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Friday, February 13, 2015

A Dead Man's Boots -- November 30, 2014

Today I mourn my 40th birthday. Since 18, I have languished in the maximum security prisons of Illinois. During this time all my dreams, hopes, and aspirations have faded away. Everything, in fact, I once valued is gone. Regularly, I try to recall the past when my life had meaning, but those memories are blotted out by stark reality. There is no light at the end of this tunnel only a growing black void. I never wanted to see the day my body and mind succumbed to old age and yet now I have gone the distance with nothing gained but misery, hatred, and immense sorrow. In retrospect, I wish the police would have executed me upon arrest. The judicial system is a farce and my fate was set the moment the Cook County States Attorney's Office saw the opportunity to make me a scapegoat for a massacre they could not solve. My trial attorney had a fleeting chance to unhinge the unfolding disaster, but failing I have since been the living dead. For a quarter of this time readers have been able to follow in my footsteps. However, as I lace up a dead man's boots, I intend to walk on alone.

Early last Sunday I stood at the bars watching Colin's Football Show besides my cellmate who was on the gallery with a broom in his hand. We were making our picks against the spread and wanted the most recent lines. I had won predominately more games and his ability to catch up by the end of the NFL season was almost over. I jested I may just take all his teams except the Broncos to retain my lead. The Broncos were favored by a touchdown and I expected their opponent to play competitively. However, because there is no money involved and only bragging rights, I picked 10 different teams including the Buffalo Bills whose home field game was moved to Minnesota because of a blizzard of lake effect snow burying the city.

There was little joy in my life, but football Sundays occasionally provided some entertainment. Before my arrest, I played the sport for a number of years. I fancy myself that I could have excelled as a professional athlete or at least in college. However, I know that time has passed and other than Adam Vinatieri, a kicker, there is no player I am aware of in the NFL over the age of 40. Many men and women as well try to delude themselves that their age is less relevant in modern times. Advances in medicine and easier lives not to mention cosmetic surgery has certainly made people look younger or increased longevity. What it has not done, however, is increase the natural health, aptitude, beauty, or overall constitution of the species. Contrarily, I believe modern society and technology has caused its decline.

During the day, I heard it was the lieutenant's birthday. A few prisoners I knew were contemplating making him a goofy card as they do for incarcerated men. The idea "Lunchbox" had was a drawing of an obese black female guard in a string bikini giving him a lap dance. The lieutenant was in his mid-50s and will retire in a couple of years when he is able to collect a maximum pension. I have heard him talk before as if he has served a quarter century of prison time. He does not know what it is like, however, to be on the other side of these bars. He chose to work in the IDOC and has been lavishly compensated. His freedom is not restricted and he goes home at the end of his shift. I asked a guard what we were going to get the lieutenant for his birthday and he responded, "A number of thumps equal to his age." Yes, if he got this every day on the job, he may know what my suffering is like, I thought.

At night I watched the movie "Law Abiding Citizen" for the umpteenth time. This vigilante film starring Gerard Butler stirred a lot of emotions in me. A ruthless criminal breaks into Butler's home and rapes and slaughters his family, leaving him as dead. The man is arrested, but because the evidence is not presentable or strong enough to gain a conviction, the prosecutor cuts a deal with him. He will testify falsely that another person committed the crimes and in exchange he is released with time served. The person who was only present to commit a burglary thus is given the death penalty while the actual killer goes free. Butler so angry by the egregious injustice goes after not only the man who butchered his family but everyone involved in the perverse system. The rage he feels is comparable to my own except I am on the other side of the coin. It was my co-defendant who killed Dean Fawcett and when arrested he claimed I did it along with the Palatine Massacre. Unlike the movie, I was not even present nor aware of what he did yet the prosecutor was not concerned with truth or justice. He was only concerned about politics and convictions especially one against a person the public was led to believe killed 7 people at a Brown's Chicken restaurant. The Cook County State's Attorney's Office even sought my execution after Robert Faraci was acquitted, however, the judge gave me an even worse punishment: life in prison without the possibility of parole.

I awakened Monday morning to the bang of my cell door being slammed shut. Anthony was let out to begin his menial labor in the unit and I was alone. It was nice to start my day without his presence and not sharing the space in the 6 x 11 foot cell for the next 6 hours. Time in the penitentiary would be much better if I did not have a cellmate and after another prisoner bumped my breakfast tray off the bars onto the floor spilling its contents I thought time would be much better if I did not have anyone to deal with. Most of my misery stemmed not from isolation but the dregs of society I was imprisoned with. After cleaning the floor I stood at the bars looking out the building. There was snow on the penitentiary grounds and it was not a winter wonderland. Nothing was wonderful about prison.

Towards noon, my cellmate asked me if I wanted an extra tray. It was soy-turkey meatballs and I declined, but asked him to heat up a bottle of water for me in the microwave so I could make my own instant meal in the cell. He told me the new sergeant does not allow cell house help to use the microwave. C House has lost both its 1st and 2nd shift sergeants in the last month. Sergeants set the tone of a unit more so than any other correction's officer because they are in command of regular day to day operations. However, since I rarely leave my cell, I have yet to notice any difference.

Like most of the prisoners at Stateville, I turned on my television to see if Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson would be indicted of any charges in the shooting of Michael Brown. Earlier in the day I had heard there would be an announcement by prosecutor Robert McCulloch while listening to the Rush Limbaugh radio talk show. However, I did not realize he would speak at length to explain the process which began on August 20th nor the grand jury's decision rejecting all 5 potential charges. Nothing he said I knew would change the minds of people who already formed an opinion. Since Brown was killed, the reporting had been heavily slanted and skewed by liberal mass media seeking not only ratings but to push their political agenda. Black activists such as Al Sharpton and the lawyer who represented the family of Treyvon Martin were given plenty of air time, however, there were few opposing views offered to the public. It was difficult simply getting objective facts while black mobs rioted in Ferguson clamoring "No justice. No peace."

