Letters From Death Row: You Have Friends Here

I’m still feeling a little down about last week’s execution. They killed Mark Asay on the 24th. I had honestly expected him to get a stay. Florida was using a new drug, etomidate. Mark was the guinea pig. I sincerely believe the courts would let them shoot us full of rat poison, but this is the first time a new drug was used without hearings.

The media said Florida changed drugs because they were concerned that midazolam had the potential to cause unnecessary suffering. This is total bullshit. They changed drugs because no one would sell them midazolam. It is a nationwide problem which, unfortunately, Florida may just have solved.

The media made Mark out to be a white supremacist and this is also false. I can’t say who he was while free, but I’ve known the dude for 26 years and he wasn’t the person they made him out to be on TV. Mark walked up to my bars in ’91 while coming in from the yard. I had just been moved onto a permanent wing, and still wasn’t allowed outside. He said, “You have friends here.” That meant a lot to me.

Prison is a place full of people doing creepy shit, and some of them like nothing better than trying to take advantage of anyone new. Dudes who go out of their way to make you feel welcome, especially when you don’t know what to expect, stand out in my mind.

I also remember singing a Hank Jr. song, Family Tradition with Mark in the visit park. That had to be in ’92, and it stands out as I am not a fan of country.

It took a lot out of Mark when his mom died in a car accident, and by all accounts he had lost the will to live at the end. That is why we still don’t know how the high court may feel about expanding the retroactivity, as Mark did not raise the issue. Still, it is a hell of a thing when a state can execute someone after having their death penalty statute declared unconstitutional twice in the last 18 months.