Our 1st guest for today’s program will be Fanya Baruti, whose brother Kiongozi has been locked up on death row since 1998. Contact Fanya at 562.688.0472.
Below, is a letter Kiongozi wrote seeking counsel almost 12 years ago. This will give you a sense of his case and his plea for help
A Cry For Help From Death Row, California
Information provided by Kiongozi Jones Sr and his supporters
Kiongozi R. Jones Sr. was born in Long Beach, California. At the age of (He was falsely accused and convicted of a crime involving unrelated gang shootings. These false charges that has him incarcerated within the wall of San Quentin State Prison (Death Row) has devastated him,and has begun to subsequently destroy his family structure.
Kiongozi has maintain his innocence throughout his trial and had received a hung jury during the beginning state of his trial case proceedings but like many who are from poor, urban communities in the face of America state judicial system. Kiongozis confinement is unlawful. In that his conviction and death sentence were unlawfully and unconstitutionally imposed in violation of his rights to confront the tainted witnesses against him, to effective assistance of counsel and to due process of law.
Before ending up incarcerated on Death Row and since the age of 25 Kiongozi was actively involved in community work., productively helping youth avoid becoming ensnared in the cycle of street gang violence, he is a man of deep concern for youth and is a father of four beautiful children whom he lived and cared for before falling victim under strange circumstances.
July 15, 1995 Kiongozi R Jones Sr was awarded a community certificate by a member of congress, Walter R Tucker III, for his positive community work endeavors throughout the community of Long Beach. He remains motivated in his optimistic ways as a role model actively involved in studies of sociology, psychology, and religion. (Is a firm believer in Christ.)
His outcry is for help.
I am an innocent man on death row, he cries out, being a victim of social injustice and for which I am in chains is that I pray someone will hear my cry for help and come forth as an angel. In my quest for justice and freedom. After all no innocence soul should be incarcerated under any circumstances.
CONTACT KIONGOZI JONES BY MAIL:
Mr Kio ngozi R. Jones Sr
PO Box P21100
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin CA
July 15, 1995 Kiongozi R Jones Sr was awarded a community certificate
LEGAL HELP NEEDED ! ! !
Below is a letter Mr Jones wrote on July 28, 2000.
The letter includes detailed case information,
and is a PLEA FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE
July 28, 2000
To: Attorney At Law
Subject: Appointment of counsel
My name is Kiongozi Rann Jones Sr. I'm a condemned prisoner at San Quentin's Death Row.
I have been confined on Death Row since December 2, 1998 and soon after contacted by C.A.P (California Appellate Project), informing me that my automatic appeal was being processed for representation. However, it takes a minimum of' four years to obtain counsel, which brings me to the reason why I am indicting this letter to you. I am eager to reach the "Merits" of my appeal because I am confident that the court will find that there are numerous reversible and prejudicial constitutional errors in my case. But I need counsel who is fully competent to educe the gross injustice I have been dealt. I am asking your help and are seeking your assistance in representing me. If you would be willing to do this we can work out the formalities with the California Supreme Court.
Due to the serious nature of my situation I am going to move forward with my appeal because I am confident I will receive a new trial or immediate release. I do not wish to live out my life on "Death Row" while deficient lawyers engage in procedural wrangling. I discern that in lengthy delays problems can arise regarding loss of evidence, dismissal of witnesses, and destruction of crucial files. 1 want to avoid this at all cost.
To assure you that I am not wasting your valuable time I ask that you bare with me as I explicate a brief Synopsis of my case. But first I want to resolutely state my innocence. "I am Not Guilty!" I Did Not Commit The Crimes For Which I have Been Wrongly Found Guilty Of." The court transcripts; police reports and other related documents will clearly show there has been a grave miscarriage of justice in my case.
A Brief Summary,
In December of 1996 I was charged with. two counts o' first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.
