24 YEARS…

24 YEARS…

Rolando Ruiz is set to be executed by the State of Texas this Tuesday, March 7th, at 6pm Central Time. I write to Rolando and was able to meet him while visiting Ramiro in Texas last August. He’s been in prison since 1992. He is 44 years old and has been on death row for …

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TEXAS, YOU REPULSE ME

TEXAS, YOU REPULSE ME

Texas executed Terry Edwards last night. Terry had been on death row since 2002 for the murder of Mickell Goodwin and Tommy Walker. Terry, and his cousin, Kirk Edwards, decided to rob a Subway and Mickell and Tommy were murdered. Kirk made a deal: he pled guilty to the robbery and was handed a 25 …

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FIVE YEARS…

FIVE YEARS…

Five years ago, as something of an experiment, I was asked to write a song for use in one of Rosedale United Church‘s Advent services. It was for Magnificat Sunday. I finished the words to “May it Be” 20 minutes before singing it. I stood before the congregation, seven months pregnant, channeling my own anxieties …

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WHEN THE INTERNET HAS ITS SAY ON EMPATHY

WHEN THE INTERNET HAS ITS SAY ON EMPATHY

What a week. On September 3rd, the Toronto Star released an article written by Amy Dempsey about my relationship with a Texas Death Row inmate named Ramiro Gonzales.  I had thought the story was going to be buried in the Life section.  It was a little crazy seeing Ramiro and me smiling from the front page. …

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Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery (Peckerwood Hill)

Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery (Peckerwood Hill)

Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery is located in Huntsville, Texas.  It is the final resting place for inmates who die within the prison system and whose bodies are not claimed.  Although most of the graves contain inmates who died of natural causes, those with stones marked with an ‘X’ were executed by the state.  For many years, …

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WE ARE ALL BROKEN BONES

WE ARE ALL BROKEN BONES

Today was bittersweet. I’ve spent 10 hours over the past few days visiting with my friend, Ramiro Gonzales.  Ramiro is currently on Texas Death Row for a crime he committed when he was 18 years old.  Today was originally set to be his execution day. But I should back up… Saturday night I drove the 90 minutes …

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HERE WE GO…

HERE WE GO…

I am currently sitting in the Columbus airport on a four hour layover waiting for my connecting flight to Houston.  I can’t say I’ve ever felt a burning desire to see Ohio, but I have had a burning desire to sing this song: Because, CAROL BURNETT! After landing in Houston I will have to find my …

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OPEN LETTER TO GREG ABBOTT & THE TEXAS BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE

OPEN LETTER TO GREG ABBOTT & THE TEXAS BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE

Update July 15, 2016: Ramiro Gonzales’ execution date has been withdrawn and rescheduled to November 2nd, 2016. July 12, 2016 Governor Greg Abbott Office of the Governor P.O. Box 12428 Austin, Texas 78711-2428 RE:  Clemency Request for Ramiro Gonzales #999513 (Execution set for August 10th, 2016) Dear Governor Abbott, My name is Bri-anne Swan.  I …

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THE PEAR TREE

THE PEAR TREE

A couple of weeks ago I asked Ramiro Gonzales if he would like for me to post something on his behalf. This is his offering. There was a man who had four sons.  He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things so quickly, so he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to …

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THERE IS PLENTY OF BLAME TO GO AROUND

THERE IS PLENTY OF BLAME TO GO AROUND

Ramiro Gonzales is not the only person who failed Bridget Townsend on January 15, 2001. My inbox has been busy.  I’ve been receiving a lot of email related to this blog post about my correspondence and friendship with Ramiro Gonzales, an inmate currently on Death Watch in Texas. Many of the emails and comments have been …

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