Friday, June 13, 2014

Keith Lamar on Reddit's Ask Me Anything

In 1995, I was sentenced to death on charges related to the 1993 prison uprising at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, even though there was no physical or forensic evidence linking me to the murders that occurred during the uprising. In fact, prosecutors actually withheld critical evidence (confessions, indictments, etc.) in the case that could have proven that I was innocent of the charges brought against me.
I recently wrote a book titled, Condemned, that gives my account of what happened during and after the Lucasville Uprising: http://www.amazon.com/Condemned-whole-story-Keith-LaMar/dp/1483961710/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390788087&sr=8-1&keywords=condemned%3A+the+whole+story
Here is a website that helps to explain my situation: http://keithlamar.org/
My supporters are also trying to produce a documentary that will tell my story, and they are fundraising for it here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/justice-for-keith-lamar-a-short-documentary
Proof: http://i.imgur.com/eA5uppm.jpg
Edit: We are ending now. Thanks for your time. I have to give the phone back soon, so we're finishing up now. I really want to take the time to thank you all for sending me your questions. I'm very impressed and humbled by the fact that there are so many people that care. It's my hope that you guys will take the time to read my book, to learn more about my story, and join me in my fight to stay alive. I have no idea how or when all this madness will end, but I'm grateful to be alive and to still be on this side of reality. If any of you are discouraged by where you are in your own life, I really want to encourage you to believe that the best possible things are still possible, and that even in the worst situations, that there is something inside of us that can help us rise to the occasion. Never give up.
Comments: 136 • Responses: 35  • Date: 
veritasgj13 karma
What was the original charge you were serving for?
If you didn't commit the murders, who did?
justiceforkeithlamar19 karma
The original charge that I came to prison for was murder. I was a drug dealer, prior to coming to prison. A group of guys came to rob me one day. A shootout ensued. I shot a man twice in the chest, and was myself shot twice and left for dead. Unfortunately, the man I shot died, and I was sent to prison. I was sentenced to 18 years to life. With respect to the riot and who killed the prisoners that I was convicted and sentenced to death, a member of the Black Gangster Disciples, came forward and admitted to killing one of the individuals I was convicted of murdering. In other instance, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, was indicted of killing someone for whom I was later convicted and sentenced to death. In another instance, another prisoner admitted to killing an alleged informant, and claimed that I gave him the order to do what he did. But he made these claims after being coached by the prosecution. In fact in nearly every instance where I was charged for killing someone in the riot, I could point to an exact culprit to the crime. But, the state withheld this evidence during my trial, depriving me and the jury of having access to this very important information. I explain this all in greater detail in my book, Condemned, and I ask people to go to my website, www.keithlamar.org, where they can view these statements for themselves. I realize in speaking about these things it sounds unbelievable. But, I'm not asking anyone to take my word for anything. It took me over ten years to uncover these statements that were withheld from me during my trial. I now have these statements, I now have these indictments, I now have these conflicting statements and the evidence speaks for itself. I'm not making this stuff up.
PM_ME_UR_TITS_OBAMA12 karma
Do you feel being in for murder already played a role in people not believing your innocence?
