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Socialist Review Index (1993–1996) | Socialist Review 179 Contents

Socialist Review, October 1994

Peter Linebaugh et al.


Voices from death row


From Socialist Review, No. 179, October 1994.
Copyright © Socialist Review.
Copied with thanks from the Socialist Review Archive.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


In our July/August issue we printed an article on the racist nature of the death penalty by convicted death row prisoner, Michael Ross. Here we print a letter from historian Peter Linebaugh, who sent us the article about Michael, plus some requests for pen friends from other death row prisoners in Texas. We have a number of other addresses if people want to correspond.

I wanted to give you a short update on the case of Michael Ross. The state supreme court granted him another sentencing hearing. He is less likely to ‘volunteer’ for execution, and this is a direct result of our letters to him, as well as conversations he has had with us abolitionists. However, he is still not sure. I shall let you know if I think there is anything else you can do to help.

Meanwhile, I enclose a packet of pen-pal requests from prisoners on death row, largely in Texas. Since my main point at Marxism 94 was to state that resistance to capital-punishment must begin with those under the noose, it may be that you will have received inquiries from SWP members about some human contact with men on death row. Even if not, you may wish to bring these requests to the attention of people you meet.


Peter Linebaugh

My name is David Stoker, I am a 34 year old white male. I am on death row for a crime that I didn’t commit. I am in hope of finding someone to correspond with through the mail to help take my mind out of this place and off the sentence of death that I have.

I guess it would be best to tell some about myself. I am not married. I was, but not any more. I have a son Nick that I have never seen. I have a picture of him, that is all. I like to read spy novels, westerns and horror novels and listen to music. I like some sports like hunting, fishing, playing football and baseball but not watching. I also like camping, bicycling and water skiing. I also like action movies.

I have been on death row for six years now. Since being here I have lost a lot, such as friends and family. It can be a lonely place for all. I am hoping to get my murder conviction overturned. It should be easy since I didn’t do the crime. But here in the States it doesn’t always work out that way. So all I can do is hope. I would love to be able to get out so I could continue my life.


David Stoker #892
Ellis 1 Unit
Huntsville, Texas, 77343

I’m a 26 year old Afro American. Much of my time is devoted to art. I enjoy drawing portraits, animals, flowers, etc. I’ve been on death row over six years. I’ve had two execution dates. However there are several very positive factors occurring concerning my case on appeal, and hopefully I will one day regain my freedom. Anyone that knows me – family, friends, attorneys – know that I’m not capable of committing murder, and it is very possible that I could soon have my case reversed on appeal and prove my innocence during a new trial.

I’m sure many people wonder what is the worst part of serving a death sentence. For me, it’s losing so many people, especially the ones who were my friends, to the execution chamber. Then there’s the boredom. My art work, nor anything else I could do to help pass the time, could ever take the place or be as important as a friend on the outside, someone that understands and cares what happens to me. I don’t just expect a pen-pal to write only positive letters. People on the outside have problems just like I do. We can share the good times along with the bad. Thanks for taking the time to read my letter.


Gary L. Sterling #931
Ellis 1 Unit
Huntsville, Texas, 77343

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