The evidence for all counts were as follows:
No physical or forensic evidence linking me to the homicides
Not sure of identification
The facts supporting my innocence in all counts are included, but not limited to the following:
A Prosecutorial misconduct
The District Attorney knowingly put on perjured testimony
All witnesses recanted their original statements, as well as police officer's
Now to get into some important issue's about my case that will prove my innocence without a Doubt. In one count I was falsely accused of shooting a man in an apartment. My Co-Defendant supposedly had entered into the apartment, looked into the resident of the victim in count one. The victim was shot in the chest. An eyewitness in this count said she had seen only a hand covered by a glove that reached into the door and started shooting. She did not get a good look at the person's face. A month after the crimes this witness testified at the preliminary hearing that she was sitting on the couch that does not face the door and was talking on the phone. This witness also admitted under oath that she was sure that she had never seen me before.
Another witness in count one, the victims sister. The sister was interviewed by a police officer on the night of the shooting. It was documented in the police report that she was in her bedroom with a male when she heard several loud shots. She also never left the bedroom and therefore had no suspect information and could not identify anyone. This was on December 6,1996. On December 9,1997, a year later, one week before I was to start trial this witness recanted her statement by saying she saw me and my codefendant in the alley while she was doing her laundry, and prior to the shooting she saw my co-defendant and I walking down the walkway of the apartments, this witness was contacted by her sister, after the sister talked to the D.A which at this time the D.A told the witness that defendant Jones will walk if we don't get additional witnesses cause this case is weak , This clearly shows why this witness changed her statements from the truth to a lie. This "Egregious Misconduct" by the D.A this witness also claims that she has seen me several times. I had never seen his person before until court. The judge would not let this witness testify at my first trial, which ended up in a hung jury. On the second trial the judge let this witness testify. Her creditability was no good. Two different real statements, and she did not come forward until one year later.
Another witness in this case was a female whose statement was also inconsistent. This witness supposedly witnessed counts Three and Four. When she was showed a six pack line up of me, her statement was it looks like him without hair on his chin. A month later after I was arrested at my preliminary she was to make an in court identification which she "Did Not Identify Me" This Witness goes on to admit that she did not get a clear look at the person's face who did the shooting. This witness later admits that she saw the alleged assailant's face in a "Profile View" only and could not see his face. She also admits she is sure what she saw that night but is "Not Sure Who Did The
Shooting". In trial this witness also changed her statement's, saying I was the one and she got a good look at the shooters face. You can clearly see that these witnesses were coerced by the D.A and detectives.
Now this witness was a victim who was shot while he was in his car. He admits that when he picked me out of the six pack line up he was in the hospital heavily medicated. This witness admitted to telling the police that he kind of looks like him, but wasn't sure, because it was dark outside, it happened very quickly and he didn't get a good look at the shooters face, and not sure if I am the man who shot him. This witness also admits that he did not have the Opportunity to look that close at the assailants face, he could not exactly see the face but he can tell it was a black man. In trial this witness also changed his statement by saying, I am the person who shot him. He had been having dreams. Just something brief this witness's neighbor came to court and gave a description of someone else, and he "Did Not Identity me." There are many more issues dealing with how I was falsely accused of these crimes and how the D.A and detectives coerced the witnesses into saying I committed these crimes. I have documents to prove all of the issues above. Counselor the courts dropped my case "Three Times" and I received a "Hung Jury." In the hung jury, there were "Eleven Jurors" who found me "Not Guilty" and "One Jury that found Me Guilty". the other two cases were in my favor EIGHT Four.
I should have been acquitted. Certain jurors looked beyond the evidence to find me guilty. The jury foreman wrote a declaration about how the jurors voted guilty and it was prejudicial. As you can see there are many malicious acts of misconduct that marred justice in my case. There is a clear and undeniable question of creditability of all the witnesses that testified against me. (The D.A.'s main Source of incriminating evidence). I have not even scratched the surface to pique your legal interest and stir your own sense of justice. lf you can arrange a visit with me, hear me out and then judge for yourself the weight of my argument. I promise the trip will not be a waste of your valuable time. I am aware that you may be unable to take my case or arrange a visit. therefore I ask that you turn my concerns over to your colleagues, associates, or anyone truly Competent and wants to see justice prevail. I would profoundly appreciate any help that you are able to provide. I apologize for rambling and consuming too much of your attention on. if I have exigent. Thank you for baring with me and again any advice you can give is highly welcomed. I look forward to hearing from you.
