Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Sanity


How do you stay focused and sane while on death row?


I think hope is the key to success. I think when you are able to allow God to bring you into Christ, your faith will give you hope that will enable you to be aggressive in your struggle to end the death penalty and also to aid others that want to see this revenge punishment destroyed in this nation.

Forgive me, it is 3am and I must get some rest. Now that a warrant has been signed the guards come around to make sure I haven’t killed myself.

Vernon

Murder Victims


Do you have anything you would want to say to the families of Scott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy?

I believe there is still a daughter that is with us. One time I saw you express your regret of your parent’s departure into heaven. I think there is a burden that you had to grow into, because you were so young at the time of your parent’s death. Now you are a woman and I don’t know how much you have grown spiritually, but I hope that God has not allowed the devil to destroy your heart. In every human heart there is a will to forgive. There is an attribute of God in every human to forgive your enemy. I pray that in losing your family God has not made the burden too great to stop you from forgiving.

Impact on family


How has your time on death row impacted your family?

As far as my family goes, I have noticed how it has physically affected my mother. My mother will break down and cry when she sees news reports. I know she has church activities to keep her somewhat stable. I regret often that she has to go through this shameful process. My father has always been the head of the family and I believe he keeps himself together for the sake of the rest of the family. He has also accepted Christ as his personal savior. So strength can come from that.

Typical Day


Can you describe a typical day on death row?


A typical day on death row for me is like this. I get up at 5:30am and go downstairs to get some orange juice or apple juice. I come back into my cell and watch the religious programs that begin at 6am. I rest until my medicine comes, which I take for my high blood pressure. That would be around 10:30am. I come downstairs and speak to a couple of men. Most of the men like to start their day with coffee but they are really interacting with other men. That is how it is on the row. I sit at the table with John Booth and any legal discussions that take place are about usually about me now because of the warrant they signed against me. But before that even happened, we have always been trying to put together ideas on how to end the death penalty for good. Not everyone will participate in the conversation but we know that they are listening. Sometimes young people can be like that. I know that they want to know what we are talking about but they let their pride get in the way. But I know it can take time.

There are three phones on the tier and I try not to get a habit of using the phone. I realize that the phone can be used against you. It takes away your time. Most men are in their cells by 1pm. We lock in at 1:45pm and stay there until 4pm. I come out after receiving my mail. While I exercise I put in my thoughts of just what I want to reply to those who have written me. I never like what they have for dinner, but I eat some portion of the meal they serve us at 5:45pm and put it with soup that I purchase.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Introduction

The views and opinions written by me (not including comments or quoted letters) are owned by me, Virginia Simmons, and do not imply a viewpoint or opinion of any other person or organization.


I designed this blog to allow you to meet Vernon Lee Evans, the next person to be executed on Maryland’s death row. You can write Vernon a question using the link at the top of the screen or by writing an email directly to MeetVernon@GMail.com. I will print out the emails and mail them to Vernon who is currently in a maximum security cell in Baltimore, Maryland. Vernon will mail me back his responses and I’ll post them here.

I welcome comments and emails from people with different points of view. You can email me at the same address: MeetVernon@GMail.com , just place the word 'editor' in the subject line. I’ve only recently started to write to Vernon, so I’ll be getting to know him at the same time that you are. I hope that this site is helpful. If it turns out to be a success, I'd like to help coordinate more.


More information about Vernon's case and the death penalty in Maryland:

CRIME
Vernon was convicted of killing David Scott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy. It was a heinous crime. I welcome members of their families to post here or anywhere they feel comfortable about the impact that this horrible and violent loss has had on their family and loved ones. During the trial, the state put on an impressive case against Vernon and convinced the jury of his guilt. Vernon's state appointed attorney did not put on any witnesses. Vernon maintains that he did not shoot David Scott Piechowitz or Susan Kennedy.

NEW EVIDENCE
There was only one eye witness to the crime. Vernon's original attorney never brought her to the stand. He said 'she slipped through the cracks.' This witness told police that the shooter she saw was of average height. Vernon stands at 5'2". His nickname is 'Shorty.' Years after Vernon's trial, when the witness was finally shown Vernon in person, she said that he was not the man she saw shoot Susan Kennedy and David Scott Pierchowicz. There are store surveillance tapes that show her watching the killings.

MARYLAND'S DEATH ROW
The University of Maryland Paternoster study shows that there is significant racial and geographic bias in Maryland's death penalty system. Specifically, you are far more likely to be executed if you kill a white person than if you kill a black person, and you are far more likely to be executed if a crime takes place in Baltimore County rather than anywhere else in Maryland. The study shows that there is not a significant bias in terms of the race of the convicted person. The study was commissioned by then Maryland Governor Glendenning and cost the state of Maryland $225,000. Prosecutors helped shape the study and its results take all case differences, such as the severity of each crime and population, into account. You can find a brief summary of the study here. Vernon's April 2005 stay was directly related to this study.

DEATH PENALTY
More information can be found at The Death Penalty Information Center. This site has information about issues such as deterrence, costs, mental illness, race, geography and innocence across the country.

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This site was put up with a sense of urgency due Vernon's original April 18, 2005 execution date. It has been a work in progress and is intended to meet the changing circumstances of this case.

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