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Jun 14, 2010

Here we are again - at the eve of another Texas execution.  The United States Bureau of Prisons never answered the Neal family's Freedom of Information Act request regarding the secret arrest and wrongful death of Larry Neal.  The United States Department of Justice REFUSED to answer the Neal family's Freedom of Information Act request about Larry Neal.  The murder of my mentally and physically disabled brother is instead covered up by authorities, murderous police were protected from investigation and accountability, and our family is censored and persecuted for asking how/why Larry was murdered (see ).  The justice system in America should show a semblance of respect for human life sufficient to (1) come clean about Larry Neal's murder by the government, and (2) acknowledge that the "right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" necessarily means DNA tests for convicted persons who request them to prove their innocence, (3) stop using America's mentally ill citizens as commodities for prison profiteers, and (4) say DEATH TO THE DEATH PENALTY.  Please see the notice below from the Texas Moratorium Network regarding the impending execution of a man who has repented from his crime, unlike America's murderous justice system, which refuses to even give my family records or information on my brother's secret murder in their custody.

June 14, 2010

Dear supporter of Texas Moratorium Network,

David Powell is scheduled for execution on Tuesday, June 15, in Texas. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has voted 7-0 against commuting David Powell's death sentence or granting him a stay.  Powell, 59, was convicted and sentenced to death in the May 18, 1978 death of Police Officer Ralph Ablanedo during a traffic stop in Austin.

If you are in Austin, please attend the demonstration against the execution

of David Powell. The demonstration is Monday June 14, at 5:30 at the

Texas Capitol. Meet on the sidewalk at 11th and Congress.

Groups organizing the Monday demonstration include Let David Live, Campaign to End the Death Penalty - Austin, Texas Moratorium Network, Students Against the Death Penalty and others.  Join the Facebook page for this event here.

Everyone please call the Travis County District Attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, and leave a message that she should do whatever she can to stop this execution, for example she could ask Governor Perry to issue a 30 day stay of execution or she could ask the trial judge to withdraw the execution date. Call her even if you have signed the petition. We want her to be getting calls all day Monday and Tuesday.

You can call DA Rosemary Lehmberg's office starting at 8 am Texas time on Monday at:

512 854-9400.

We know several tv stations that will be covering the Monday demonstration, so please attend if you can or ask your friends in Austin to attend.  Help us build the demonstration to show that Austinites do not support this execution!

David Powell has spent 32 years on death row, where he has become an example of how a person sentenced to death can transform his life and make a positive contribution to his community on death row as well as on the society outside prison.

There is less violence and better relationships between people on death row because of David being alive. You can read testimonials from people on death row about how David has affected them positively in his application for clemency.

David Powell was convicted in Austin, which many people believe is the most progressive city in Texas. We are asking the district attorney in Austin to reflect the values of the community and ask the convicting court to withdraw the execution date for David Powell.

Austin's newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, has written an editorial saying a fairer sentence in Powell's case would be for him to spend the rest of his life in prison, instead of being executed. The Austin Chronicle has also said the execution should be stopped.

Sign the email petition to urge District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to ask the convicting court to withdraw the execution date for David Powell.

You can also send an email to Governor Perry using his online email form, but the first action we are asking people to take is to contact Rosemary Lehmberg.

Watch a video on YouTube of the press conference we held last week with David's attorney, uncle and supporters


David Lee Powell, convicted and sentenced to death in 1978 for the murder of Austin Police Officer Ralph Ablanedo, is scheduled to be executed in Huntsville on June 15, 2010. 

There will be a large group of people attending outside the prison walls, including Austin Police Officers.  In fact, the Austin Police Association has chartered a bus and booked a block of discounted hotel rooms to bring in as many uniforms as possible in a show of force, or as they call it, “support for the family”. 

In other words, they will be celebrating the death of David Lee Powell.
The Austin Police flooded the courtroom with up to 100 uniformed officers every time David Lee Powell was sentenced, showing the jury that they lived for his death.  Now, 32 years after the first trial, even though many officers were not even born when this crime occurred, the torch has been passed. 

The Police Association is out of step with the community that its members serve.  As police officers, the members of the Association serve with dignity and honor and provide a critical and much appreciated service to the community.  As people who celebrate the death of another person, out of some sense of getting even, they bring dishonor to themselves and Austin.  Though they will not string David Powell up in a tree, the revelry they plan conjures up those haunting images.

There has been a spirited movement to try to halt David’s execution, spearheaded by a group calling themselves Let David Live.  The idea that, after 32 years of living in desperate conditions on Death Row, after his case has been reversed twice, the State of Texas still means to execute this man is intolerable to many people in Travis County.  Those people have mobilized to flood the DA’s office with letters and calls, asking her to withdraw the death warrant.