justiceforkeithlamar9 karma
I believe so. It's not hard to understand how that would play a part in people coming to that conclusion, and that's been a great hurdle for me to overcome. I believe that is part of the reason why the state selected me out of an array of other individuals, and why it's been so easy for me to blatantly violate my rights. I understood this going into this whole thing. I've been dealing with the criminal justice system since I've been 13 years old. Yes, earlier in my life before the Lucasville Uprising, I took someone's life, but this person that I killed was my childhood friend, we played basketball. In 1988, the year crack cocaine became an epidemic, we found ourselves on opposite ends of a crazy situation. I was a drug dealer and he was a dope fiend. He came to rob me, and this tragic thing happened. So, people have to judge me in that context. I wasn't sitting on my front porch taking pot shots at random strangers. I was defending myself against someone who intended to do me harm. Yes, I took somebody's life. But, I'm not a killer though. I suffer greatly for what I've done, not merely because of the fact that I've been in prison, but from the knowledge of knowing that I took another human being's life. This is the thing that prevented me from taking the state's deal during the trial after the riots. from pleading guilty to something I didn't do. Taking someone else's life and losing my own life in the process, made me appreciate life. Made me want to do something with my life. And so when the prosecutors came to me and asked me to give up my life for something that I didn't do, I couldn't do it. The state offered me life sentences if I copped to the murders I didn't do, but I chose not to. That is when they pursued the death penalty against me. We as human beings make mistakes. Big mistakes and small mistakes, and if we're lucky, we learn from those mistakes. We become better than what we were. We become smarter than what we were. And when we know better, we can do better. And that's what I've been trying to do.
jewel_ofthenile6 karma
Having read his book and knowing a bit of his story, I can answer your first question. He exchanged gunfire with someone during a drug deal. He was shot, too. The other man died.
veritasgj3 karma
Thanks, my second question might sound accusatory, however i'm just wondering what the circumstances of the riot were, and how he got wrongly fingered as apparently committing (multiple?) homocide(s).
justiceforkeithlamar7 karma
The riot started because of a problem Muslim prisoners had with the administration. That was the stated reason for the riot, but really it was bound to happen I believe. At the time, Lucasville was a very oppressive and racist place, and prisoners were being brutalized down there. For religious reasons, the muslims refused to take a TB test that used alcohol, and then decided to take over the prison to stage a protest. The riot lasted for 11 days. For those of us who did take the TB test, we were out on the yard. So, I did not participate in the riot. I was out on the yard. When we were out in the yard, after the state police and national guard showed up, they took a position and watched as dead bodies were being dumped on the prison yard in front of everybody. The authorities did nothing. It occurred to me, along with everyone else that was watching it, that I could have been one of those bodies. After we were removed from the yard, later that following morning we were placed in random groups of 10 in single man cells naked. A man was killed during this time. When this was discovered by the investigators, other prisoners and I refused to talk or be enticed into becoming informants. This is where all of the madness really began for me. I joined others in persuading prisoners not to become informants, as after seeing bodies of informants being dumped into the yard it was not a safe to do. So, we demonstrated against the way we had been treated. we were left for dead, basically. Anything could have happened to us. Guys were raped. Guys were jumped on. And the people who's job it was to intervene stood back and did nothing. This angered a lot of us. Then, after all was said and done, they asked us to become informants, to do the very thing that had resulted in several inmates losing their lives. and I said fuck that. Fuck you. And that made myself a target.
karmanaut4 karma
Do you have access to all the classes and other opportunities given to inmates for the purpose of rehabilitation? If so, what have you learned/done while in prison?
justiceforkeithlamar13 karma
when I first came to prison, there were pell grants which allowed inmates to go to high education, but those were then rescinded, preventing inmates from getting a college degree. when I came to prison I got my GED and enrolled in college, but they rescinded the pell grants. they do have vocational programs here and some have benefited from that. But, being in solitary confinement I cannot benefit from those programs, because I cannot participate in them. Since I've been solitary confinement, 21 of the 25 years I have been in prison, I have been able to participate in the programs. Whatever rehabilitation I have achieved, has been through my own efforts. Through my own desire to do something positive and righteous with my life, and I think that hold true for most prisoners. Contrary to popular belief, and despite the stated goal of those that run these places, prisoners are not here to be rehabilitated. Prisoners are not being prepared to reintegrate into society. Prison is big business now. And instead of being viewed as citizens, they are viewed as customers. Just like McDonalds, they want you to come back. They make more money if you are in prison, rather than in society, as sad as they may sound.
Fwob3 karma
I've always understood that solitary confinement was cruel and unusual punishment that almost always leads to severe psychological problems. Is this an exageration?
