28 June 05

Red & Bones

Soft-spoken Red, a new addition to our pod who I enjoy playing chess with, is one of the most likable people I have ever met. His nickname stems from his long wispy orange hair and beard. Bespectacled Red limps due to degenerative bone disease in his right knee, a condition requiring him to wear a leg brace, to use a quad cane and to take 1800 milligrams of Ibuprofin every day.

This evening, after a game of chess with Red, he revealed the injustice that got him a 36 year sentence in September 1987. He then divulged an incident that occurred in October of 2000 whereby he and his codefendant Bones saved two prison employees from being raped and possibly murdered by three inmates trying to escape — two murderers and an armed robber —who had planned to go on a violent crime spree. After listening to Red and reviewing his legal paperwork I am convinced that neither he nor Bones should be in prison.

At age 23 Red quit truckdriving and moved from Springdale, Arkansas to Tucson, Arizona to study electronics. Red was a pot smoker and partier, and one evening he rented his Tucson home to a drug dealer. After being paid with an ounce of weed, Red went partying all night.
Meanwhile, at his house, a man who had robbed a drug dealer was beaten with a billy club, taken out into the desert and shot in the back of the head with a shotgun.

The victim survived, the crime was traced to Red’s house and Red and Bones were arrested. Although Red protested his innocence and the victim was unable to identify him, the authorities pursued the case. A plea bargain for 10.5 years was offered, which Red, who was confident about winning a jury trial rejected. An inept public defender was assigned to the case and despite having alibi witnesses and the prosecutor blatantly coaching the victim to identify Red during the trial, Red was found guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated assault. The judge doled out the maximum sentence for each charge. One of the aggravating factors being that Red, by maintaining his innocence, must have been remorseless.

Red became a model inmate. Excelling in mathematics and computer studies, he earned 77 college credits, an associates degree and a paralegal certificate. Then in October 2000, Red and Bones risked their lives to save two of their captors.

At ASPC Tucson, three dangerous lifers (one of whom had shot a female cop during a routine traffic stop) attempted to escape. A shank was held to a female guard’s throat as she was handcuffed to a chair and tied up with duct tape. The same was happening to a female contractor in the sign shop where Red worked. When he heard the contractor cry out for help and one of the lifers say, “ I just wanna tie her up and have some fun,” Red and Bones sprang into action. They disarmed the lifers and freed the women. Their actions allowed backup to be called and the escape attempt was ended.

The two female hostages received medals of valour and were credited by the local press for thwarting the escape. Red and Bones were locked down, fired from the sign shop and transferred to a different prison. Red, armed with a thank-you letter from the husband of one of the captives, requested a sentence reduction but was denied.

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

I am dumbfounded at what I have just read Jon. I do hope that somewhere along the line help will be given to your friend.
Terry B

Anonymous said...

Hello. My name is Cody Bates. I was apart of the original indictment that first landed Jon in jail. His co-defendant to be exact. Now that my legal troubles are behind me, I feel that I can have more of an out right voice as one of Jon's home base supporters. There are few people in the world today who mean more to me than our friend Jon does. He, long ago, surpassed the title of friend to me and became my brother. I'm sure most of you know of the torturous underworld that Jon became apart of once he was arrested; however Jon was not alone. In the beginning I was physically there with him. Jon makes no exaggeration of the conditions of the Arizona legal system. NONE. Joe Arpaio is riding the crest of a dehumanizing wave of facism. We are all lesser people for allowing Arpaio to stay in power.

My thoughts turn to Jon on this Fourth of July Day because it was on this day in 1994 that I lost my oldest brother, Rick. I was 17 at the time and if he were alive today he would be 42. Not long after his death I wrote a little something that I call "Brotherhood." I've shared it with Jon and I will end by sharing it here today.

Written on 11.9.94 in memory of Rick Bates 7.4.94

In the name of truth I ask no more.
In the vain of youth there is a common core.
That has no name and bares no soul,
yet a heart pumping blood black as coal.
As cold as ice the fire burns on.
No trust in God, my faith is gone.
So much evil enslaves the good.
Alone I fall, alone I stood.
I have no fear
nor feel the love I should,
and believe in only one thing

Cody Bates

Copyright ©2005 Cody G. Bates

Anonymous said...

That is a sad, sad story, but one I am familiar with. Well, not that one in particular, but many like it. I can't say that I blame people in general for wanting to believe those in authority over those in jail. They mean well, I'm sure. And most of those who claim innocence are probably not ... or even sociopaths. I wish there was some way I could help Red, but I really don't know what I could do. They certainly don't listen to people like me either.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps "they" don't listen to you because you have a name like Suzy Kabloozy!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the very moving blog and poem Cody

Jon's parents

Anonymous said...

What's in a name? At least Suzy K. is manifesting the best in human behaviour by showing that she cares.Good for you Suzy!
Jake Zuhbrain

Anonymous said...

Are drugs at the root of all this inhumanity?

Anonymous said...

A bad society is at the root of this.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please take this seriously, if you know someone high up in politics or the department of corrections or anything please send this to them maybe they will help. We have been trying for 18 years to get someone to pay attention to what has happened. Red is my brother and the family want very much for the wrongs against him to be corrected but nobody will pay any attention.