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Author: Tony Medina - Texas Death Row USA - Polunsky Unit
Tony was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death for the drive-by shooting of two young people on New Year’s Eve, 1995. Tony has always maintained his innocence of the charges, that have taken away his life and seen him held on death row for over 15 years, The research and investigation by his defense attorneys not only prove his claim, but also shed light on a critically defective justice system in Texas.
Tony’s case has time and time again been upheld as the perfect example of what is wrong with the death penalty system. Represented at trial by a lawyer known as “THE LAWYER BEST KNOWN FOR LOSING CAPITAL CASES” who, from the day he was appointed to help Tony, did nothing at all to try to save his life; taken though the process by a District Attorney who withheld evidence, openly lied to jurors and knowingly prosecuted Tony despite evidence that pointed to the real murderer; led by a Judge who was not sworn in at the time of his trial; and judged by a jury which contained a convicted felon ….. from beginning to end, Tony did not have a chance.
A substantial appeal has been filed on Tony’s behalf and is being considered by the federal courts. If you are interested in learning more about the details that surround this miscarriage of justice, we encourage you to visit and register for regular newsletter updates on Tony’s supporters website - http://www.tony-medina.info
Many years ago now, whilst on death row, Tony came to know Dominique Green. As he had done with others, Dominique taught Tony some essential survival strategies - helping him understand the legal process, and how to cope mentally with the stress of life in isolation. Dominique was a poet and artist, and Tony shared these interests. Together, they began to develop a dream that, one day, Tony would be able to publish a book of poetry and essays, supported by a few poems contributed by Dominique. It was hard work for Tony. What to express, how to construct the poems so that they were original and could be understood by the audience he hoped to attract. He decided to begin with a school essay that his sister had written. He loved her for it, but was pained by the knowledge that his family was suffering as well due to his wrongful imprisonment and sentence. Tony was also hurt by the knowledge that his three children would grow up not knowing their father, or fully comprehending the circumstances that had placed him in this dire situation.
As he learned from Dominique, the poetry and essays began to form in his mind, and alongside his other interests, including fine art, he gradually amassed the content of his book. Dominique, true to his word, gave Tony original pieces of his own poetry, and finally Tony began working on the structure of the book. Dominique, a victim of gross injustice, was executed in 2004, leaving Tony to work on toward publication. This did not come quickly. Tony wanted to ensure a substantial level of trust in the person he gave the task to, though he had already worked out how and where publication should be done. He entrusted the cover design to family members of other friends. This was a self-publication exercise as Tony wished to enjoy the satisfaction of as much hand-on control of the final product as possible.
The result, Witness to Murder, is a stunning book by any description. It can be read on many levels, from a collection of quality poetry and prose, to a personal insight to life on death row or to a plea for help. But unifying all of this is a fundamental question we should all try to answer, "What is the value of a man's life?" Those who attempt to answer that question will know that Tony's plea for help is one that we cannot ignore.
Author: Dominique Green was executed in Texas on October 26th, 2004
"There was a lot of people that got me to this point and I can't thank them all. But thank you for your love and support. They have allowed me to do a lot more than I could have on my own . . . . I have overcame a lot. I am not angry but I am disappointed that I was denied justice. But I am happy that I was afforded you all as family and friends. I love you all. Please just keep the struggle going . . . . I am just sorry and I am not as strong as I thought I was going to be. But I guess it only hurts for a little while. You are all my family. Please keep my memory alive."
- Last Words
Dominique Green was executed in Texas on October 26th, 2004. He and Tony became friends as co-inmates on death row. Dominique Green was 30 years old when executed, a man who came of age as an unloved African-American, as poor in spirit as he was in material wealth. Both parents were alcoholics and his father was addicted to marijuana. His mother was mentally ill and tortured and abused Dominique and his younger brothers. To save his fragile brothers, Dominique took their punishment. At age 15, Dominique and his brother Marlin were thrown out of their house by their mother. Dominique rented a storage shed where they both lived, and sold drugs to support Marlin and himself.
One evening in 1992, when Dominique was 18 years old, he allegedly went out with a group of three men whom he knew. They were said to have robbed people at gunpoint. One man, Anthony Lastrapes, was killed by a single shot to the chest. There were no eyewitnesses or scientific evidence to indicate that Dominique participated in this crime, but at the trial the other young men testified against Dominique. In return, the State dropped its capital murder charges against them. Dominique told the police he was there but insisted that he did not commit the murder. Two of the other men, the black men, went to prison, while the white man who admitted being present at the murder and sharing in the proceeds from the robberies was not indicted or prosecuted at all.
