"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Keith LaMar: 'The State of Ohio is trying to kill me. I am innocent. Please read my story'

Keith Lamar Condemned
Keith Lamar Condemned
My name is Keith LaMar (aka Bomani Shakur). I was sentenced to death in 1995 by the State of Ohio for crimes I did not commit, and I have been held in solitary confinement for over 20 years. My case has now reached the final stage of the appeals process.

In 1995, I was sentenced to death on charges related to the 1993 prison uprising at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, even though there was no physical or forensic evidence linking me to the murders that occurred during the uprising. 

In fact, prosecutors actually withheld critical evidence (confessions, indictments, etc.) in the case that could have proven that I was innocent of the charges brought against me.

I recently wrote a book titled, Condemned, that gives my account of what happened during and after the Lucasville Uprising.

Here is a website that helps to explain my situation.

My supporters also produced a documentary that tells my story. You can watch it below.

It's my hope that you will take the time to read my book, to learn more about my story, and join me in my fight to stay alive. I have no idea how or when all this madness will end, but I'm grateful to be alive and to still be on this side of reality. - Keith LaMar.

Q and A from Reddit:

- What was the original charge you were serving for? If you didn't commit the murders, who did?

- Keith LaMar: The original charge that I came to prison for was murder. I was a drug dealer, prior to coming to prison. A group of guys came to rob me one day. A shootout ensued. I shot a man twice in the chest, and was myself shot twice and left for dead. Unfortunately, the man I shot died, and I was sent to prison. I was sentenced to 18 years to life. With respect to the riot and who killed the prisoners that I was convicted and sentenced to death, a member of the Black Gangster Disciples, came forward and admitted to killing one of the individuals I was convicted of murdering. In other instance, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, was indicted of killing someone for whom I was later convicted and sentenced to death. In another instance, another prisoner admitted to killing an alleged informant, and claimed that I gave him the order to do what he did. But he made these claims after being coached by the prosecution. In fact in nearly every instance where I was charged for killing someone in the riot, I could point to an exact culprit to the crime. But, the state withheld this evidence during my trial, depriving me and the jury of having access to this very important information. I explain this all in greater detail in my book, Condemned, and I ask people to go to my website, www.keithlamar.org, where they can view these statements for themselves. I realize in speaking about these things it sounds unbelievable. But, I'm not asking anyone to take my word for anything. It took me over ten years to uncover these statements that were withheld from me during my trial. I now have these statements, I now have these indictments, I now have these conflicting statements and the evidence speaks for itself. I'm not making this stuff up.

- Do you feel being in for murder already played a role in people not believing your innocence?

Keith LaMar
Keith LaMar
- Keith LaMar: I believe so. It's not hard to understand how that would play a part in people coming to that conclusion, and that's been a great hurdle for me to overcome. I believe that is part of the reason why the state selected me out of an array of other individuals, and why it's been so easy for me to blatantly violate my rights. I understood this going into this whole thing. I've been dealing with the criminal justice system since I've been 13 years old. Yes, earlier in my life before the Lucasville Uprising, I took someone's life, but this person that I killed was my childhood friend, we played basketball. In 1988, the year crack cocaine became an epidemic, we found ourselves on opposite ends of a crazy situation. I was a drug dealer and he was a dope fiend. He came to rob me, and this tragic thing happened. So, people have to judge me in that context. I wasn't sitting on my front porch taking pot shots at random strangers. I was defending myself against someone who intended to do me harm. Yes, I took somebody's life. But, I'm not a killer though. I suffer greatly for what I've done, not merely because of the fact that I've been in prison, but from the knowledge of knowing that I took another human being's life. This is the thing that prevented me from taking the state's deal during the trial after the riots. from pleading guilty to something I didn't do. Taking someone else's life and losing my own life in the process, made me appreciate life. Made me want to do something with my life. And so when the prosecutors came to me and asked me to give up my life for something that I didn't do, I couldn't do it. The state offered me life sentences if I copped to the murders I didn't do, but I chose not to. That is when they pursued the death penalty against me. We as human beings make mistakes. Big mistakes and small mistakes, and if we're lucky, we learn from those mistakes. We become better than what we were. We become smarter than what we were. And when we know better, we can do better. And that's what I've been trying to do.

Amazon.com Book Review:
Condemned: the whole story is the first-hand account of Keith LaMar's (a.k.a. Bomani Shakur) experiences during and as a result of the Lucasville Prison Uprising of 1993. LaMar has spent 20 years in solitary confinement on Ohio's Death Row, awaiting execution for crimes he allegedly committed during the longest prison riot in US history in spite of an abundance of suppressed evidence to the contrary. LaMar vehemently denies any participation and sets out to prove to readers how the State of Ohio knowingly framed him in order to quickly resolve (under great public pressure) their investigation into a prison guard's death. Condemned: the whole story forces readers to grapple with the notion of (in)justice for the poor and the conflict of interest inherent within the for-profit prison industry in America.

Customer Review (Amazon.com):

- Condemned is powerful, first-hand account of the horrors rampant in our broken American criminal (in)justice system.
By Amy Gordiejew, Youngstown State University on February 19, 2014

This book will grip you at your very core. Not only does Keith LaMar lay out exactly why he is innocent of the charges for which he has spent 20 years in solitary confinement on Ohio's death row following the 1993 Lucasville Prison Uprising, he forces you to grapple with how much State-sanctioned injustice we, as citizens, should be willing to sit back and quietly accept. It's a book that begs to be read in one sitting, full of emotion and the horrific graphic details of life inside prison walls. LaMar's powerful style of writing easily communicates complex and often baffling legal processes; he literally brings your blood to the boiling point through his beautifully sad recollections of torture and broken promises, Constitutional violations and courageous and hope-filled battles. Keith LaMar has somehow remained intact mentally, in spite of years of isolation, always holding on to that one bit of light: his truth that he would rather die proclaiming his innocence, than have taken a deal that included freedom in exchange for an untrue guilty plea. Moreover, Keith teaches you about living--really living in a meaningful way--no matter what walls hold you captive, because love is the only real freedom. You will never be the same after you read this story. I hope you will feel compelled, as I have, to join Keith LaMar to fight for his life.

LaMar Condemned
By Barbara Wolf

This compelling 36-minute documentary focuses on one of the men who was convicted and sentenced to die in the aftermath of the 1993 Lucasville Prison Uprising. The film titled, Keith LaMar, Condemded, looks at the root causes of the prison uprising, validates allegations that Keith LaMar was railroaded in a death penalty case, and points to the prosecutors’ misconduct as being a central fact in many of the trials related to the Lucasville prison rebellion.

The final appeal arguments in Keith LaMar’s death penalty case were heard December 2, 2014 before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio. Keith is awaiting the decision of the federal justices on his final appeal. If the judges do not rule in Keith’s favor, the State will move ahead with its plans to execute him. 

To learn more about how to get involved in the Justice for Keith LaMar Campaign, contact the film’s producers, Scioto Peace and Justice, a chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation located near the Lucasville, Ohio Prison. (email lorryswain@yahoo.com or call 606 932-2383)

Source: DPN, September 23, 2015

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