A Friend Wins His Freedom

April, 2003

Dear Friend,

I just thought I would drop you a few lines to let you know what’s going on with me and another two lines to see how you have been doing.

First, I’ll tell you the good news. We went to court on March 27, to ask the judge to order the State to turn over the videotapes and other important material. The judge ruled in our favor on all we asked for. I was very (cautiously) pleased. We now have another date for May 22. I believe my lawyer is going to be asking for subpoena power. I must say just to see some movement in my case has helped put a little hop in my step, but after going through what I have and seen first hand how the system does not work, I’m sure you can understand why I’m cautiously pleased.

I have been going through this bad bout of sadness since the holidays and it has really slowed me down from doing anything. I was scared because this is the worst I have felt in a long time. The good news is I feel like I’m finally coming out of it. THANK GOODNESS!

I have learned to keep to myself behind the walls all these years; it helps keep you safe. As a caring man with a big heart, I have allowed others into my life who are also behind the walls of freedom. One of my closest friends, Dennis, has left. He was cleared on DNA. He served 19 years for crimes he never committed.

My soul was so torn with different emotions. I was so happy for him and happy that he would be living the dream he and I talked about so many times before. I can imagine his family’s happiness. My friend was going to be living our dream, but at the same time I had this deep down pain knowing he was leaving me behind and I would now have to dream alone with no one to share it with.

I got a chance to say goodbye to him; about 10 guys showed up. So I felt a little out of place as I always do. I don’t fit in. I’m not like them (that was another thing my friend and I had in common). Everyone was just sitting around talking like our friend was going to be here tomorrow. It was driving me crazy, but yet I could not find my own voice.

I just stood up and asked my friend if I could hug him. I had been fighting back tears for the last 40 minutes and I needed to say goodbye no matter how hard it was going to be. When we hugged, my whole being hurt so bad, I just started crying ever so hard.. We both stood in each other’s arms in front of everyone else and cried. I guess what shocked me was my friend cried with the same emotion I did. We held each other shaking like we were in the middle of an earthquake.

In our embrace, I told him I love him and always felt like we had become so close that I felt he was family to me. Through our overwhelming crying, he told me he loved me too and also felt as if we were family. Then, without going to my head, without warning, my heart spoke up and told my friend that when I woke up tomorrow, I would truly be alone behind the walls of freedom. I felt so bad for saying that because as his friend I wanted him to walk out of here not thinking about the people he left behind, at least not in that way.

It’s funny how two men who have nothing in common but our belief in each other made us friends. Other men have told me they too were innocent and I did not believe them. It was something I saw in his eyes that was different, that told me it was true with him, and he felt the same about me.

I guess what I will miss most of all is that at times we didn’t even have to speak to know what each other was feeling and going through. Sleepless nights, allowing the worries and fears to creep inside us. Wondering if we were ever going home. Hopelessness, wondering, “Why me?” Not fitting in. All that an innocent man goes through. I could understand his pain and he could understand mine.

I will take some solace through that unspoken bond that we share that still lives in the both of us. When I saw him on TV later that day smiling and waving to his Mom and Dad, it made my eyes cry once again, but this time I cried with tears of joy.

So today the halls are a little colder and empty and I really needed your company and support. I had to talk to someone. Thank you for allowing me to share a piece of my heart. Today I realized more than ever how much your support and friendship means to me. Thank you.