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Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Wall -- November 15, 2014

High walls surround the maximum security penitentiaries of Illinois. They can be seen from almost everywhere on the prison grounds and even from many cells including my own. Most other facilities have a double fence perimeter with razor wire. The latter is probably more effective in preventing escapes, however, it does not have the same  psychological effect. A wall isolates prisoners from the outside world by not allowing them to see out or for that matter for anyone to see in. Convicts are banished to a void amongst themselves and are to be forgotten, never seen, or heard from again. Unlike a fence, a wall also seems much more permanent. It reminds the men condemned inside their transgressions are irredeemable and whatever life they had before is gone. Even for the innocent, the wall has a crushing oppressive affect. They as well as the guilty share the same grim fate. It may be years, decades, or a century, but the wall will always be there until their death.

Sunday morning I awakened as I have for over 21 years in the confines of a cell. Despite how much time I have been incarcerated, it is always a shock to go from a world of dreams where I am a free teenager with an entire life ahead of me to an old man captive in a maximum security prison. I look at the dreary mottled gray walls of my cell to the bars where I hope to see something more but am stymied. Beyond the bars of my cell are the bars of the gallery and then the cell house walls. Looking out the opaque windows, I see yet more bars and beyond them is cyclone fencing topped with razor wire. In the distance are the looming walls of the penitentiary which prevent me from seeing anything further except for the tops of a few tall trees.

On the cell table are 4 Styrofoam trays stacked on top of each other. I opened the lid of one of them and discovered why there were extras. For breakfast prisoners were served farina, bread, and the most distasteful gravy. I took the bread out to make a couple of peanut butter sandwiches to eat while I watched the news. Most of the news continued to cover the elections from the week before and what would be forthcoming. However, there were also reports from Germany where people were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Where the wall once stood separating East from West Berlin, thousands of balloons were released to float up into the sky. The collapse of the Soviet Union was a great triumph for the West, however, I think people have become complacent. To remember the pervasive oppression and horrors of the communist state, I thought it would be better if they had left the wall in place. Then every day Berliners could wake up as I did contemptuous of a wall which created so much maleficence.

On the cell house loudspeaker a guard exclaimed, "Good morning Green Bay Packer Fans!" before announcing the day's activities. I assumed she was being sarcastic to the small contingent of prisoners who would be cheering against the Bears later in the day. It was a rotten morning like most are in the penitentiary and in fact the only thing I looked forward to was the Packers trouncing the Bears on Sunday night football. I had no loyalty to the local Chicago team and since free agency began, I do not know how other people continue to have a fervent support for any team year after year if personnel changes. I liked the Packers due to players such as Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Clay Mathews and others who I tended to like personally and had exceptional talent.

For dinner I left the confines of my cell to go to the chow hall. Prisoners were being served "tacos" but it was nothing similar to what most readers will conceptualize. A scoop of boiled turkey-soy, 2 stale corn shells, corn, and a little iceberg lettuce was placed on my tray. In the serving line, Snowman asked me if the IIP filed a DNA request yet. I was a little surprised because I had never told him about the lawyer's visit. Word travels fast in the penitentiary so I thought before telling him that I do not think anything will be filed in the courts for some time. Then it will probably take a couple of years or longer to get the results if testing is even allowed. Snowman responded that it took him 2 years from the time the Innocence Project at the University of Chicago filed his appeal to the time he was rejected. Cook County courts were much slower and I have heard of incarcerated men waiting up to a decade for a final adjudication of a collateral appeal. On the way back to the cell house, I looked at the vast concrete wall which encircles Stateville.

During a visit the week before, Cynthia gave me her phone number which I memorized to submit a request to be allowed to call her. As I suspected, she had quickly lost interest in writing. Very few people write letters anymore. It is email, texting, FB, or phone. I disliked talking on the phone, however, I knew women did and it was my only way to reach out to her. In the cell bars I placed a letter to her which mentioned she will need to pay the prison collect call service provider upfront and it may be a couple of weeks before her number is entered into the system. Behind these maximum security walls it is difficult to maintain connections with people. Being able to call her may keep her in touch for a few more months.

