Thursday, May 10, 2012

Twenty eight years and counting!

Written by George Skatzes, in the voice of his sister. 

Twenty eight years and counting! I am truly at my wit’s end! Please let me explain! Please hear me out!

A long twenty-eight years ago my brother was indicted for aggravated murder in Logan County, Ohio. (Case Number 83-CR-3). (Bellafontaine, Ohio).

Needless to say, but he was convicted and sentenced to a life term in prison. (15 years to life).

My brother was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to life in prison on the lying word of a man that was doing 37 to 130 years for armed robbery and kidnapping. It is clear that he wanted to get out of prison, and he would do anything to achieve his goal.

The only thing they had to back up, i.e., corroborate this man’s lying word was his wife! Their testimony was conflicting! However, it was still good enough to convict!

There was no independent objective evidence, nor was there any physical evidence to link my brother to the crime. (Nothing!)

If you are interested in learning more about this case, please read George Skatzes, ‘My Day in Court.’

When George was convicted everybody really believed the appeals court would correct such an injustice. Oh how naive we were! As it turns out the courts in this land are not about justice! The only thing they are interested in is proving they are never wrong! Never! The system will protect the system!

After his direct appeal of this conviction George was on his own! He acted in a pro se fashion taking his case all the way to the US Supreme Court. Not one court in this land would even consider this case on its merits! Come to find out, when one fights the justice system in a pro se capacity the courts don’t even consider the case, no matter how serious the injustice may be.

In Sister Helen Prejean’s great book, “The Death of Innocents”, there is just so much good information to enlighten one as to how their justice system really works.

On page 9, Sister Helen wrote the following, “Now I know that 95 percent of the justice an accused person can expect to get in the criminal justice system must happen at trial. Because once the “raw stuff” of forensic evidence, eyewitness accounts, police reports, expert witnesses, and alibis is presented and decided upon by a jury, chances are no court will ever allow it to be looked at again.”

That is just the way it is. One being innocent doesn’t really matter in this justice system! Remember, they are never wrong!

I know for a fact after George’s case was turned down in court after court, he lost all hope! He lost his very will to live! This is such a painful experience to watch one go through!

Let us fast forward to April 11, 1993. George has told me many times that this day was pretty well the worst day of his life.

As many of you may know, April 11, 1993 was the first day of the LUcasville Prison Uprising. Nine inmates and one correction officer were murdered.

George acted as a spokesman for the inmate body. He saved lives in that uprising and many people acknowledge this fact, they would have testified to such had they been called upon to do so. As it turned out you wouldn’t hear much about all the good George done in that uprising in the trial.

After the uprising ended, three groups were transferred to the Mansfield Prison. The Muslims, the Aryan Brotherhood, and the Black Gangster Disciples.

About one month after the ending of the uprising and the transfer of prisoners to Mansfield, the pressure tactics began! At any cost they were out to get somebody, anybody for the murder of the correction officer. (Read motion for disclosure of exculpatory and impeaching information, enclosed).

Three of the alleged leaders of the uprising were transferred to the Chillicothe Correctional Institution. They were placed in the North hole. The North hole is total 100% isolated from the whole world!

George was one of the three alleged leaders they transferred to Chillicothe, they could not have visits, commissary, nothing! This was nothing less than a serious pressure tactic to get these people to break!

To better explain the situation, please read George’s letter to Jeffrey F. Kelleher, attorney at law. Re: visits from the Highway Patrol, (a lot), April 14, 1994. (enclosed)

What it boils down to, the Highway Patrol wanted George to snitch! He would not do so, and he was charged with three capital murder cases. (See the Indictment, enclosed.)

In an effort to make this writing as simple as possible, there is just so much to all this, I will list the charges and the evidence used to convict.

Note: I am only listing the murder charges in this writing. (The Indictment has all the info on the kidnapping and specifications.)
1. The aggravated murder of Corrections Officer Robert Vallandingham.
Found guilty and sentenced to 30 years to life.

Evidence to convict? There was no evidence, nothing! I can not see how they convicted George for this crime!

2. The aggravated murder of inmate Earl Elder.
Found guilty and sentenced to death.

Evidence to convict? The lying words of two inmates, one of which was involved in this murder, but never charged! He is now walking the streets a free man!

The other inmates that testified against George in the Elder murder, he admitted to his involvement in this murder, but he was paid for his testimony with a lesser sentence.

The testimony by these two inmates, their word, and their word alone put a man on death row! There was no physical evidence what-so-ever to link George Skatzes to this murder!

Now the interesting fact about the murder of Earl Elder.

Another inmate, one that was man enough to step up and confess to his involvement in the death of Earl Elder, made it very clear that George was nowhere around, and he had nothing to do with the murder of Earl Elder! The court found this man guilty and sentenced him to life. All this took place years after George’s conviction.

