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THE BANK ROBBER'S BLOG
JUNE 2014

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--- THE LIFE OF RILEY ---
29th June 2014

I have been accused if a lot of things in my life but being the brightest bulb on the line, sure isn't one of them. Somehow, I still manage to shine every now and then. However, don't lose sight that you're reading the blog of someone who robbed seven banks, and forgot to wear a mask...even once! Then there was the time I was hijacking cigarette trucks, and while poking around in the back of the trailer, they locked me up inside of it, and promptly phoned the police. As a criminal, this was not one of my prouder moments. My tenure as a criminal (and I do have tenure), was marked by substance abuse, and while the drugs I insatiably consumed were definitely "performance enhancing" when it came to crime, they most certainly didn't increase my intelligence. Impulse rarely yields to intellect.

I mention the intellect thing because I have embarked on writing my first novel, and my fellow MurderSlim writer, Mark SaFranko, told me I'll need to be smart, in order to write a novel, and that has me a tad worried. So I decided to lend you my angst and blog about it. I guess time will tell, whether I'm smart enough to pull this off but I will tell you one thing I already know for certain. Nobody writes a novel alone. It takes a Village, and in my case, a global village. Since I don't have internet access back here, I rely upon outside resources for research, and I also rely on my readers for feedback. These are the people I write for, and they are a diverse and awesome group. Here are a few of them.

There is Brig. Gen. Jackson down the coast in Flowertown, SC, Jeopardy Bill further down in Sarasota, Florida, Reena, Milo, Suzy and Adele up in NYC, Pam and Kimberly in South Carolina, Marissa in Virginia, Brandon in Tennessee, Jackie in Florida, The Mississippi Queen down in the Delta, Andrea up in Scotland, Ming in Hong Kong, Rasmus in Denmark, Jose in southern California, Crystal Lynn in PA, Tracy and Mickey in Chicago, Lady Jane in the English countryside, Mark also in England, and my Italian redneck, Margherita in New York.

The novel I'm writing is full-length, and fiction, and I'm uncertain if the subject matter will be something Murder Slim will be interested in publishing, because it is mainstream but I'm going for it, anyway. I don't really have a choice at this point because I dream the characters, and it is just sort of flowing out of me. It's actually pretty cool, and I'll post chapters on my website at BankBlogger.weebly.com for you to read. I'll probably post the first half of the book for free, and try to hook you where you'll be sufficiently interested to purchase the book, to see how it ends.

The plot is about an Irish guy named Shamus O'Riley, or Riley for short. He grew up in the north but now owns a pub in the south, that his dog (General Sherman) lives inside of, and Riley lives above. He is accused of murder and ends up fighting for his life, while questioning whether it's worth fighting at all. It's a thriller/courtroom drama, that has laughter and love, sex and betrayal, good and evil...and it has several twists. It is exactly what the title implies: the life of Riley.

I also wonder if I can write a quality novel from a cell in lock up, where I have to deal with the constant noise of people yelling, screaming, and kicking on their doors, and the stress, violence, and the tear gas. There's also the fact I have to wait an average of two weeks for research requests via snail mail. I guess we'll find out if I can pull this off.

Although I am presently in solitary confinement, and locked down 23 hours a day, I am far from alone. I'm welded into this cell with my cellmate, Banquo (Timmy). Mercifully, he hardly speaks but he is a "big starer". I watched him stare at a bottle of vitamins on the desk, yesterday, until I couldn't take it anymore. I finally yelled, "What are you staring at? It's a bottle of friggin vitamins!!!"

He ignored me and looked at something else (he used to stare at my food while I ate but I broke him of that). Our food comes into the cell through a flap in the big steel door, and it's a small, clear plastic brown tray. I take my meager ration and sit on the stainless steel toilet, and place it on my lap. (Yes, I eat on the toilet) A few days ago, they served chocolate cake, and I received a slice, fatter than the warden's wife. I laid a piece of toilet paper across my knee, and placed the cake on it, knowing full well it would be too much for Banquo not to focus, and eventually obsess upon. Sure enough, he put a bead on it, and stared so hard, he missed his mouth with a plastic spoonful of beans, he'd scooped off his tray. I allowed it to go 5 minutes or so, then I finally picked it up and licked it, then set it back down. It was a big lick, too, the way a cow licks something. He ceased staring then, so I completed the taunt by asking, "Would you like my piece of cake, Timmy?" He stared into his beans, and quickly shook his head, "no". And I wonder why the locked me in the back of a truck...

I may not be smart enough to wear a mask to a bank robbery, or even smart enough to write a novel but I'm damned smart enough to keep my larva-looking, loser of a cellie, from lusting over my cake...

The Life of Riley? Stay tuned.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

--- KEEPING IT REAL ---
24th June 2014

There are hundreds of blogs on the internet these days, possibly even over a million. There are blogs on everything from money, politics, and education, to fashion, animals, and crime. There are even personal blogs done by other incarcerated people through family members and through businesses that target this demographic. But out of all the blogs all over the world, there is only one BankRobber's Blog, and certainly only one Murder Slim Press. This makes myself (as the blogger), you (as the reader), and Murder Slim (as the publisher) decidedly unique. I appreciate you clicking on.

