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    John William King
      Texas Death Row 

John King has been sentenced to death in a trial that obsessively focused not on guilt or innocence, but on the political and religious ideas that John King held. The fact that he had read a politically incorrect book, associated with political conservatives, had tattoos, and held unconventional religious views formed the basis of the "case" against him.

    Excerpt from John's Statement to the Dallas Morning News...

" The word objective refers to the attitude of the observer, who should remain unemotional, unbiased and unprejudiced when evaluating the truth or falsity of what reported to be facts. The validity of a fact must not be judged in advance (prejudged); as was Shawn Berry's statement released, in an affidavit of probable cause, to the public. Whereas, in light of substantial evidence implicating his involvement, Berry has admitted he lied and recanted his initial statement. . .

Given a description as to the whereabouts of the dirt trail, where an alleged beating of the deceased occurred, it's essential to acknowledge the fact that Shawn Berry co-inherited a small tract of land adjacent to the tram road; which he visited quite frequently. Therefore, the fact that my cigarette
lighter, with "Possum"inscribed upon it, was found near the scene of the crime, along with other items, i.e., several hand tools with BERRY inscribed on them, a compact disc belonging to Shawn Berry's brother, Louis, and my girlfriend's watch, as well as items of the deceased, are all verified facts;
implementing [sic] that these items could have fallen from Shawn Berry's truck during a potential struggle with the deceased while on the tram road. However, unacknowledged facts remain; that I, along with Russell Brewer and Louis Berry, had been borrowing Shawn Berry's truck to commute to and from an out of town land clearing job each day.  My girlfriends [sic] watch was kept in Shawn Berry's truck for us to keep track of the time. Louis Berry had brought along several of his CD's for our listening pleasure during our hourly drive each morning and evening, which he had a tendency to leave in his brother's
truck. Furthermore, the aforementioned cigarette lighter had been misplaced a week or so prior to these fraudulent charges that have been brought against Russell Brewer and me. This so forth, does not prove the presence of my girlfriend, Louis Berry, Russell Brewer, nor myself at the scene of the crime;
verifiably, only the owners of the property in question. . .

Scientists, authorities, investigative reporters and a credulous public need a word of caution about incidents of poor observations. In such incidents as Mr. Brewer's and my involvement in this case, authorities and the media are making accusations based on visual judgement [sic] and criminal histories of slight deviations from what is considered normal. Procedures are often  flawed because the  results could be easily influenced by the observer's desire to gain recognition or to contribute to a national honor. That should not be interpreted that no facts can be trusted.  Mistakes are easy to make. The main point is to prudently cautious about accepting facts as true. We must be ready to listen to people who think our facts are wrong, and make an effort to check the facts we so often take for granted. . .

The authorities, and general public alike, evaluated the purported facts of Mr. Brewer's and my involvement, in this inhumane act, with a subjective view based on emotional appeal, orchestrated by a biased media. It's been prematurely concluded that this was some sort of hate crime, with me
implicated as the initiator, despite unsubstantial evidence. Thus overlooking facts that imply otherwise...

Decide just what you believe. In a review of verified facts, a diverse motive for murder will be objectively established; thus insinuating Russell Brewer's and my innocence. A more meaningful way of looking at the situation would be to make references to Shawn Berry's irate temper, abusive behavior, and
steroid use. For example - On several occasions, Louis Berry, my girlfriend - Kylie Greeney, Alan Cunningham, and myself among others have witnessed Shawn Berry physically assault Ms. Christie Marcontell whenever she defied his wishes. Incidents include: Shawn Berry has threatened Christie Marcontell with a knife, then proceeded to cut any of her clothes to shreds, which he deemed
inappropriate for her to wear in public. On different occasions, Shawn Berry has been viewed, with knife in hand, threaten to slice the tires on Marcontell's vehicles if she tried to flee his violent tirades. Once, even cutting the protective covering (or car-bra) from the front of  Marcontell's car when she tried to drive away as he approached her. Though Christie Marcontell never filed charges on Shawn Berry; she did, however, file several complaints of assault against him, with both the Newton and Jasper Police
Departments. Furthermore, though charges for the possession and use of an illegal substance have never been filed either, friends and family have bear [sic] witness to Shawn Berry inject a substance, he claimed to be H.G.H. (Human Growth Hormones), or steroids, into his body; with hopes of enhancing
his size and strength. . .