Monday morning the noise in the cell house came to a roar early. There was a relatively great amount of movement for men in a high security facility. Prisoners on the upper galleries were permitted to go to the commissary building. As always, they yelled to each other about exchanging goods, paying debts, or asking for handouts. Personal property lines were run allowing men to get legal papers out of storage. Some prisoners have 10 or more boxes of discovery, transcripts, and appeals which they could not possibly fit into the 2 boxes they may have in their cells. In addition, there was law library after lunch as well as several "B of I" lines. The B of I is short for the Bureau of Identification Office where prisoners are photographed. I asked a guard if I would be having my ID renewed and was told there was already too much going on. Possibly, tomorrow, but all inmates who had yet to have an annual update were going this week provided the penitentiary did not go on lockdown.

With my headphones on I read until the time of my health care pass in the afternoon. In the holding cages of the H.C.U., it was not much quieter. I intended to go to the back window and stare at the little patch of lawn which separates a hallway from the prison hospital. There was not much to see because 50 yards down was a long perpendicular building and above and beyond it the front of the penitentiary which has 35 foot walls extending away from the structure in both directions. A prisoner I knew 2 decades ago from the Cook County Jail stopped me from gazing out. Frankenstein seemed to believe we were compatriots of some sort because of the media publicity I received years ago as a mass murderer. No, I was framed for the Palatine Massacre and had nothing in common with the crazy serial killer except we were both Caucasian with ancestors from Poland.

Another white convict sitting next to Frankenstein upon hearing I was quartered in C House began a conversation with me. The man wanted me to send a message to a prisoner on a gallery above mine. I asked him what it was but all he would say was to tell Moon his nephew was in the Roundhouse and he needed to get in touch with him. There were a number of black prisoners who had family members in prison, but this man was white and Moon did not seem old enough to be his uncle. Eventually he was to explain they were just in the same gang. Gang members will sometimes refer to themselves as family. It was not to be deceptive, but because their real family had long ago ceased to be a part of their lives. The gang was their family, especially within the confines of the wall.

After my doctor appointment, I was sent back to my unit and spent time on the gallery waiting for a guard to open my cell door. I noticed a prisoner working on a fan. He was trying to repair it, but said the motor was shot. My fan was working well, but had a shattered plastic exterior and I asked him if I could have it. He said, "Sure," and went on to explain how it was my cellmate who had given him the fan in the first place. Anthony had found it in the garbage and thought he may be able to repair it. Inside the cell, I gutted my fan and put the parts into the new one. The cracked shell and dead motor were discarded.

Guards on the 2nd shift were still trying to persuade my cellmate to work from 4 to 10 p.m. Anthony was a reliable worker the guards trusted and got along with. The dilemma for him, however, was he did not want to miss his TV shows at night which were his escape from the ugly realities of prison. In a compromise he told them he would work both shifts if they would allow him to lock up early and only on a temporary basis until they found someone else. Joe Miller had been assigned to work the 2nd shift, however, he was a repugnant convict staff did not like or trust. Prisoners also did not like Miller and it was for reasons other than him torturing and killing a number of women in his truck trailer. Regardless, "Whips and Chains" was a crippled old man now and would not be able to do the assignment.

After Anthony was let out of the cell, I did all the things I could not do earlier waiting to be called for the B of I and then at the H.C.U. I exercised, bathed, and cleaned the cell. Then, due to the poor meal served for dinner, I made a substitute meal. The hot water pipes in the building were scalding hot and I gave my cellmate a package of shredded beef to place on it as well as a bottle of water. The water I used to make instant refried beans and brown rice to go into the burritos I was making. After rolling them up, I placed them in a potato chip bag to also put on the pipe. The bag has a slight tin interior which singes the flour tortillas. I told Anthony I will regularly make burritos if he works the 2nd shift, but he only worked that one evening. There is not much for cell house workers to do on the 2nd shift and guards can go short staffed.

