Loud & Clear 20 July. 2013
On the 18th of July, Vaughn Ross was executed. Through this strange journey that is life. His & my life intertwined beyond our both residing on death row. Before that entanglement is revealed, allow me to discuss my experiences with Vaughn. People here called him Ross. Which is common. Most people that do not have a nickname…. They are simply referred to by their last name. In prison, the officials categorize people by last name & the prison number.
I don’t know if that stems from the prison systems connection with slavery. Last name indicated who owned you. Or the military-esque ranging structure that the system uses to classify the ranks below warden. Sgt. So & So, Captain, Major, etc. First name is more personal and reserved for those outside these walls.
The way the state portrayed Ross, is 100% the opposite of the mean I have interacted with all these years. He was as his friends described him at his trial. Calm, cool and peacemaker. He smiled easily and was quick to laugh. I have met some killers. Vaughn Ross was no killer! There is a difference in a killer & murderer. All killers are murderers, but not all murderers are killers. There is a reason why they call them serial killers and not serial murderers.
The first time I met Ross was on disciplinary level two. His one and only time on level. He had got in trouble for some ridiculous small reason. Back then they would sent you to level for anything. I think he refused to allow these people to take blood from him. Saying that they had already put blood on items of his that didn’t have blood on it. He wasn’t going to give them anymore to use. I was a couple cells down from him. The cell I was in, was located in front of the dayroom. He would come to the dayroom & work out. I struck up a conversation with him. Back then I was far more militant in my resistance of this place. I was always looking for more people to join the “good fight!” I could tell right away Ross was passive. When he talked he sounded like a country club white guy. After we got cool with each other, I would jokingly say “Look out ole black ass white guy!” The catch was that “I” due to my past, sounded more stereotypically black than he did dud to slang I used.
My associates would tell me “you sound pretty fly for a white guy.” Oh-I forgot, there is people out there that claims I hate black people. I guess i’m not living up to my image.” Ha, anyways!
One of the issues I was always raising a fuss over was how little this place was cleaned up. TDCJ does not allow death row prisoners to have a work detail. Instead they bring prisoners from general population back here to do the work. Being that they do not live back here. They personally do not care if it is cleaned or not. More so with the fact that they do not get paid for the work. Many have gotten upset at us that want the place clean. They say “I don’t get paid for this shit”. I respond, “lay it down. Don’t work back here. The fact you all work back here, gives these people an out to not allow us to work. “
As a result of them not cleaning worth a damn. I would tear up paper really small and throw it all over the floor in front of the cell i was in. Back then a part of the door, at the bottom. It was open on the side. A 4X4 inch hole. I would get handfuls of shredded paper & flick my hand so that it went everywhere. I yelled down to Ross to ask him to do it. He ever being the pacifist, declined. I told him, “Dude these fuckers don’t give a damn about how dirty the run (walkway) is.” Not wanting to waste my time & honestly feeling that he was being weak. I left it alone. I just threw even more paper out the door. That night I didn’t know it. Ross stayed up and watched the night crew of working inmates come through. The ONLY place that was actually swept up and cleaned was the area in front of the cell I was in. After the guy with the broom got it cleaned, he pushed the broom straight for the door to the next section. This whole vast area of the section was left un swept and mopped. Feeling proud that “my” little area was cleaned, I went to sleep. The next night when the SSIs (that what the working prisoners are called. It means Staff Support Inmates) was coming through. My area already nice and trashed for a good sweeping. I’m sitting on the bunk and I hear a noise. I come to the cell door and I see Ross slinging trash on the run. I laughed and said “Hold Em up Ross! What are you doing down there?” He responded “Man, I seen last night. They didn’t even try to sweep anywhere else on the section. That guy just zipped right through here with the broom.” My response was “Dude I told you, they don’t give a damn, you got to force their hand.”
