Our Dear Friend Mike Lambrix left us on October 5, 2017
He went from the Darkness to the Light..

Monday, December 21, 2015

Letter from Mike from Death Watch (Part II)


Mike thanks everybody who has sent him cards, letters of support, prayers and wishes! He much appreciates, and is deeply touched by,  any way you have reached out to him and feels blessed that so many people care about him. Any messages and comments you may want to leave here will be sent to Mike too.

Mike asks  you to read the page his son Cary Michael Lambrix has created, his son is trying to raise the money needed to visit his dad for the last time..


I’m now on my second week of my death watch experience with about two months yet to go until my scheduled execution. With the process they apply in determining whose death warrant to sign they had to know by signing my death warrant on November 30th and scheduling my execution for 6:00 pm on February 11, 2016 that it would mean that I will be down here on death watch through the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays. Obviously, Governor Scott and his staff had to know that both State and Federal Courts will be out for the holidays. So, why would they sign a death warrant at this time?



You know it really doesn’t bother me personally as I wasn’t exactly expecting much of a Christmas anyways. If Governor Scott and his staff thought by putting me under an active death warrant over the holidays would somehow inflict that added measure of misery to a man they intend to kill, then they are wrong as it won’t really bother me. In some ways, I will actually have a better Christmas now.


But what does bother me is how this will affect my family and friends, all of whom did nothing to deserve this. Talk about a heart of stone and the Grinch that stole Christmas. I’ll bet Governor Scott gave absolutely no thought whatsoever to the pain he inflicted upon my parents and children and sisters and my dearest friends who give so much of themselves to support me. Nobody ever thinks about how all of this affects those closest to the condemned.


The last time I was on death watch in late 1988 it was so much easier as I had no one. ( Read about Mike's stay of execution in 1988) My family and I were estranged and I had no close friends. Even my three children were then too young to know what was going on. But in the years since then I’ve grown close to my mother and stepfather, who for many years now visit regularly. And my kids are now grown with kids of their own. And I’m truly blessed with my small group of close friends who so selflessly give so much of themselves to be there for me. Already this is causing them so much pain.


Now I find myself wishing that I were alone again as I don’t want them to have to go through all of this. Last week when my parents came to visit for the first time since my execution date was scheduled, I could see the pain in my mother’s eyes and how much this was taking out of her. My sisters came with them. I had not seen them in a few years and I could only watch helplessly as they struggled to fight back the tears and I just wanted to hug them through it. Once I went on death watch I was no longer allowed regular visits, but all visits are now non-contact (through glass). I tried to joke around and make them laugh, but I know they saw right through me… tears of a clown. I struggle with that conflict ~ I want so much to see them, but I don’t want them to be hurt by what is yet to come. Everybody keeps asking me how I’m doing but it’s how they’re doing that concerns me the most. 

When that visit ended I was escorted back to the death watch floor and before putting me back in my solitary cell they measured me for the execution suit. You gotta love the irony of that ~ for 32 years I had to wear whatever clothes they would provide, only too often baggy pants and bright orange shirts. But now that they intend to kill me they want to buy me a nice new suit that will be custom tailored to fit me. I guess it’s sort of like dressing a turkey up for the holiday feast… I got to look good when they lay me out on the gurney in front of the witnesses. It just wouldn’t be proper to kill a man while he is dressed in baggy pants and a bright orange shirt. When it comes down to it, it's all about the ritual, and perhaps that’s the most tragic commentary of all ~ they’ve carried out this ritual of death so many times that they’ve perfected every detail and nothing is left to chance.


I once read about how during the Holocaust, the Nazi's went to great pains to methodically record every detail of their process. The records were so meticulous that they even kept records of the records. And it’s the same on death watch here, as an officer is assigned to the cell front whose only job is to meticulously record in a green log book, marked with my own name, everything I do. Even as I write this he sits not more than ten feet away with that log book in his hands undoubtedly writing down that I am sitting at my small desk writing. It’s not personal ~ it’s merely his job. If he didn’t do it, someone else would have to.


The truth of the matter s that I’ve never been treated better by the prison staff than I am now. From the warden on down, there’s not even so much as a suggestion of malice in any of them. Given my previous experience on death watch years ago, I expected some to deliberately go out of their way to taunt us as they did back then, but this warden has no tolerance for such misconduct.