David is an extraordinary human being, as the video “Saving David Powell” and his website will attest.  See David’s story at

David held all the promise and hope of the gifted college student that he was in the late 60s.  He was an idealist who fell into using methamphetamines, became addicted, and lost his way. By 1978, he was struggling inside a deep speed psychosis, and in this state – frightened and paranoid -- he killed Ralph Ablanedo after a traffic stop.  David has expressed deep remorse, managed to find ways to invest his life with meaning, served innumerable needs of others on Death Row, teaching and mentoring scores of people, and apologized to Officer Ablanedo’s family.  Except for the terrible murder of Officer Ablanedo, David has no history of violence, before or after this incident – even during his 32 years on Death Row.

The public needs to know that the man they are killing has moved in the direction of redemption for three decades and is an immensely valuable and productive human being.  They should know that, in the waning years of the death penalty in the history of our country, they are putting to death a man who is utterly unworthy of execution and indisputably worthy of life.  They should know that putting David Powell to death is as much a testament to the non-viability of the death penalty as is the execution of people who have been wrongfully convicted.

And the people of Travis County, the most progressive county in Texas, need to know that they are supporting a policy of vengeance instead of true justice.

To learn more about the case of David Powell, visit or watch a 29 minute documentary, divided into four parts on YouTube: Part one, Part two, Part three, Part four.

David has expressed remorse for his actions in 1978. Because of the sincerity of his remorse and the compassionate life he has led while on death row, David deserves to have his sentence commuted from death.
Read an article in the Austin American-Statesman about the letter David Powell wrote on December 31, 2009 apologizing to the family of Ralph Ablanedo, the officer he killed in 1978.

If David Powell is executed, he will be the 460th person executed in Texas since 1982 and the 221st person executed since Rick Perry became governor. He will be the 13th person executed in Texas in 2010. 

Donations are welcome to help us fight the death penalty in the number one execution state in the U.S. You can send a check made out to:

Texas Moratorium Network
3616 Far West Blvd, Suite 117, Box 251
Austin, Texas 78731

Donations can also be made online using a credit card by clicking here.

Donations are not tax-deductible, because TMN's main purpose is to lobby the Texas Legislature to stop executions.

Thank you for helping us stop executions in Texas,

Your friends at Texas Moratorium Network

Apr 18, 2010

(13 paragraphs, 4 links, 2 email addresses)  Below is an excerpt from Hank Skinner's account of March 24, 2010 - the day he was to die in a Texas execution chamber.  The United States Supreme Court issued a stay of execution within an hour before his scheduled death.  Skinner had pled for the justice system to give him an opportunity to test his DNA against evidence used to convict him, but his requests were denied.  Hopefully, Skinner can prove his innocence during the stay that the High Court granted.

Skinner relates what happened during his near-death experience.  He said being allowed to spend time with his daughters during the final visit that condemned men have was worth the agony of facing imminent execution.  He had not seen them or held them in his arms for many years, and he had never touched one of his children before enfolding her in his embrace during their heart-wrenching visit.  

Skinner wrote, "I really enjoyed my final visits, especially with my daughters. My oldest daughter, Natalie Jo, I have not held her since she was 5 or 6, not seen a photo of her since she was 11. My middle daughter, Kristen Nicole, I’ve never seen her in person, although I’d been in her presence when she was a kid.  It was very difficult for me to sit there and look at them as grown women."

After visits ended, as the clock ticked and prison guards readied the lethal injection room, Skinner was given last rites and another opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones by telephone.  Skinner's account in the excerpt below starts at the point when he completed those final personal calls.

Hank Skinner wrote:
I’d finished making all my calls but I ran over, past 5:00pm. So my last call was to my lawyer. Official news of the stay came at 5:40pm, the Sgt told me. So I was 20 minutes away from death – they kill you at 6:01pm. Doug told me, “hello? Hank? You have the most uncanny sense of timing of anyone I know.” I’m like “Yeah? Why is that?”; he said “Well…” and hesitated. The way I heard “well”… I thought he was gonna say “the Supreme Court just turned you down, I’m so sorry”; but instead he said “we just got word the Supreme Court granted you a stay and set the case for their conference calendar”.

He said some other stuff but I couldn’t hear it ‘cause I’d dropped the phone and was too busy whooping and hollering to hear anything. I kinda slid down the wall and caught the receiver up and thought I heard him say they’d be up to see me tomorrow. So I quickly hung up and asked to call my daughter Kristen so I could tell her and Natalie Jo, which I did. Kristen immediately started crying – I’m like “child, I swear. First you’re crying ‘cause I’m gonna die, now you’re crying ‘cause I’m gonna live?” She says “but Daddy, I’m so happy!” Well, Hell. I guess I couldn’t argue with that, huh.

