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View Diary: Former Texas DA's failure to turn over evidence in Morton case may have caused a SECOND murder (43 comments)

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  •  So sorry that your uncle was a victim of such (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SwedishJewfish, Lujane, jan4insight

    injustice.  This picture is amazing - the way it feels like he is looking at me!  My first reaction was to see warmth there - but I can only wonder what else is behind those eyes after 20 years in jail for a wrongly accused man.

    These types of stories make my heart bleed, not only for the victims, but for our country.

    "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

    by MRA NY on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 08:01:22 PM PST

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    •  I can tell you what I saw behind those eyes (9+ / 0-)

      If you have ever seen an animal who has been kept in a cage for a long time, when they are first let out they almost seem shocked, and unsure what to do with all of the new space that has just opened up around them. This is what I saw, when I first saw him after his release. Prison never left Dondie. You see in the photo, he's trying to be social and appear relaxed, but he's on the edge of his seat. He had a hard time being around so many people, even his own family. We had to constantly remind the kids to keep it down, and not get too rambunctious around him, because it reminded him of the chaos of prison life. When he was in the hospital, he would hear the loudspeaker and forget where he was, thinking he was in prison again. If a door slammed, he would think he was back in his cell. You would talk to him and he would have a hard time maintaining eye contact-he would constantly scan the room, looking over his shoulder, watching his back. I know only some of what happened, and out of respect for his privacy I won't disclose it here, but suffice it to say he was brutally attacked on more than one occasion, and lived in constant fear. And after living in this hellhole for much of his adult life, he found it hard to unlearn those behaviors, especially since some of them were the very instincts that kept him alive.

      On top of that, he was in a constant state of limbo-because the DA had appealed the judges ruling, he knew that at any moment he could be sent back. So even during his brief period of freedom, he never was a free man.

      But my fondest memories are of the nights he came over, with my aunt Mary, and after dinner we would sit outside around the fire pit and he and my stepfather would smoke cigars, and tell stories about their childhood adventures. He and my stepdad were thick as theives, and they grew up in a huge family (my step-grandmother alone had 13 kids, none of them less than 2 years apart, bless her heart)  Dondie was an amazing story teller, his impersonations were dead on and he was so animated, he loved to make people laugh. And in those moments, you saw the real Dondie-he was himself, like all of the pain and fear just left his body and even though he was dying, he was so full of life. He was whip smart too, he did a lot of reading in prison, and he was probably better versed on American history than anyone I've ever met. So that's how I like to remember him. But it's hard to remember him, because every time I do I just think of all of those years that we were robbed of him, and he was robbed of his life, his family, and it makes me so fucking angry. He was 34 when he went to prison. His daughter was 7. His wife stood by him throughout everything, never even looked at another man, she devoted her entire life to clearing his name and setting him free. She got him for 18 months, and she spent the last 6 months of his life watching him waste away, all the while trying to fight to keep him out of prison. That is the part that makes me the most angry-even when he was lying in a fucking bed in hospice and she was trying spend those last precious moments with her husband, she was constantly being pulled away from his side to deal with the legal issues, from this complete (pardon my french) dick of a DA who was so craven, so much of a ghoul, that he was scheduling his legal maneuvers based on when he expected Dondie to be dead.

      I'm sorry for writing a novel...I just miss him so much :( And it kills me to think about how many other Dondies are out there...that George Gould (his co-defendant) is still in prison as I write this, with no hope on the horizon of being free again, and there are thousands of other men and women just like them who are living through this same nightmare.

      You must work-we must all work-to make a world that is worthy of its children -Pablo Casals Please support TREE Climbers for victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

      by SwedishJewfish on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 09:08:29 PM PST

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      •  Just wanted to share a few more pictures... (8+ / 0-)

        sorry again for the hijack, it just has been so long since I've had a chance to talk about any of this.

        This is Dondie with his co-defendant George Gould, the day they were released:

         photo ap-wrngmurderconvicts_20100401225240_320_240.jpg

         photo doc4d4066ec8dae3065264945.jpg
        (the guy in the center is one of their attorneys, I think he worked for the Innocence project)

         photo HC_1_GOULD_TAYLOR_CASE-550x400.jpg
        The woman who has her head bowed is my aunt Mary, the girl with the short cropped hair behind her is Dondie and Mary's daughter, Amanda.

         photo wwwnewstimescom.jpg
        Dondie and George doing some kind of speaking engagement...this was very soon after their release.

        This is a news story covering Dondie's funeral, that tells part of his story. The second man they show giving a eulogy is my stepfather. Towards the end, you can see how sick he was-this was the person who posed such a threat to society that they wanted to put him back in prison.  

        You must work-we must all work-to make a world that is worthy of its children -Pablo Casals Please support TREE Climbers for victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

        by SwedishJewfish on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 09:28:47 PM PST

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        •  Just now seeing these responses. I no longer can (0+ / 0-)

          rec, and wanted to let you know I saw them since i really appreciated how much you shared.

          "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

          by MRA NY on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 10:24:00 PM PST

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