Thank God for the immense love all my friends have for me. I could not continue alone and unloved. It is their love that gives the strength to continue and to take every blow this experience called life deals me and continue my fight for life justice and freedom. It is the amazing circle of friends that surrounds me that keeps me going and recently I became very aware of something within myself. That is I desperately do not want to disappoint my friends. Because when you love others what they think of you is very important. And their opinion will make you stretch your brain and attempt, even achieve things you did not think possible before. Because the love you have for them gives you courage and in the process you realize what truly matters.
Recently a very special friend brought me through a situation like this. I voiced an opinion on something, and the response from my friend was that she could accept my opinion but to be clear she was very disappointed in me because of it! Let me tell you the instant I realized I was letting her down and not being my best self I quickly reassessed the situation, saw the error of my ways and opinions and truthfully expressed that I was not sure if I could do what she believes me capable of but I would try! Because I could not live with her thinking less of me. Since this happened I’ve thought a lot about the situation and have come to realize that my close friends have become my tribe now and they are my found family in my life now that my parents are gone and I’m grateful for this. Grateful for the fact that the Universe has given me such wonderful friends in life that help me grow and be the best soul I can be. And in the process make my parents proud as I grow completely into the human being that I was born to be!
LOVE PEACE HOPE & LAUGHTER TOO!