Mentally though, I could not process this stay right away. I felt, physically, like a thousand pound weight was lifted off my chest. Then I felt so light and thought I was gonna float off the ground and my chest started hurting ‘cause my heart was beating so hard. I was trying to talk to Chaplain Hart and Lt Seitz, but I really couldn’t hear what they were saying because of the buzzing in my ears.

Skinner wrote that he was calm as he ate his last supper.  He felt that many people all over the world were praying for him, and he was able to stay strong even during that last day.  Skinner published a way for people to communicate with him while he waits for whatever comes next.

"If you e-mail me at or my wife or pastor’s wife is who gets it, out there. They print it out and mail it to me." 

My mail is often prevented.  If you write to Hank Skinner, please send him a copy of the article that I wrestled for hours with cyberstalkers to publish.  Send him this link, please: 

Tell Skinner I had to leave my home and face in-person stalkers who follow me to public libraries when I am prevented from using my own PC due to illegal takeovers. My home computers are placed on cyberstalkers' Intranet in order to prevent my activism for condemned prisoners like Skinner and others who suffer in the justice system.  I was prevented from uploading any articles  for Michael Sigala, the man who Texas executed on March 2, a few weeks before Skinner's planned death.  Whenever cyberstalkers wish, they prevent me from going online.  I have spent thousands of dollars I could not afford trying to end the illegal censorship, but they prevail.  I use online services at major networks to advocate to decriminalize mental illness and protest capital punishment and other human rights abuses. However, I face intense censorship.  Recently, I positioned the names of several condemned men who I advocate for in Twitter's "real-time search field," but none of my tweets appeared.

In the days leading up to Skinner's execution, my access to Internet services from my home computer was severed.  Tell Skinner I found the courage to leave home on March 23 to write an appeal for his life and add my voice to the many thousands of others that cried out against the injustice that his execution without DNA testing would have been.  Let him know that I did not try to put my Skinner article in a Care2 eCard, because my eCards for Thomas Arthur and Cameron Todd Willingham arrived to addressees blank on September 1, 2009 - all of my data had been stripped from the eCards to interfere with people learning about those cases.  Also, gMail went down the same day, which prevented me from sending information about the wrongful executions via email.  Most of all, please let Skinner know that he was right.  People were indeed praying for him as he said goodbye to his family, ate the final meal, and received last rites.  Assure Hank Skinner that Almighty God heard our prayers and granted him mercy.  The heart of the king is in God's hands.  We give Him all the praise for Supreme Court justices who stayed the executioner's needle, and Hank Skinner yet breathes.  God loves justice!

Hank Skinner's full account of his near-death experience is at this PrisonMovement link: 

Mary Neal

Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill 

May 18, 2009

Excerpts from News Article

Seven of the original eight jurors who condemned Workman now say they doubt he shot Oliver. Five of them have signed sworn statements that they would decided the case differently had they known then what has come to light today. But it is Paula Dodillet, Oliver's daughter, who has attracted national attention for joining those jurors in their pleas for granting Workman clemency. 

- In 1999 the defense finally tracked Davis down in a Phoenix motel room ( a "vagabond alcoholic" who testified as an eye-witness for the prosecution at Workman's trial).  He tearfully confessed on videotape that he saw nothing, but was bullied by members of the Memphis Police Department to testify otherwise. 

-An X-ray (which was not used in Workman's trial, but surfaced 17 years later) shows that the bullet that killed Officer Oliver did not fragment inside his body. This is significant because it most likely was not a .45 bullet - the kind of ammunition Workman's gun used.

[There was a hearing to determine if Workman deserved a new trial.]

-It looked as if the majority of judges would vote in favor of granting Workman a new trial [based on new evidence]. But at the last minute, two senior, or retired, judges - both appointed by Republicans - decided that they wanted to be part of the panel. Senior judges have the right to join deliberations when they choose. Those same judges also happened to be on the three-judge panel that had already denied Workman's request for a new trial. The senior Republican judges swung the en banc vote to a tie.

Entire article at: 



NEW INFORMATION: Officer Ronald Oliver, the murder victim, was one of three Memphis police officers who responded to the 911 call when Philip Workman robbed Wendy’s Restaurant on August 5, 1981. Months prior to being killed while attempting to apprehend Workman, Officer Oliver had crossed a police picket line. After the strike, Oliver was placed on guard duty at the jail for a period of time, possibly because of animosity against him by his fellow officers. He was killed almost immediately after resuming street duty.   More about Philip Workman’s case is available at this Wikipedia link:  

Dr. O.C. Smith was the Chief Medical Examiner when Officer Oliver was killed.  His testimony at Workman's trial was key evidence for the prosecution.  Thirteen years later when Workman's execution was imminently pending, Dr. Smith is alleged to have staged a kidnapping -- of himself.  Dr. Smith was found in a stairwell to the Shelby County Medical Examiner's office with his head wrapped in barbed wire, explosives and notes secured to his body.  The notes accused Dr. Smith of lying about bullet trajectory during Mr. Workman's murder trial. 

