I’m Kenneth Eugene Gage, age 66, a former Silicon Valley suburbanite, college drop-out, registered voter, solid employment record, no prior criminal or arrest record.
I’ve served now 36 years of a Life Without Parole Sentence (LWOP) for the 1981 death of one member of a meth-crazed predatory team well-known to police, who threatened to kill my then-pregnant wife and I. The prosecutor charged this five-minute panicked altercation in my home as a torture-murder in an attempt to secure my execution, yet the only real evidence of torture is the jury foreman’s check mark on a verdict form. I have no information that this foreman was a “ringer” for the State, but curiously hearing the same evidence other jurors asked the governor in writing to intercede or grant me parole.
Despite long decades of imprisonment, I am not self-righteous, bitter or angry. My early work as a law library clerk exposed me to other prisoners, most often Blacks and minorities, suffering far more injustice than I. In my case, much of the criminal past of these predators, including their murder of a Jewish youth to steal his motorcycle, was hidden from jurors, the prosecutor claiming this would be “prejudicial to the State’s case.” But reading case-law, I learned that under our adversarial justice system, such evidence manipulations are routine.
I’ve met and tried to help a variety of LWOP and Life-sentenced inmates, politically labeled the ‘worst of the worse’, or ‘unredeemable’, yet many were grossly over-convicted with mitigating factors concealed or not presented, a few even prosecuted where their innocence was discovered prior to trial. Over long decades, I’ve watched as murderers with factually identical cases, or worse than Capitol case prosecutions, were/are routinely paroled.
I’ve lobbied lawmakers to (1) end the Death Penalty as such ultimate moral judgment is not within human competence, (2) provide a review mechanism for release of thousands of harmless geriatric convicts who have served 20 to 50 years or more, costing taxpayers billions in poor medical care, (3) convert to a truth-based, restorative justice system, the model long-ago adopted by European democracies, and (4) to convert our politically-dominated Department of Corrections to more professional management, providing both work-for-pay experience and contemporary vocational education free of obstruction by powerful prison employee unions. I’ve recently completed a lengthy manuscript detailing my experiences and findings.
I am currently a Self-Help Peer Music Instructor teaching piano and guitar to other inmates, both participating in and supporting Solano’s new Art-In-Corrections program. From a music-business family, I’m urging the Department to treat music as a vocation because, from jazz to hip-hop, it’s one of few career options which remain open to parolees. Will respond to any inquiry.
Kenneth E. Gage C-71542
PO Box 4000
Vacaville, CA 95696