Immediately upon McColloch saying there would be no charges brought against Wilson, many black prisoners at Stateville began yelling and rattling their cell bars. They continued to be upset the following day when I went out to the yard and I listened to them rant about pervasive racism in the justice system as well as elsewhere. As the only Caucasian amongst them, I felt compelled to point out I was not given a fair trial and the prosecutor and police were just as dirty if not more. I doubted anyone around me was actually innocent and yet here I was two decades later. Furthermore, the police who arrested me were looking for any excuse to shoot me dead. A dead Palatine Massacre suspect was a solved case. The police did not have to arrest me at gunpoint with overwhelming force while in my car in the middle of heavy traffic. They knew where I was living and could have executed their recently acquired warrant for missing a court date in a peaceful manner. Ironically, I wish they would have killed me because it would have spared me the farce of due process and a lifetime in the penitentiary.

A couple of convicts demurred, but most accepted what I had to say. The conversation then went from racial bias to the special treatment accorded police officers. This was the crux of the issue. Most suspects were not granted an open grand jury. In fact, it is almost unheard of that a prosecutor presents both incriminating and exculpatory evidence. They only present the former and it is not subject to any scrutiny. Even 1st degree murder charges were easily approved with a few state witnesses regardless of their credibility. It was a mere formality across the U.S., but the St. Louis County Grand Jury was in session for a month in what was almost a trial. Pigs would fly before the state's attorney would call my interrogating officer John Robertson to the stand and then say "but here's all the reasons to show he is a lying piece of shit."

Later in the day I received a few birthday cards from family members. They stupidly wished me a happy birthday despite how I was condemned to die in prison. My aunt, however, had a sardonic sense of humor and sent me a card with a picture of a smiling chimpanzee on the cover. It said, "Nephew, figured you didn't want a sentimental birthday card, so you're getting this monkey card instead." When opened, the primate popped forward with its arms out as if reaching out. The message above the monkey was, "But you're so great, even he couldn't hold back giving you a hug." The dumb humor did not amuse me until it made me correlate it with something else. I called my neighbors to their cell bars and with the card in hand so they could see it, I opened it and said, "Hands up. Don't shoot!" For almost a minute I heard them laughing.

A number of readers probably think my joke just shows how racist I am. However, it is only a reflection of themselves and how they jump to conclusions. The joke is aimed at all those chimps out there who joined protest marches denying racism in the wake of the Ferguson grand jury decision. Racism is not the reason why more black people are incarcerated, mistreated by police, or shot dead like Michael Brown. The fact is people of color are more likely to commit crimes and be involved in the criminal justice system. Their greater exposure to law enforcement and courts allows them to see how much excessive force, corruption, and injustice exists in the U.S.  America has become a police state and it does not see black, white, or brown. There is only blue and everyone else.

Thanksgiving morning I awoke in time to watch the major news stories. Holidays generally do not have any serious news reporting and there was not much to draw my interest except on the FOX network's ticker tape. It read that Governor Pat Quinn had granted 163 clemency petitions. No other information was given and thus I guessed they were all for people with minor offenses and had already completed their probation or prison time. Many people who had been swept up into the system simply just wanted their records cleared. For the governor it did not involve any potential controversy or political risk. The governor had already lost the election and will never again campaign for political office. However, there may be some things he wants to tie up with the legislature before January 12th.

Towards 9 a.m., I left the cell to get my Thanksgiving Day meal. It was one of the few days in the year that prisoners were fed well. On the serving line, kitchen workers placed turkey, pork, macaroni and cheese, and a portion of sweet potatoes and stuffing on my Styrofoam tray. At the end of the line I was given yet another tray with salad, cranberry sauce, bread, and a little wedge of cherry pie. It was enough food to feed me for the entire day as I did not plan to leave the confines of my cell again, yet I received an unexpected visitor.

Typically prisoners receive visitors from their families on Thanksgiving, but my visitor was a girl I knew in junior high. I was surprised to see Cynthia on the holiday especially after she told me she had been in the hospital for 3 days earlier in the week. She said before she was stabilized in the emergency room she thought I would have never learned what happened to her. I would have simply never received another letter or visit and would think she was just another person who had come and left over my 20 years of imprisonment. She prepaid $40 with the prison collect call phone service provider so I could reach out to her if I wanted. It seemed like she wanted to keep in contact or possibly develop some type of relationship, but for what reason I did not know. I was condemned to die in prison and with the passage of time she would eventually fade away like everything else in my life. There were some more deeper issues I wanted to discuss with her, however, it would have to be done another day. Visiting on holidays was limited to one hour. She asked if she could come back on my birthday. That was a horrible idea I thought. Do not come on my birthday, I told her. It was only a day of sorrow.

On Thanksgiving and Christmas, prisoners bring their food back to their cells. This saves time and allows men to eat at their leisure. To keep my food warm, I had wrapped the tray in a wool blanket. Even after I returned from my visit in the mid-afternoon, the heat had not escaped. Unlike the food served most of the year which a dog may sniff and turn away from, the lunch on Thanksgiving is rather good. However, it did little to change my overall misery.

I did not watch any of the NFL games on Thursday. However, before I went to sleep, my cellmate informed me I had won all 3 against the spread. Yes, I was just a big winner, I said to him. This makes up for the 22 years of my life which has been taken from me. I have turkey, stuffing, cherry pie, and I even beat the casinos in Las Vegas. I am really cashing it in. Just as Richard Speck bragged, I have never had it so good. Anthony was not in the IDOC when the serial killer's video tape was made public. While at Stateville, Speck was filmed drinking, doing an assortment of drugs, and engaging in homosexual activity. The partying and debauchery the man who brutally killed several nurses was having enraged people outside the prison walls who thought he was doing hard time. Although the tape was made years before, when it was released in 1997, it was yet another impetuous for change in the IDOC. Well, the people of Illinois can rest easy now. Everyone is suffering in prison, including the innocent. Trying to fall asleep, I counted the numerous ways I could kill myself. Some people count sheep, but I think of a hundred ways to die.

As she promised, Cynthia came to the penitentiary to see me again the following day. However, once again there was a one hour time limit and the visiting room was packed. It was so noisy at times it was difficult having a conversation. I was not aware old television news archives were available to the public, but apparently they are. Cindy spoke about watching coverage after my arrest in 1993. She said the media tried and convicted me well before I had my day in court. I missed a lot of it while in the Cook County Jail, but knew how heavily biased and incendiary the television news was. In my jury pool were a number of people who openly admitted they could not be fair and thought I killed the employees at the Brown's Chicken Restaurant in Palatine.

