Monday, April 2, 2012


dateline: March 24, 2012

On Wednesday, March 21, 2012, my third parole hearing was held. Bottom line — no breaks — they put me off three more years — until 2017, because of the objection of the corrupt Hillsborough prosecutor, who it appears now was the instigator of the false 2010 disciplinary report by the DOC, the KKK prison guard article.

A number of people contributed to a valiant release effort. Jack Murphy, who spoke powerfully at the October 26, 2011, hearing, had a speaking engagement in Indiana and could not attend, but the previous week, he came to Tallahassee and did some high-powered consulting with Louie B. Wainwright, retired Secretary of the Florida DOC and one of the most influential people in Tallahassee. Louie called Bernard Cohen, the new parole commissioner, whom he has known for decades, and he and Murf went to Cohen’s office to bring him up to speed.

The decision was predetermined before my people walked into the hearing room, it appeared, but at least Mr. Cohen knows our side of the story if we have a re-hearing.

Attorney Bill Sheppard again appeared on my behalf, and I couldn’t ask for a finer advocate even if Perry Mason was still alive. He’d previously sent the commission a 35-page presentation that covered all the flaws and points in dispute from the October hearing, which set the legal bar high, challenging their inaction and demanding that the commissioners comply with the requirements of due process. I have read many hundreds of parole appeals in the law books, and it is shameful how the rules and laws are ignored and circumvented. Bottom line there — I knew from the beginning that we wouldn’t get justice, no matter how deserving of release I am. We have been preparing to take the matter to court all along so that a judge can overrule their improper decision. It is a long, difficult and expensive undertaking.

Libby made the three-hour drive to Tallahassee, and she was joined at the hearing by Father Bob Anderson, retired, and old friend, Rev. Dennis St. Lawrence, who took photos of the hearing participants until Chairman Tena Pate told him to stop. That ticked off Dennis, who showed a valid “Press” card, and he is considering a complaint against Pate for violating the laws on public hearings.

Bobby Greenwood spoke in Murf’s absence, supported by his wife, Bunny. Hugh MacMillan and Ken Cooper provided moral support, attending the hearing to speak on behalf of another man seeking release.

On the opposing side, state attorney Mark Ober was joined by his former protégé and now Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, who was taking some time off from raiding pill mills, supporting Mitt Romney, and running for governor. Little-known fact: when I was a high school student at King High in Tampa, I worked as a bagboy at the Winn Dixie/Kwik Chek supermarket in Temple Terrace. I knew well Pam’s parents, Dr. John Bondi, who was an English professor at U.S.F., and his wife. I don’t remember their children, who would have been babies or toddlers during those years.

Prof. Bondi was always very encouraging to me, urging me to major ion English. I was a top student, got an academic scholarship to USF, and tried to enroll in Prof. Bondi’s English class, but it was filled early, so I took Dr. John Parker’s class by default. He was the father of a fellow student, and I also knew him. He had the reputation of bring the toughest professor in the English Department, but I made all “A’s” in every class of his that I took, effectively launching my early writing career.

I bagged a lot of Bondi groceries between 1967 and 1970, when I left the grocery business. Dr. and Mrs. Bondi gave me many a quarter for my labors and were always very cordial to me and supportive of my efforts. I was sad to learn of Prof. Bondi’s passing a few years ago.

Ober has such a grudge and personal vendetta against me that it has blinded him to how his frantic, extreme behavior appears to the public. He claims to be in fear of me — he told this to a reporter! — and fears I’ll set up a sniper nest near his house if I get out. Come on, Mark! You need to know that you are only the center of the universe in your own universe, certainly not in mine — I have plenty of better interests.

There is written proof that I forgave him all his transgressions against me decades ago. I am a committed Christian, strong in my faith, and I fully embraced the principle that you must bless and pray for those who persecute you, which I have done for many years. Only a person who is spiritually bankrupt and morally poisoned cannot conceive of such a thing. It’s a shame, really, but I know that the Lord protects me. That doesn’t mean I can’t be a witness and document his actions as he deteriorates.

Many, many positive factors in my favor were ignored by the parole commission. This oversight and other lapses will be addressed in court. The commission is intimidated by Ober, which is a shame. Let us pray that justice will prevail in time.

As for myself, coincidentally, on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday — the 19th – 21st — before and during the parole hearing, I attended an “Anger Resolution Seminar” in the chapel, sponsored by the Institute in Basic Life Principles. It proved to be a very powerful course. A seminary student from Texas provided at least 12 hours of DVD lectures by Rev. William Gotthard, and I learned a lot about Biblical principles used to resolve anger. A couple of guys said it was convenient that I took the class when I did, but I already had a good grip on my emotions. The course helped to put many things in perspective.

I want to thank all the good people who have worked and prayed on my behalf, and I want you to know your efforts weren’t wasted. We are getting closer, and I am spiritually and mentally strong. I’m especially grateful to my long-time friend, Gary Smigiel, who has watched my back for almost thirty years, whose efforts have kept us in the game.

There’s much more, and if you want to find out the rest, let me know. Meanwhile, I have some legal research to do. God bless you, and Happy Easter.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

just read as much as i could for a late mon nite..can't say it was anyone but he Holy Spirit that led me to your blogsite..was just lookin for the right site to send a pkg to an inmate..very amazing stuff..u r so gifted...wanted to @least let u know that i said a prayer for u..that HE our GOD would "make the crooked places straight" as i have prayed for my special bud incarcerated up near tallahasee..i know u r stayin strong IN HIM but b encouraged that THE PRECIOUS HOLY SPIRIT is stll drawing strangers to your site to hear your story,to enjoy your poems,to submit a prayer on your bhalf and as i pray for u will u pray for my friend there in calhoun..i would give u his info but i don't blieve./not totally sure inmates can write one another??let me know..MAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP U..D