What kind of psychological effects has solitary confinement had on you?
justiceforkeithlamar5 karma
Psychologically, you become despondent, you go through bouts of depression. You go through periods where you don't want to be around people. You become hypersensitive to things, sound, touch. Fortunately, I have been able to control some of the psychological damage that solitary confinement causes, but I have seen guys forget their own name. I've been around guys that smear their own feces all over themselves. To be in the vicinity of these very frightening things is terrifying, because I don't have any illusions about my mental strength or mental capacity, because at the end of the day, I'm a human being. So, for this to happen to guys around me, it tells me it could happen to me. This is one of the reasons I am trying so desperately to get out of this situation.
bjjmatt3 karma
Hello Keith,
What was your original charge that landed you in prision in the first place? How far into your sentence were you?
How did you find out about Reddit and the IaMA subreddit?
Are you religous?
Best of luck, we hope justice prevails!
justiceforkeithlamar9 karma
I don't necessarily believe in organized religion. I've been baptized in my life, once when I was 13 and again when I was 18. When I came to prison I joined Islam for 2 years, but it wasn't for me. I've felt lost a lot of my life, and was baptized to attempt to find the right path, so to speak, but I could never find God in that way. Prescribed prayers and protocol, you know. So, I would say I'm more spiritual than I am religious. I believe in a higher power. I think this world we live in is too intelligent, too detailed, too complicated for there not to be some type of intelligence behind it. I believe we can tap into this intelligence through mediation, through solitude, through communing with our higher self. I do believe we all have access to a higher frequency, and I've dedicated a large part of my adult life to pursuing that.
SaritaOsita233 karma
Keith/Bomani,
Your story is incredible. I was reading up on it and I cannot understand how you deal with such an overwhelming situation.
When everything seems to be too much to handle, what do you do to stay positive?
Best of luck with your case. Prayers are headed your way!
justiceforkeithlamar5 karma
Thanks for your support. The thing that I do to keep moving forward is just keep moving forward. What these people did to me was wrong. I live my life trying to prove my innocence. That is the driving force behind everything I do. I wake up in the morning thinking about my case and I go to sleep thinking about it. I'm lucky, in a sense, that I have a lot of good friends and family, that besides all the ups and downs,continue to support me. That adds fuel to my fire to overcome what I'm going through. Thanks again for your support.
d0uble0h3 karma
Is there any technology that has appeared in the last 20 years that you really want to try out or experience further?
justiceforkeithlamar9 karma
Reddit sounds like a really interesting place. I'm doing this over the phone with a friend who is reading the questions, and typing my answers. It's amazing to reach so many people as I am doing right now. My mind is just blown that I can reach so many people, and not have to wait for mainstream media outlets. Having internet, and allowing me to connect to it, would allow me to connect to a broader audience and that is what I really want to do. Recently, through the ACLU, filed a lawsuit against the prison authorities for not allowing me access to the media. Several journalists have tried to come in and interview me, but the state has consistently refused this from happening, although they have allowed other prisoners the opportunity to tell their story on air. My question to them, with regards to that is, what do you have to hide? Why don't you want the public to hear about, learn about, my situation? And I think I know the answer to that.
RussianPotatoLover2 karma
I'm so sorry to hear about this, can you describe solitary confinement?
Are you allowed any hobbies? I understand some people take classes or paint in prison, but do they allow that for prisoners in solitary confinement?
How many hours of sleep do you get?
How are you allowed to do this AMA?
Thank you, and good luck!!
justiceforkeithlamar4 karma
Whatever you can already do, whether it be painting, reading, writing, you are free to do those things. I write and I read. These are my hobbies. Writing, for me, is a form of living. It's my way of expressing my humanity. It's also the way in which I fight for my life. they say the pen is mightier than the sword, so I try to utilize my pen. I try to speak out from where I stand in this place of madness. Right now, I'm working on my autobiography, which hopefully will be completed by this time next year. So writing is my main hobby.
