May 2nd, 2010 | Sunday
I was just speaking to my neighbor who is scheduled for execution a week before I am. He says that it is over for him and he was asking about my thoughts of the afterlife. Honestly speaking I have my two feet firmly set in this life and am not ready to give up on myself yet. I entertained his conversation though because eventually death is just as certain as taxes.
So the Afterlife… God. Heaven? Nirvana? Home. Who can be sure where we go? We talked about near death experiences. He told me of having been in an auto accident and that he was medically dead for 5 minutes. He says that he felt safe where he was and did not want to come back but was forced to. I don’t understand why he has an ugly feeling in the pit of his stomach if he experienced such a profound calmness that he was forced from. I told him that. He says that he has become attached to this world again. Of this I can understand. I came close to being executed before and I recall the acceptance that I felt which gave me great relief in the face of death. It was more than religion. It was God’s will itself holding me steady. I did not make it to the afterlife, obviously, and am really happy about that. I can tell you about a man I met a month after my arrival on death row. I was let out into a large recreation area among other men however next to this large recreation area was a smaller cage. In that smaller recreation area was a man who was scheduled to be executed that night. I walked past and he called me so I stopped to speak with him. I had not known that he was to be executed that night. I recall the glossy look in his eyes as he spoke of his pending death. I thought that he was deranged when he told me that for years he had wondered about the afterlife. He said that on this night he would finally find out. His curiosity got a grip of me and he knew because he looked at me and said that if I wanted to know, at 6:00Pm when his execution was taking place for me to turn off my radio and to look around me for a sign. He said if there was any way that he could communicate with me, he would. That night I sat and concentrated on everything around me. Nothing happened. No screeching or sounds of chains. No cup tipping over or the toilet flushing on it’s own. Nothing.
Rogelio Cannady was serving a pair of life prison sentences for killing teenage sweethearts in the Rio Grande Valley when the fatal beating of his cellmate put him on death row.Cannady, 37, was set to die Wednesday evening in Huntsville for the slaying nearly 17 years ago. He was the first inmate condemned under a state law that allowed prosecutors to seek the death penalty for inmates accused of murder. Cannady says his confession to the initial slayings had been coerced, and that the wrongful conviction led him to death row.“I should never have been in prison to begin with,” the soft-spoken Cannady said in an interview with The Associated Press.On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed in February. His lawyers have another pending in the federal courts.Cannady was condemned for the Oct. 10, 1993, killing of Leovigildo Bonal, 55, with whom he shared a cell at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice McConnell Unit in Beeville.Records show Cannady punched Bonal, beat him with a padlock and kicked him repeatedly until he fell unconscious.Cannady insists the older inmate — also convicted of murder — made sexual advances toward him and that the beating was in self-defense.“I think anybody would have done the same thing, fight to protect themselves,” he told The Associated Press recently from death row.Corrections officers found Bonal on the floor of the blood-covered cell, and he died two days later.Cannady was charged with capital murder under a 1993 law intended to ease prison violence.He had arrived in prison about 2 1/2 years earlier, serving two life sentences, after pleading guilty to the 1990 murders of two runaways from a youth home.Ricardo Garcia, 16, of Freer, and 13-year-old Ana Robles of Brownsville, were found dead in an irrigation canal near La Feria, about 30 miles northwest of Brownsville. Cannady was among four teenagers convicted in the slayings that left Garcia stabbed 13 times and Robles raped and strangled.