Mr Kiongozi R. Jones Sr
PO Box P21100
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin CA
The Second segment deals with another death row case where there is no claim of innocence, but where there is forgiveness and redemption. Read on:
|Aba Gayle’s Story
Teaching the Healing Power of Forgiveness
By all definitions I am a victim for I am the mother of a beautiful young daughter who was brutally murdered. But I have learned that there is another way to live and that I have a choice. I have chosen to stop being a victim. This has not been an easy road to travel!
My story began one early fall day in 1980 with a phone call. The voice at the other end of the line said, "Well, what do you think about Catherine being shot?"
I said, "What do you mean? What are you talking about?"
"Well, haven’t you heard? Catherine was shot!"
I quickly got off the phone and called the sheriff's department and said, "This is Gayle, mother of Catherine Blount. I hear she has been shot. Where is she? how is she? I must go to her!"
The voice at the other end of the line was obviously embarrassed to have to talk to me. He said, "No, ma'am your daughter hasn’t been shot. Your daughter is dead. I will have Sheriff Landry call you right back."
I now know what it is like to be insane. All I could do was wait for the phone to ring. My body was tense and tight and there was a tingling pain all over. I paced and drank tea and waited for the phone to ring. Finally, after three long hours, I could wait no longer and called the Sheriff's department again. I simply said, "Someone must speak to me because I'm losing my mind." Finally, Detective Landry came on the line. He was as kind and gentle as possible as he spoke these terrible words to me. "I'm sorry, but your daughter, Catherine, is dead. Your daughter was murdered. She was stabbed to death."
Something in my heart broke. My brain couldn't think. I had to remain calm. None of this day was real. Soon I would wake up and the nightmare would be over. But deep down inside, I knew it was real. I couldn't let anyone hug me, I was afraid I would break down. I couldn't cry, someone might hear me. I decided to take a shower and with the water running full blast, I screamed and screamed and screamed."
This was the start of a period of 8 years I now call "my time of darkness."
In order to survive in this life you just do what you have to do to keep your head above water. My method of survival was to be calm and not cause anyone any problems. I had no support system. I had no faith. I did not believe in God. I didn't have a minister, a priest or a rabbi, or anyone who could comfort me and help me. I had to remain strong to help everyone else.
My mother was recovering from open-heart surgery and she was very fragile. I had to protect her from my pain; I couldn't allow her to see how much I was suffering. My son and daughter had just left for medical school; I couldn't burden them with my tears -- they had enough to do to put aside their own pain as they began four years of grueling medical training. My husband announced that he didn't want to talk about Catherine any more; he stated emphatically that he did not intend to mourn her the rest of his life. I found myself more and more isolated with no one to give me the love and encouragement I needed so badly. For a while, I could not even drive my car alone because, when I was alone, I would cry and I couldn't see the road.
On the surface, I carried on the false front. Had you known me at that time, you wouldn't have known about the dark, ugly cloud I carried around inside me. You would have thought I was getting along just fine. But, inside of me, a deep, dark rage began to boil. There was this awful, hideous darkness, and all I wanted was revenge for the death of my beloved child.
The District Attorney told me that the Sheriff's Department would find the person who murdered Catherine. The District Attorney would put him on trial, get a guilty conviction, and make certain that the murderer would receive the death penalty. (Douglas Mickey was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death in 1982.) I was assured that when that horrible villain was executed, I would be healed of my pain and all would be well again. And, because I didn't know any other way to believe, I thought that was true!