I typically go to sleep at 8 in the evening, and I wake up at 2 in the morning. So, about six hours, give or take.
I'm allowed to call to my friends, and my friend is reading me the questions, and he is typing my replies.
curiousgeorge2502 karma
Do you have kids? If so, how are they affected by your death sentence? If not, do you wish you had children?
justiceforkeithlamar1 karma
I don't have any kids. But I have nieces and nephews and friends. Young people that bless my life. Had I had any of my own, I'm sure it would torture me right now. So I'm glad, in a sense, that I don't have any kids. Because I love kids, and I wish one day to have kids of my own. For now, I'm just thankful that I have a lot of beautiful young people in my life, they encourage me and keep me young.
VineyardPoloCrew2 karma
As someone who aspires to become an attorney and help people in situations like the one you found/find yourself in, what piece of advice do you have for a future attorney? What do you wish your lawyers knew now that they didn't know then? Side note: thanks for doing this AMA. You're in my prayers for sure.
justiceforkeithlamar3 karma
The advice that I would give to an attorney is learn how to live with disappointment because the system is not what people think it's like. As an aspiring attorney, I imagine you believe in justice and you will be helping people. I find that some attorneys have idealistic goals, and when they really face the system, they get discouraged. When they can't beat the system, they join it. But there are a few attorneys who continue to fight on, who go above and beyond the call of duty. These attorneys are my heroes, because if it weren't for them, few as they are, there would be no hope whatsoever for poor people in this country. My advice to you is to really let go of your idealism, and make sure you understand that the path that you are embarking on is a very difficult one. Justice in order for it to be real has to cut both ways. It's not all about prosecuting people. It's about defending people as well. And if you are going to be a defense attorney, it's important to understand you are going to be operating from a place of weakness, especially if you are going to be a public defender. These people like teachers are poorly paid, receive very little recognition and lose more than they win. But without them, we all would be lost. So good luck to you. I hope you find the fortitude to push on despite all of these hurdles.
You get 6 attorneys, throughout the process. Starting with two for the trial. What I wish my trial attorneys had, was this exculpatory evidence, like the actual statement from the perpetrator that committed the crime. If the jury had that, they would have had a different view of what happened. There are multiples examples of evidence that was withheld.
thesheeny2 karma
Do you have anything against the person who committed to crime? Why or why not?
justiceforkeithlamar2 karma
No, I don't have personal grudges against anybody. Not even the guys who took the stand and lied against me. Who wouldn't have done what they did? Very few people, when it's a matter of life and death, wouldn't take the easy way out. So I understand why they did what they did. As I said, at least for one example, the man came forward and admitted to killing the individual who I was convicted and sentenced to death. I was impressed by that. I was also amazed that the state chose not to charge that man because they were so adamant in charging me with these crimes. So, no I don't have any grudges against people, it was an incredible situation to be in for all of us. We as human beings make choices based on what we think are options are. For some people, taking the stand and lying on other people was an option, and they took it. There's nothing complicated by that. I don't have grudges against people, but I do have criticism of the system that puts people in those situations.
amygordiejew2 karma
Do you believe prisons are really just an economic system built to profit the few in power? Were you able to afford your own defense, or did you have to rely on public defenders? If you had money, would you be on death row? Lastly, is there any way we could give to a fund to help you fight for your freedom?
justiceforkeithlamar4 karma
I think because the unequal distribution of wealth, where the wealthiest 1 percent own close to 40% of the wealth, I think prisons like this are inevitable, along with a certain amount of homelessness, and a certain amount of people living in poverty. All of this is inevitable when you have this unequal distribution of wealth.
I had to rely on public defenders. Obviously if I was able to afford my own defense, would mean I had access to millions of dollars, and if I had that kind of money, I probably wouldn't be in prison in the first place.