Every night after that, he had some trash to toss. Though he certainly was not ready to be the next Che Guevara!:) Ross was educated and had a good sense of right and wrong. Again anyone that knew him would say that the way the state said the murders took place. That just isnt the Vaughn Ross that anyone knew! Not even remotely. You can go to <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.executionwatch.org%2F&h=KAQEfgsnP&enc=AZPlnrCzJyhtie3thowQQJXGkC4V-BdRMEG4QmtI3GYAZDJFLrskxKJyS0_VqTqDQMgh3uMYBF6y2SHd6mXKlOszf4JFhXX4lIOH34U5BwUMl_O511Oa90dF6oq4xqWh3-ccD9S7CO-ESd-hAUOxcqth&s=1″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow nofollow”>www.executionwatch.org</a> and listen to the interview and show that was done during his execution. Ray Hill does the show along with lawyers. He also did an interview with Ross. You can hear his voice and listen to what the lawyers say about the case.
Now how our lives twisted together. How through his life, my very own may be saved. As I have often written about the investigator that smoked crack with witnesses and filed all false statements in my most important appeal. Which resulted in my most vital appeal claims being procedurally barred from judicial review. She done it in his case also. She made up all kinds of stuff and presented statements to the same lawyer I had, for his appeal. It was of Ross family. When he received his appeal, he wrote his family asking why they said these things. He quickly learned that they didn’t. BEFORE Lisa did ANY work on my case. Ross had wrote the lawyer telling him that Lisa came to see him extremely high. That even the officers noticed that she was high. Also that she was talking about stuff that wasn’t true and had never happened. Knowing this, the lawyer still allowed her to work on my case, without properly following up. The lawyer himself had even noticed her bizarre behavior. He claims he thought it was from family troubles. Which even then, he still shouldn’t have let her keep working on death penalty appeals. As a result of her action Ross had his appeal, the most vital appeal, destroyed also.
I told my new lawyers that he had the same lawyers as me on the state writ of habeas corpus. The lawyers I now have from California, they spoke with his family. Even flying out to Missouri to meet them all in person. They also met with Ross. The lawyers and the investigator all took immediate likely to him. When we spoke they always asked “how is Vaughn?”
A unique twist. I told them, that Ross seemed like a good dude. He needs better lawyer. Long sigh. here is where it gets how far perception can be wrong. I had the lawyers out of California. The federal public defenders office. I also had a lawyer out of New Mexico that was licensed to practice in Texas. I need someone with local connection. That’s why that lawyer ended up on my case. It was believed that he was a great lawyer, due to working with the Canadian consulate on another case out of Montana. Plus the way he had openly criticized Texas appeal lawyers. Now, because it cost so much to make a trip to Texas. Also due to some very political activity that was going on behind the scenes. Basically, it was not taken very kindly that the federal lawyers ended up on my case! Some powers that be tried at different times to get them off my case. See the 4th & 5th circuits (Texas is in the 5th) they do not have Federal Public Defender Officers. Namely due to these type of lawyers having the same type of resources as the state does. They work for the federal government. (Well they did have the resources though due to the government sequester. Funding has been cut back. When it was discussed about Ross case. The head of the office in California decided it wasn’t good to ruffle anymore feathers, by taking another Texas case. They all decided it would be good for my other lawyer to take the case. Everyone thinking Ross would be in good hands. Ross himself also thought this.
Long sigh, needless to say , everyone beliefs was off point. The lawyer is no longer on my case. Had no active role in it and the little he did do he either messed up and damn near mistakenly messed up any chance I had at getting new evidence reviewed. Thankfully what he files wasn’t ruled on, before my other lawyers caught it, and filed to have it removed. Ross should have been able to win a new appeal. Had the political bullshit not gotten stirred up about my case and my current lawyers would have taken his case. I am very confident in saying that Vaughn Ross would still be alive. I didn’t know what all happened in Vaughn’s case with the investigator until it happened in mine. My current lawyer and an investigator Had went to speak with Lisa and had the audacity to rant that I destroyed her career due to all that I posted on the internet about her. That she wouldn’t do anything for me. My lawyer pointed out that it wasn’t even me that said anything about her. It was the people she smoked crack with! She still went on about me destroying her career, by my actions of posting everything about her. Well Lisa Milstein. I am glad that my “actions” ended your career. While mine ended your career, one that you certainly should not have had, your actions ended the life of Vaughn Ross. One that her certainly should have had.
Rest in Peace ole black ass white guy. At least you do have to endure the bullshit of this place anymore.
Clinton Young #999447 Polunsky Unit 3872 FM South Livingston, Texas 77351 U.S.A