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Posted November 7, 2005
This was a great book. It was not quite as exciting as Ms. Prejean's Dead Man Waliking. The book was able to provide factal insight with a mixture of real life. The book is able to humanize the faceless inmates on death row. I would have like to seen more of the escalating life cycles that ended with the imnates being placed in maximum confinement, like Charlotte Johnson's THe Flipside A journey to hell and backWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 6, 2005
Sam Jones' Naiivity
Contrary to the naive words of death penalty rights advocate Sam Jones (above), Sister Helen wrote an extremely accurate portrayal of Joseph O'Dell and the circumstances he encountered throughout his conviction and trial. Having known both Sister Helen and Joseph O'Dell, and having been involved with the last few years of the case before he was executed, I can attest to the fact that great injustices were done, and that Sam Jones, who claims to have expertise on this case, has nothing more than the superficial knowledge of one who read outsider opinions on the case. The mere fact that he used a quote describing the accused spoken by THE PROSECUTOR himself as evidence of O'Dell's malicious nature is proof alone that he is biased, one-sided and unfit to provide an account of the proceedings. Sam Jones' own contradictory remarks diminish his credibility without my assistance, having claimed that O'Dell was privy to exemplary counsel, and then two sentences later claiming that the injustice he encountered in the appeals process was due to an ignorant mistake made by O'Dell's lawyers. Seem consistent? Didn't think so. And please, explain to me, why the Vatican, the Italian Parliament, and the Pope himself would extend their hospitality to a convicted murderer whose guilt was so unmistakably obvious. Explain to me why they would make fly Joseph O'Dell's body to Italy for a proper burial and make him an HONORARY CITIZEN of their country if Joseph O'Dell's case was so black and white as you claim it to be. Please. Have a little common sense. Sister Helen Prejean has common sense. Read her book. It is one of the most eye-opening, truth-telling pieces I've ever read, and you will be a much more informed, involved individual if you do so as well.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 19, 2005
Author shamefully ignores critical evidence in case.
<P> In lionizing convicted murderer Joseph O'Dell as being an innocent man railroaded to his 1997 execution by Virginia prosecutors, Sister Helen Prejean presents a skewed summary of the case to bolster her anti-death penalty agenda. While she is a gifted speaker, she is out of her element when it comes to 'telling it as it was' in these cases. <P> Prejean got to walk with O'Dell into the death chamber at Greensville Correctional Center on July 22, 1997. However, she wasn't in Virginia Beach some 12 years earlier when he committed the crime for which he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. That is where the real demon was evident, not the sweet talking condemned con-man that she met behind bars. <P> O'Dell was, in the words of then Virginia Beach Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Albert Alberi (case prosecutor), one of the most savage, dangerous criminals he had encountered in a two decade career. Indeed, O'Dell had spent most of his adult life incarcerated for various crimes since the age of 13 in the mid-1950's. <P> At the time of the Schartner murder in Virginia, O'Dell had been recently paroled from Florida where he had been serving a 99 year sentence for a 1976 Jacksonville abduction that almost ended in a murder of the female victim (had not police arrived) in the back of his car. The circumstances of that crime were almost identical to those surrounding Schartner's murder. The victim of the Florida case even showed up in Virginia to testify at the trial. <P> Briefly, let me outline some of the facts about the case: <P> Victim Helen Schartner's blood was found on the passenger seat of Joseph O'Dell's vehicle. Tire tracks matching those on O'Dell's vehicle were found at the scene where Miss Schartner's body was found. The tire tread design on O'Dell's vehicle wheels were so unique, an expert in tire design couldn't match them in a manual of thousands of other tire treads. The seminal fluids found on the victim's body matched those of Mr. O'Dell and pubic hairs of the victim were found on the floor of his car. <P> The claims that O'Dell was 'denied' his opportunity to present new DNA evidence on appeals were frivolous. In fact, he had every opportunity to come forward with this evidence, but his lawyers refused to reveal to the court the full findings of the tests which they had arranged to be done on a shirt with blood stains, which O'Dell's counsel claimed might show did not have blood marks from the defendant or the victim. In fact, the findings likely confirmed O'Dell's guilt, but the defense lawyers wouldn't play fairly and release such information, lest it hurt their future appeal options. <P> Contrary to Prejean's unsubstantiated claims about O'Dell being given poor representation at trial, he was given everything he wanted at state expense. In fact, the city and state government gave O'Dell an estimated $100,000 for his defense team. This was an unprecedented amount that nearly bankrupted the entire indigent defense fund for the state. He had great lawyers, expert forensic investigators and every point at the trial was contested two to five times. There was no 'rush to justice' in this case. <P> O'Dell's alibi for the night of Schartner's murder was that he had gotten thrown out of the bar where he encountered Schartner following a brawl. However, none of the several dozen individuals supported his contention - there weren't any fights that night. Rather, several saw Miss Schartner getting into O'Dell's car on what would be her last ride. But Prejean would want us to believe the claims of felon Joseph O'Dell. <P> He had three trips to the United States Supreme Court and the 'procedural error' which Prejean claims ultimately doomed him was the result of simple ignorance of basic appeals rules by his lawyers. Nothing in the record ever suggested that Joseph O'Dell, two time killer and rapist, was anything but guilty of the murder of Helen Schartner.<P> Justice was properly sWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.