Tuesday I was repeatedly told to get ready for the B of I and then to never mind. I know many people who read this blog look at my IDOC mugshot to see what I look like. Thus, I spent time in front of the mirror posing for the photo. I did not want to look happy and smile like my cellmate nor did I want to look miserable. I tried to strike a middle ground. Then I combed my hair, parting it on the side, and then just letting it fall down naturally to cover my receding hairline. Eventually, I became fed up trying to look nice and waiting. I exercised and did the common things I usually do in the cell. When my cellmate finished working he told me the delay in ID updates was due to Moon blasting another prisoner who goes by the name Missouri. Both of them were at Gate 5 near the B of I office. After the incident, guards began taking only small groups of prisoners and were taking extra security precautions. I told Anthony sarcastically that Moon will now be able to talk with his "nephew" in the Roundhouse.

During the evening news, reporters were talking about the Asian summit the president of the U.S. was attending along with other national leaders in China. The media made a big deal about Vladimir Putin putting a jacket around the Chinese premier's wife. They also spent time talking about Barack Obama chewing Nicorette gum. I thought this was absurd and there were many more important issues to be discussed. China and Russia were both projecting increased power. Russian tanks were rolling into Ukraine and China was demanding extensive rights in international waters. They had just acquired their first aircraft carrier and had the audacity to showcase their new stealth bomber which was obviously built on stolen technology from the U.S.

After the news segment, I took off my headphones to find out what a prisoner on my gallery wanted. He was shouting my name. Finally, I went to the cell bars and said, "Speak. Who calls?" The man told me a few packs of Ramen Noodles were thrown in front of my cell and he wanted me to pass them down. There was nothing there, however, and I told him so. A cell house help worker or some other prisoner had just tossed them up on the gallery from the lower floor. I did not know what to tell him and said maybe the child abductor next door to me abducted his noodles. Upon hearing this he began to shout his name demanding his stuff. John ignored him but his cellmate claimed he did not take them.

With my breakfast Wednesday, I watched the 7 a.m. news. A large mass of Arctic air was moving into the upper Midwest. Along with the front was a snow storm that was already blanketing Minnesota. I thought about the foolish notion of man-made global warming and the president's non-binding deal with China to reduce carbon emissions. It was a ridiculous agreement not only because there is no evidence to demonstrate a correlation with industrial carbon dioxide emissions and a warmer planet, but because Barack Obama was stifling economic growth in the U.S. while China would never up hold its end of the bargain. China emits far more carbon emissions as well as other real pollutants. The pact with China was a farce solely to make the environmentalists in the U.S. happy and supportive of the Democratic Party.

Finally, guards let me out and several other prisoners to be escorted to the B of I. On the way there, gusts of wind tossed my hair. I went into the bathroom to wet it down but that was all I was doing to look nice. I hated posing for pictures. Waiting outside the office, Shaky commented about the small group and I told him about Moon knocking out Missouri. As I told the story, I looked at the child molester and made insinuations he could be blasted next. He went to the front right next to the door as if it provided him with protection. When I went in for my photo I was annoyed by not only John but all the low lives in the penitentiary. All the practicing the previous day for posing for a new mug shot went out the window.

Later in the morning I went on a visit only to be more annoyed by the badgering of my mother. She wanted me to quickly approve the draft petition sent to me by my lawyer. The draft was not even completed and had numerous other problems. My parents had pressured me to listen to my trial attorney who failed to contest the interrogating officer's testimony. Then they proceeded to hire various attorneys on appeal who I did not like or approve of. This time my appeal was being done my way. I was submitting all the issues I had and was going to support the petition with every affidavit I could possibly procure. Never again was a lawyer going to burn me with incompetence or not playing all my cards.

Back in my cell, Anthony wanted to see my photo ID. He said, "Damn, you look angry, almost as if you are glaring at the camera." I am angry. I have spent over 21 years incarcerated in the worst maximum security facilities despite not having the least bit of involvement in the murder I was convicted of. I did not even know my roommate killed the man until months later when he was arrested and it was on television news. I had evidence my car was 50 miles away from the crime scene and yet the witnesses were not called to testify. Appeal after appeal has been denied or dismissed and I am still struggling to get my case in the courts. The photo expressed exactly how I feel as well as my age. I looked every bit 40 or older and the loss of half my life made me angrier. A post conviction appeal will take 5 to 10 years and that is after I find a good private investigator/ attorney to file it.

