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Excerpt from Letter, May 20, 1999
     "This is the part that's always so hard for me. So often it seems, someone as Manny has his past which was a lifetime ago, but during the years of appeals and prison that person who once existed in him has faded away until he can't even remember. Some guys were screwed up by Viet Nam or drugs or some other darkened influence, but since have authentically transformed into healthy and kind individuals. And that is what often makes it so hard for me to understand this thing we call the death penalty. I see and live apart from the need for retribution felt by the victims and state, and rather, abide within the lives of those who have grown so very repentant. Repentance causes change, and in time, that change transforms one into this rather angelic type of person. Manny was one of those people.

     "I have always kept a log of those men I've known here the last nineteen years, including all who were executed or died from natural causes during that time. In my description of nearly every execution the depiction of the men being surgically removed from life are commonly similar. Like Manny, it says they were gentle, kind, outgoing, and caring individuals. There are specific qualities for each, but all which abide in the genre of 'good attributes'.  The descriptions were not written from bias, but rather were factually accurate in describing the man. I didn't even realize the similarity in what I had written about each until a few weeks ago when I reread nearly two decades of journaling."

- William C. Payton

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