Rudolph Holton

I am an innocent Black man that was railroaded in a Tampa, Florida court room, and am now on Florida's Death Row awaiting the ultimate punishment for a crime that I did not commit, if I cannot prove my innocence.

At this time let me give you a little history about myself. My name is Rulford Holton and I am an intelligent 47 year old and have been on Death Row for 14 years now. My date of birth is April 20. I have made some bad decisions in my life, bit I am not a killer. I am 5st 8in in height and I weigh 170lbs, black hair and brown eyes. I grew up in a lovely culturally diversified neighborhood in Ybor City in Tampa, Florida. I keep abreast of current topics and can communicate well with anyone on different subjects. My interests are art, basketball, jazz, R&B; also Van Halen. I have always loved the art of Salador Dali and would like one day to attend to museum. I have been into art since I was 10 years old and I love it.

My parents have departed this life and I believe they are with the Lord. Yes, I am a believer in God and I do have him in my life.

I try to do some work on my case because the attorneys that the state provides for Death Row inmates are not any good and they will not really “fight” for me, they will do so much and that's it. Currently I have been assigned a different attorney and investigator on my case that I feel really do believe that I am innocent and will do all they can to help. But, they really need more help, there is just so much the state will allow them to do.

I truly believe that one day I will prove my innocence with some help. I know that every prisoner says that they are innocent, and that they are not all innocent. But I am innocent. I am writing this letter to let everyone know in the free world what's going on, and I am fighting like hell to be free. I will never give up on that. The circuit judge assigned to my case hindered my trial attorney in every way that he could. The prosecutor in the case did everything and anything to ensure that he won the case. What I mean is that there was a lot of lying going on by the state. The state attorneys office got rid of him because there was a big investigation about his practices and what he had been doing. But again it was too late for me. The same judge in my case retired from the bench and became the Hillsborough State Attorney and was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. I think he felt his time had come to be found out? All this had come about when “Gov. Jeb Bush” called for an investigation on the “State Attorney”, so he took his own life.

Public figures are dishonest and not without sin, including the judge and prosecutor in my case.

Now Death Row and how things really are there. The cyclical rote of the weary lives of those condemned to die: as men await the ultimate punishment for the crimes alleged against them, days turn into months, months turn into years and years turn into decades. Most of America's condemned are securely locked away in some states maximum security prison. Depending on which state a prisoner is sentenced to death in, he being condemned by society, dreadfully faces unthinkable consequences for the unthinkable crimes he may be accused of. Indubitably some of Americas most atrocious criminals sit on Death Row across the land. This is not a debate of any particular individuals guilt or innocence. Rather, it is but a mere glimpse of a day in the life of the condemned.

Contrary to the onslaught of mainstream media hype, today's prison systems especially maximum security facilities, are far from being posh country clubs. In fact they remain as some of the most outdated, rankly dilapidated hell-holes that may well shock the good conscience of any decent, compassionate person. Still, in a few of the wealthier states Death Row facilities have been upgraded to supposedly more modern conventional housing units. The building is new, and the paint is fresh. Beyond this, life on Death Row is not a fantastic experience.

Time seems to loose all significance and the extended period of solitary confinement is a challenge to the most stable of souls. Very often this solitude combined with the general degradation takes it's toll on the frail human psyche. Each day is a semi-carbon copy of the last with no change expected in the future. People I have met on Death Row are optimistic. They have hopes, dreams and a strong will to aid themselves in contending with the unmanageable predicament of being sentenced to death. Sadly, many have suffered a re-death and are already resigned to surrender to the draconian principle of our republic that seeks justice by inflicting tortuous deaths upon some of its most helpless citizens. For the indigent, illiterate, and incompetent prisoner, the truth of the matter is there is virtually no reason to expect anything but certain death. On top of that realization, many suffer abandonment of family and friends who cannot, for one reason or another, bear the burdens associated with capital punishment. Still, yet undoubtedly by impetus of natural human desire, many of the condemned hope to be spared the unfathomable tragedy of being put to death at the hand of America's draconic injustice system.

Is capital punishment revenge or deterrence? “I don't know”, an aspiring politician may sheepishly confess, “But one thing's for sure. If you want to hold an elected eat in this republic you better well be willing to kill, because that's our idea of Justice.”