In the evening I was handed a stack of old newspapers for my cellmate and I. Anthony even had several magazines to go with his News-Gazettes. I was not about to read all the newsprint nor did I think I could in a few hours before I became too tired and had to call it a day. I chose to read just the edition of Barron's. the USA Today was a liberal rag and its articles would only upset me. To shut out the cellhouse noise, I put on my headphones and listened to the cassette tape "The Wall" by Pink Floyd. The band was popular amongst stoners when I was in high school. I assume they smoked dope or did LSD to the psychedelic music, but I just used it to relax and ignored most of the lyrics. The Wall, however, has an interesting blend of subject matters from WWII to the post war British Fascists as well as a person who has a great amount of emotions bottled up within himself. That was me wanting to break out beyond the wall.

The following morning I went through the USA Today papers. There was an article written by Oren Dorell. He wrote about the feelings of Germans towards supporting Ukraine against a Russian invasion. The people he interviewed were at Lindenstasse 54, a museum dedicated to victims of political violence. It was formerly a jail in East Germany where the secret police of the communist state, STAZI, tortured and held political activists. Despite many Germans suffering under the Soviet Union, few were eager to help Ukrainians. They felt resentment that no one came to their aid when the Iron Curtain fell over them. The U.S. should have sent forces straight through Berlin all the way into Russia to topple the Marxist government, but cowardly political leaders prevailed. Unfortunately, cowardly political leaders still prevail to the detriment of the U.S. and its allies. The only wall Barack Obama seeks to prevent rising is on America's southern border.

After WWII, the Soviet Union seized half of Europe. Millions of people were slaughtered or sent to gulags never to be seen again. Those spared lived under the heavy oppression of communist rule. The regime spread its system of government around the world even off the coast of the U.S. in Cuba. The Soviets seemed invincible until the 1980's when Ronald Reagan used every means possible short of nuclear war to undermine "the evil empire". Eventually, the communist state began to crumble and on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. Jubilant crowds took part in demolishing the wall into rubble and not long thereafter the USSR ceased to exist. It was a monumental achievement and I was glad when a small piece of the wall was given to me as a souvenir. The ugly chip of concrete held more value to me than if it were a semi-precious stone. It represented the defeat of America's arch nemesis and an ideology I abhorred. It also represented liberty. I do not know what came of the chip of concrete over my 21 years of incarceration, however, with a looming prison wall to stare at every day, I will never forget its symbolism.

74 comments:

  1. I'm not much older than you and I still write letters. But I think you are correct; it's becoming a lost art.

    I also hate talking on the phone!

    Enjoyed reading another post. Thank you for writing.

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  2. A concrete wall seems rather like overkill!

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  3. " may be years, decades, or a century, but the wall will always be there until their death."

    Isn't there a hospital prison downstate bfor the elderly and/or sickly inmates?

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    1. There is no prison hospital downstate for elderly or sick inmates. In the last couple of months several old prisoners with various health issues died at Stateville. Prisoners with more than 20 years are not eligible to go to a medium security penitentiary. Occasionally, prisoners with LWOP and exceptionally clean records are allowed to transfer to a high-medium after serving a decade or two, otherwise they die behind the wall.

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    2. Dixon is the hospital prison.

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  4. 1. Glad to see another post.

    2. I think my parents also had a piece of the Berlin Wall!

    3. Do you get any conservative magazines or newspapers?

    4. Don't worry about not smiling for your mugshot. I wouldn't smile either. I would probably grit my teeth and growl.

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    1. Agree. What prisoner would smile? Nothing to smile about inside those walls. Its not like a high school year book photo being taken!

      Hang in there Paul. Life is full of surprises, some good and some bad. You're had your share of the bad already. God willing, the good will come soon.