There is a link to an Indiegogo site listed above.
lorryswain2 karma
Keith, What advice to you give us on the outside for supporting your struggle to stop the State from moving ahead with their plans to execute you. How can we best bring attention to your case?
justiceforkeithlamar2 karma
Read my book, Condemned. Spread the word. Go to my website and stay connected to the ongoing development. As I said, I'm going to need people to show up at my oral arguments. I'm going to need people to be my witnesses, to make sure my attorneys do their job. And in the book I explain what I believe what their job is, and so I want people to learn about my story and not just believe what I say. I also have supporters who are trying to fund a documentary that tells my story, and there is a link to that fundraiser in my description at the top of my AMA.
Witchgrass2 karma
Do you have access to books? If so what are you reading? Is there a way someone could send you books?
justiceforkeithlamar3 karma
I have access to books, thank God. I just finished reading Mike Tyson's biography. I also finished reading brothers and keepers, by James Edgard Wideman. People can send me books through Amazon and certain other distributors. I love reading biographies about others that walked this planet before me, and despite certain trials and tribulations, found a way to overcome it. Reading books has been my saving grace, it has kept me from going over the edge. I always tell people my books are my closest and my most trusted friends. I rely on them to help me maintain my sanity.
Mypopsecrets2 karma
So what happens if you win the appeal?
justiceforkeithlamar3 karma
If I win the appeal and receive a new trial, I would go back they would try the whole case over again. Should that occur, I suspect the state would attempt to offer me a deal again, to get me to plead guilty to a lesser crime. I can't imagine pleading guilty to any of these crimes, even after all the hell I've been to. I've been dealing with this situation for over two decades now, since I was 23 years old, and I just turned 45 a few weeks ago. The sad thing is that there is no apparent end in sight, so I'm just bracing myself for the future struggle.
Unav3nged2 karma
What is the largest thing about you that has changed in the past 20 years?
justiceforkeithlamar3 karma
The biggest thing that has changed in my life is my understanding of just how complicated life is. I used to believe that life was about the accumulation of material things, how much money you had. As I said in another response, I used to be a drug dealer. I was very successful at it, I made a lot of money. I drove very expensive cars, wore expensive clothes, and I thought that was the be all and end all. So one of the greatest things I learned was how wrong I was about that. I've learned that although we can have a lot of fun along the way, we're not really here to play. We're here because we have lessons to learn and contributions to make. To paraphrase Susan Taylor. So, that's been one of the biggest things that has changed in my life. And I try to live more purposeful because of that.
jewel_ofthenile2 karma
Keith, do you believe you will be free someday? Have you gotten some indication from the courts, your writing, your advocacy work, and/or the prison system that your case is moving toward a more just outcome?
justiceforkeithlamar2 karma
I already feel that I'm mentally and spiritually free, whether or not I'll someday be physically free, who can say. Since I didn't receive a fair trial, I've lost faith in the system. The whole point in me writing my book was to retry the case in the court of public opinion. and in that respect, I feel very hopeful. I've received a great deal of support, a great deal of encouragement, and my hope is that I can generate enough momentum and support to force the court to do the right thing. Unfortunately, I haven't been in contact with my attorneys, the people who have been appointed to represent me in court, in well over a year now. Because of their refusal to file certain and necessary motions on my behalf, my case has moved forward to this final stage while four other individuals who were sentenced to death as a result of their alleged involvement in the riot, their cases have been put on hold, because their attorneys filed motions and their attorneys are now allowed to comb through the prosecutor's file. (you can read about this in my book). Sometime in the near future, I will be going in front of the 6th circuit court of appeal, which is basically my last shot at relief. Since I'm not on good terms with my attorneys, and since as an indigent person, I cannot afford to replace them with new attorneys, I'm asking and hoping that the many people that have now read my book, and believe in my innocence, I'm hoping that they show up at the oral arguments and be my witnesses, and be my eyes and my ears, and make sure that my attorneys do their job. Unbelievably, I won't be able to attend this hearing when it occurs. So it's very very important that people show up in my place. My hope rests with the people, with normal everyday people, who believe in justice.