The Healing Begins
After eight long years of a passionate lust for revenge, I unknowingly began my first step toward healing. I began taking a course in meditation. After a time, I found myself able to sit quietly, to be still in my head, and to be in the present moment. For the first time in my life, I realized that I did not have to see, touch or even hear something to know that it is real. I learned there is far more to this Universe than our senses perceive.
My mother's failing health left her quite fragile. I was blessed at this time to be able to live with and care for her. I was always looking for ways to help her enjoy the highest quality of life possible. One way I chose to do this was to take her to church. I found a beautiful little Unity Church in Auburn, CA. The church was a 20-minute drive from our home through beautiful country. This church helped me change my life and find my God-self.
I discovered the church’s bookstore. Here I found books on Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, mythology and other books on the lives and teachings of the great religious and philosophical teachers who have come to this earth for our enlightenment. I started reading and studying my way through that bookstore. I learned I am a beloved child of God; I am one with the Universe; and all of us are here to love each other, without exception. God is a loving God and there is no hell except that which we create in our own minds. I really "got it" that we are all One in Spirit.
I was introduced to the book, A Course in Miracles by my minister, Reverend Billie Blaine. It was while watching a video introducing A Course in Miracles that I got my first glimpse of the Healing Power of Forgiveness. The video showed several interviews with people who studied A Course In Miracles. One of the men interviewed was Jewish and a holocaust survivor. He was able to forgive not only the German people, but the actual guards in the camps who had killed every member of his family. Something in me really clicked when I heard that testimony. I began to feel perhaps I could forgive the man who killed Catherine. A seed was planted in my heart.
My mom and I moved to Santa Rosa to be closer to my daughter and grandchildren. I continued attending a study group for The Course in Miracles. Because the study group met in the same building, I also began attending the Santa Rosa Church of Religious Science and began taking classes to study "The Science of the Mind" by Ernest Holmes. My teachers were Rev. Mary Murry Shelton and Rev. Karyl Huntley. We spent a lot of time discussing forgiveness.
One day I received a letter from a friend in Auburn with a newspaper clipping stating that Douglas Mickey's execution was scheduled. I immediately called San Quentin and demanded that I be allowed to be a witness. I discovered the newspaper had made a mistake; there was no execution scheduled on the date stated. However, I was instructed to write a letter to the warden and request I be notified when there was a date set for Mickey's execution. This I did. I put the letter to the warden on my desk and prepared to go to class. That letter never did get mailed.
After many hours of study, prayer, and discussions with others, I thought that perhaps I could forgive the man who murdered Catherine. Perhaps, it would relieve my own frustration and suffering. That evening when a classmate suggested that I should let the murderer know of my intent. I was outraged!
Still feeling out of sorts at class that night because of the idea suggested by my classmate, I had a feeling of nervous expectation. Then, as I drove home from class, I distinctly heard a voice. It said to me. "YOU MUST FORGIVE HIM AND YOU MUST LET HIM KNOW!" This voice was so loud and so clear and so persuasive that I didn’t sleep at all that night. I was literally impelled to get out of bed at four a.m. to type a letter to the man who murdered Catherine. The letter follows:
Dear Mr. Mickey,
I mailed this letter after receiving hugs of encouragement from my classmates in The Science of Mind Foundations Class. I can still feel the shivers going up and down my spine as I remember the little click that the hinged mailbox made as I dropped in this letter. When I heard that "click", all the anger, all the rage, all the lust for revenge --- simply vanished in that instant. In its place I was filled with the most incredible feeling of Joy and Love and Peace. I was in A State of Grace. I knew in that Holy Instant I did not need to have anyone executed for me to be healed. I could now get on with my life!
It would not have mattered if Douglas Mickey responded to my letter. I had received a more profound answer. I had been healed by the simple act of offering the gift of forgiveness. However, I did get a letter back. I was totally amazed at the gentleness and kindness of the writer. Douglas wrote back with words of gratitude. He expressed remorse and sorrow for the crime, also stating that he fully understood how empty such words might sound. I could tell from reading his letter that he was intelligent and well-read. He had obviously spent years studying for answers himself. He wrote back, "The Christ in me most gratefully accepts and returns blessings of Divine Wisdom, Love and Charity to the Christ in you." He also said, "I would gladly give my life this instant if it would in any way change that terrible night."