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    2. What prisoner would smile? The one not guilty, he would smile. You do the crime, you do the time, you're broken, you do not smile or you mad they "got" you and so you lost so you do not smile but if you are not guilty...you smile, in your captors' faes and for the record, you smile, they did not break you, you will survive this, you will walk, you know it, you smile. I am surprised Paul Modrowski didn't picked up on this...when you are right you do not make your captors happy by being sad or angry, you piss them off by making the best of the situation and you smile and of couse, you are not guilty and you will walk while they will be stuck there making a paycheck in the worst possible way short of working at a morgue. Smile at your next photo Paul, you have all the future reasons to do it. Innocent ones smile, losers clench their fists and dream of revenge, innocent ones see the present as anomaly soon to be fixed, the guilty ones see themselves locked up and get mad, they think "why me and not the rest of the crooks, it is not fair, grrrrrr." Smile away Paul, like the anonymous above me @3:51 pm on Jan 18 said, you must run out of bad luck soon enough, you must have had it all already :):so smile while waiting on an interesting future. This is why you should smile...you will not be behind those walls forever, that's how East Europeans felt even though it was clear capitalist Americans or Socialist West Europeans will never come help us...we knew "we will walk" and now everyone is walking so much I would say every East European country lost 10% of their 1989 populations. Everyone walks except the guilty ones and the guards so yeap, they should be sad, anyone else should be smiling and thinking past the walls to the time when they will be like "last year at this time I was pissed they woke e up at 4 am for breakfast."

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    3. Jan. 18: I currently only receive Barron's and occasionally the Investment Business Daily. Possibly if I ever got time, I will resubscribe to the Wall Street Journal.

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    4. There is rarely anything which gives me happiness or a reason to smile. Furthermore, it is illogical to believe since I had a lot of bad surprises, that there are good surprises awaiting me. Life does not balance out and my future is very bleak.

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    5. Joliet C.C.: I suggest you read or reread my post "The Question of Happiness."

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  5. PAUL U GOOD WRITER GUY

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    1. No doubt you write for the SunTimes.

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    2. That was a good shot at the Chicago SunTimes. That newspaper is poorly written and in my opinion a liberal rag. However, I tend to think the previous commentator is from a different country where English is not commonly spoken. Over one fourth of my readers are outside the U.S.

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  6. Considering 4 of the last 7 Governors of Illinois have served prison time...you would think they would improve prison conditions.

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  7. Thanx for blogging. I was under the mistaken impression that prisoners had it easier.

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  8. I like your writing I've bee. Hooked for a year. FBI m I may have to start sending you some J Pal donations to encourage you to keep it up. By the way your new prison photo on line looks awesome. I think I you could be in the movies. Tell your cellie I said howdy and to behave himself :) He'd better ... you being the Origin Crypt Keeper.

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    1. I wrote my final post over a month ago (it will be posted soon). The "Crypt Keeper" will not be telling any more stories. After 5 years the series had accomplished its goals and it was time to move on before the story teller became a permanent resident amongst the dead. Already, he is probably too late.

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    2. Move in? What do you mean?

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    3. Sorry. I meant "move on"

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    4. What, you're ending your blog? Come on. Don't. Please.

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  9. Wonder why Statesville has a wall instead of a fence?

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    1. Fucked up world. No walls around Tamms. Looks like a warehouse or office park hell. New World insanity. Someone call Jim Kunstler or George Orwell.

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    2. Stateville is the oldest prison in Illinois I think. Definitely older than Tams.

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    3. Menard and Pontiac are both older than Stateville.

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  10. This is one of the dumbest convictions I've ever heard of.

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    1. I agree. Worse yet is the fact that not one person among the many thousands of politicians, lawyers, activists, judges, etc. in Illinois has had the decency to involve themselves in righting this wrongful conviction yet! How does anyone with the power or authority to right this wrong go about their life ignoring this man? America, and especially Illinois, ought to be ashamed. I only wish there was a way us blog readers and supporters could do something to bring Paul's plight to the front pages of newspapers everywhere. Public outrage could prompt those in authority to help.

