When John Lee’s sentence was overturned, the court stipulated “Retry or release within 120 days.” He was then moved off Death Row to the Safekeeping section of the prison. Sixteen months later, he wrote this to Joanna:
I do not know what is going on throughout the universe, but I have been walking around this hell-hole with a very funny feeling, and I do not like it.
It is like I am not sure of anything any more, like waking up for the very first time in a long time, and seeing everything around me for the very first time in years. I am afraid!!
One cat here on the block with me, about two cells down from mine, have hanged himself. They cut his body down this morning. Can you believe this? Why would someone hang themself?
I have been here too long, I need to get away from here. I talk with this cat every day and he goes and hangs himself! Just shows you never know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. The cat did not have a big charge or anything, and had a chance to go home again. So sad.
A lot of these new cats here on Safekeeping who have never been locked up before and never saw a person hang himself is messed up by this deeply, mentally and emotionally.
Joanna, I am doing all I can to keep this cat off my mind. I can’t believe I was just talking to him the other day, and after my visit with you he asked, “How was your visit?”
I said, “It was a very good one.”
He said, “That’s good.”
Now he is dead.
When I am free, I want to go to the woods and just sit down and hold your hand for hours, OK?