TitsOnANun2 karma
After twenty years ├Čn solitary I imagine you must have become something of a curiosity to the new guards (has this guy really been all alone for years?) Were you really and truly ignored for 20 years or did you ever have the chance to strike up a conversation with a guard to ease the torment?
justiceforkeithlamar4 karma
There is some interaction between myself and the other guards. In fact, I have to ask them for whenever I need something, like food or toilet paper. Beyond that, there are a few guards I can have a meaningful conversation with. I'm not here to say that all guards are rotten and evil, in fact you have guards in here that are very decent human beings. You do have some that their very motivation is to torment other people, but you have good and bad people wherever you are, and prison is no exception. Because of the circumstance that had me placed in solitary, and even though it's a known fact I had nothing to do with the death of the guard in the riot, some guards associate me with that, and express hostility towards me. They come in the cell and displace my belongings, destroy my property, and never pass on the opportunity to make my life miserable. But these are rare occurrences, you know, for the most part I get through my day without experiencing adverse exchanges with the guards.
afterthefire12 karma
Are you going to sue when you get out and live the rest of your life as a millionaire?
justiceforkeithlamar5 karma
I don't think it's that easy, you know. I recently learned about a prisoner who got off death row in Ohio named Derrick Jameson, who incidentally was tried by the same prosecutor that I had in my case. Also in that case, the same prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence. He did 17 years I believe, for a crime he did commit. He received 6 execution dates for which he was eventually exonerated. And during 1 of those times he was asked about his last meal. That's how close he got to being executed. Shortly thereafter, he received a ruling that resulted in him being exonerated, and the state, for all of the hell and torment that they put him and his family through, gave him 75 dollars and a bus ticket. It's another example of public misconception of the criminal justice system. you have to prove that the prosecutor knowingly and willfully put you in this position, and that's nearly impossible to do. So I have no dreams about being a millionaire. No amount of money can compensate me for the over 20 years of hell I've been. I just simply wanna be free. To be with my family.
wayway2fresh2 karma
What do you think needs to be done so this won't happen to anybody else?
justiceforkeithlamar7 karma
More people needs to be educated about the criminal justice. Right now, get information from tv shows and unfortunately what they see on tv, the perception doesn't coincide with reality. So people have a misunderstanding of what justice really looks like if you're poor in this country. in fact, it's not an exaggeration to say there are two different justice systems in this country, one for the rich and another one for the poor. one of the things that has to happen to prevent these injustices from occurring is that people have to become more aware. The question is always asked if we should have the death penalty in the United States, but along with that question, a lot of people are not aware that 147 were exonerated from death row. So, people need to have access to that information as well. I think everyone would agree if one innocent person is killed, that proves that the death penalty is an imperfect system. With this information, people become more aware, and this will prevent future injustices from occurring.
three_socks2 karma
  • What do you miss the most about the outside world?
  • What did you hate the most about living in solitary confinement?
  • Was there anything you grew to love about living in solitary confinement?
  • Did you wear three socks when showering?
justiceforkeithlamar7 karma
1) Being with my family. Waking up in my own bed. Eating my mother's home cooked food. I miss the small things, really. With this much time behind bars, you develop a greater appreciation just for the simple things in life, things that those on the outside take for granted.
2) The monotony of it. One day goes into the next, so it seems like you're living one continuous day over and over again. So, it's a nightmare in that sense. But, you try to make the most of it. I've been in here for 21 years, and that's over 7,665 days. Looking at it from that perspective it's terrifying, because I don't know when it's gonna end.
3) Nothing that I love about. Human beings are social creatures. We suffer when we are by ourselves for extended periods of time. I've been able to do some positive things, like learn to write and mediate. Learning these things has contributed to my way of life and maintaining my sanity. But, I don't recommend it for anyone, there are much ways to learn how to do those things.
4) Sometimes I wish that I could.
EsCaRg0t2 karma
Did you ever get to the point where you were thinking what your last meal would be? If so, what was it?
