Matt’s Story (by Warrior)

Warrior - Serving fourteen years for kidnapping and aggravated assault. Half Hispanic and Scottish-Irish with family still in Mexico. Brought up by a family steeped in drug commerce. He writes some of the best prison-fight stories on the Internet.

This story is a continuation of Warrior’s previous blog that you can read by clicking here.

As Mike and I were caught up in chatter, the holding cell door echoed a piercing crack! There was a time when that noise used to startle me. The escorting officer had radioed for it to be unlocked. The steel door shrieked against being opened, then suddenly finding its tracks, it opened smoothly as though it remembered what it was meant for. Then in walked Matt.

I immediately recognized Matt before he noticed me. Though I hadn’t seen him in years, he was still pale, gaunt, with blond curly hair that hadn’t been cut and was close to an Afro. Matt was 52, but his years of drug use and rotten teeth made him look 72. His square shoulders and over-sized glasses were reminiscent of the 80’s.
“Gilbert?” Matt squinted, unsure if it was me or not.
“Matt! Damn it’s a small world,” I said with a welcoming smile.
“It is you, Gilbert!” he said with an enthusiastic roll of the head. He flailed his arms as if he couldn’t believe it was me. We shook hands.

I was happy to see Matt too, although the nature of our rapport couldn’t really be labelled as friendship. I used to sell drugs to him in our old neighborhood. In prison though, a familiar face alleviates the misery of the circumstances. It’s also perhaps comforting to know someone familiar is experiencing the same misery.

Matt was one of those people I met that I could never forget. He knew me as Gilbert, one of the many aliases I’d adopted over the years. You do that a lot in the drug game. Matt had a wife, kids and a home. He was what drug users like to call a functioning addict. Although he had a $100-a-day habit, his bills were paid, kids taken care of, and wife seemingly happy. Despite this, at that time I viewed Matt as I would any other addict: no sympathy, no remorse, a sucker feeding his addiction in order to fuel mine for easy money.

There came a day when I viewed Matt in a different light. His wife, Sherry, had phoned me to meet up with her on his behalf. Matt’s sickness was getting the better of him, and I had his medicine. Sherry was a short heavy-set woman with oily blond hair, both due in part to years of work in the fast-food industry. Her aquiline nose suggested a little French in her ancestry. She wore the pants in the family. I don’t know what compelled me to ask her about Matt. Perhaps I was puzzled by how a strong opinionated woman such as her could juggle work, kids and family duties in addition to being the wife of an addict, and for some odd reason support Matt’s habit instead of rallying him to quit.

I pulled up around the back of Sherry’s workplace. She was out back smoking her usual Salem cigarette. We made our exchange while chatting.
“Do you mind if I ask you something?”
“No, go right ahead, hun.” She always had a way of throwing in hun at the end of sentences. It sounded more maternal on the back of her age, kids, and having a hard life.
“I know it’s none of my business, and if you don’t feel comfortable answering, I’m cool with that, but why do you enable Matt’s habit? You guys are not the type of people I’m used to dealing with. You’re not bottom feeders.”
Sherry inhaled the last part of her cigarette while composing her reply. She then flicked the cigarette butt with that cool unexpected speed and nonchalance that influences people into smoking. “You know, Gilbert, if he didn’t get it from you, he’d get it elsewhere,” she said, casting her head down as if shamed by the reality. She then raised her head in complete honor, and replied, “I love that man, and I don’t think you know the story about us.”

She began to tell me their story. They’d been together twenty plus years, and were high-school sweethearts. They grew distant after high school. Sherry began college and Matt found himself mixed up with the wrong crowd. Despite this, they still kept in touch. Matt followed a friend to Arizona, to escape and start new. Sherry ended up pregnant, and dropped out of college. She began to live with the child’s father. Through all this they kept in touch, and it was obvious the love was still there. The father of Sherry’s child was abusive to her, and Matt tried to persuade her to leave him, come to Arizona with the baby and start over, even possibly finish school. Then suddenly Sherry called Matt crying, hysterical, wanting him to come get her.