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    2. I have asked someone to send my response to Asst. States Attorney Susan Caraher to all the local investigative television news reporters. It lists evidence proving my innocence and demonstrates how Cook County's Conviction Integrity Unit is a fraud. Anita Alvarez only released prisoners the courts had already reversed the conviction of, or soon will. Likewise, I must file a successful appeal.

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  11. Paul have you ever learnt a foreign language?

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  12. Which max prison did you like better: Pontiac, Menard, or The Ville?

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    1. Is it possible to like any of them "better" Lol ?!

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    2. There are various positives and negatives about being a prisoner in the maximum security penitentiaries of Illinois. There are also differences in the time periods. The 1990s were much less oppressive and austere than after the turn of the millenium albeit more violent. Having said this, I preferred the southern penitentiaries during the early years of my incarceration.

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    3. There may be older penitentiaries than Stateville, however, none are as dilapidated.

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  13. Hi there Paul. Everytime I read your new post I can feel the anger emminating from you. Im angry for you too. I may not know anything about losing half my life for something I didn't do but I can show compassion. If there is anything you would like me to get from the bookstore let me know. I assume you have acquired plenty of reading material but I'd like to help pass the time. Maybe I could write to you? I'm South African and Iv been in the states for 3 years. I'm studying to be a nurse and once I become a citizen Id like to volunteer on a mercy ship that docks in west Africa. I'm truly sorry life delt you such a lousy hand.

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    1. Good idea. A list of books. And we readers can let other readers know (via blog comments) when one of us purchases a book off that list.

      Or someone can set up an amazon wish list for Paul.

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    2. I have ceased writing posts for this blog and will now have time to write a few people. If you are interested in regularly corresponding, send me a letter introducing yourself. I will look forward to hearing from you.

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    3. Aw no Paul. Please don't cease.

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    4. Paul! Please don't quit. Take a break if you must but don't leave us hanging. :(

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    5. PAUL Y U NO LOVE US??

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  14. you have a brain and your roommate is a complete idiot. you do know that right? you can make all the excuses you want for him but you do realize he is a cold blooded killer don't you? if one is to follow your logic and buy into your theories and I am willing to ..then you must be horrified that you are living with a killer because he really is a killer he killed a human being in cold blood now I know you have excuses on why he did that.m medications blah blah blah but he still killed somebody doesn't that bother you at all I mean at least at all. that guy is nuts.

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    1. I don't think Paul has ever said that Anthony is not guilty?

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    2. Yeah, I don't recall Paul ever making excuses for Mertz. Paul thinks Mertz' sentence should be shorter but if I recall correctly, Paul is against long sentences in general. So in that, Paul is consistent. Paul lives among murderers and deviants. Those are the type of men from which he gets to choose a cellmate (if he even gets to choose!) Mertz committed a horrible crime and deserves to be in prison. If he's a good cellmate to Paul, then what a blessing. I'm grateful to hear that Anthony is behaving himself.

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    3. Apparently many readers have not read Paul's post that explains Mertz' behavior that night. The military insisted on giving him a vaccination but failed to warn him NOT to drink alcohol for x days afterwards. Mertz admits to getting drunk that night, the night of the rape and murder. Military higher ups KNEW the side effects, but to this day officials believe it is worth the risk because the vaccination works to prevent some awful disease. Sorry, I don't remember the date of the post but I did an internet search on the military's use of that drug and its side effects. All true.

      Its probably a good thing that Mertz doesn't remember much of that night because to have to live with any remembrance of what he did to that young woman would be a daily nightmare.

      I understand the victim's family and friends' pain and refusal to forgive him, but the facts about this drug are true.

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    4. Do you not think Mertz should be in prison?

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    5. Wasn't Mertz out of the military at the time he committed the murder?

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    6. There was no evidence produced at Mertz's trial he raped the victim. The semen found on her body in fact belonged to her boyfriend who from what I am told did not have an alibi. The conviction for aggravated sexual assault stems from a post mortem knife wound from her sternum to her public bone. Many people assume a rape occurred due to the testimony of other women who claimed Mertz had rough or unwanted sex with them.