Several other inmates made statements to the powers that be that George Skatzes had no involvement in the death of Earl Elder, he was nowhere around when Earl was killed. They would have testified to this fact had they been called upon to do so! The trial lawyer did not call them to testify!

To put icing on the cake, the testimony by the inmates in the Earl Elder murder was contradicted and undermined by the testimony of the forensic pathologist. The inmate that confessed to the murder of Earl Elder stated he used a knife made from a piece of broken glass. This is consistent with the forensic pathologist’s finding of a piece of glass in one of the lethal wounds. Yet all this means nothing to the courts! George was found guilty and that is that! Justice?

This is something to take notice of: In the trial of George for the murder of Earl Elder one inmate testified that George ordered him to murder Earl Elder. The state’s theory as to what happened to Earl Elder was pretty well set in concrete, no variation! One inmate testified in step with the state’s theory, another inmate somewhat testified the same way. There was a bit of difference in their testimony as to certain facts, but that really doesn’t matter. Mr. Prosecutor explained it away. That makes the difference ok!

The way one inmate testified to keep in step with the state’s theory was George (allegedly) order him to kill Earl Elder.

This inmate stated that he allegedly went into the cell and stabbed Earl Elder several times, per George’s alleged order.

This inmate also stated that after he left the cell, after allegedly stabbing Earl Elder, Earl Elder was still alive! Of course this means this inmate did not cause the death of Earl Elder!

The second inmate, the inmate the state used to corroborate the first inmate’s testimony, testified he witnessed another inmate go in the cell and stab earl Elder, causing his death!

So, if, I said if all of the above were true, which I say it sure is not true, according to the Ohio Jury Instructions (this is the law of the land), the most George would be guilty of is attempted murder, this would surely make the death penalty in the Earl Elder Case illegal for George!

Ohio Jury Instructions:
409.56 Other Causes, intervening causes

3. Independent Intervening causes of death. If the defendant inflicted an injury not likely to produce death, and if the sole and only cause of death was (natural cause) (fatal injury inflicted by another person), the defendant who inflicted the original injury is not responsible for the death.

See the Innocence of George Skatzes and Ohio Jury Instructions, enclosed.

To sum the Earl Elder case up, you have the following,
1. Several inmates that would have testified to the truth, George Skatzes had nothing to do with the death of Earl Elder!.
2. Another inmate confessed to the murder of Earl Elder, and he stated George Skatzes had nothing to do with it. The court accepted this and sentenced this man to life in prison. (Accepted his confession only did nothing about George’s conviction! Nothing to right a wrong for conviction!
3. The Ohio Jury Instructions surely apply in this case!

Even with all this, the death penalty against George Skatzes still stands! Is this justice? Did I happen to mention the fact that the courts are never wrong? Never! There is no such a thing as justice!

The case of David Sommers, George Skatzes is on death row for this murder.

The evidence to convict? (Evidence?) Inmate testimony only! Again, there is no physical evidence to link George to the crime.

It is worth making a note here, the inmates that testified in this case against George are self-admitted participates in the murder! Their testimony against George was bought and paid for! They received a lighter sentence!

For a fact, the one inmate took himself out of the crime and put George in!

As in all of this inmate testimony, there is no independent objective evidence, and no physical evidence to link George to this crime.

It is so very hard for me to understand how a person can be sentenced to death only on the word of inmate testimony, self-admitted participates in the crime.

Just to sum the murder of David Sommers up, the coroner testified that the cause of death was one massive blow to the head with a blunt instrument.

In George’s trial Mr. Prosecutor made the claim that George is the very person that inflicted that one massive blow to David Sommer’s head causing his death.

Another inmate was also charged with the murder of David Sommers. In this inmate’s trial, Mr. Prosecutor made the claim that this inmate was the person that struck the massive blow to David Sommer’s head causing his death.

Now we have two people convicted for causing the death of David Sommers by dealing a single massive blow to his head. Two people convicted for the very same act? Object is, of course to convict at any cost!

As with the Elder murder, there were several inmates who would have came into George’s trial and testify to the fact that he had nothing to do with the Sommers murder! Again, the trial lawyer did not call upon any of these witnesses to testify. My opinion this cost George his life. As with the Elder case, see the innocence of George Skatzes. Enclosed.

To sum these convictions up, we have a man convicted and sentenced to death on the word, only the word of jailhouse snitches. Their word alone without any independent and objective corroborating evidence. So much for the thought that inmate snitches’ testimony is considered unreliable! They say that a heightened reliability is required where death is the penalty! Don’t believe that! Let this case serve as proof that the sufficiency of evidence to convict, even when death is the penalty, is very low, almost zero in fact! The inmate testimony on both of these murder cases, Elder, and Sommers, is refuted by the testimony of the coroner! If there is any justice, any fairness in these courts, they will throw these cases out! A conviction such as this, one that lacks any sort of sufficient evidence can not stand!