The cell I’m now in is huge and took sometime to get used to. I don’t know what the exact measurements are but I’d guess that it’s about eight foot by 12 foot, give or take a few inches. As long as I remain on “Phase II” my personal property stays in the cell with me, including my T.V. and MP3. My music continues to be my escape from all else around me and it’s a comfort to have.
A few night after I was moved down to death watch the light in my cell went out. Not long after that the toilet clogged up. I’m told that this particular cell had not been used in a while as the Governor usually only has one person under an active death warrant at a time. There’s only three cells down here and Oscar Bolin is in the first cell about 10 feet away. Both the light switch and the toilet were fixed the next morning.


When I read about how the Nazi’s killed the Jews at their own infamous death camps, I recall how they would place the condemned prisoners in long lines that led to long buildings and they would be told that it was a shower. Presumably they had no idea they were actually being led to their deaths in industrial sized gas chambers and spared that agony of imminent death until that final moment when once secured in the the large chambers instead of a shower they were gassed. I wonder how many moments passed between the realization of imminent death and death itself?



But here in America we are far too civilized and humane to keep a condemned man in a state of ignorant bliss until that final moment. Instead, when Governor Scott signed my warrant on the morning of Monday November 30, 2015 and the warden then read my warrant to me, instructing me to then initial the death warrant as an acknowledgement that I received it, I was told that in precisely 73 days on the evening of Thursday February 11, 2016 I would be led into the execution chamber and then strapped into a gurney facing a glass window. At least 20 witnesses will watch as they insert I.V. tubes in both of my arms and upon signal by the warden, they will then pump that lethal cocktail of drugs into my arms and stand around until they pronounce me dead. 


The Nazi’s went to great lengths to spare those condemned to death the knowledge that they would soon die. Their machine of death was as cold and calculating as any ever devised by the mind of man at his most evil. But here in America we don’t engage in any such pretense. Rather, we want those we condemn to death to know it’s coming and the process is meticulously structured in such as a way that not even for a moment  throughout the prolonged “death watch” process will the condemned escape the reality that the clock on the wall is counting down his last days, hours, and then minutes. The agony of imminent death will not be escaped . And we call that humane - Mike

Michael Lambrix #482053
Florida State Prison Q2301
7819 NW 228th street
Raiford  Florida 32026-1100

17 comments:

Joana said...

I cannot manage to forget what I have read about this story....The trouble I cannot find anty solution to prevent this man from being executed....I feel so sorry for him
I can pray for him or give him my support.....May all these words reach to him in order him to be able to read them......Xmas time.....time fo think of all these people who also deserve a better life and are very thankful to hear there are lots of
people who think Christmas is also for them ....and Jesus also loves them....

Traci Francis said...

I hope this message reaches you, Mike. This is Traci Francis, Billy's dearest friend. As you know he was in the very position you are now. I want you to know he spoke highly of you often. And, you are correct... It is pure agony for the people who care about you... How could it not be??? I must also share with you that Bill's final six weeks from warrant signing to execution was the longest wake in history... Yours will be longer. Also know that Bill told me he was at total, complete peace with his demise. I was not, but had to be strong for him. My husband was wonderful and by my side all the way. Someone gave me the idea to record Bill's last phone conversation with me. I have listened to it twice and read his last letter twice since his death. I must tell you I completely broke down... Husband and doctors labeled it a psychotic break. I have gotten a bit better the past six months but, of course, I miss him greatly. And, you are right, the prison staff treated him like a king after he was placed on death watch. Mr. Palmer and his staff also treated us very well. I will tell you what I told Bill: all of us would be afraid if in your situation. He promised me he would take the sedative offered if he was feeling scared. It would be abnormal not to be scared. Bill's lawyer and spiritual advisor, Bernie Decastro, were in the chamber with him upon my request. I felt bad about putting them through that, but it was worth it so Bill could look over and see people who loved him. I am told, they believe he took the sedative, which was comforting to me. Bill was also able to speak to his brother literally 10 minutes before taking him in. As you likely know, Bill had not spoken to Jeff in over 25 years. Knowing that also made me happy. Let the people who love you enjoy their time with you. They deserve it and you deserve it... So try not to feel too bad for them. They want to be there for you, so let them. Please take the sedative the prison offers, especially with the Change in the fist drug. Also know that I am watching the FL S.Ct. as time nears and I am thinking of you and your family during this very difficult time... Much love, Traci...

