Meet Norman Williams

Norman Williams

Norman Williams

My name is Norman Williams, I’m 48 years old and I was born in Jamaica. Raised in the mean streets of Southside, Central Kingston by a single mother of five children.

During the political civil unrest, in the 70’s and 80’s, my neighborhood experienced the most-documented brutality of that time. In 1978, ten young men were lured out of the neighborhood by government agents and five were murdered, the other five escaping — these men were my cousin and my friend’s father.

One of these men was a part of the Jamaica National Soccer Team, and my hero. This incident is called the “Green Bay Killing.” The following year, 1979, I was shot in my face by a stray bullet at age eight when a rival member came to my neighborhood and shot it up. I almost lost my eye and spent over a month in the hospital.

By the time 1980 had arrived, the unrest was at an all-time high in Jamaica; the military teamed up with the rival political party and massacred people at a party (this was called the “Gold Street Massacre”). Eventually, my mother immigrated to the United States after that incident.

Me, my brothers and sister followed behind, gradually one after another. I arrived in the U.S. as a teenager in Brooklyn, New York with my single mother working two – sometimes three – jobs to take care of her children. I got seduced by the false hope that came with selling drugs and enticed by the luxuries it gave, though inevitably, I would get arrested from time-to-time for misdemeanor marijuana sales and carrying a concealed weapon.

On 11/24/1995, a drug deal negotiation-gone-bad ended with a human being losing his life. I can’t erase or change and will not forget – the question of guilt or innocence doesn’t end there, I’ve fully grasped the trickle-down effect one brand of choices can have.

I have numerous self-help laudatory Chrono’s, a diploma in Bible study, eight certificates from ECS Prison, Vocational Computer certificate, a certificate for Non-Violence Workshop (AVP), M.A.N.U.P. Chrono and
certificate, as well as Self-Help Facilitators mentoring chrono.
With strenuous circumstance and this violent environment without any rehabilitation assistance from CDCR, I am committed to my emotional and spiritual growth, welfare, and society.

Sincerely,

Norman Williams K-80125
CSP Solano A5-225
PO BOX 4000
Vacaville CA 95696

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Billy Davis’ Bio

Billy Davis and his Mother (2018)

Billy Davis and his Mother (April 2018)

Billy with his friend, around age 15.

This bio for Billy Davis was written in collaboration with his mother (Janet Davis). you see, Billy is developmentally disabled and visually disabled because of pre-mature birth, with a cyst in his brain that was not identified until the age of ten. Nevertheless, as an adolescent/teen, Billy became as sociable as his condition would allow, including fulfilling a romantic interest with the love of his life.

Billy also made friends with ease, especially male figures in, or above, his age group, which, in his naïve heart and mind, was a marvelous thing, however, that innocent interacting with others would prove fatal because – due to his under-developed brain – he was subject to manipulation by those who held little or no regard for his safety or well-being. To  everyone’s dismay, at age 19, Billy was implemented in a crime, along with others, (found guilty) and sentenced (under the Felony Murder Rule) to Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP).

Billy as a young man in prison.

Billy as a young man in prison.

In the year 2000, while housed at CSP-Calipatria, Billy was stabbed several times and also received massive blows to his head causing the Cyst to rupture, caused cerebral spinal fluid buildup in his brain
triggering displacement of the brain stem, spinal damage and an enlarged cyst. After several surgeries and time spent in Segregated Housing Unit(s), Billy is now housed at CHCF, where he receives the much-needed medical/mental healthcare.

From his hand, he shares these words:

“I have been in jail/prison longer than I haven’t! Because of my medical condition, from birth, I wasn’t able to put my own thoughts together. So, I just took comfort in doing what I was told. While I still need to be told what to do, more and more, I’ve been realizing that I can make thoughts myself. While I’ve been in prison a long time, the CCCMS, DDP, CHURCH and GROUPS have helped me, and when I get out, I’d like to keep being able to learn from them. I’m also wanting to help change the way people think about each other, they should want to do all they can for each other. As for me, though, in its own way, my medical condition had positive aspects too. Unfortunately, I just don’t/can’t think of what is going to happen next. What I do know, though, is that if I don’t help everybody else, how can I ask for forgiveness myself!”

Through Billy’s many medical battles and misfortunes with the justice system, his family, mother, grandfather and sister have been there every step of the way; hoping, praying for a humane resolution of Billy’s cause.

