ethel’s words

Click your browser’s “Back” button to return to SmashingIkons

THE DARK RIDE OF JESSE M. GARCÍA (1941-2008)

Jesse M. García was reared in various institutions in the state of Utah. He was never allowed to use his real name, Jesús María García. He spent his life in prisons, a Utah prisoner, but for much of his life, boarded out to Arizona. He had been sentenced to death in Utah for an in-prison “crime” committed when he was fifteen--barely before his sixteenth birthday. (I took pains to figure out the age at that time.) Attorney Phil Hansen, Dr. Paul Wyler, and international protest saved him.

While he was spending his final years in Arizona prisons--famous for their bragging about how punitive they were--he faced another death sentence. This time, cancer. Prognosis, forget it.

When I learned he was taken--a special trip, by himself--to an urban hospital, I commented, “How nice. He was able to get a view of the outside world and the Arizona landscape.”

“No, no,” said his visitor. “Not at all. All the back windows of the vehicle were covered with opaque black and there was a shield separating the back seat from the front so he couldn’t see anything outside of the back compartment of the vehicle.”

Ethel C. Hale

Written -- May, 2010