Also, anything surprising about how the world changed after you got out?
justiceforkeithlamar5 karma
No, I try not to think in that direction. What you think about, you bring about. I steer clear of any thoughts of me in the death house. That's not to say I haven't ever thought about it, but I try to think about things that are beneficial to me. If that day were ever to come, I think the last thing I will think is food. I doubt I'd have an appetite at that point.
CountAardvark2 karma
Are you religious? Do you believe in life after death?
justiceforkeithlamar3 karma
I don't know if I believe in life after death. I was reading a book not long ago, called Way to Freedom by the Dalai Lama, and it says we are born over and over again until we get it right. And he makes a very persuasive argument, but I don't know if I believe in that. I do believe that I'm going to need a few more tries before I figure this thing. I hope I haven't been through all of this stuff for the hell of it, and I don't think I have.
scragglerock2 karma
What's your favorite meal inside? Mine was always the beef stroganoff. Best of luck to you.
justiceforkeithlamar1 karma
Pizza. We had it earlier today, and I knew it was gonna be a good day after that. And I was right.
fenbo272 karma
What is your favorite meal served at the prison? Even if it sucks, which meal sucks the least?
justiceforkeithlamar2 karma
We live in the richest country in the world, and some of those riches trickle down. So, food is not all bad. They serve pizza. They make a good spaghetti meal here. I eat these things, not with a frown on my face, but my mother's food is still so much better. But it's not horrible, it's not the same as the food that people in third world prisons, or even third world societies. So food isn't horrible, and it is keeping me alive.
baddozer1 karma
What's do you plan on doing first if you get released?
justiceforkeithlamar5 karma
The first thing I'm goin to do is go on a liquid fast to cleanse my body of all this horrible food I've been eating the last 25 years!
Witchgrass4 karma
Do they really put saltpeter in the food
justiceforkeithlamar3 karma
not that I know of, everything seems to be working fine. Thanks for asking.
JamesonPaul1 karma
Hi Keith, thanks for doing this!
Are you allowed a TV in your cell? If not, what about music? I think if I didn't hear music for an extended period of time it would be torture. Are you only allowed writing materials?
Also, if there is a book that you would like me to send you in the mail, I'd be happy to do that for you. Just name the book(s) and give us your shipping address!
God bless!
justiceforkeithlamar2 karma
Yes I'm allowed a tv in my cell. I have one. For the past year or so, I haven't, as I was writing my book. So I gave it up for a period of time, to have uninterrupted time to write the book. I also listen to music every day. I feel the same way as you. If I didn't have my music I would go crazy. I listen mostly to jazz, Davis, Coltrane and others.
I can't think of a book offhand, but I read autobiographies, history books, would be greatly appreciated.
And thanks a lot, I really appreciate it.
karmanaut1 karma
Do you feel that race was a factor at all in your sentencing/conviction?
justiceforkeithlamar5 karma
Yes I do. Before my trial, I requested a change of venue. In the riot, a guard from the area was killed which created a prejudicial climate, but they moved the trial not far from the prison to Ironton, where over 93% of the residents were white. During the selection of the jury, two African Americans were intentionally struck from the panel in order that I would have an all white jury. And, this as it turns out, was against the law, for the prosecutors to do this, and is one of the issues I raise in my appeal. In Batson v Kentucky, it precludes the prosecution from removing potential jurors solely on the basis of race. But this is exactly what happened in my case. This is why I had an all white jury. It's the reason why my case was moved to an almost all white city. So, race definitely played a part, however to be fair, I have to also say that the jury in my case did not have the opportunity to consider this exculpatory evidence that was withheld. So, who knows what might have been the ultimate outcome if they were given this information? But, race definitely plays a part in who goes to prison, and who is sentenced to death. Contrary to popular opinion, we do not live in a post-racial society. A black man who murders a white person is almost 3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than a white person who murders a black person. So, over and over again, we see in this society that a higher value is placed on a white person's life. This is how it has always been in this country.
kaptainkuftic1 karma
What sort of human interaction do you get, if any?