Despite Dr. Smith's apparent attempts to cast doubt on his damning testimony about bullet trejectory during Oliver's murder without making an outright admission of perjury, and despite other new evidence presented above, Workman was denied a new trial and executed by the State of Tennessee on May 9, 2007, after having spent 17 years on death row and saying final goodbyes to his daughter 4 times.

Dr. Smith was indicted by the feds for staging his own kidnapping and for the explosives, but never stood trial.  Some of the federal attorneys were reportedly dissatisfied about that and quit their jobs over it.  There was discussion around trying Dr. Smith in 2008, but that did not happen either.  One cannot examine Smith's "kidnapping" without possibly exposing other criminals among police officers and higher-ups, and having to examine the possibility that Tennessee denied an innocent man a well-deserved new trial, kept him on death row for 17 years, and killed him in disregard of the fact that the main witnesses used against him had both recanted - Davis, the alcoholic vagabond who police put forth as an eye-witness to Oliver's shooting, and Dr. Smith, who apparently tried desperately to cast doubt on his own expert testimony used to condemn Workman.

I suppose Workman's execution was pretty important to those two retired Republican judges who stepped out of retirement to swing the vote against a new trial for Philip Workman.




Philip Workman's case came to my attention while researching the Memphis Coronor's office after the secret arrest and wrongful death of Larry Neal, my mentally ill brother who MPD arrested and held in Shelby County Jail for nearly three weeks, but denied having him under arrest until he died on August 1, 2003.  This was presumably done to kill Larry by depravation of his heart medication because police were tired of "fooling with Larry Neal," as a county employee warned one of his relatives two weeks prior to Larry going "missing."  But despite Larry's numerous arrests caused by his acute mental illness, the State of Tennessee refused to re-hospitalize him as an inpatient, as he had been for about 20 years before many mental institutions were closed in the 1970's.

Although it appears that Workman did not kill Officer Oliver, at least he tried to rob Wendy's and created the chaos that resulted in the officer's death.  My poor brother, on the other hand, was guilty only of being sick and DENIED inpatient care.  The only thing Larry Neal created was a headache for Memphis Police officers who tired of "fooling with" the acutely mentally ill black man who they knew had a heart condition requiring prescription meds.

For being sick, Larry got a back-door death penalty.

The poor copy of the autopsy report we received from the Memphis Shelby County Medical Examiner's office appeared incomplete, and we were informed there was no coronor's inquest or other investigation being done regarding Larry's arrest and death. Despite asking for nearly six years, that faxed autopsy report and Larry's death certificate are the only documentation Larry's family has been able to ascertain on his final arrest and wrongful death. 

The (Johnnie) Cochran Firm Fraud was used to prevent our lawsuit against Shelby County Jail and the State of Tennessee. The USDOJ, which was in oversight of Shelby County Jail following a lawsuit by the USA for aggrevious violations against inmates, refuses to investigate Larry's death.  Dr. O.C. Smith was also Chief Medical Examiner when Larry Neal was autopsied, and it was interesting to learn that Smith seems to have a history of using his position to cover for police.

I can certainly see why those federal attorneys quit their jobs after learning they would not be allowed to take Dr. Smith to trial.  They are probably honest people who found they worked for a corrupt agency that stands AGAINST justice - the USDOJ. 


See our Freedom of Information Act Request to the USDOJ regarding Larry Neal's case at this link:

FOI Request to USDOJ re: Larry Neal and The Cochran Firm Fraud

Read more about justice issues facing mental patients and others in my articles:  

WATCH how the USDOJ in our new administration handles the Secret Arrest and Wrongful Death of Larry Neal and the conspiracy of fraud as well as the endangerment of Larry's survivors to keep his death secret to determine if the USDOJ has actually CHANGED.

Mary Neal

Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill

Radio Interviews:

Wake-up Call BlogTalk Radio
Jan. 2008:  "The Wrongful Death of Larry Neal Show" 

Real Talk with Brothas Keepa
May 2008:  "Mental Illness in the Black Community"
http://www.blogtalk nbbta/2008/ 05/28/Real- Talk-With- Brothas-Keepa

The NVO Radio Hour
Second Guest - Mary Neal
March 2009:  "CHANGE the Justice System"

LAST THING THEY EXPERIENCE. Please join us in our
quest to decriminalize mental illness in America.
No one should be punished for having a disability.


Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.


Mary Neal
, 5, 2 children
Atlanta, GA, USA
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