In 2017, his family petitioned the Governor’s Office for a compassionate release, however, the family still waits for a response. Long before the judicial and prison systems misfortunes, Billy was born six (6) weeks prematurely, triggering hospitalization, surgeries resulting his arrested development in all areas of growth; he did not walk, or talk, until age two (2). Sadly, Billy’s trial attorney failed to present any of his developmental / visual disabilities during the course of trial.

Regardless, sentencing anyone in Billy’s condition to LWOP, and forcing them to serve out such is most cruel and inhumane. And, I am hopeful that we (citizens of California) can work together, and through legislation, to amend existing laws, or, create new ones that take into consideration the under-developed mental status of those LWOP’s who were above age nineteen (19) at the time of the offense and reconsideration for those offenders who have since fallen mentally/physically ill, and would be better off at home or a non-prison setting. So, let us be brave and work in a united effort for all those (like Billy and the taxpayers who pay for their long-term incarceration) who deserve better.

Billy Davis and his mother (June, 2018)

Billy Davis and his mother (June, 2018)

Robert Henry

Congratulations my fellow prisoners who maintained the struggle and faith in the fight to get parole consideration for many prisoners serving Life Without Possible of Parole (LWOP).

“Your voices,” by way of application for commutation of your sentences, petitions to the courts and 602’s (appeals) have resonated with the courts, California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and most importantly the Governor of California, Jerry Brown and his staff.

On May 17, 2018, myself and several of my friends and associates have received commutation hearings from the Governor’s staff for the prospects of getting our sentences reduced for demonstrating good conduct, redemption and unusual sentences based on lack of participation in the crime.

They (Governor’s staff) are considering all of the issues “we” have been arguing for the last five years or so that no one should be given LWOP as a first termer, aider and abettor or as a youth offender under current law.
The Governor, the courts and CDCR would not have known our cry for justice and equality without us voicing our opposition through politically motivated legislation.

My thanks go out to the Lifers with Optimistic Progress (LWOP) its facilitators, coordinators and members at CHCF and CSP Solano for encouraging me to be optimistic, the Governor’s office and its staff for being objective, professional and courteous. In addition, to the CDCR for respecting the process.

Sincerely,

Robert Henry D-32467
CHCF PWC-108u
PO BOX 31960
Stockton California 95213

Introducing Deandre Hill

Deandre Hill with his supervisors from the volunteer educational program

Deandre Hill with his supervisors from the volunteer educational program

Hi there – my name is Deandre Hill, I am 29 years old, and I am serving a sentence of Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP).  In 2008, I was convicted of murder robbery under the Felony Murder Role as an aider and abettor.  I take full responsibility for my participation in the robbery although there was no intent on any of this happening.

I did not commit the homicidal act nor did I have any knowledge that it was going to happen. However, I still regret my participation and wish that I could have done more to prevent it.  I am now a husband, stepfather, uncle and a better role model for many youth as well as my family and I am passionate about promoting education and giving back to my community.

I was born and raised in Oakland and am the youngest of 4 siblings with two brothers and a sister.  My father has been incarcerated throughout my whole life. In 2003 when I was 14 years of age, my mother passed away from cancer.  I then went to live with my grandmother with very little time she taught me a lot.  Responsibility, good work ethics, proper goal setting amongst many other things.  Unfortunately, I still sought guidance and approval from my peers who were the wrong role models.

I have now matured and I strive to give back to society in any way that I can.  I have maintained employment throughout my incarceration as a tutor and clerk within the education department.  I have earned my GED and I am now in pursuit of my AA degree.  I have completed several self-help programs as well as facilitator training.  Furthermore, I have managed to stay clean of any violence for 10 years now with hopes to be a better example to other young men.

Letter from a Lifer Without Parole with Positive News

Dear Kid CAT,

I am writing this letter to show my appreciation to you for allowing those of us sentenced to Life Without Parole (LWOP) as youths a voice to the world. Despite being excluded from recent law changes pertaining to youth offenders, we remain hopeful of future law changes that will include those like myself who are left out.

With recent changes in CDCR pertaining to LWOPs in February 2017, many of us LWOPs were allowed to come to a Level 2 (a lower level security prison). I am proud to say that we have successfully integrated with the Level 2 population in a dorm setting.

Although we continue to be excluded from vocational training, LTOP (Long-term Offender Program) and PIA jobs, we are afforded more opportunities here on Level 2.

Please continue reading this letter in the San Quentin News.