Sherry told me how she found her husband raping their three-year-old daughter. She was raped so bad she had to be hospitalised for months. Matt was on the first flight back to Baltimore, where they were originally from. Sherry’s husband was arrested, but released on bail. Matt got Sherry an apartment, stayed by her through the criminal and divorce proceedings, in addition to the lengthy reconstructive surgeries her daughter had to endure.

Sentencing finally came for Sherry’s ex. He received only probation. Now Matt being the man that he was back then meant that the sentence wasn’t justice in his eyes. I seriously doubt anyone could view that sentence as just. So Matt went to the local hardware store, and purchased a framing hammer. He showed up at Sherry’s ex’s house and beat his head in. The ex didn’t die, but would be severely handicapped forever. Matt was arrested, and sentenced to 10 years. He was out in 6. Sherry stood by him the whole time, but unfortunately he became hooked on drugs while in prison.

My jaw hung open in awe as I listened to the story of her and Matt. The man I viewed previously, as another despicable addict, I could no longer view the same way. Nor could I sell to this man any longer either. I’d come to respect him given what I’d learned. That was the last time I saw Matt and Sherry, until I ran into Matt in the prison medical-holding cell.

Do you think Matt was justified in bashing the rapist's head in with a framing hammer?

Warrior’s blog, Rapist on the Yard, touches on the same issue of vigilante justice/violence against sex offenders, and sparked a lot of comments.

Our friends inside appreciate your comments.

Post comments and questions for Warrior below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

it does seem unreasonable that the rapist got probation,

Ghost

Sophie J said...

This story really is shocking and also very moving, I love to hear about drug dealers who have a heart and act accordingly (by not supplying). They are heroes. Certain drugs should be legal anyway, it would halt some unnecessary problems that co-exist with drug taking.

Boy oh boy its a cruel world. The judge who gave such a lenient sentence surely must have known how inflammatory his or her judgment was ... that judge is an idiot, and who elected them to that position anyway?

Anonymous said...

Shaun I just to say that I love your work! I like how you help out these prisoners by printing their storys! Keep up the good work Shaun Attwood! Your #1 Reader Stephanie Munoz

Anonymous said...

I have a 1 year old daughter and just the thought of someone doing that to her would make me want to kill them....or badly mutilate his "manhood" THEN kill him. I wonder how that judge can live with himself after letting someone like that walk free???

Anonymous said...

Boy this is definitely going to stir up the pot on this blog Shaun! I however feel the punishment was too light. A hammer head should have been followed up with sodomy with the long end of the hammer handle. And a three year old girl at that? Probation? Yes, street justice dished out properly. -Jose in San Diego.

Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

I just recently went to see the movie "The Lovely Bones". I'd like to think that in a world where such savagery meted out to innocents is possible, so is the justice it must provoke, either here or in the next life. I can understand why Matt's wife stayed with him.

bioengineered said...

justice depends on who and what you are.
i think that in society we all play the game and have rules that some of us follow and some dont,written and unwritten. a chomo (child molester) plays the game like all of us and takes the risk of street justice when they decide to deviate from what is accepted by society and subcultures. is it fair? not always. is it justice? sometimes.this is an accepted dichotomy between 2 often extreme variables.

all in all we have to remember that we play the game and have to interact with other players, don't tilt the game and you might not lose your plays.

my analysis would be that the child predator was served his due proper by the right person for the job.

Anonymous said...

But if people take the law into their own hands we end up in chaos and anarchy. Surely the judge who knew all of the facts of the case made the best decision.

Law Abiding Citizen

leigh said...

having worked for a judge and with many judges over time i would like to deny the validity of Law Abiding Citizen's statement regarding judges knowing all the facts in order to make the best decision. judges are a hot mess, have far too few checks to keep them in balance and frankly have a great tendency to be stuck on a power trip far removed from reality.

i think this story is a great example of how we cannot look at life in a black/ white good/ evil sort of way. it's interesting to have one of these stories out there to communicate that the path to prison is not as cut an dry as so many would have us believe.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it was justified, but it's certainly understandable.

Anonymous said...

Matt's addiction I do believe is a problem that he needs to over come.

As for Matt's action towards Sherry Ex-Husband, with no hesitation I would have done the same thing Matt did. No child should ever have to be a victum to such unthinkable act. By law Matt's action was inexcusable. But as a human being Matt's action was pure justice.