The penalty of death affects everyone differently, at least psychologically, so there is no short answer to what an individual may or may not feel upon the imposition of the death penalty. It is fair to say the infelicitous experience is one of the most unique, even when anticipated and can be the emotional roller-coaster of one's life, particularly if the defendant is only a juvenile or very young adult. That is not to say that being sentenced to death is, or should be considered any less trying on the average adult. At the Death Row facility where me and others are being housed, inmates are confined to one man cells 23 ½ hours a day. That is, all day long every day, unless the inmate is summoned by prison officials, the medical department, goes to a shower, recreation, or occasionally receives a visit from a family member or friend. Each cell is a 7' by 9' cubicle comprised of three solid concrete walls and the traditional steel grill serving as the front wall which provides an open view of the cell to all passers by. Accommodations in each cell, unless it is a security cell, include a steel bunk coupled with a thin institutional cotton mat, a locker box for storing personal possessions, a 12” black and white television, a combination sink/toilet, and a ceiling mounted fluorescent lamp. There are fourteen one-man cells on each cellblock, and there are twenty-four separate wings at this particular facility. This unit was designed with close security in mind. It's a technologically advanced structure with remote controlled locks, doors etc. and throughout each day one can hear the seemingly incessant buzzing of door-locks and the slamming of solid steel doors being opened and shut back. There is no carpet on the floors, or central heat and air-conditioning. During the winter the cellblocks can be unbearably cold, during the summer, HOT in a once man cell.

Meals are delivered to the inmate in his cell. Each inmate is fed three times a day. The regular, but very often bland and scanty institutional meal served on a plastic food tray. It is a meager diet hardly sufficient to satiate the average adult appetite. Prisoners that enjoy the financial support of family members or friends can counterbalance the poor diet with canteen items such a sandwiches, candy bars or chips. Not uncommonly, the indigent prisoners face long hungry nights, as it is approximately fourteen hours in between the time that the last evening meal is served and the time breakfast arrives the next morning. Day to day activities generally include; talking, playing chess, watching television, listening to the radio “if the prisoner can afford to purchase radio”, writing letters to family, friends, and overworked lawyers, and if the prisoner has the funds to do so he can purchase hobby craft materials and draw, paint or crochet as a past time.

Death Row, not unlike any other part of the prison system is tattered with a diverse group of individuals and there is no single all-inclusive description that can be fairly applied to every man condemned to die. While it is true that there are some egregiously dangerous prisoners that have been condemned to death, this is the exception rather than the rule, as there are exceedingly more serial killers and prisoners convicted of multiple homicides serving life sentences or less time in the general population of state and federal prisons throughout the US or A. Some of the prisoners on Death Row proclaim their innocence outright. Some are victims of circumstance, others are prisoners guilty of homicide, but not guilty of first-degree murder, still not being fortunate enough to have knowledgeably qualified and experienced trial attorneys, they have been wrongly convicted of first-degree murder, and subsequently wrongly sentenced to death. From day to day one can lay back on his bunk and listen to one legal horror story after another, as disillusioned inmates desperately attempt to get the next to see the injustice he has suffered. But legal discourses are not the only topics of conversation. In fact, there are a lot of people condemned to die that have astounding insight into many of our countries societal and cultural juggernauts, very enlightening discussions occur quite frequently.

Being human, Death Row prisoners also can have a sense of humor and may spend an afternoon “kicking the game around”, that is jocularly teasing and jesting with one another. Over time one can come to know, like and enjoy a genuine friendship with a fellow inmate. Albeit at the back of one's mind he may never know whether his friend was once capable of murder. Still, at the present time two people in similar circumstances freely reciprocate good will – much needed good will.

There are also bad days on Death Row. Days fraught with stress, confusion, and indescribable heartache. The hearts of those condemned to die are not always inerrably callous or unfeeling. We have all heard the reports on capital defendants showing no remorse, but I have heard grown men cry into their pillows. Did anyone take the defendant seriously when he earnestly apologized and begged for forgiveness for an act the defendant is still hard pressed to comprehend? It is commonly argued that Death Row inmates are the worst of all criminal elements of our society. Such a suggestion is mere propaganda. Ideally, the Death Penalty was to be carefully ands deliberately used. Appallingly, today's Death Row prisoner might be one who accidentally shot someone with a gun believed to have been unloaded, or a school kid who has foolishly and ignorantly thrown his life away by taking someone else's life in a fit of anger or in a dare. Undeniably innocent lives have been taken by the sometimes mean, sometimes inconsiderate, sometimes foolish, sometimes careless individual, and these innocent souls should be greatly esteemed and surrendered over to the Lord. He is capable of restoring and he will. As for what to do with those guilty of murder, it seems the majority of Americans demand an eye for an eye. But no matter how anyone spins that concept, it will never amount to more than blood sport and such practice is a black eye to any professed civilized society.

Let us remember that our LORD once rewarded the humble and wisest King on earth, because this humble King, amongst other things, did not ask for the lives of his enemies [see 1st Kings 3:5-15, and 2nd Chronicles 1:7-12]. God has given us a higher principle and perhaps if our country, and every country, were to practice this higher principle, the imagined right to kill would eventually dissolve.

By mercy and truth iniquity is purged, and by fear of the Lord humans depart from Evil [Proverbs 16:6].

PS. I don't know why males get stuck with this burden, but it's true throughout the animal kingdom. If you watch the nature show on the Discovery Channel, you will note that whatever species they are talking about

Rudolf Holton E-829326
Union Correctional Institution A1
P.O. Box 221