Along with the steroid use and complaints of assault, Shawn Berry is also known to have an alcohol problem and has been charged with two separate counts of Driving While Intoxicated. The outcome of the first DWI left Berry with a totaled Chevy pickup, a head wound which  required staples and two severely injured passengers. The second DWI induced the revocation of his driver's license, and though his license was never reinstated, Shawn Berry continued to drink and drive on the roadways. Fortunately for Mr. Berry his probation officer was not compelled to revoke his probation; despite unaccounted
violations. . .

Those of us, who knew Shawn Berry as a friend, knew him as a ludicrous alcoholic and volatile  individual, who frequently engaged in wanton behavior outside of his relationship to Ms. Christie Marcontell.Shawn Berry was someone I valued as a close and personal friend, despite our occasional  differences. Garrison Keillor said it best when saying, "Sometimes you have to look reality
in the eye and deny it". . .

Several statements and the theories against Shawn Berry, Russell Brewer, and myself  (John W. King), for a prospective motive in this horrid crime have been presented to the public. Against the wishes of my attorney, I shall share with you objective facts and my account of what happened during the  early
morning hours of June 7, 1998. . .

After a couple of hours of drinking beer  and riding up and down rural roads adjacent to highway 255, off highway 63, looking for a female's home who were expecting Shawn Berry and Russell Brewer. Berry, though frivolous anger and fun at first, begun to run over area residents [sic] mailboxes and stop signs
with his truck, due to negligence in locating the girls [sic] residence. Becoming irate with our continued failure to locate the female's house, Shawn Berry's behavior quickly  became ballistic as he sped through area residents[sic] yards in a circular manner and made a racket with his trucks' tailpipes, managing to sling our ice chest from the back of his truck several times. During his little conniption [sic] fit, Shawn Berry then stopped just ahead of a mailbox on highway 255, took a chain from the back of his truck, wrapped it around the post of the mailbox, and proceeded to uproot and drag the mailbox east on highway 255. Stopping yards short of the highway 63 North intersection, where he then removed this  chain, replaced it, and continued to drive to a local convenient store (Rayburn Superette) to try and call the female who was expecting him and Brewer. Fortunately, no one answered at the girl's house, and after repeated request [sic] from me as well as complaints from Russell Brewer of a throbbing toe he injured during a recovery of our ice chest, Shawn Berry then agreed to take us to my apartment. . .

Shawn Allen Berry, driving with a suspended license and intoxicated, while taking Russell Brewer and me home those early morning hours, decided to stop by a mutual friend of ours' home, located on McQueen Street: to inquire as to what the residents and his brother, Louis Berry, were doing. On our way there, we passed a black man walking east on Martin Luther King Drive, whom Shawn
Berry recognized and identified as simply "Bird": [sic] a man he befriended while incarcerated in the  Jasper County Jail, and Berry stated: supplied him with steroids. Shawn Berry then proceeded to stop his truck approximately ten yards ahead of this individual walking in our direction, exit his vehicle and
approach the man.  After several minutes of conversation, Shawn Berry returned to the truck and said his  friend was going to join us, because Berry  and Byrd had business to discuss later; and thus, Byrd climbed into the back of Shawn Berry's truck and seated himself directly behind the cab. While
continuing  on to our friend's residence, where supposedly Louis Berry was to be, we noticed there were neither lights on nor signs of activity in the trailer as we approached. We decided to proceed on to my apartment; but contrary to Russell Brewer's and my request, Shawn Berry drove to, and stopped
at, another local  convenient store (B.J.'s Grocery), just east of the Jasper city limits. Shawn Berry then asked Russell Brewer if he could borrow fifty to sixty dollars, because he needed a little extra cash to replenish his "juice" (steroid) supply.

