As I lay here upon this gurney before you _____,____2003 to be put to death
by the State of Florida for the January 12, 1990 armed robbery and shooting
death of Mr Ronald Willis of Yulle, Florida, ask yourself this, did he really
do it? Was he the trigger man? Or did our system fail us again,
and we set the wrong man free? So, are we about to execute another
innocent man? Well thats a question only two people have the answer to, John
David Hatch and myself. For this case had no eyewitnesses except myself
and Hatch and there was no DNA. So it all came down to Hatch's word
against mine to who pulled the trigger. So the queston is, are you
killing an innocent man? Well thats a question you might never have the answer
to. But then again the answer to your question, may arrive too late.
As you all know my name is Ronald Wayne Clark, Jr. and I'm 35 years old
and I've spent over 1/3 of my life confined to a 9x6 cell here on Florida's
Death Row and throughout the legal process, I've been provided with one after
another inadequate attorney. Provided by the great State orf Florida,
from my incompetent trial lawyer all the way through the appellate process.
Now I've seen the appeals process last 15-20 even 25 years and you want
to talk cruel and unusual punishment. Well confining a man or woman to a
9x6 cage for 20 to 25 years with the sentence of death hanging over his or
her head, if this is not cruel and unusual punishment, then cruel and unusual
punishment does not exist in todays society. For being confined to suffer
day after day, week after week, month after month, year in and year out until
your captors are ready to take what remaining life you have left, from you.
And yet you want to call yourselves a civilized society?! Well
I think not! For what kind of civilized society straps their fellow man or
woman to a chair, table or gurney and puts them to death as his or her fellow
ctizens stand around and view this horrific case of premeditated murder?
For this is nothing more than premeditated murder at the highest level,
sought after and justified by the majority against the most poor and underpriveged
in our society. Two perfect examples to prove my point is O.J. Simpson
and actor Robert Blake for in neither case would the prosecutor seek the
death penalty if found guilty. So where is equal justice? Or
as our forefathers said "Justice for all". Its a shame when a man or
womans life and or fate hangs in the balance of a dollar. And yet this
is what our justice system has come to and I don't use the word justice system
because I've seen no justice in this system !!
Sure its a given, America may have one of the best systems in the world.
But one things for sure, its far from perfect. I know because
I'm laying here strapped to this gurney about to be put to death while my
co defendant, John David Hatch, walks the streets a free man after serving
11 years 2 months on a 25 year plea agreement for his testimony against me.
It was his word against mine to who the trigger man was.
So this I know, when dealing with the death penalty and the taking of a
human life, an irreversable act, we need more than just the bet, we need
perfection and a perfect system is just not possible. For when human emotions
are involved, mistakes will be made. Just look at Florida's average
on mistakes and executions. From 1979-2002 Florida executed 54 men
and women. Yet had to release 24 off of death row. So for every two
executions one person goes free. Not a very good average I would say.
And then it makes you wonder how many slipped through the cracks of
a broken system. How many innocent men and women have died? Its
a given that new technology in DNA is helping eliminate a lot of mistakes
but unfortunately every case is not built around DNA or eye witness testimony.
No most cases as in mine was built around circumstantial evidence.
Yet then again look at the 24 people that had to be set free such as Juan
Melendez. Who the prosecutors said was beyond rehabilitation and convinced
these 12 jurors to take this man's life and yet this very man is now living
a normal productive life in society. Mistakes! Mistakes! Mistakes!
Because society seeing only with blood red vengeance overlooks the
whole picture. For its not revenge we need to seek, its justice! Seek
and execute justice not people. We don't steal from the thief, rob
the robber or rape the rapist. Then why must we try to murder the murderer!
Violence breeds violence. Just look at todays society. But
lets also look at the misuse of the death penalty and keep in mind that everything
is designed to be used a certain way may not always be used in that way.
For in most cases the death penalty is improperly used. Judges
and prosecutors using it to further their political careers. Prosecutors
using it to keep a man or woman from going to trial. Threatening them
to take a plea bargain or they'll seek the death penalty. As they did
in my case. Yet our forefathers guaranteed us in the Constitution to
a trial by a jury of our peers. Yet the prosecutor tried to deny me
of my Constitutional right. For before my trial a plea bargain of
life in prison was offered. I refused, knowing Hatch was receiving
25 years and again it was his word against mine to who pulled the trigger.
I opted for trial, the prosecutor threatens me, if you take this to trial
you will lose and we will get the death penalty. Now either this was
or wasn't a death penalty case and if it was, then why was a plea bargain
offered? So I opted for trial, thinking Justice would prevail. Not
knowing the system as I do know, if so, I would have realized I stood no
chance whatsoever. For I was assigned a state paid, inadequate attorney
by the name of Henry Davis who had never handled a capital case and shouldn't
have handled mine. He was so incompetant to the point that he didn't
ask for an investigator or co counsel. And yet again this was his first
Capital case, and this same man that sat next to me during my trial saying
how much he didn't believe in the death penalty,yes this same man, I see
a few years later on the local news as Judge Henry Davis, sitting on the
bench handling down a death sentence and yet this is the same man the courts
assigned to my case to fight for my life. The deck was stacked and
I couldn't see it because the jail psychiatrist had me so doped up
on tranquilizers called Thorazine. So throughout my trial I was useless.
I was being screwed all the way around the table and didn't even realize
it. Yes the deck was stacked, and justice was denied.
Now I'm going to close this with one of my poems and what more appropriate
name for a title than My Last Words.
MY LAST WORDS - by Ronald W Clark Jr
I'm held in suspense,
Surrounded by concrete and steel,
Held to surrender to their will.
I await my fate,
And one day I will
Face an execution date.
Step off in a room...
I will feel the doom,
Strapped to a table,
My last words will be heard,
I will speak them loud
And hold my head proud,
And then I'll say :
An eye for an eye
And a tooth for a tooth,
But I'm here to share -
To share the truth.
For this is what
Its all about,
And I know this
Without a doubt.
An eye for an eye,
America will cry,
But I'm here to say
That thats a lie.
For a rich man will walk,
And a poor man will die.
And that we can't deny,
Nor can we justify.
Worst of the worst,
For its a lawyer that
Put me here on Death Row.
Assigned by the state
To determine my fate.
I was white trash,
Just another junkie.
That's why they assigned me
A two bit flunky.
And I knew
At first glance
That I didn't stand
Any kind of chance.
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"The Eyes Of The World Are Watching Now" This page was last updated May 1,
Canadian Coalition Against
the Death Penalty This page is maintained and updated by Dave Parkinson
and Tracy Lamourie in Toronto, Canada