Sunday, August 20, 2017



Since the two parole hearings, May 25, 2017, and July 19, 2017, much has happened. The parole investigator, Z.C. Rowan, a parole official for over 40 years, met with me in April, reviewed my case, and recommended a July 4, 2017, parole release date; however, with the political tampering and conflicts of interest of corrupt politicians who have been fixated on a personal vendetta against me for years, multiple false statements by assistant state attorney Kimberly Hindman, negatively influenced the three parole commissioners.

Ignoring volumes of mitigating factors and powerful testimonials from responsible citizens who have known me for decades, the commissioners refused to release me on a well-deserved parole. There is much to share about these two hearings, which I will do in later filings to you. We have transcripts of both hearings if you’d like to read everything.

Attorney Bill Sheppard presented a powerful summation of the record in support of my parole, but as he said, the decision was predetermined. Jack Murphy, my friend for almost 40 years, delivered an impassioned plea for my release, but his dynamic words fell on deaf ears.

Much has happened in the past couple of weeks, on several fronts, which I will summarize.

In November, 2016, the doctor discovered blood in a urine sample for my physical. I made several “day trips” to the Lake Butler RMC prison hospital for more tests. A new private medical provider, Centurion, goes all out on testing and follow-up. Dr. Mark Abramson, a urologist from Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, arranged for a  CT scan, a cystoscopy, and X-rays, which turned up two kidney stones. On Friday, August 11, 2017, I was outfitted in handcuffs, a waist chain, and leg irons, then transported in a prison van to Jacksonville Memorial Hospital for an ultrasound surgery. They call it surgery because they gave me general anesthesia. One whiff from the mask, and I was gone. When I woke up, it was over.

I was impressed by the kindness and professionalism of the doctors, nurses and technicians at Jacksonville Memorial Hospital. After the ultrasound, three nurses kept me company for an hour, monitoring my vitals, until I recovered. Another nurse, Mary, brought me a much-appreciated hot meal of beef tips and gravy over rice and green beans, something unavailable in prison “chow.”

The trip along Interstate 10 from the Columbia Annex C.I. near Lake City, to Jacksonville and back, was harrowing for someone who has taken only a few fast rides in heavy traffic in the past 39 years. It gave me a new appreciation for the effort and sacrifices my dear wife, Libby, makes every weekend when she drives from Jacksonville to visit me.

I did a lot of rubbernecking when we got off I-95 onto University Boulevard, still amazed at the traffic congestion, the dozens of fast food places, car lots, stores, and other businesses. We got to the hospital late, all the “corrections” parking spaces were filled, and we had to park a long distance from the wing we were going to. Don’t try this at home — walking a couple blocks wearing leg irons — large handcuffs with a longer chain — rubbing raw your ankles and Achilles tendons. I realized I was only a mile or two from Libby’s downtown office, which made me wistful, sad that I should have been out of prison already, working at the “Prisoners of Christ” program, and seeing her every day, rather than being chained up like a condemned man.

Dr. Abramson told me I might experience pain if and when the (hopefully) broken up kidney stones tried to pass. He wasn’t kidding. I was all right Friday and Saturday, but Sunday night, for hours, I experienced excruciating pain from my right kidney. After finally dozing off, I woke up Monday morning feeling much better.

The highlight of my week was Saturday, August 12, 2017, when my dear friends, the Smigiel family, came to visit from South Florida. Gary has been a trusted friend and supporter for over 34 years. Marcela has done a wonderful job of raising four children and bringing them to visit me since the early 1990’s. Adrianna and Daniella, their youngest daughters, have grown up visiting me in prison. It is amazing how quickly they’ve grown from darling little girls to beautiful, special young women. I pray that before too much longer we will no longer have to visit together inside these prison fences.

Out of the clear blue, my first cousin, Sue Jones, contacted us by e-mail a couple of weeks ago. Her mother, mu Aunt Frankie Lee Hatchell, was my father’s older sister. After my father’s death in 1985, Aunt Frankie  visited me in prison at Zephyrhills C.I. She and her younger sister, my Aunt Eloise, burst into tears when they saw me enter the visiting area. I had not seen them since my childhood, but they rushed to me and hugged me.

“You’re the spitting image of our father as a young man,” Aunt Frankie said, embracing me.

I’d spent little time with my Norman relatives growing up, but after we reconnected, Frankie, Eloise and I became much closer. They are all gone now, and to hear from my cousin, Sue, touched me.

One more incident of note that happened  Saturday afternoon at the Orange Park Mall, south of Jacksonville: sixteen years ago when I was at the Columbia C.I. Main Unit, Libby registered our first e-mail address — That was followed by our web site,, and the blog  several years later. Thousands of people in over 100 countries have visited those sites.

Saturday afternoon, Libby made a purchase at one of the stores at the mall and got into a conversation with the sales clerk. She suggested that Libby register her e-mail address to receive sales notices and coupons, so Libby filled out the form with the freecharlie e-mail. The clerk what the “freecharlie” meant, was it a certain name. Libby told her it did mean something, but it was too much to explain. She asked if it referred to Charles Norman. Flabbergasted, Libby said it did.

The clerk said, “I’ve been following Charles on the Internet, and so have many of my friends. He has been in prison too long, and should be released.”

After they talked some more, Libby left the store, elated, amazed at what had just happened a totally random contact of familiarity and support.  That’s the power of the Internet.

We have a hard battle before us, and need all the help and support we can get. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please share them.

Meanwhile, we will continue to pray, have faith, and persevere. Thanks for being on our side.

Adrianna, Daniella, Charlie, Marcela, and Gary

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