I asked Cynthia why she did not create a petition on Change.org nor help me with finding a lawyer or private investigator. She said based upon what one lawyer told her and all the vast negative news reporting, she thought my situation was hopeless. Despite the Palatine Massacre being solved and evidence I had showing my innocence in the Fawcett murder, it was highly unlikely the governor would grant me a pardon. There also was little chance the courts would reverse my conviction, at least any time soon. If this was the way she felt, I wondered why she bothered visiting a dead man. Was it out of pity? I did not want anyone's pity and in the little time we had, I tried to ascertain if there was a purpose to stay in contact with her.

After my visit, I waited in a hallway off of Gate 5 with a crowd of other prisoners. One of the men I recognized despite how greatly he had aged over the years. His hair had thinned to almost nothing, there were dark circles under his eyes, and he was gaunt with wrinkled skin. It seemed like Death was knocking on his door and I asked him if we were all going to die in here. He surprised me by saying his appeal had recently been remanded for a new trial. A recantation from a witness and some other exculpatory evidence had convinced an appellate court to finally overturn his conviction.  He was now waiting to see if the Cook County States Attorney's Office would fight him tooth and nail over the past decade was going to drop the charges, re-prosecute him, or offer him a cop out of time served. He had already served 29 years and tended to believe the D.A. would not want to spend the money for another trial. In my mind I thought about how long it would take me to file my appeal and if it would also be argued over for 10 years. The idea of being released after my 50th birthday left me with a sense of dread.

In the cellhouse, I stopped at my neighbor's cell to speak to Hooch. Hooch had also been in prison since the mid-1980's and knew the man who had recently been ordered a new trial. While talking with my neighbor, I noticed he had a new pair of boots and inquired about the ones he kept in his box but never wore. The other boots, unlike the cheap products occasionally sold or given out by the IDOC, were of high quality and made of suede and not synthetic materials. I never saw a pair like them and offered to buy the shoes. Hooch told me he could never part with the boots because they had belonged to John Piggot, or Doc as most prisoners knew him as. Doc had served nearly 40 years for a string of robberies in the 1970's before he finally died last year. When he knew his time was near, he gave away his most valuable possessions including his black suede boots.

In my cell, I received another birthday card. This one was from my sister who I had not seen or spoke to in nearly 2 years. Unlike the stupidly cheerful ones I received earlier in the week or the goofy one sent by my aunt, this card was gloomy. On the front cover was a wood dock ending abruptly to a still lake at dusk. In the distance was a man alone in a row boat. The dock reminded me of a plank on a pirate's ship which the condemned were forced to walk. The row boat conjured up images of a lonely old man in his twilight years or the scene in the movie "The Godfather" where Michael Corleone has his brother executed while out fishing.

Yesterday the big news in the cell block was Big John returning from work and requesting Protective Custody. While he was packing up his property, my cellmate stopped to speak with him, but he would not say why he was concerned for his safety. Steve also saw him outside when he was morosely pushing his cart of belongings to X House. John would not even look up and ignored him. A secret is difficult to keep, however, at Stateville and by dinner I was told that word had gotten out that he was a former cop. This was false and he was actually a former guard at the Cook County Jail. To some convicts including KY, it did not matter. Cops, guards, or anyone involved in law enforcement was despised and considered the enemy. I hated the emergence of the police state as well as the prison industrial complex. This oppressive and corrupt system of government needed to be dismantled. Despite this, I did not hate all those who worked within it, and in fact I had known John was a former guard for a long time but I got along well with him.

As I was writing this post, my neighbor passed over the suede boots for me to have on my birthday. They fit rather well and I paced the cell several times wearing them. I do not know where Doc got the shoes and they may never have been sold in the IDOC. Hooch did not explain why he changed his mind, but I tend to think he was in essence passing the mantel onto me. Doc had done nearly four decades in prison and I will probably do that and more before I pass away. I was arrested when I was 18 and this was the 22nd birthday I've had since being incarcerated. At the age of 40, I could probably languish in prison for over a half century if I did not commit suicide. In the minute chance I am freed, I think Doc would be happy to know that although he never made it out, his shoes did.

Readers have followed my stories at the maximum security penitentiary, Stateville, for over 5 years. I never intended to write until I keeled over an old, decrepit and defeated man. As my 40th birthday has approached, I have increasingly lost interest in sharing my life, or more accurately my death, with the public. After Governor Pat Quinn leaves office, I may cease writing for this blog. Regardless if he grants my request for executive clemency or not, there is no happy ending to this story. Either way, I will be walking in a dead man's boots.

170 comments:

  1. This post made me cry. So sad.

    Please don't stop writing!
    Maybe write only once a month or every couple months?

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    1. Exactly my reaction. Paul, won't you consider writing once a month? You don't have to write about your life in prison but on any topic of interest to YOU. Each post has kept my interest all these years and I appreciate your honest views and analysis on ALL topics.

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    2. Paulllllll noooooooooo please don't stop!!!!

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    3. One new post was lost(?) in the mail. Paul said It was about the nurses at Stateville. I have no idea when another one will arrive.

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    4. A huge fan and prayer warriorApril 14, 2015 at 10:22 PM

      Me too. I remember all the local news showing your "perp walk" photo and talking on and on about you being named the "primary suspect" in the infamous Browns Chicken murders. Then they'd show photos of the closed down restaurant, lots of police in the parking lot that fateful night, etc. Anyone who didn't know you would have thought the police finally had their man. It wasn't just on all TV stations that night: the newsmedia kept running with the story for weeks! and again during your trial! Your photo was on the front page of all north suburban and Chicago newspapers. I never thought a jury could be chosen who wasn't already prejudiced. I'm so sorry you went through all of us, Paul, and all these years of wrongful imprisonment. I've been praying for you often and even more so when I began reading your blog.

      Somehow I thought your writings helped you "live through the pain," and I never thought it would only make you more miserable. Maybe you should just take a break, or only write about things you find interesting, but many people around the world enjoy reading what you write! Shouldn't that give you a sense of purpose?