During the sentencing phase of the trial - when the jury was determining whether Dominique should live or die - his court-appointed lawyer chose psychologist Dr. Walter Quijano to testify in defense. To analyze Dominique's future dangerousness, Dr. Quijano took into account the fact that Dominique is African-American. He did not however, share this bias with the jury. Recently, the Supreme Court overturned the Death Sentence of Victor Saldano after former Texas Attorney General John Cornyn admitted error because Dr. Quijano testified in a similar capacity saying Mr. Saldano was more likely to be violent because he was Hispanic. Since then, two psychiatrists and one psychologist said that he would not be a danger if allowed to live in a structured setting. Dominique had no prior convictions for violent crime.
After being convicted, Dominique grew and matured dramatically, making one wonder just what the state has achieved by executing him. He helped numerous other inmates, including Tony, to survive the torturous nature of Death Row and had submitted his engaging artwork and poetry in various exhibits around the country and world. His story was told by Thomas Cahill in the book - A Saint on Death Row.
- 11/04/2011 Article in "Fox Houston"
- 11/21/2011 Article in "Fox Houston"
- Article in Turkish newspaper
- 11/04/2011 TV program on "Fox TV Houston" about Tony Medina and his book
- 11/21/2011 TV program on "Fox TV Houston" about Tony Medina and his book
First eBook offer of "Witness to Murder" by Tony Medina
First eBook offer of "Witness to Murder" by Tony Medina
Following the successful launch on Lulu Press of the print version of Tony's book of poetry and essays (with significant contributions from his sister Angie and fellow inmate Dominique Green - executed in 2004), and whilst we await an additional listing on Amazon, we are pleased to offer a complimentary copy by email of Witness to Murder (with every donation of $5) in a format that can be viewed on Amazon's Kindle, or on your computer with the aid of Mobi Reader, Kindle Reader, Calibre and more. The offered file comes in.mobi format which is fully compatible with the Kindle.
Simply click on the Paypal donation link to make your $5 donation https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=7000844. The ebook file will be emailed to the account shown within 24hrs or less.
Please remember that the file is Copyright, and should in no circumstances be shared.
It is Tony's wish that his book be seen by as many people as possible. The excellent reviews received to date indicate that the honest and moving words, in both poetry and essay form, deserve that. Those who have or intend to buy the printed version of Witness to Murder have the benefit of the enhanced formatting of poetry as originally conceived by Tony.
Ilona Leverenz & Peter Bellamy
The Lulu webpage to go to, to begin the process, is:
ADD TO BASKET
Author: Tony Medina
Paperback: 112 pages
Price: £10.25 / $16.43 / €12.09
Publisher: Lulu PRESS / Peter Bellamy
Book Cover: Patrick Walsh & Ellen Smith (USA)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches (US Trade)
Help us to make Tony’s book a bestseller on the Lulu website TODAY!
Best Wishes, Ilona Leverenz & Peter Bellamy
words by Tony Medina
“… when all one has is one`s own thoughts, it won`t take very long for them to turn inwards on themselves, and on the one who thinks them… Where lies the path to insanity.”
What they say about history repeating itself is true. A couple years ago I sat in this very same cage, at this very same steel bunk, typing on this very same typewriter and wrote about this world I`ve been in since 1996… DEATH ROW. For as sure as I am sitting here writing these words, Death Row is undoubtedly a world unto itself.
But that was for a different website, one lost to the World-Wide-Web when someone I trusted a little flipped and erased it all. So my friend who runs this site for me and is struggling with me to help save my life suggested I write about, or describe, Death Row. So here I am again, and in a way it`s poetic… You see, it`s a little after 11:30 p.m. on December 31, 2007. NEW YEARS EVE. Since it was on this night 12 years ago that my whole world was forever changed, it feels right that I spend this time now trying to give you a glimpse of the world I now struggle through.
I`ve been trying to put these words together for over a month but just could not seem to focus my thoughts properly, then earlier tonight, as I was sitting in this cage reading a book a friend sent me, it was like my mind was a Las Vegas slot machine with all the 7`s lined up… Thoughts just started pouring out.
In the more then eleven long years I`ve been on death row (4, 126 days to be exact) I have had a lot of people from the outside world ask me what it is like here. What do we do during the days? How do they treat us? How is the food? Can we make friends? How do you buy stamps and food? What can you have? What do we think about? How do we deal with being trapped in this cage?... A hundered different questions with a thousand different answers. After all, each man back here in these concrete and steel cages has their own way of dealing with being here. So this time around, I decided to do something a little different, this time as I give you a tour through Death Row, I`m going to let you see it through my eyes…
Walking into Polunsky unit is something of a confusing experience for most people first time around. They already have their own ideas of what it will be like. Then they arrive and see these huge concrete buildings, coil after coil of flesh tearing razor wire and fences within fences within more fences – then there is the flowers right outside the front door looking so pretty… How do you process the contradictions?
That`s Death Row folks… A world full of contradictions. Not only is the place itself a contradiction, but many of us within it`s walls are also.... read more