WHAT HAPPENS TO WITNESSES?
Kay Lee, a friend sent me this below... do you have this on your site or do you know bout this?
I am currently reading about the "Incidents" at Florida prisons. As I read these, nothing surprises me. I have heard much of it from Mark. Mark didn't hold anything back in his descriptions. He was given the "Management Loaf" for months on end.
You know, Mark was right in the area when Frank Valdes was
murdered. He has a piece on the internet about it. Have you seen it? I don't have the address but could probably find it but probably the lady who has the web site you go to would already have it.... by Mark DeFriest.
Mark has been badly beaten up many times. He might have been the one mentioned in that report regarding the Valdes murder - I don't know. It would be good to read his account again. I'll look for it if you want.
DC Number: 073061 Name: DEFRIEST, MARK C Race: WHITE Sex: MALE Hair Color: BROWN Eye Color: BLUE Height: 6'00'' Weight: 162 Birth Date: 08/17/1960 Initial Receipt Date: 05/08/1980 Current Facility: CALIFORNIA Current Classification Status: CM I Current Custody: CLOSE Current Release Date: 12/04/2035 Special Note: See Detainer Section Note: This photo was provided by a source outside the Florida Department of Corrections.
Here's the original story. Seems Florida couldn't protect him from retaliation. Thank God, after suffering much abuse, Mark is no longer in Florida. He is currently serving his sentence in California.
T H E
M U R D E R O F F R A N
K V A L D E S
By John Albert
On July 16 and 17, 1999, Mark DeFriest was incarcerated at Florida State Prison in the cell next to Frank Valdes. Frank was beaten by the prison guards both days and died of those injuries on the 17th. Part of that time the guards took Valdes out of his cell and beat him in the corridor in front of Mark's cell. Mark watched as the guards killed Frank. The following letter from Mark dated 7/26/99 describes Mark's witness of those beatings in detail.
Although I finally made it out of my custom built cell above the electric chair on X-wing at Florida State Prison, it cost me the life of my close friend, Frank Valdes, who was in the cell next to mine. The prison guards beat him to death right in front of my cell, with a mop bucket, a shock shield and boot jack.
On July 16, 1999, Sgt. Lucas and Officer Jason Griffis said he was making a noise, so they told him to handcuff up, opened his cell door and they beat the shit out of him, breaking his jaw. It was an undocumented beating and they just left him like that with no medical treatment. The next morning, Sgt. Lucas woke him up to murder him. First he asked if he had his mind right yet. Frank didn't say a word to him, so Sgt. Lucas got mad. He said, "I've got something for you, asshole!" Then he went to the phone and called the Officer in Charge, saying Frank had threatened him. So the O.I.C., Captain Thornton, came on to the wing and, without a word being spoken, he gassed Frank with tear gas. Then 15 minutes later he gassed him again.
About 20 minutes after that the Riot Squad came, stormed his cell and beat him mercilessly until he was unconscious. Then they dragged him out in the corridor in front of my cell and Sgts. Brown, Souls, Lewis, Griffis, Lucas and 4 other guards beat him until he was dead.
Then they tried to cover it all up by stripping him nude and dragging him to an empty cell over on 2-east. They claimed he had killed himself by climbing up onto the bars and diving off onto his head and that he died of a heart attack. This explanation didn't fly because the autopsy showed his injuries included a crushed skull, a broken neck, a broken jaw, 5 broken ribs, a destroyed spleen, testicles the size of grapefruit, and cuts and bruises all over his body. And it showed that he died at around 10 AM, not 3 PM when they said they found him.
For the next day and night the Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents, the prison inspectors and crime lab technicians took photos, finger prints and samples of blood off the walls and floor. The FDLE investigators talked to each of us 3 prisoners who had witnessed the homicide, and the 4 other inmates on the other side who witnessed the attempted cover up.
Monday morning, the 19th, around 2 AM, they started transferring the witnesses to North Florida Reception Center. By late Tuesday afternoon I was the only one of the 7 left, but they finally came and got me too. My lawyer came to see me on the 23rd. He said they are going to put the 9 guards on trial for first degree murder and they want to use we 7 inmates as witnesses. We're over here at NFRC for our own protection, so no one will hurt us. And if we agree to testify, we won't be sent back to FSP again. So for the next 18 months I will very likely be here.
I am still in a cell, but I can at least improve my lot in life here. There is some hope for the future. Already the quality of life has improved for me. They run this place like a Marine Corps Boot Camp. They follow their own rules and laws here. But the BIG difference is, if you behave, they will treat you like a human being. There are a lot of books and magazines around and, if you have money in your account, you can order cookies, candy bars, even coffee, all of which are on the dangerous contraband list at FSP. At FSP there is nothing but misery and death, and an atmosphere of diabolic evil over the whole place.
It's sad and depressing to have profited from Frank's death, but maybe some good will come of it and force them to clean up FSP. I know I need to release my anger at those responsible for his death. That anger has a magnetic ability to draw me right back into the negative situations that I just left. I must not continue to worry about what these guards have done. I feel that Frank is free now and I should let it go.
Mark DeFriest 7/27/99
When Mark was interviewed by the investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI, he told them everything he knew about the beatings and murder. Shortly after that interview he was transferred out of FSP to the North Florida Reception Center from where he wrote the letter above. Then, later, on August 20th he was transferred again, this time to Union Correctional Institution. This transfer was not to protect him, however, it was to kill him.
UCI is less than one mile from FSP. It is a part of FSP and the families and friends of the guards at FSP also work at UCI alternately. So the guards now handling Mark DeFriest at UCI are friends and relatives of the guards who are charged with the murder of Frank Valdes. Those guards have threatened to kill Mark if he testifies at the grand jury hearing.
Mark has been attacked and severely beaten twice since arriving at UCI but not directly by the guards. Instead the guards have made it known among the prison population that Mark is an informer and they have encouraged the inmates to attack Mark with impunity. On September 27th three inmates jumped Mark and beat him in the exercise yard. His shin bone was cracked and his left ear was ripped off. The doctor worked on re-attaching the ear for three hours.
Then on October 13th he was attacked again in the exercise yard, this time by five inmates. He suffered a concussion, 2 broken ribs, 2 teeth were broken out, both eyes were swollen shut and his left ear was torn off again. Both times the guards let the beatings continue for over twenty minutes before stopping the carnage. Mark is concerned that he may not survive the next beating. He believes the guards intend to kill him or have him killed. If they do intend to kill him they will find a way to make it happen. The authorities prosecuting the murderers of Frank Valdes seem unable to protect the life of their witness from the Florida Department of Corrections.
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