To add a little fuel to the fire in the Sommer’s case, see the opinion from the Court of Appeals for MOntgomery County, Ohio, rendered on the 10th day of October, 2008. Enclosed.

On page 16, it reads, there was no way to prove who had inflicted the fatal head injury.

Even with such an admission from the Court of Appeals, the conviction of George Skatzes still stands, as he rots on death row! Unreal!

To give a little sample as to how this injustice i.e. snotch system works, see the excerpt from the [illegible] testimony in George’s trial. Enclosed. Please see page 2851, I will help you if you help me. This is nothing less than testimony bought and paid for. Such is enough to convict, even in a death penalty case!

If what you have read so far is not enough to get your blood pressure up, please see the pages from the Lavelle testimony in George’s trial. Enclosed. Pages 4047, and 5751. Lavelle was pretty well the state’s number one star witness.

Mr. Prosecutor stated on record, page 4047, “the state told him (Lavelle) you are either going to be my witness or I’m going to come back and try to kill you.”

Talk about putting the pressure on to get a good snitching, lying inmate to say what you want him to say!

See page 57851 of Lavelle’s testimony, enclosed. This will serve as proof that what I wrote out on April 14, 1999, my letter to Jeffrey F Kellefer, Attorney at Law is 100% true! This is also enclosed. What will it take to get their Injustices cleaned up?

See the page from the petition dated 12/6/06 enclosed.

See number 46, Sharon O’Hara-Bruce, a criminal defense attorney in Michigan. I have to believe most people would find the way Mr. Prosecutor put what he did to Lavelle to get him to testify, on record. Very hard to believe. Mr. Prosecutor was Bold! Very Bold!

Also see 47, Anonymous, this man, Mr. Prosecutor overstepped his bounds, and it is high time we make some noise about all this.

See the motion to dismiss Capital Indictment enclosed.

It has to be plain for one to see that this is a case of arbitrary selective Prosecution, for death penalty.

Again, the one question remains, how can a conviction and death sentence stand when in fact it has to be nothing less than illegal?

This case is now in the first stage of the federal court. Will this court serve justice or will it be as all the courts in the state of Ohio and just lie about the facts, twist the truth only to uphold this wrongful conviction?

It is my opinion that the courts will not do their job and serve justice unless we the people force them to do so!

I am a layperson when it comes to fighting this injustice system. In all my life I have never been involved with the law or trying to fight for justice. It is at this time that I am truly at my wits’ end. I have to do something to help my brother! There is no doubt what-so-ever in my mind that he is innocent of these crimes!

Knowing now how the system works I realize it is possible for the courts to drag this case out for years and years! George is 65 years old now. And it is not easy to go visit him only to see him deteriorate right before my eyes. I never considered George as a weak person, but how much can he stand? What will he be like in another 5-10 years? How would any of us handle being locked up for the past 28 years for crimes we did not commit? George hardly comes out of his cell. He will come out about once a month to use the phone. Spending 24x7 in that cell can not be good! However, I do understand somewhat as to how he feels. He feels very much so out of his element. That I can really understand. This hell on earth has to end for him, sooner rather than later!

When we visit George it is very plain for me to see that he puts on a front like all is well, he is fine and all, but I see through that! Deep down I know he is dying inside! He has never bounced back from his days in Lucasville when every court in this land turned him down. He really lost his will to live and I believe in his heart he has a death wish!

George has told me many times that he feels he will die in his rat trap cell alone! He really believes the courts will drag this case out for the next ten years or so. That is how they do it! They will never admit they are wrong! All in all, if the truth had to be told, this system destroyed his life! They murdered him without firing a shot!

On our visits and through letters we always try to keep it positive, keep some hope in his heart. George has asked many times, what am I going to do coming out of here at the age of 70 plus? Just what kind of shape will I be in after 30 some years in prison? These are the questions he asked! Guess one could try to walk a mile in his shoes.

Fighting a serious depression, not being able to function, write letters, etc., this is nothing less than torture for him. He is forever fighting with himself over this. Sounds crazy, huh?

This is an excerpt from the book Feeling Good by David Burns. Pages 84 and 85.

If you have the hunch that you or someone else likes being depressed and doing nothing, then remind yourself that depression is the most agonizing form of human suffering.

George sent this to me. He only wants people to understand him. [illegible]

I so want to help my brother as well as all others that have been wrongfully convicted. we have to stop this sort of thing! I am just so lost as what to do! I am very willing to do anything to help!

This is my heart-felt plea, people please let us join forces and make these courts follow their own laws! I am asking for help, support to right this wrong! I believe in people power!

I am open for suggestions! Please let me hear from you! Together we can change this system! When only the lying word of jailhouse snitches can put a person on death row, or convict a person of any crime there is something wrong with this system!

Thank you for hearing me out! I can only hope we can join hands to bring about change in this system.

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