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    7. Anonymous of 2/21: Mertz had finished his 4 year stint in the Marine Corps and was attending the University of Eastern Illinois when he was arrested.
      and
      I believe my cellmate should have been convicted and sent to prison, however, I do not believe he should have a sentence of natural life without the possibility of parole.

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    8. Anonymous of 2/20: The U.S. military gives soldiers an innoculation called Mefloquin. It is well known to have serious side effects in a small portion of those who get it, however, it prevents people from contracting malaria which can cause more pervasive problems. In addition, Mertz was taking Paxil after leaving the military and the drug manufacturer at the time did not have a warning not to mix with alcohol. On the night of the murder, my cellmate was hammered. His decision to drink large quantities of alcohol is not excusable, however, there remains significant reasons for mitigation which I believe should have been considered by the trial judge.

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    9. Doesn't first degree murder require INTENT? How can one form the intent when he is under the influence?

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    10. Intoxication is not a defense and in no way affects intent. The victim was choked to death with a towel and her body was slashed up and then posed. There is no way to do that accidentally that im aware of.

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  15. Pauk it's neither funny nor remotely acceptable that Anthony killed Shannon. and let's call a spade a spade he did kill her that is a fact. being drunk and passed out and being an ex Marine is not an excuse in fact it's a weak and feeble excuse. who in the hell goes completely overboard and kills another person that is just plain psycho. it's not like Shannon was some terrible person.

    why doesn't your awesome roommate that is such a nice guy and such a good roommate come clean and just say that he is sorry and that he totally and completely fucked up that night. he has absolutely no chance of winning an appeal.

    why doesn't he just concede the fact and man up and admit to the fact of what the overwhelming evidence points to? he is not innocent.

    I don't think you realize the magnitude of what he did.

    it was bad..real bad. you have shared a cell with a man who really did murder somebody.

    Hes no good Paul. No good.

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    1. Why are you putting Paul on trial for Mertz's life? Paul didn't commit the crime he was convicted for and he has no bearing on Mertz's past either. There is only today and tomorrow.

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    2. Please read Paul's post about Mertz having to accept a vaccination that caused his behavior that night. I checked the facts on trusted websites: the military knows full well about the side effects of that drug but continues to vaccinate those in the military.

      No one has ever excused what Mertz did just because he was a Marine! Any friends he had in college or the Marines would vouch for his behavior BEFORE getting that vaccination. No, it is not proof positive, but sure makes sense to me especially since reading about that drug.

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    3. Nearly everyone in the maximum security prisons of the IDOC have been convicted of murder. I get along well with Anthony and am not the least bit horrified to share a cell with him. The person you attempt to disparage and villainize is a much better prisoner than the vast majority here. It is apparent you are biased and have no clue what lowly dregs of society exist at Stateville. Shannon may have been a wonderful person; I will never know. However, I do know my cellmate and the facts of the crime better than you do. You can rant all the comments you like but it will not alter my opinion.

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    4. Paul: you only know what Anthony has TOLD YOU about his crime!

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  16. I felt the same way as I am an alumni or Eastern Illinois so I was familiar with Mertz before he became Paul's Cellie. However, Statesville is loaded with murderers, rapists, and child molesters. Paul get's along with Anthony better than he would with most there and to be confined to a 6x8 cell with someone 20 hours a day you better find someone you can get along with. I would think that if Anthony could switch spots with his victim he would. I'd hope at least.

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    1. I get that. I do. Anthony b mertz really screwed up that night and before that night too. If Shannon met paul just once he would never want him as a cellmate. Anthony needs to say hes sorry and that he was way out of line. Its one thing to be creepy, its one thing to yell, and its one thing to think irrational passing thoughts.

      To surprise and torture and murder another human innocent human and cause her horrible death and then showcase her body is beyond comprehension.

      Just say you're sorry mertz and most of us will probably forgive you.

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    2. Whether or not Anthony apologizes, Paul still has to live with him.