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  2. Don't stop. Please.

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  3. Don't you dare stop. Don't you dare.
    :-(

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  4. This post is so sad. Made me cry too. Paul, I just don't understand why you want to stop writing. You are an excellent writer, your posts are educational, interesting, truthful, and give thousands an insight to prison life as they never could know otherwise.
    I don't personally know anyone in prison, but I'd bet many readers do and you let them know what their loved ones have to deal with on a daily basis. You may even be giving insights to legislators, judges and reformers. The John Howard Association is a group working for prison reform in your state. Perhaps they read your blog too!
    Judging by the quality of your posts, I realize it is time consuming.....but couldn't you just write once a month?
    Please don't end your blog!

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    1. I totally agree! Your writings may influence lawmakers to make reforms in the sentencing laws and/or better living conditions at prisons. Perhaps the new governor in your state will even read your posts as he makes changes in the systems. You don't seem to understand how influential your posts have been. And, Paul, you don't have to write but every month or two--no schedule at all if you choose. But please don't simply stop writing!

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    2. I have ceased to write because (1) I believe I accomplished my goals, (2) I never intended to write forever, (3) I must focus on writing my appeal, (4) I hate my life and writing about it continuously only makes me more miserable, and (5) I require more blog helpers who are willing to devote all the time and effort required to keep the blog up to date.

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    3. Maybe some of us readers could volunteer to help with the blog. If you get enough volunteers, would you continue to write?

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    4. A photo of Paul was recently added within The Hope Monster post.
      Paul, I think your outgoing mail is being delayed again. Your blog helpers are doing their best to keep things up to date--you should not blame them for delays.

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  5. Agree with the other commenters. Please keep writing.
    I'm shedding tears.

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  6. Paul, I wont even begin to try and understand what you go through, how you feel or just how intense the feelings of hopelessness or despair are. I am sure that misery permeates every fiber of your being but please dont give up. This bog is your connection to the world beyond the brick and steel of Stateville, it connects you to people and places you could never have reached a decade ago. The more people who are aware of your plight, the greater the chance justice will prevail. There just may be someone reading this blog now who can make the difference, not everyone in law enforcement or the legal profession are bad or corrupt. There is hope, please do not quit, ever.

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    1. I agree with celt da man's comments. Paul, you never know what tomorrow brings (none of us do), but keeping your blog active could come to the attention of some lawyers, judges, or reformers who could intervene and help you! Your conviction was indeed NOT justice served, but a travesty. Don't give up, and please keep your blog up and running.

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    2. Thank you for following my blog and your comments over a variety of posts. However, it is time for me to move on. The blog connects me to the world, but at the same time does not. I do not know the readers and almost everyone comments anonymously. Even you have never offered me your real name. As for the blog being an instrument to gain justice, this was never its purpose for me, and regardless, it is apparent it failed. The governor passed on my clemency petition and the "Conviction Integrity Unit" never even bothered to look at my case before rejecting it. I remain in prison with a natural life sentence after over 5 years of blogging. The only hope I may have is through an appeal and because my attorney is derelict and I am unable to hire a new one, I must write it myself. This will be my focus from now on.

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    3. You don't know us but WE KNOW YOU. You don't know the countless lives that you have touched.

      By the way, the reason most of us don't post our real true names is that it isn't recommended on the internet. You might not know this because you have been locked up for so long. (Not making fun of you, just explaining.)

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  7. Please reconsider. Please?

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  8. There was a great episode of that old TV show The Twilight Zone called Dead Man's Shoes

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Man%27s_Shoes_%28The_Twilight_Zone%29

    There's an old saying that goes, 'If the shoe fits, wear it.' But be careful. If you happen to find a pair of size nine black and gray loafers, made to order in the old country, be very careful. You might walk right into the Twilight Zone.

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  9. Calling your family stupid for remembering you on your birthday? They were merely trying to cheer you up. After reading this post I have decided to stop reading your blog and could not care less if you continue to write or not. That was just mean and cruel Paul and what's even worse is now they can actually read you calling them stupid to the world. Goodbye.

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  10. Get a masters degree. There must be some correspondence school of just write to universities.

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  11. Paul please keep writing. Don't write about prison if you don't want to. Write about politics, current events, books, etc. So many people would miss you.

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    1. Agree with 2/14 above. You don't have to write about anything you don't find interesting. Your posts on current events and politics are very interesting and informative. Your values are conservative and like fresh air in today's world.

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    2. Ditto blog fan!

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  12. You're going to be moved to a medium security prison soon. From there, it's possible there is going to be a pathway out -- albeit a difficult one. But I think we can get it done. So keep your chin up, be on your best behavior and hang tight. And don't stop writing...

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    1. How do you know he's gonna be moved to a medium soon?

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    2. Yes, how do you know?!
      My guess is the new governor, Rauner, will be making lots of changes in Illinois' prison system. His people will move all low risk men out of maximum security facilities into mediums. Paul will be moved along with all those with nonviolent convictions. Perhaps Gov. Rauner will also study the ridiculous accountability law and all those convicted under that law. Very few states even have a law like that any more.

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  13. Does anyone know where I can find old news archives that cover Paul's case? I was not living in this area during the early to mid 1990s.

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    1. I'd like to read those old articles again too, and would also appreciate links to them. I do recall seeing Paul's photo on the front page of a local newspaper and reading that the Palatine Task Force named him their "primary suspect" in the Brown's Chicken murders in Palatine. For many days, local TV news stations also continued showing that video of Paul being led by a group of FBI agents out of a building as they were bringing him to court.

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    2. I would like to know if there's a video archive?

      Your library's website might have access to old newspaper articles. I know mine does but if I link to them, it would prompt you to enter my library password which I cannot give you! ;). I'll search the web though for public links.

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    3. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-03-31/news/9504040268_1_penalty-actual-killer-murder-s-impact Whatta joke, Faraci.

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    4. Yes. You can Google the Joliet Herald News. I read everything about this case. I went to High School with Paul. My name is Rob by the way. Keep your head up Paul

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  14. Aw. I'd miss you.

