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

-
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.”

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Graphic Designer


This whole thing got up and running in a bit of a rush
because of the original April 18 execution date, but
it's getting quite a bit of traffic at this point. We're
curious if there is a graphic designer out there who
would be interested in adding the first blog from
death row to their list of credentials. Send an email
to MeetVernon@Gmail.com

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Questions

Mailed to Vernon today

-I heard you have seven children. Can you tell me
about them? Are you able to keep in touch with them?
-What was it like on the row when Steven Oken
was executed last summer?
-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?

There was a glitch in the mail this week, so Vernon’s replies
might not be up until next week. Please bear with us- this is
all an experiment.
Send your questions to Vernon at
MeetVernon@GMail.com

Saturday, April 02, 2005

A Stay


Vernon received a stay of execution yesterday. This invalidates the April 18, 2005 death warrant signed against him. There will be oral arguments on June 7, 2005. Depending on how the hearing goes, a new warrant could be signed against him as soon as this summer.

See the April 1 Court order below:

O R D E R

The Court having considered the Unopposed Motion to Stay Warrant of Execution filed in the above-entitled case, it is this 1st day of April, 2005,

ORDERED, by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, that the motion be, and it is hereby, granted, and the warrant of execution signed on February 24, 2005, by Judge Christian M. Kahl for the Circuit Court for Baltimore County directing the execution of Vernon Evans, Jr. during the week of April 18, 2005, be, and it is hereby, stayed pending further order of this Court, and it is further

ORDERED that this matter shall be set for oral argument on June 7, 2005, with respect to the issues raised in the motion and, in accordance with Maryland Rules 8-501 and 8-502, the parties shall file briefs and record extract; the brief and record extract of appellant to be filed on or before April 25, 2005; the brief of the appellee to be filed on or before May 20, 2005; and the reply brief, if any, to be filed on or beforeMay 31, 2005.

/s/ ROBERT M. BELLCHIEF JUDGE

Friday, April 01, 2005

Questions Mailed

Thank you for your questions and notes to Vernon. I sent the first batch along to him today. Hopefully I'll have his replies by the middle of next week. Keep sending questions to MeetVernon@GMail.com.

Vernon 1986


This is Vernon on Christmas Day 1986 Posted by Hello
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