Mickey enclosed a visiting form. It took 90 days to get permission from San Quentin to visit.
The very first time I was even near a prison or jail was when I visited Douglas in the visiting room at San Quentin California State Prison. Can you picture yourself traveling all alone, driving south on Highway 101 from Santa Rosa to San Rafael? It was after the commute time and a weekday so the traffic was relatively light. The anticipation of the meeting had butterflies in my stomach, light perspiration on my palms and a tremor in my knees. What was I doing? This was not what my mother had raised me to do! I have learned the strength I need is always given to me and I turned into the road marked San Quentin. This turned out to be a beautiful scenic road along the edge of the bay. A few old Victorian buildings and some new townhouses lined the way to the gates of the prison.
There were no signs with instructions. I drove up to the gates and asked the guard where to go and what to do. He politely directed me to the parking lot down a steep drive. Once more I was struck by the stark contrast of the beautiful bay with sail boats, the sunny freshness of everything, and a glimpse of Nordstrom's and Macys across the bay. There was just the tease of San Francisco so near when the Larkspur Ferry sailed past. It was a surreal experience. I parked the car and walked back up the drive to a rectangular building. I entered a long narrow hall that could use a good cleaning. Again, no signs anywhere to show where or how to proceed. There was one door and I found it was locked. After a few minutes I heard a buzzing sound and found the door would now open. There was a counter with two women guards behind it. I threw myself on their mercy and announced, "I have never been here before, and I am terrified." Their reply was, "don’t worry, we’ll take care of you." I placed my jewelry and shoes in a wooden box for inspection. I had been forewarned to not wear anything with metal on it (buttons, underwire bra, belt, etc.) I had no problem going through the metal detector. The guards found I had not been listed as an approved visitor. Luckily I brought my letter of approval with me. They sent me out a side door and I began the long walk to the next gate.
When I arrived, in the visiting room for death row inmates I looked around with surprise. I did not see a single monster in that room. It was filled with ordinary looking men. (Perhaps neater and quieter than outside) They were sitting with their grandmothers, or wives or ministers and/or their children. Everywhere I looked, I saw the face of God."
When I left San Quentin that day, after only one visit, I knew that I would never stop spreading the word that these men were human beings and not monsters. I knew that I would be a political and social advocate on their behalf. And, I knew that if the State of California ever executes Douglas Mickey, they would be killing my friend.
I now refer to the time I spend visiting men on death row as my mini prison ministry. When asked by reporters if any of the men on death row have committed crimes which are just too awful for me to still treat them with compassion, I respond, "I don’t deal with their crime. I don’t deal with that part of them. I deal with the God spirit within him or her. That is the truth of their being. It is the truth for every one of us."
Before Catherine’s murder, I had never thought one way or another about the death penalty. I was a Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Wisconsin, raised to be an upper middle-class housewife. My mother certainly didn’t raise me to go visit men on death row. For most of the twelve years after Catherine was killed, I would have been insulted if someone had suggested that Douglas Mickey was a human being and not some kind of horrible monster.
I knew when I dropped the letter in the mailbox I must spend the rest of my life demonstrating that killing is not necessary and that violence only begets more violence. What I learned is healing and grace can be achieved by anyone under any circumstance through the miracle of forgiveness. This may have appeared to be a new paradigm to me as I began this healing journey, but it is actually the universal truth that has been given to all people through sacred teachings such as those expressed by Jesus, The Christ, the Buddha and other enlightened beings.
I know my daughter Catherine is happy I am honoring her with this work. She would not want me to go through life full of hate and rage. Love and forgiveness is the way to make our world a kind and safe place.
"The essence of our being is love. And every action is either love or a call for help." The Course in Miracles
July 15, 1995 Kiongozi R Jones Sr was awarded a community certificate