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    3. EIU alum here. Some of us would not have found Paul Modrowski without first looking for Anthony Mertz. I just want to help Paul.

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    4. Most of us will forgive Mertz?? Speak for yourself. I could forgive him if he apologized and admitted he "really screwed up" if he'd, say, cheated on her. Not for a rape-murder, of a college girl with her whole life ahead of her. No way. For that guy, there's no pity, forgiveness, or anything available anymore, in my opinion. He is doing a quite well-deserved life without, and his time could arguably even be worse than it is, in my view. He has nothing to do with Paul M.however, really, except for sharing a cell ~ as far as I know, through no choice of either of theirs really. They could just as easily be transferred or reassigned tomorrow or next week. If I were Paul, "get along with", I don't know, maybe...I guess you'd have to. But consider a friend in any way, no way. In fact Anthony Mertz is basically a rapist / violent sex offender. Which oftentimes doesn't go over big amongst a lot of the inmates; the nature of that offense. I'd rather not even be celled with or associated at all with him, personally. But I would cell with Paul and I do think he's got a bum rap going here. Why is this case not in appeals actively (if it isn't)???

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    5. How do we know Anthony is not remorseful?

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    6. Anon. of Jan. 29: Last month, Anthony learned his appeal to the 7th Circuit Appellate Court was rejected. That was the end of the road for his regular set of appeals and he will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in prison. He would trade places with the victim rather than languish away decades in the IDOC.

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    7. Every cellmate I have had over these 20 years has killed someone. Some have been shot, others stabbed, bludgeoned, or beaten to death. I do not know if strangulation is any worse than those methods. You (Anon. Jan. 30) write it is beyond your comprehension, however, I have heard it all. I could devote an entire blog simply retelling the numerous murders men have described to me. If you knew all these stories, I wonder how uniquely horrible you would think Shannon's death was.

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    8. I.speak.fluent.sarcasmFebruary 26, 2015 at 11:31 AM

      Would you rather that Paul spent his time berating and harassing Mertz, thus making BOTH their lives miserable? Paul lives in a prison. Therefore, he has had CRIMINALS as cellmates. Not Saint Francis or Mother Theresa , for Pete's sake.

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  17. Have you ever tried asking for a sentence reduction instead of a pardon?

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    1. I.speak.fluent.sarcasmFebruary 23, 2015 at 5:40 PM

      I'm sure that has never occurred to him in over two decades behind bars.

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    2. If you stop blogging, you're breaking a lot of hearts.

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    3. You think he'll keep blogging simply because hearts will be broken?

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    4. "However, I do know my cellmate and the facts of the crime better than you do."

      You know what Mertz wants you to know. you don't have access to the information we have out here Paul. The fact is Mertz committed an unspeakable act of sexual depravity and violence. You speak out against sex offenders in numerous posts on this blog yet you are living with one and trying to make us believe his crime does not define him. Why does the sex offender Mertz get a pass while others get only your contempt? I am just curious as to how you can make such a distinction. A rapist is a rapist.

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    5. 2/23/15 comment: In all 5 of my requests for executive clemency, I asked for a pardon based on actual innocence. However, in the alternative, I also asked for a commutation of sentence.

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  18. "Convicts are banished to a void amongst themselves and are to be forgotten, never seen, or heard from again. "

    This would not be true, if you had continued your weblog.

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    1. Yes. He needs to make a comeback. Or I should say we are the ones who need him. Cmon Paul. Pretty pleez?

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  19. Mertz was long since discharged frome the military when he committed his crime and any affects(if there are any) from alcohol had long since ceased to be a problem. I had all the same vaccinations he did in the Marine corps and I used to enjoy drinking quite often. I sure as hell didn't go RAPE and MURDER anyone. Had Mertz been in the military at the time of his crime he would at best be serving life in Levenworth(not Stateville) right now and at worst he would have already been executed because Military justice moves swiftly. Stop making excuses for Anthony Mertz he is a SCUMBAG!

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If you choose Name / URL, you can write any name and you don't need a URL. Or you can choose Anonymous. Paul loves getting your Comments. They are all mailed to him.