Traci Francis said...

I hope this message reaches you, Mike. This is Traci Francis, Billy's dearest friend. As you know he was in the very position you are now. I want you to know he spoke highly of you often. And, you are correct... It is pure agony for the people who care about you... How could it not be??? I must also share with you that Bill's final six weeks from warrant signing to execution was the longest wake in history... Yours will be longer. Also know that Bill told me he was at total, complete peace with his demise. I was not, but had to be strong for him. My husband was wonderful and by my side all the way. Someone gave me the idea to record Bill's last phone conversation with me. I have listened to it twice and read his last letter twice since his death. I must tell you I completely broke down... Husband and doctors labeled it a psychotic break. I have gotten a bit better the past six months but, of course, I miss him greatly. And, you are right, the prison staff treated him like a king after he was placed on death watch. Mr. Palmer and his staff also treated us very well. I will tell you what I told Bill: all of us would be afraid if in your situation. He promised me he would take the sedative offered if he was feeling scared. It would be abnormal not to be scared. Bill's lawyer and spiritual advisor, Bernie Decastro, were in the chamber with him upon my request. I felt bad about putting them through that, but it was worth it so Bill could look over and see people who loved him. I am told, they believe he took the sedative, which was comforting to me. Bill was also able to speak to his brother literally 10 minutes before taking him in. As you likely know, Bill had not spoken to Jeff in over 25 years. Knowing that also made me happy. Let the people who love you enjoy their time with you. They deserve it and you deserve it... So try not to feel too bad for them. They want to be there for you, so let them. Please take the sedative the prison offers, especially with the Change in the fist drug. Also know that I am watching the FL S.Ct. as time nears and I am thinking of you and your family during this very difficult time... Much love, Traci...

Geesje said...

Joana and Traci, I will sent your messages of support to Mike and he wil have them in a few day, thanks for reaching out to him, it means a lot. Traci, Billy was one of Mike's best friends and it was hard for him to lose Bill then, and now he is facing the same situation. Lets hope and pray something will happen to prevent this - Geesje

Sharon Mcmurtrie said...

my thoughts and prayers are with mike and his loved ones at this devastating time. This man has bee punished long enough all the years on DR amounts to cruel and evil im from Scotland and this a disgusting way to treat any human being regardless of innocence or guilt here in the UK 15 years is what a convicted killer gets on average so what happens in the states is well theres no words to voice what i think its vile . i have a penpal in Texas and i think of what the condemned go through it solves nothing it creates more victims i shall keep reading mikes journals i hope he gets clemency x i wish you peace mike god bless you xx sharon

Traci Francis said...

Thank you, Geesje. I know they were fairly close. They had legal work in common and Bill always told me Mike was smart and a good guy. My heart goes out to him and his family... pure hell for all of us to go through that. It has been two and a half years and I am still not myself. Bill and I had a 27 year relationship and friendship. It is the way it happened, though, that keeps me stagnant and impedes my healing. Thoughts of "how could they do that to him?" come across my mind at least five times a week. It is not about me or Bill now... It's about Mike and all of you. Please know I am thinking of all of you daily and checking the status of Mikes case frequently. Thank you for the response, Geesje. I am so pleased he will receive it. My hope is that it comforts him, as I know he had a lot of respect for Bill. Much love... Traci

Sharon Mcmurtrie said...

Wish mike and everyone on DR a merry xmas xx peace n luv from sharon, Scotland. Uk

Traci Francis said...

Geesje... May I ask how the visiting is taking place at FSP? I know Scott signed Oscar Bolin's warrant on 10/30 and Mike's about 11/30. As you know, all the visiting changes and families visit during the week. Does FSP allow two death row inmates on death watch to visit with their families at the same time? Logic dictates to me that doing so would be against prison policy. Unless the DOC left Oscar or Mike at UCI, I can't understand how the visiting would work. I remain sad, disheartened with incomprehensible thoughts. Thanks for the communication, Geesje... Traci

Geesje said...


Traci, visits are non-contact behind glass visits now and need to be scheduled ahead, and no, there are no visits at the same time with another death row inmate on death watch, in this case Oscar Bolin. Thanks and best wishes, Geesje

Gaddo Cavenago-Bignami said...