Kenneth Moore: Dreams Derailed or Deferred My Story

picture of Kenny Moore squatting

Kenny ‘Moe’ Moore

It’s funny how throughout childhood and adolescence, one can dream so bright and vividly about his/her future; a future vision that might include the highest heights in education, sports, first love and yes, even scoring social ratings. My childhood, which began as the sixth son to loving and devoted parents, was no less exciting and bright, through my heart and eyes. In fact, if asked even today, many would probably say, “… Kenny Moe (as I was known) was a happy-go- lucky, free-spirited kid that family
and friends enjoyed being around!” Now, soon-to- be sixty, my inner-child holds dear to all the goodness that I dreamt of and was exposed to growing up.

However, during the summer of 1978, at the ripe-old age of nineteen, my life and outlook – that once appeared so broad and attainable – suddenly took a horrible turn towards complete darkness. I discovered, early one Saturday morning, a warrant for my arrest had been issued for auto-theft and home invasion robbery. Somehow, as young and naïve as I was, I believed in “The System” enough to surrender to the police so that this matter could be sorted out and I’d return to my life and family shortly thereafter.. or so I thought. At age nineteen, I was certainly no saint and, having had one prior conviction for auto-theft, I immediately confessed to the theft of the pick-up truck in-question, not realizing at that point that it had been abandoned at a home invasion robbery, for which, without even realizing, was only the beginning of this chaos and the end of my daydreaming.

I was ultimately charged with robbery, auto-theft, sexual assault, and a host of related crimes.

Maintaining my innocence the entire time, I was later convicted and sentenced on all counts minus the murder charge, receiving life without the possibility of parole, and present day, am now in my thirty-
ninth year of incarceration. I have fought long and hard to prove my innocence all these years with petitions in federal court. DNA testing with the help of the Innocence Project in 2007, retesting by Cybergenetics (2017) with the latest technical advances in DNA testing both have excluded me from the evidence held by Santa Clara County.

The Alameda County DA refuses to allow testing of whatever evidence they hold, denying all petitions so far to free up the evidence so that it can be tested. Moreover, with absolute confidence, I know it would exclude me as well.

Fast forward, the aim and purpose of joining the C.A. LWOP Group initially had little to do with my own freedom or me. Instead, it was far more important, or so I thought at the time, to use the facts and circumstance of “who I am, and what happened to me,” in hopes to educate younger men and women of today, their parents, legislators and community leaders that your sons and daughters, too, are just as
much at risk of becoming the next crop of CDCR prisoners serving LWOP as a result of simply being in the wrong place, with the wrong person(s), at the wrong time due to the current status of the C.A. Felony Murder Rule (FMR). A person does not even need to be “personally present” when a murder takes place — yes, knowledge, planning, or assisting in flight from the scene of such offenses is enough, under the law, to convict you of aiding/abetting felony murder, making all parties eligible for the death penalty or life without possibility of parole.

Imagine, for a moment, the faces, emotions, and mind-set of teenagers and/or young adults from all walks of life who suddenly find (as I had) that because you are closely associated with someone or provided something to someone who committed murder, you too, under the law, are now just as responsible for capital murder without ever having such intent or a clue that anyone would be seriously injured, or killed.

I implore all who visit the Lifers With Optimistic Progress (LWOP) website to learn from the lives destroyed as a direct result of the over-zealous and disproportionate use of the Felony Murder Rule.

Until recently (2017), the California Legislator refused to repeal or abolish FMR as other States and Countries have. Thus, we need the public’s help to assure that the “Felony Murder Rule” no longer incarcerates those (like me) who HAVE NOT COMMITTED MURDER , no longer be held criminally liable for the murder committed at/by the hands of others.

Today, in the midst of my deferred childhood dreaming, I’ve found HOPE, LIGHT and PROSPERITY in – among other things – teaching fellow inmates how to read and write, introducing them to an entirely new world. I’ve spent years helping others understand the fundamentals of State and Federal law, how it attaches to their criminal cases, assisted in and created programs to help LWOPs/Lifers cope with the stresses and pressures of prolonged incarceration (Insight Circle), tackling issues such as loss (deaths) of family and friends. Through all this, I’ve cultivated and cured many of my own dysfunctions, and learned to overcome inner darkness/depression through thirty-five+ years of meditation practices coupled with my Faith in God.

So, although my childhood dreams have drastically changed shape and direction, I still see the world and my place in it, the opportunities and blessings that come my way in vivid technicolor, and with the help and kindness of others. I’m laying “new tracks” that will better secure the cargo of my dreams for tomorrow, especially the dream wished into reality—called Freedom!

Kenneth Moore C-16557
CHCF Stockton, California

photo of Kenny Moore and his wife

Kenneth Moore and his wife

picture of Kenny Moore on Thanksgiving 2017

Kenneth Moore with his grandchildren Liliana and Ronan on Thanksgiving 2017