Simpson is brought to the steel visiting cage in manacles. After the door is bolted, he bends and forces his hands backwards through a slot for the guard to unlock the cuffs. Between us is the thick glass that has kept him from any physical contact with the world beyond death row for nine years.Oh, dear. I can feel myself welling up already…
He is dressed in the thin white cotton uniform of the condemned man. He has a closely cropped beard, a soft voice and a gentle manner…And what does this man think about his predicament? Is he reflective of the actions that have lead him here?
Is he, hell:
"This Texas system is sick. They treat us less than the human beings that we are and it's like, instead of them trying to see us as being a human being, they look at us as being an animal," he said. "It's torture here. I am surrounded by the dying culture. I lost so many friends, I'm pretty much used to it now. This is a bloodthirsty system. We don't have contact with no one. There's so much violence and abuse. It's officers attacking the inmates. That's wrong and they're getting away with it. Anything would be better than being here."Let’s take a look at why this waste of oxygen is on death row, shall we?
On 26 January 2000 he led his 17-year-old wife, younger teenage brother and a 13-year-old cousin on a burglary in Palestine, Texas, to find money to buy crack cocaine. Geraldine Davidson, 84, a former schoolteacher, returned home and interrupted the robbery. She was bound and gagged with tape and forced into the boot of her car.You’d have to have a heart of stone not to want to pull the switch yourself…
The group drove around town for several hours with the elderly woman trapped in the back, stopping for hamburgers and showing her to acquaintances, none of whom called the police.
The trial heard that Simpson made racist remarks about white people while Davidson was held prisoner.
There was evidence that she was badly beaten. Eventually she was dragged from the boot, a cinder block was tied to her ankles and she was thrown into the frigid Neches river.
Davidson's family called her murder a hate crime.Anyone in any doubt whatsoever that the ‘Guardian’ would be right along with them in that, if only the racial positions of killer and victim had been reversed?
No. Me neither…
Simpson lives in a 5.6 square metre (60 sq ft) steel cell, not much bigger than those holding Guantánamo Bay prisoners. For 23 hours a day he is locked in the metal cage, with two plates welded out from the wall as a shelf and a desk, and a steel sink and toilet. Near the ceiling above the bed is a narrow slit that serves as a window. There is another slit in the door through which his food is pushed. His hands are cuffed for his hour of lone exercise. The cells are brightly lit by a fluorescent bulbs.Well, gosh, I’m sorry he isn’t in the Dallas Hilton, but then, the ball was in his court, wasn’t it? The choice to end up here or not end up here was his to make, wasn’t it?
The condemned man is allowed as many personal possessions as he can fit into two carrier bags and gets approved books and magazines.
The nearest Simpson comes to cracking up is when he talks about not being able to touch his children, a son aged 10 and a daughter, nine.I’ve a feeling that, if she could talk from beyond the grave, Mrs Davidson might express the same regrets…
But then, it seems there’s no room in this creature’s heart for anything other than self-pity:
Then his anger spills out. "They say it's wrong for someone on the streets to take the life of another individual, knowingly and intentionally. That's considered to be a capital case. Here, they're doing the same thing. They're contradicting their own law because they're knowingly and intentionally taking the life of another individual. They justify it as being justice. That's not justice. Texas gets a pleasure out of it. I refuse to let the system or the officials see me in any kind of suffering or emotion. I refuse to let them see me like that, knowing they brought on some of that."It’s all about you, eh, Danielle?
Simpson has convinced himself he has legions of sympathisers on the outside. "I have a lot of supporters and pen friends, overseas and here in the United States. They're going to do a big protest outside on the day of my execution. They're a lot of people coming from Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, England, Germany, France. It's going to be real big."And incredible as it might seem, this mistaken belief is being suggested as a possible defence…
His lawyer, David Dow, a member of the anti-death penalty group Texas Defenders Service, says the support is imagined, and evidence of his mental instability. "He is a severely mentally ill person. He has no grasp of reality. He thinks he has hundreds of supporters … it's wrong. He says it with complete sincerity. He believes it is true but he's delusional, he's been receiving anti-psychotic medication inside the prison for years. You would certainly think that the fact that he's on anti-psychotic medicines would alert a judge to do something more than have a five-minute conversation with him to determine whether he's competent to waive his appeal."If he’s mad, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree there. They know how to deal with mad dogs in Texas.
The Texas board of pardons could recommend to the governor, Rick Perry, that Simpson's case be reviewed, but neither the board nor the governor have shown an inclination to stall executions in the past.‘Other victims’…?
It is a reminder that there are other victims in all of this. The family of Geraldine Davidson lost their relative.
Yes, incredibly, the ‘Guardian’ is here referring to the killer as a ‘victim’.
That just about says it all, doesn’t it?
Well, I'm completely against the death penalty as such, but not out of sympathy for people like this.
More of Mr Simpson's thoughts
//You’d have to have a heart of stone not to want to pull the switch yourself//
I have rather more affection for the guillotine. It is still swift, but makes a hell of a show, which is all the better to demonstrate how we protect out liberty.
I would be happy to release the rope.
I'm ashamed to admit that I used to buy this rag when I was an idealistic twenty-something working in the public sector.
Reading the account of this savage's crimes, I wonder which species of depravity is more dangerous: that of the actual perpetrator, or of the morally retarded writer.
I am very opposed to the death penalty.
Yet I concede there may be circumstances where a State assisted suicide may be a merciful alternative to a life behind bars; subject to certain safeguards.
Typical Guardianism - why do you bother reading it?
"I have rather more affection for the guillotine. It is still swift, but makes a hell of a show..."
I wonder why we never adopted it here? General antipathy towards the French?
"Typical Guardianism - why do you bother reading it?"
It's always a good idea to refresh oneself on just how wrong your opponents are on things...
This is off-topic but related in a way. The charmer below THREW a crowbar at a police officer with such force that it went through his body armour and lodged eight inches into his torso. Day release after two years of an eight year sentence.
"The charmer below THREW a crowbar at a police officer with such force that it went through his body armour and lodged eight inches into his torso. Day release after two years of an eight year sentence."
The police officer got a ruptured bowel, and he only got eight years..?
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