Dear Mike, I hope Geesje will be able to send you a great hug from Padova, Italy.I read your report"Letter from Mike on death row". I am pen-pal of another inmate in UCI Raiford, with whom I have been writing for almost three years and he is now a true friend for my wife and me. I admire your strength, which surely will help you living everyday as best as you can in your condition. I believe no State can take anyone's life. I keep on thinking of you and praying for you. Hugs and smile
Your friend
Gaddo Cavenago-Bignami

Traci Francis said...

Thanks, Geesje. I knew visits changed to during the week with scheduled visitors and also behind glass. My concern was Oscar's and Mike's visits being compromised. Sounds like they are... for now. Hugs to all of you... Traci

Geesje said...

Traci, Mike sends his greetings and best wishes to you when I spoke with him a few days ago.

Joana, Sharon and Gaddo, Mike thanks you for your comments and support, it means a lot to him.

Geesje

Traci Francis said...

Great. Thanks, Geesje. It goes without saying that I am extremely nervous and worried about this situation. I suppose Mike was able to read/hear how Bill was during his last days... I hope so. I recently signed a petition via Florida Alternatives for the Death Penalty. Mike will know the hard work Mark Elliot has put into this cause for decades. Please tell Mike I said: who would have thought Florida would have a governor wackier than Martinez?! Also, I do not see our late dear friend Roxie Vining's dad on the D/R list (John Vining). He must have died of natural causes. He was old. Bill and lost our friend, Roxie, about 10 years ago to an overdose. Her dad used to call the police on Bill for shooting to coots across Rock Lake in Miami when he was a kid. Then, John ends up on D/R... ironic! Hugs to all of you and to Mike. Talk soon... Traci

Tanya said...

Traci, I recently came across Bills blog and want to offer my condolences. I cried for a man I never met who I believe was murdered by the state of Florida. It disgusted me to read about the corruptness of Florida's criminal "justice" system and reading Bill's blog and pretty much EVERYTHING I could find about him and his case I'd what opened my eyes to the horrors of capital punishment and life on death row as well as the overwhelming amount of corruption from judges, prosecutors and sadly, court appointed defense attorneys who don't care about truth and justice if it interferes with a conviction. Bill seemed like a brilliant, warm, compassionate man and this world is NOT a better place without him. He is the reason I have signed Michael's petition because his story led me to Michael's story and another miscarriage of justice. I pray for a good outcome for Michael.

Traci Francis said...

Thank you, Tanya. This world definitely lost a good man. It will be three years this June 12 that Bill has been gone... seems like yesterday when I received the call from one of his lawyers that his warrant was signed (Friday, May 3) What a complete nightmare the following five weeks were. I can't describe it any other way. I try and focus on the joy and what we both brought to each other's lives the past 25+ years, but I must admit it's very hard. It seems I have been affected the most by this because others close to Bill have reached a level of acceptance with "it." I have not. Consider when officers went to Bill's door on death watch to measure him for the "suit" they had to make to kill him in. Yes, a "suit." I about fell out of my chair during this discussion with Bill. REALLY?! Bill said, "well, what are they supposed to kill me in?" I readily responded with, "the same f...ing thing you've been wearing for 25+ years!" Sorry for the rant, Tanya. Thanks again for thinking of him... Traci

Traci Francis said...

Mike, I have to ask with your ongoing blog and Bill's execution I am curious as to why you had nothing to write about losing Bill??? I thought you did when I saw a heading in your blog that stated "Bill's Dead." However, I was wrong, as it was a different Bill. I am perplexed as you wrote about Oscar... someone you didn't care much for, and nothing about Bill who was your friend. About a year after Bill's execution, I went and visited Greek at Mayo. I went to hopefully help me process losing him by talking to a long-time friend. All I will say here is that I was greatly disappointed and I knew Bill would not want me to see Greek again or speak to him on the phone. I handled it via letters and Greek knows my communication with him has ceased. I don't want to place pressure on you during your last days, but I couldn't help but try and get some clarification from you. Most everyone has simply accepted the State of Florida killing Bill except me... It remains incomprehensible. All the best... Traci

Geesje said...


Traci, if you want to contact me, my email is geesjedejong@yahoo.com

Geesje