After Brewer gave Shawn Berry the remainder of what money he had, to return to Sulphur Springs, Texas on, [sic] Berry asked if Russell Brewer and I would ride in the back of his truck and let his friend, Byrd, sit up front so they could discuss the purchase and payment of more steroids for Shawn Berry.
Russell Brewer and I obliged on the condition, Berry take us to my apartment without further delay, which, after a brief  exchange of positions he did. . .

Once we arrived at my apartment, Shawn Berry informed Russell Brewer and me that he was leaving, so that he could take Byrd to get the steroids and then home. He asked if Brewer or I would bring a small cooler of beer down for him and his friend, along with a bottle of bourbon Berry had bought a few days
prior. Russell Brewer and I went up to my apartment, and began to fill a small cooler  with approximately 6-8 beers; realizing I left my wallet and cigarettes in Shawn Berry's truck, I opted to bring the cooler back down to Berry. After retrieving my wallet, but unable to locate my cigarettes, I then returned upstairs to my apartment, into my bedroom, and proceeded  to call an ex-girlfriend before  retiring to bed in the predawn hours of June 7, 1998. . .

That of which may have occurred afterwards, I cannot justifiably say; but considering such facts as, Shawn Berry's known steroid use, Violent temper and abusive behavior, combined with his alcoholism and association with a known convicted drug offender (James Byrd), who Shawn Berry admittedly stated,
supplied him with illegal substance a conclusive verifiable motive for murder could be substantiated in an objective way. Thus alleviating an unsubstantiated subjective motive of racial hate and supremacy; which
investigators would like to conjure up to ensure a credulous case against Russell Brewer and me, therefore gaining recognition as contributors to the National Honor of a solution to America's racial problems. . .

One of the basic problems that arise when using subjective observations is that there are many kinds of illusions that distort our judgements [sic]. Furthermore, Russell Brewer and myself are being stereotyped and persecuted due to our differences in appearance, criminal histories, and the  pride we openly express for our race. Unfortunately, when people have one-sided opinions, or strongly favor one point of view, authorities and the media try to mold opinions by suppressing facts that tend to show their opinions to be wrong. They forget that we live in a real world in which "facts" approximate an ideal of precision to varying degrees..."

                    Above excerpt from John's statement to the Dallas Morning News

                          Judge the evidence for yourself . . .

At the day of his sentencing, John's attorney C. Haden Cribbs coerced John into signing a contract for profiting from the rights to John's story. ( Click here to view contract ) Giving Mr Cribbs and his partner Brack Jones, Jr. a full 2/3 of all interest and revenues. Being that this demand was made on the day of John's sentencing, one can only wonder how long the lawyers had been cooking up this profit scheme. It could be said that John's best interests were put to the side at some point.. not exactly the kind of defense council you'd want to defend your innocence. Here for public viewing is the contract which should clearly indicated to any reasonable person that these lawyers had less-than-genuine interests in taking on John's case.

The case for overturning the unconscionable decision against John:

1.     Jury foreman knew John prior, also had personal bias.

2.    Defense lawyer coerced John to sign story 'rights' contract,
       before trial ends.  ( Click here to view contract )

3.     Weak circumstantial evidence was the only real "evidence"

4.     Character witnesses were badgered and threatened by officials.

5.     During jury selection, any prospective jurors who showed signs
        of aversion to the death penalty were excused for "cause" by the
        District Attorney. Therefore because of this, the DA's office
        engineered that if John could be convicted on their shoddy
        circumstantial evidence, he would receive a death sentance and
        therefore to garner more of the ever-increasing 'minority vote',
        they would be able to put a feather their cap with this kind of

The news media tried and convicted John long before the trial had even begun. Through lies and innuendo, John King was transformed into the perfect scapegoat that ambitious politicians and misguided law enforcement officials needed to convict an innocent man and silence the opposition for passing unconstitutional hate-crime legislation. If John King is executed, our precious right to the exercise of political and religious freedom will die with him.
Please pray for John King and our diminishing freedoms!