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  15. Here's a link to an article about prisoners in North Carolina being severely punished for having Facebook pages and posting nasty things online: http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/13/technology/facebook-prison/ I was surprised that Facebook would allow prisoners to have FB pages when they refused Paul having one a few years ago.

    Near the end of the article it is mentioned that one prisoner even has a blog! I clicked the link to see who that was. Guess where it took me? Right here to YOUR blog, Paul ! This publicity could be a blessing for your fight for justice! So don't give up writing now!

    I hope you realize that the more people who learn about this injustice, the more people with power to make changes will become aware of your plight. Who knows where that could lead? I sure hope you reconsider. Keep writing!

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    1. Correction for above: The article is about South Carolina prisoners. Sorry for the mistake. The link will bring you to that story.

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  16. " If this was the way she felt, I wondered why she bothered visiting a dead man. Was it out of pity? I did not want anyone's pity and in the little time we had, I tried to ascertain if there was a purpose to stay in contact with her."

    Because she and others care about you, Paul. Really.

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  17. I recommended your blog to numerous people and your blog was an eye-opener to many of them. Thank you.

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    1. That's a very good reason for him NOT to end this blog: we can direct other people to it so they can learn about Paul and his case. Paul, take a break but don't completely stop. Like others said, write less often if necessary, or write shorter posts, but please do not give this up.

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  18. Quitting? WHAT?
    No.
    We do not accept your resignation!

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  19. Paul, You say you are considering not writing your blog anymore. Why? Is it because you don't have the time? Doubtful. Is it because you don't feel you are accomplishing anything with it? Not true. Is it because you don't think anybody is really interested? Absolutely not true. I believe the blog is definitely going to be your ticket out. It is never too late to get out and start a new life. It doesn't matter what age you are when you are released, you can still have quality of life no matter the age. Since you are in good health you may have 30, 40, or more years left. Don't give up. I believe you have a chance, I really do. Stay strong.

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    1. I believe I have accomplished what I set out to do and continuing to write would not add much. Everything has a beginning and an end. My Final Post which apparently has not been posted yet seemed a good time to close this ongoing story. Furthermore, in fact, I do not have the time to devote to my blog and to writing my appeal. The blog is not my ticket out but the court system.

      Lastly, I require a few new blog handlers. Readers may not understand the amount of work it requires. I am not able to do this from my cell and have no Internet access. Someone else on the outside must assist me.

      My days of remaining strong are waning. I am amused you claim I may have 30, 40, or more years left. It is not the longevity of life that matters but the quality of it. If I could, I would trade all the years ahead of me for those that were lost.

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    2. We wanna walk with you vicariously.

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  20. No. No. No. No. NO!!!!! PLEASE DON'T QUIT.

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  21. Crying while thinking about you, Paul.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Destroy what destroys you. Refusing to write isn't the answer.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Mr Modrowski,
    I would like to thank you for reaching out to us and sharing your life with us during the last few years. I will miss you if you end this blog, but regardless of what you decide, I will continue to root for justice in your case and spread the word. Maybe I'll send some books or some magazine subscriptions as well.
    My eyes are tearing up, but I again want to thank you.
    If you decide to quit, I hope your blog editors themselves will post an occasional update
    .

    ReplyDelete
  24. PAUL Y U NO LOVE US?

    ReplyDelete
  25. I know you can't answer this of course except maybe in a post -- but having read your latest I'm curious as to how you actually know your former friend killed the Fawcett. I mean, like how could you?

    Well in any case I hope they let you out soon. You've been locked up for 4 more years than the 18 you were free on the outside. That seems like long enough even if you were "guilty" of loaning a car to someone. Are you kidding me? That's just crazy!

    Also, do you have a girlfriend? ;) I live about an hour from you and think I might like to come visit you sometime. I'll send you my picture. Your receding hairline is cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You must be new to this blog! Paul has written many posts about his arrest and conviction. As for who killed Fawcett, there is a ton of evidence that leads only to Faraci. Not only has Faraci bragged to a dozen others that he did it but his own wife testified that he came home that night wearing blood soaked clothing and asked her to burn them. Paul has alibi witnesses who place him far away on that night and several people recall seeing his car parked outside. Due to a lousy trial lawyer, they were never called to testify at the trial. That lawyer thought it wasn't necessary!

      Paul was not convicted of murder but of accountability for a murder. Oddly, in Illinois both crimes can have the same punishment meted out by the judge. This law is just wrong and should be changed. Many states no longer have an accountability law.

      Delete
    2. Yes Paul WAS convicted of murder he was convicted of Murder on a THEORY of accountability. Check his IDOC page you will see what his conviction is..There is no such law as being accountable for murder in Illinois. Accountability is what the prosecution used to convict him of MURDER.

      Delete
    3. Mr. Anonymous of March 12 (or should I address you as Mr. Know It All?) You are mistaken. Illinois does have an accountability law! It is 720 ILCS 5/5-2. The prosecutor at Paul's trial was yelling at the jurors saying "He is guilty under the law of accountability, folks" ......and he demanded they uphold that law and convict him!

      I believe 6 states still have that law on the books. Florida is one--a young man there was also convicted for lending his car to his friends (Ryan Nolle).

      Delete
  26. Hey this blog is listed on wikipedia.org!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe a native speaker* could add Paul's story ( case and link to this blog) to Wikipedia, so there is an entry /search result for him. Let's raise awareness.

      Best regards -also to Paul-
      from *Germany

      Delete
    2. Not a bad idea!

      Delete
    3. Does anybody know how to do that? A link to the blog is an excellent idea!

      Delete
  27. Another way to spread the word about Paul's blog: contact law schools and colleges or universities which have criminal justice studies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please do this. As one of the blog editors, I can tell you, we do not have time to do publicity. We'd like to count on you or others to do what you can. Please feel free to do that and it will be much appreciated.

      Delete
  28. I am sorry, it is me again (from Germany).
    Is there any interest in setting up a supportive page on facebook called 'Paul Modrowski'? His blog postings could be published there etc. Any of you on fb like me who could keep it running?
    Due to a lack of correct use of English (judical terms etc) I am hesitant to setup a page on my own.

    Deborah Rupprecht -that's me-

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good idea.

