Douglas Lee Wright

photo of Douglas Lee Wright 3-29-2017
Doughlas Lee Wright, March 2017

April 2017


. . . has served almost 39 years in California prisons as inmate number 013994, will be 74 years old this year, is a U.S. Army veteran, has no prior arrest or conviction record, but is now in extremely poor health.

Doug has shrunk to five foot seven and some 120 pounds. On the picture here on the left, his “Mobility Impaired” green vest and orthotic shoes are visible; he currently needs yet awaits hip replacement surgery.

This profile prepared by: Ken Gage

There may once have been good cause for Doug’s imprisonment, back in 1979, but today his continuing daily torment equally punishes California taxpayers. Collectively wasting billions in tax dollars annually, Doug is one of thousands of harmless and decades-serving geriatrics in California prisons. The State should release Doug today!

After honorably serving eight years in our U.S. Army, and with a wife and child in Hawaii, in mid-1979 Doug was enticed by persons in Solana County California to visit a would-be friend-acquaintance to provide allegedly urgent financial and personal aid. However, it soon became clear that this man was befriending and leaching off of Doug to support a drug habit — Doug, a “square” non-smoker non-drinker, generously but foolishly aiding this con-man, a man well-known to local police. Assuming this man to be armed, the result of this conflict was that Doug, under extreme mental and financial pressure, fired several shots at this man outdoors in front of the residence, tragically killing three who attempted to either shield or aid this man. This man, the instigator, managed to survive by hiding behind a tree.

Doug squarely admitted his culpability, repeatedly expressing extreme remorse. However, Doug’s jurors were treated to altered testimony of witnesses at his trial, testimony curiously and substantially different from their initial police statements — pressure tactics routinely applied by prosecutors scheming for a maximum penalty. Yet the jurors, likely confused by Doug’s patriotic and clean record, refused to reward the prosecutor with a Death Penalty sentence.

Amazingly, state records show that after having served fewer decades than Doug, some persons convicted of murder-robbery, kidnap-murder, multiple murders, rape-murder, etc., are now paroled, while various schemes for early release of young men and addicts bound to reoffend are planned to relieve prison crowding. Yet thousands of harmless geriatrics remain imprisoned at outrageous expense for both their custody and poor medical care. These are tragic cases for both victim and prisoner families, but taxpayers are not at fault.

— Ken Gage