Do you think racism was a factor in your case?
What food do you get forced to eat?
justiceforkeithlamar4 karma
I've been in solitary confinement for 21 years, and for the majority of that time I was unable to hug my friends and family. In 2011, I and several other prisoners went on a hunger strike and prevailed in forcing the administration to allow us full contact visits. So now I'm able to hug my family, to break bread with those I love, and being able to do that has made all the difference in my life. It's just one of those things that someone from the outside typically takes for granted. Some people walk past each other as strangers living under the same roof. I've come to appreciate the power of hugs. Through hugs and human touch, it releases chemicals in the brain that connects us to the higher frequency I was talking about in another answer. It allows us to participate in humanity, and it has restored a sense of balance to my life.
EarthwormPUP1 karma
That is ridiculous. Sorry to hear that happen to you. How has your view on humanity changed?
justiceforkeithlamar2 karma
My view on humanity, contrary to what you might think, had improved since I've been going through this whole thing. A large part of my life has been lived without the love and support I have right now. I really wish back when I was much younger, I had the love and support I have right now. It wasn't until I was put into these unfortunate circumstances, I met so many really incredible people. It's sad that it had to be at that point I discovered that there are so many great people in this world. I wish I had known this sooner, when my life was still in my hands. And one of the things I want to share with young people, whose paths are unfortunate, you can trust in the goodness of others. You can rely on the goodness in themselves, and that it's not always necessary to take the easy way out. Had I taken the deal, that is copped out to a crime that I didn't commit, I would have never met some of the incredible people that are now part of my life. And that again, is the ironic part about all of this. I've lost a lot but I've gained so much in return. And, I'm a better person for it. You do have people who can care less about what happens to me, and I understand right now who have attorneys that are working to expedite my appeal to see that I am executed, and obviously I feel a certain way about that. But it doesn't cover my whole attitude about life, in spite of all and everything, I am loved, and I know that. And that makes all the difference.
samurainewt1 karma
What was your main source of inspiration?
justiceforkeithlamar4 karma
The idea that I can one day be reunited with my friends and family. That is my primary source of inspiration. I am also inspired by other writers, such as Maya Angelou, who sadly passed away recently, Nelson Mandela, and people who have endured some of what I'm going through now. Reading and learning about their stories has strengthened me. It has continued to inspire me to keep going and to never give up. Included in that, is Bobby Sands, and Irish prisoner who tragically died on hunger strike in prison in Northern Ireland. Reading a book about him, a book called Nothing but an Unfinished Song by Denis O'Hearn, inspired me to go on my own hunger strike, which eventually led to me being able to hold and hug my family again. So he has been a great source of inspiration to me in this struggle that I have been going through.
BungholeDestroyer-1 karma
How does it feel to know there are many people glad you're going to be executed for the horrible things you did? I feel sorry for your victims, not you.
justiceforkeithlamar3 karma
Unless you are saying all prisoners should be killed simply because they are in prison, then I invite you to read my book. Go to my website and read the statements. I'm not trying to convince not to believe in the death penalty, but if you believe in justice, then you have to believe that if someone is murdered by the hands of the state, that they should at least be guilty of those crimes for which they are being killed.
Danielrdn1-6 karma
Did you get raped in jail?
justiceforkeithlamar1 karma
No, thankfully I have never been raped. When i came to prison as a 19 year old, I was 5 10, 167 pounds. I was surrounded by guys that had be in prison for years lifting weights, and it was a frightening situation. Before I even unpacked, I joined the boxing team, because I knew I would have to learn to protect myself. I wasn't finished growing, I grew to 6 2, 225 pounds. But, that kind of thing does happen in prison. and, young guys join gangs to protect themselves from that happening to them. It's a very violent place in here. And that's part of. Fortunately it hasn't happened to me. At least not physically.

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