      Delete
    2. Friend and Supporter of Paul's FreedomFebruary 21, 2015 at 11:36 PM

      I would be glad to do that--if I knew how. Years ago, some friends set up a FB page for Paul but within a month or so FB deleted it and said only individuals who can monitor their own page can have one.

      Then I saw an article in Money Magazine where prisoners in South Carolina all have FB pages and access to the internet! The conclusion is that unless Paul would have permission to set up and monitor his own FB page he can't have one?

      Does anyone know about FB policy on setting up a FB page called "Supporters of Paul Modrowski"? I'll search that site to try to find out FB policies/rules.

      Delete
    3. Please continue writing. You could maybe turn your blog into a political/social commentary, instead of a blog about prison life? I bet you ARE tired of writing about your prison experiences. It seems as if you've gathered quite a following here, Paul, and so many people would miss you!

      Delete
    4. There's a Facebook page about Jamie Snow's case....so there can be one about Paul too.

      Delete
    5. To "Friend and Supporter of Paul's Freedom",
      there are many support groups /pages on fb, it should be possible to run one for Paul, for example as a fan page or by naming a cause ("Support for Paul Modrowski"). This might be helpful: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Facebook-Fan-Page.

      (If you wish to contact me in this matter on facebook, search my name, my profile picture is a shadow on a wall.)
      Deborah Rupprecht




      Delete
    6. From One of the Editors of Paul's blog: We had a Facebook page and facebook abruptly kicked it off since they say prisoners are not allowed to have a facebook. We had a supporter's page, too, and it was also kicked off Facebook. We don't want Paul to get in any trouble, so we have not pursued. Paul was put into Seg (solitary) several times over this blog, so we won't push our luck and make him suffer.

      Delete
    7. How come Jamie Snow has a page but Paul isn't allowed?

      Delete
    8. Anon. of Feb. 22: I am tired of writing about my prison experiences. I hate my life and painstakingly chronicling it. However, this is my niche and I doubt I would have such a large following if I wrote about politics or other subject matters that are already covered by many others. Regardless, I must focus my attention on writing my appeal.

      Delete
    9. Paul please please please update us on your life a few times a year. Sad to think that we might never hear anything from you for the rest of your life!

      Delete
  29. Are you looking to be friends with the woman just to have a friend, or to see what she can do for you? (Online petition)
    Quite possibly, she isn't sure of your innocence or guilt but just wants to stay in touch?

    ReplyDelete
  30. To those whose comments were NOT published: Paul has explained in several other posts WHY he was arrested, HOW he was arrested, and WHY he believes his former room mate killed Fawcett. And for those comments with false accusations and/or vulgar comments: you are not welcome here.

    Any comments that promote a business or another blog are automatically deleted.

    ReplyDelete
  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Paul, another great post, I think your brave sharing your life and how you feel with us, tell Hooch he's alright too. Keep going, keep strong and all the best your way to what ever life may bring.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Future blog post suggestion: memorable birthdays from your childhood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey. Excellent suggestion. Maybe other blog fans could suggest topics for future posts.
      I'd like to read some more book reviews.

      Delete
  34. Paul
    Have you read any books by Mark Levin?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Don't quit. DO NOT. No way Hozay.

    ReplyDelete
  36. The outgoing governor doesn't act on your clemency petition....so you punish us, your loyal followers?!?!?
    Thanks a lot, Terminator man. >:(

    ReplyDelete
  37. Dude.
    We didn't abandon you.
    Please do not abandon us.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I hope Paul is well ... and I hope he hasn't lost hope and won't stop fighting.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Have we heard the last of Paul?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not yet! Paul has written 2 more posts, but we've only received one. The missing one was mailed well over a month ago so I think it was confiscated by the prison admin. We're waiting a little longer just in case. Would like them published in date order.

      Delete
  40. Paul! Wake up in there! Go to law school online or start a hunger strike!

    YOU are not forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
  41. PAUL Y U NO UPDATE?

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hang in there Paul. I wrote to Gov. Rauner and this is the response I received:

    > Subject: RE:Governor's Contact Page
    >
    > Dear Cynthia,
    >
    > I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to my office about clemency for Paul Modrowski in Illinois. My staff is reviewing your message. Please know I value your opinion and thank you for sharing it with me. Hearing from people in Illinois gives me a better idea of what is impacting local communities across the state. Knowing those opinions helps me make decisions for you in Springfield.
    >
    > Please feel free to contact me in the future. My office phone numbers are (217) 782-0244 and (312) 814-2121.
    >
    > Sincerely,
    > Governor Bruce Rauner

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I got the same email.

      Delete
  43. Paul, I mentioned in another e-mail about change.org. Has there been anyone on Paul's Blog staff who followed up? If not, why? Don't give up paul.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Could you please do a quarterly update? Every 3 months?

    ReplyDelete
  45. Who quits at 291 posts? Make it an even 300 posts and then reconsider.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hey Paul. My name is Rob and we rode the bus together at Lincoln Way. Keep writing. Its a great way to keep your mind at peace. I have kept a journal since I got home from a 13 month tour in Afghanistan way back in 2002. Write me back if you see this. Mokena has changed so much since you were last there. It is a hugh town now. Peace!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Please don't end your weblog.
    ::sad::

    ReplyDelete
  48. Don't end this site. Please. More and more people are coming to it and learning about you and your case. Take a sabbatical from writing, but do not stop altogether.

    ReplyDelete
  49. " I was not aware old television news archives were available to the public, but apparently they are."

    Where?

    ReplyDelete
  50. One thing that would be a good idea, would be to compile Paul's blog posts, or many of them at least (there could be some editorial type work involved), into a book form. Publish the book. "Life Without Parole", "Doing Life", something like that. And use proceeds towards your defense fund; presumably, a new trial would eventually be needed, and in order to do that, some kind of legal work has to be ongoing in the courts I would think. Waiting for pardon alone, in my view, is far less likely. Just one idea. Another would be a petition page which can raise funds. These can also work surprisingly well online. (If there is not such a page already).

    ReplyDelete
  51. You are missed , Paul.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Paul, have you ever seen the show on MSNBC called, "Lock Up". The show different prisons across the country. They did an episode in 2005. However, I suspect the show is highly edited.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the Stateville episode of Lockup they talk briefly with Jimmy Files.

