We sent a copy of Condemned to Sean Swain, who read it and then sent it on to Governor Kasich, along with this letter.
April 22, 2014
Dear Governor Kasich,
Please find enclosed Condemned by Keith LaMar. It was sent to me nearly a month ago so that I could write a review. It took prison officials 24 days to get it to me. I received it at mail call yesterday. I had it read in under a day, and I am now sending it to you.
If you can read this, cover to cover, without tears of rage rolling down your face, you don’t have a pulse.
Last month you praised the three women who survived the brutal captivity, held for years by Ariel Castro. You spoke passionately about their courage and heroism. Read Condemned and you’ll be convinced that Keith LaMar is just as deserving of the medals you gave those three surviving women.
Some irrefutable conclusions, upon reading Condemned:
Prison officials had a vested interest in covering up the real causes of the Lucasville Uprising and divorcing the event from all context. They had to make the prisoners seem unreasonable and monstrous rather than desperate, provoked, and left no other alternative but violence. In creating this false narrative, the prison officials worked the public into a blood frenzy.
Blood frenzies are never a good mental state for objective investigations of the facts.
That blood frenzy demanded punishment. Someone had to pay. And it is clear from the available evidence now, from all that was withheld, from the irregular processes that were undertaken, that some State officials were only concerned with maintaining State legitimacy, with reassuring the public – and that could only be done with swift prosecutions of the selected “ring leaders.” Their convictions could only be assured, as the public needed, by bending the rules.
In hindsight, this was the recipe for a tragedy – just like the cases of Bruno Hauptmann framed for the Lindbergh kidnapping and only exonerated after his execution; or Sacco and Vanzetti, now admired as heroic figures whose deaths were an injustice.
The Lucasville Uprising cases are a kind of “political inertia,” Governor. Like a powerful river sweeping twigs away in its path.
I write this having read the book I enclose to you, having heard the clear and truthful voice of an innocent man condemned. I send you this book in the hopes that you, Sir, are sincere, that you truly hold dear those principles you espouse publicly, the virtues that you admire in others, such as the survivors of Ariel Castro’s brutality. I hope you are truthful because it will take courage and honesty and strength of character to pardon the Lucasville Five and to put this shameful, tragic ordeal behind us.
It will not be easy to do the right thing. The political inertia is strong.
Read this book, Governor.
Then decide if you want to go down in history as the twig or as a river.
Pardon the Lucasville Five.