         JOHN KING'S PENPAL REQUEST - Sept 2005

Hi! Hey! Hello! My name is John William King and I pray that this entreaty finds all those interested or curious with open minds and hearts.
I am a 30 year old father, son, brother and uncle, a political prisoner, separated from my own father and the miracle of my life by the malefic machine of injustice and entombed her on Texas' deathrow, fighting for my life and liberty, redemption and love, in deepest hope of someday reuniting with my son, family, friends and loved ones.
I am neither good nor evil, angel nor demon. I am but a man. As tough a man when provoked as I need to be, and as gentle and kind a man when I am allowed to be.
But a man nonetheless.
I've made mistakes. I've defended lies, I've deceived myself, and I've suffered for foolishness. I have been weak at times, forgetting my own strength. I have been compassionate when I should have been firm. I have failed to choose, for fear of making the wrong decision. I have yielded before the time to do so, and I have blasphemed when I should have given thanks. I am a man who has suffered and wanted revenge; whose heart was dead, and whose soul was shrouded in
darkness. I am a man who has experienced things that most people never even dream of, and I've went beyond all the usual limits in my dreams. I'm a man who needs, hopes and fears. In other words, I am human.
And my soul yearns for life; life outside of these cold, damp walls of inequity. For I fear that my soul may die in this place. And there is indeed a very real possibility that your soul dies. I've seen it in men's eyes, and shudder to think that my own soul may be next. But for now I have found peace and identity, even a semblance of normality in my confinement, and
can contemplate the endless beauty of God's creations.
All through writing.
I am well in to my 6th year here on the Row-my 7th year of incarceration for this particular conviction-and, with the exception of a 14 month hiatus here and a 10 month hiatus there, have been imprisoned a total of 13 years. But through reading, writing, introspection and self-preservation, I have learned to keep the insanity of day to day existence at bay and prevent it from devouring me. Writing, in particular, is the therapeutic resource that has the most allowed me to confront and understand my past, even wring from it some compelling truths, and open the way towards a future that is based not on fear or bitterness or apathy, but on compassionate involvement and the sincere desire to share who I am and what I've
experienced in life. In short, I used writing to identify with myself and, hopefully, to touch the lives of others in some meaningful way.
Unfortunately now there is no one to talk with, no one to learn from, no one to laugh with, no one to stalk and attack with my words, and no one to sharpen my mind and wit against. So I am looking for a few good, honest, sincere, open and straightforward people to share some stimulating correspondence with, learn from, and possible grow together. Age, gender, race, nationality, and sexual and religious preferences matter to me. I take each person as and individual and
reserve judgment-if any-until later. However, I am no 'looking for love'. I try not to get emotionally involved anymore. Because I don't think I could take growing to care for someone again, only to see them go away. But the thought of having someone to grow with intellectually and spiritually appeals to me. And if the right women came along, I'd definitely be
receptive to it
In the meantime, if you are interested in knowing more about me, my life and family, assisting in my plight and/or making donations to help ease the dynamics of institutional distress, please feel free to write and do so anytime (But "bring with you a heart that watches and receives." -Wordsworth-). All questions, comments, criticism and contributions are very much welcome.
Thank you for your interest and consideration.
                   John W. King
               Polunsky D/R #999295

Those wishing to can write to John personally at the address below:

                           John King # 999295
                               Polunsky Unit
                          3872 FM  350 South
                        Livingston, TX  77351


                                                          John and his father awaiting the sentencing
                                                             after a "guilty" verdict was pronounced.

              John William King's Official Homepage
                           The official webpage maintained by John's supporters
     News - Victim's Son Speaks Against Death Penalty For King
Real audio and video links relating to capital punishment in Texas    [3:12]
From Court TV - Real Video - Father Ron, spiritual adviser to the defendant's ailing father, 
describes the last meeting of a father and son. 
Real audio and video links relating to capital punishment in Texas  [1:20]
From Court TV - Real Video - After three hours of deliberation, the sentence is handed down.
The CCADP offers free webpages to over 450 Death Row Prisoners
                    The CCADP offers free webpages to over 500 Death Row Prisoners
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This page was last updated September 24, 2005         Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
This page is maintained and updated by Dave Parkinson and Tracy Lamourie in Toronto, Canada