      Delete
    2. I think jimmy files has been paroled.

      Delete
  53. Don't abandon your readers.

    ReplyDelete
  54. You are a fine writer. Talent. Please write more blogposts.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Once again, I beg you to continue writing. Please?

    ReplyDelete
  56. anonymous blog commenterApril 1, 2015 at 9:03 PM

    Do I have permission to print out some of the blog posts and mail them (anonymously) to governor office, Illinois state congress, and to news papers and stations?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you need permission?

      Delete
  57. I moved because of Paul. Away from Illinois.

    Please stay strong.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Please don't stop writing. I read just some of your posts, but if what you say is true, you should not spend any time in prison. Unfortunately justice system in USA (or any other country for that matter) is not 'totally fair' to say the least. Don't give up, don't lose hope, and continue to write. Every day there should be hope that you will receive clemency. You mentioned that you are 40, but you can still make something of your life if you release - but DONT GIVE UP

    ReplyDelete
  59. Paul, you're 40, nonetheless there is a life after 40. A good friend opened his own restaurant at the age of 53, got divorced from his wife one year later, got to know his new wife the same year and became father of a cute little daughter one and a half year ago. Don't give up.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Happy Easter to Paul and all who support him.
    Deborah

    ReplyDelete
  61. Disappointed but wish you all the best.

    ReplyDelete
  62. What about a compromise. You please write every two months. Please? Really it would not be too much work for you or for the blog handlers if only six times a year. And we would get our "fix." Please Paul? Please consider it. We need a site like this to direct folks to when spreading the word about your case. And I'll forever wonder about the innocence project. Oh Paul, pllllllleeeeeeeeeaaaaassssse?????????

    ReplyDelete
  63. You're no Edward Bunker. Not by a long shot.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Replies
    1. Edward Bunker played "Mr.Blue" in the Quentin Tarantino film "Reservoir Dogs" (it was not that big of a part, really). He had been a career criminal, basically, and spent many years in and out of penitentiaries. He had written a few novels based on his time inside, and his knowledge of the criminal underground. The comment above (you're no Edward Bunker...) is random and odd; Paul makes no claim to be a crime fiction novelist, and as far as I know Bunker didn't publish any diaries or anything like that of his day-to-day life in prison. Which would be more like basically what Paul is doing here, only online.

      Delete
  65. You know, to a real extent I kind of basically agree with Paul. Although I've enjoyed his posts, what's the point any longer in a sense ? So we can vicariously experience some of the tedium and daily misery of life in a max-security state penitentiary? We can do that by watching Lock-Up on MSNBC or any other show like it. They're all practically the same, these places, more or less. Half of a blog post could be enough to describe it, really: it Sucks, you're trapped most of the day (unless you work) in a room -- the size of a large bathroom in the outside world -- with a guy who is varying levels of dangerous or nuts or unclean or whatever else and who you probably don't really like much, and you have to do everything within elbow space vicinity of each other almost all day and night. Dehumanizing to an extreme, non-rehabilitative; a void or abyss where mostly wasted days turn into mostly wasted months and finally mostly wasted years, and they're all sucked away in a sort of oblivion or black hole that eats time and life. How much more is there to say about prison really? We like reading the blog, for whatever purposes or enjoyment (no offense Paul, it's not your writing but the blog itself is not dealing with an 'enjoyable' subject matter). But we're not putting up any money, for instance (and probably most of us basically can't, don't have it) to get the guy a new attorney or anything really useful. So, if I was sitting there, I too might be tempted to think at some point basically enough is enough; "show's over", as it were. And furthermore in any case, as I implied already, there will be no significant great changes (barring a change of cellie or housing reassignment) in the next....however long he's in there. Those of us who really want to keep up with him can write him personally I guess. If by any chance he were to one day be granted a new trial, I'm sure we'd hear about it in the news at least in a passing story. The way I look at it is; if I don't hear his name come up in the news at all, and there are no more blog posts, then he's just doing his time and nothing's basically changed -- and he's working on an appeal. To know what his day's been like, any given day, all we'd have to do is pretty much re-read older posts. So we just have to wish him good luck and move on from the blog I guess. PS- Paul you don't know me personally and I don't like posting real name online all over the place, but we were in touch once with a letter or two and I had sent you a book (the one written by your case judge). I tried sending further magazines and such but S-ville kept rejecting them because of the packaging they were in, I guess. Best wishes to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. However we've gotten to know Paul. I will miss him. I'm not allowed to write to prisoners.

      Delete
    2. knows people in IDOCApril 19, 2015 at 8:18 PM

      You cannot send books to IDOC with any kind of padding in the packaging. The IDOC website says you can send books in bubble wrap envelopes, but every time I've sent that, it gets returned to me. Your best bet is a manila envelope or a priority mail envelope.

      Delete
  66. Have you considered trying to sleep for longer periods of time in prison? It might make life a little more bearable since you're unconcious when you're not awake. Also, you might feel more rested for writing. Just a thought!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think he does take an afternoon nap.

      Delete
    2. You're unconscious when you're not awake?!?!?
      Surely you jest! ;)

      Delete
  67. To the Editors

    Do you plan on posting Paul's last entry that he has mentioned in comments here?

    ReplyDelete
  68. Most people I have talked to can't believe such a law exists that would put somebody in prison for life without parole. The fact the person accused of committing the crime was found "not guilty", would seem to prevent Paul from any culpability period. Paul should continue to keep his case in the eyes of the public. Ending these post's will not alleviate any suffering, out of sight, out of mind. Might just help Paul's case down the road.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with your post.

      Delete
  69. Well if Paul really is ending this blog, then the IDOC can't harass him about it any longer, therefore we should create a Facebook support page...... What sez the other readers ofthis blog?

    ReplyDelete
  70. I was hoping you'd changed your mind. I'll miss your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Please don't end this wonderful piece of literature.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Once you get out of ad seg I hope you'll start writing again. You've been a bad boy

    ReplyDelete
  73. What years were you at Mennard?

    ReplyDelete
  74. He's in ad seg? Whaaaaat?

