On November 5, 2009, I was in Livingston, TX to meet with Khristian Oliver on the day of his execution. That morning, Khristian's spiritual adviser asked if I'd communicate with another man on death row in Mississippi. He told me that Matt liked to write and would really enjoy communicating with a writer. After my life altering experience with Mr. Oliver, I agreed to do so, but with a great amount of hesitation. Not because Matt was on death row charged with murder, but because I knew he would probably be dead within a year or two. It is very difficult to start a relationship with someone when you know that there is a very definite expiration date on their life. Ask any hospice worker.
So, I wrote Matt a letter. He sent me his essays for critique. We talked books. He told me about his life on the row in Mississippi. He wrote essays about each of the twelve men that have been executed at Parchman while he's been there. He wrote me one letter per month, as he communicated with a lot of people. In the past few months, his letters stopped. I thought maybe I'd said something that made him mad, as I can be fairly blunt about things. At Christmas, he sent me a card to apologize for his lack of communication. His appeal with the Supreme Court was coming up and it would determine his fate. If you would like to see how a death row case is tried, watch the above clip from David Dow.
Mr. Puckett received an execution date at the beginning of this month--March 20, 2012. His family and friends started a petition that will be presented to the newly elected Governor of Mississippi in a few days. They are asking that Matt's sentence be commuted to life without the possibility of parole. If you feel like contacting Governor Bryant to express your opinion, you can contact him here.
March 20 is thirteen days away. I'm trying to compose my final letter to Matt and I'm at a loss. I hope it's not my final letter.
If you care about the sanctity of life and you don't want our government to kill people, please take action.