UPDATE: May 25, 6:50 pm. John Alba has been executed.
Tuesday, May 25, Texas is scheduled to execute John Alba (TDCJ info). He has a 10th grade education.
John Alba, 54, is set to die Tuesday for killing his wife nearly 19 years ago. He will be the 11th Texas inmate executed this year unless his attorneys succeed with an appeal filed Monday in state court.The U.S. Supreme Court refused last week to hear an appeal in which Alba’s attorneys argued his death sentence violated his civil rights because prosecutors emphasized the fact that Alba was Hispanic and his slain wife was white when they questioned potential jurors.
Another execution is set for next week in Texas. George Jones faces lethal injection June 2 for a fatal carjacking robbery in Dallas 17 years ago.
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Below is an undated letter from John Alba from the website www.johnalba.com
Greetings from Texas death row
Let me tell you a bit about myself: I am a 48-year-old Mexican man. I have been on Death Row (D/R) for 14-years. (I first arrived on D/R in May 8, 1992) I have 4-children, and 9-grandchildren. I have my mother, four brothers and one sister. My father died when I was 15. I never did finish school. I quit school after my father died so I could work full-time and help my family. Work was not a stranger to me, as I had worked since a young child in the cotton fields, chopping cotton and picking cotton. We were poor so all of the family had to work so we could eat and survive.I have been thinking back on these past 14-years and I am trying to remember how many men have been executed, but it’s been so many that I have lost count? I know, at least, 250 men, some who were my friends, or most who I had met over the years. It was a sombre experience to be speaking to these men, knowing that in only a few days, sometimes the next day, they would be dead. Some accepted it, some didn’t. One man, whose image stays in my mind, I will never forget. As they were taking him out of our wing to be executed, he stopped at my cell to tell me “good-bye”. It was his eyes, his eyes were wide open with fear. I felt his fear (if that is possible to explain) it was so overwhelming. That, took place in 1997, and more than 5-years later, I still see his eyes
My days on Death Row (D/R) are spent locked away 23-hours-a-day in a 6-x-9 cell. We are allowed to recreate for one-hour each day. One shower a day. There are no TV’s on Texas D/R. We are allowed to buy a small plastic radio from the prison commissary store, and that is our ‘entertainment’. We are allowed to correspond with free-world people. So as one can imagine, mail-call in the evenings are our ‘highlight’ of the day, what we look forward to each day. We cannot receive packages from the free-world, we must buy everything we need from the prison store. We can only receive books from the publishers or website book sellers like Amazon.com. We are allowed one (2-hour) visit every week. However, we are also allowed 2-special (4-hour) visits every month, as well – but only if our visitors are coming from over 350-miles away, which my family does not qualify.
Every 6-months, they lock down the entire prison and they search our cells and personal property. It is then that we are fed a sandwich 3-times a day. We are only allowed to shower on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. No recreation. It is hard to be locked away in prison, in a small cell, with nothing to do, nothing to occupy your time – and mind. A human mind needs to be stimulated. My cell is painted completely white, which can play havoc on ones eyes. I have had to put up magazine pictures on my walls so as to break the whiteness.
My daughter Sabrina wrote to me 2-days ago! She hopes to be coming to visit me soon – which I am looking forward to seeing her again. It has been almost 2-months since I last saw her because she recently gave birth to my youngest Grandchild, Thomas. It has been even longer since I last saw her other 3-children). But they have to go to school so I can understand. And it is a long drive (4-hours) to this prison, from their home. Children can get “cranky” on long trips! But I do love speaking to them, as they have so many questions to ask, and so much love to give. Yet, they still don’t understand ‘why’ they cannot touch “Paw-Paw” (Grandpa) as we are always separated in the visit room by a thick glass. I too, wish I could hold them but we have to be content to press our fingers against the glass and somehow feel each other’s warmth through the glass – or imagine it. My other children have had 5 kids between them, so I have 9-grandchildren total. I saw two of the youngest in December 2001. I hope to also see them again soon.