    ReplyDelete
  75. Does Paul like being in administrative segregation? Is it quieter with less distractions. so he can think and write better?

    ReplyDelete
  76. Stateville is n lockdown.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stateville is on lockdown frequently. What I wanna know is why he's in segregation?

      Delete
  77. "Never Surrender" by Corey Hart

    Just a little more time
    Is all we're asking for
    'Cause just a little more time
    Could open closing doors
    Just a little uncertainty
    Can bring you down

    And nobody wants to know you now
    And nobody wants to show you how

    So if you're lost and on your own
    You can never surrender
    And if your path won't lead you home
    You can never surrender

    And when the night is cold and dark
    You can see, you can see light
    Cause no one can take away your right
    To fight and to never surrender

    With a little perseverance
    You can get things done
    Without the blind adherence
    That has conquered some

    And nobody wants to know you now
    And nobody wants to show you how

    So if you're lost and on your own
    You can never surrender
    And if your path won't lead you home
    You can never surrender

    And when the night is cold and dark
    You can see, you can see light
    'Cause no one can take away your right
    To fight and to never surrender
    To never surrender

    And when the night is cold and dark
    You can see, you can see light
    No one can take away your right
    To fight and to never surrender
    To never surrender

    Oh, time is all we're asking for
    To never surrender
    Oh, oh, you can never surrender

    Time is all you're asking for
    Stand your ground, never surrender
    Oh, oh, oh, oh, I said
    You never surrender, oh

    ReplyDelete
  78. Is Paul really in seg?

    ReplyDelete
  79. Why does anyone think Paul is in Seg? Stateville is on lockdown, but I don't think Paul is in Seg because he called his mother a few days ago. He said he was trying to write his own post conviction petition.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Couldn't you keep blogging, less often?

    ReplyDelete
  81. Trying to write his own post conviction petition LOL. A snowballs chance in hell. Keep hope alive!😜

    ReplyDelete
  82. It's bit confusing why you keep from us what he has written as a final blog entry. I came here regularly but am surprised to see that after another three weeks it's still not yet published.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul made it clear in comments here that he asked his editors to post his final entry I am not sure why they have taken it upon themselves to withhold it. It seems rather unfair of them to do this to his readers that have been supportive of him,written letters to the Governor on his behalf etc.

      Editors what are you waiting for? If he truly has stopped blogging and you are in possession of his final post don't his loyal readers to deserve to see it?

      Delete
  83. "SPREAD the word- spread the links"

    That's what it says on the right column of this blog site. How are we supposed to do this if you STOP WRITING?
    Please keep blogging. I realize you're busy with your appeal and tracking people's investments. I hope you can do a monthly or bimonthly blogpost.

    ReplyDelete
  84. http://databases.sj-r.com/salaries/state-of-il/department/department-of-corrections/ wow, look at those IDOC salaries!

    ReplyDelete
  85. Shows how much will power you have Paul never would of thought after over 20 years in prison you'd be the one to give up

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease keep your blog.

      Delete
  86. Will miss you Paul.
    Hope to see you on the news someday as you are released from jail.

    ReplyDelete
  87. This was your lifeline to the outside world. Give it up, and you disappear forever into deepest recesses of that cement and steel encased wasteland of lost souls.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Paul - life is absurd. You're an example of one the extremes to be found on that spectrum, so I absolutely understand your nihilism. I don't have any trite suggestions about keeping going.

    I don't blame you for losing interest in the blog either - it's just like an Aspie to pick up intense interests for periods and then abruptly cast them aside without a second thought. It reminds me of the elaborate mandalas some Buddhist monks make out of coloured powder.

    Anyway if you haven't read Camus' "Outsider" yet, I recommend it.
    If you have, then I'd say you've probably done all you needed to in order to ever understand this life.

    All the best for the future.

    Mark.

    ReplyDelete
  89. How are those boots?

    ReplyDelete
  90. Sorry to read you've decided to give up writing. I want to say what the others have said--you will be missed.

    ReplyDelete
  91. YOU'RE QUITTING????????????

    ReplyDelete
  92. Did you inmates get gift bags from Willow Tree church on Christmas?

    ReplyDelete
  93. Live the fullest life that you can.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Is it true that StateVille used to have organized baseball teams?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is true. Many years ago Stateville had a credible team. They would beat traveling semi pro teams and other prison teams. Fast pitch real baseball in a max joint.

      Delete
    2. In the 1930's and 40's Stateville and Joliet Prison would play football. Full contact tackle football with uniforms and everything. The games were fiercely contested. There are some pictures of the games in the book about Warden Ragen. There were no softies in those days.

      Delete
    3. What's the name of the book?

      Delete
    4. http://www.amazon.com/Warden-Ragen-Joliet-Gladys-Erickson/dp/B0007DPNSY

      Warden Ragen of Joliet

      Delete
  95. I would can't believe that you went to prison for a crime you did not commit. You can have a retrial and your autism diagnosis can be your high ticket out if there.

    What you went through is discrimination! The fact that the Illinois bop will not free you based on that you have autism and that you simply have your car to a friend is discrimination. I think you ought to start a National revolution against the broken criminal justice system!

    Go v to n the supreme Court and challenge your arrest and false imprisonment!

    I'm autistic as well and I know how you feel and that you're completely innocent.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Happy belated birthday.
    Perhaps a Facebook page could be started about your case.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Do you still wear the boots?

    ReplyDelete
  98. Hi Paul, I was wondering if Hooch still had John Piggott's boots. You see John has two sons and we just recently started to search for John when we found out he was in Stateville prison and then we found out that he had passed away. His son Shawn is now trying to get a picture of John even if it is just one from the prison. As well as any information about him what he was like? Did he have visitors, did he mention his two sons Shawn and Scott. I am hoping you could help us in knowing what he was like. Shawn's intention was when we found out he was in Stateville was going to visit his dad and to answer questions he had., but our search was to late. Anyway hopefully you or someone in Stateville knew John. I know he was referred to as Doc in your blogs. We look forward to hearing form you. Alison&Shawn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm wondering if Bone died or if he is still alive. I don't know his name so I can't look him up on IDOC.

      Delete
  99. Paul. Come back.

    ReplyDelete

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.