When I blog, I tend to suffer from compulsive self-disclosure. I blog about some of my past exploits, both licit and illicit, and I blog about my life in the American Federal Prison System. Even though I blog about my previous crooked behavior, I try to give it to you straight and not glamorize things. I try my best to keep it real. The truth of the matter is that there was nothing particularly glamorous about most of my criminal career. And there's certainly nothing glamorous about being retired from this career, to a world where there is no beer, human contact with others, sincerity, and where your keepers talk to you like dirt, and treat you like a dog, every single day. Most of my minders are not critical thinkers. They don't realize that if you put a dog in a cage and poke a stick it with a stick every day, that when you eventually open that cage, you are going to have one very mean dog on your hands. So even though there is nothing particularly glamorous about my life per se, it is still a life that is filled with laughter, hope, and some absolutely crazy and hilarious people. It's also the only life I have. So I use the pen to pull various bricks out of the wall that surrounds me, and I let you take a peek into my world and subculture as well as into my mind and heart.

In the world of crime, bank robbery is about as serious as it gets. However, it is not the worst crime ever committed. Strangely enough, the worst crime that I ever committed was stealing a purse. Even though this incident predated the bank robberies that I'm now doing time for, and even though I went to prison for it and made restitution, because of the circumstances surrounding it, the judge used this incident to enhance my present sentence. And he probably wasn't wrong for doing it. As much as I really don't want to, I'm going to tell you this story. You've probably heard about it anyways. It was a day that I thought started out horrible and got better but in hindsight, I've come to realize that it's the exact opposite. It was a day filled with one mistake after another.

On the day it happened, I'd been on the drug binge to end all drug binges. I was wanted by several law enforcement agencies, and one bail bonding company (for skipping bond). I don't think I can ever fully articulate just how tiring and nerve-wracking it is to be a fugitive and to have to constantly be vigilant for a wrong look or a car that might be following you. It's exhausting. During this period I had taken to using different payphones in a certain part of the city where I was staying. On this particular morning at about 10 AM, I was talking on a payphone in front of a post office, when I saw a maniacal looking black man with a short Afro and a look of anger on his face, approaching me from about 50 yards off. His name was Charlie Miles and he was carrying a Mossburg .12 gauge pump shotgun. Charlie Miles was a bounty hunter for Miss Margaret's Bail Bonds (before he himself was sent to Federal prison). As we locked eyes, he jacked a round into the chamber of the shotgun with a loud "clack!" and yelled, "I gotta have you, Jeff. You're coming in!" As he said this, he raised the gun and pointed it directly at me. I yelled back, "Not today, Charlie!!!" and as soon as I'd said it, he pulled the trigger and blew off the top half of my payphone just inches above my head. Thankfully the load was a slug and not buckshot but even so, pieces of the pay phone cut my head and blood ran down into my eyes. The phone was against a chain link fence, and I scaled it like a Navy SEAL, and flipped over the top of it, then hit the ground running. I got away, and retrieved my car from the post office parking lot, two hours and one bottle of vodka later. Using that pay phone was my first mistake that day. Not leaving town was my second.

Later on that day, I came out of a house in the heart of the city, got in my car, cranked the engine, and pulled out. My car at the time was a white Cadillac Seville with a 4.9 liter engine, and it had plenty of get up and go. As I pulled out and turned a corner, there were no less than 15 police cars that were forming a gauntlet, and were there to take me down. When I saw all of those blue lights, I hit the gas. With all of them in pursuit, with their lights and sirens blaring, I flew through the city, and finally drove up onto an exit ramp that came down from the interstate. When I went head-on into traffic, they broke off their pursuit. As soon as I got onto the interstate, I slammed on the brakes and spun the car to where it was going with the flow of traffic, and I got away.

I immediately took the interstate back into the city and stashed the car in a multi-level parking garage at a hospital. This is where I made the third mistake of the day and did something that didn't seem particularly heinous at the time but that turned out to have horrible consequences for two people. A mistake that forever turned me into a scumbag.

After I dumped the car, I cut through the hospital and I saw two people in a small waiting room, who were sleeping with a purse near them on the floor. So I walked up and stole the purse. Then I walked through the parking lot pressing the fob that was attached to their car keys until I found their car, then drove off in it. A week or so later I was cornered by a SWAT team in a Bojangles restaurant, and after a short standoff, they beat the living shit out of me, then hauled me to jail. It was at this point that I found out that the people I stole the purse from were at the hospital holding a vigil for their adult son who was dying of cancer. He died two days later.

I'll be the first to admit that when I used to use drugs that I was hardcore. But when I found out the circumstances of these people and I imagined how what I did must have made them feel, it made me sick to my stomach. It made me completely ashamed of myself. I was running from the cops and was looking for the path of least resistance when I saw that purse. I just didn't know. I owned up to what I did and accepted a 10 year sentence for stealing their car. When I got to prison after the legal issues were over, I got a hold of their address and sent them an apology letter. I'm sure they flushed it. Sometimes, there's no undoing scumbag.

It's now almost 15 years later and I still lie in this cell and think about it some nights. I've learned that sometimes the only amends that you can make to somebody is to not repeat the behavior you did to hurt them. I've also learned that guilt is the product of a past we cannot change, and mercifully, none of us are the sum total of our mistakes. I would imagine that the victims (who are now dead), and the government hoped that my punishment would have an element of retribution attached to it, and that I would suffer. If so, they got their wish.

At some point after coming to prison I decided not to embrace the label of scumbag, nor stay in that persona. I decided to embrace change, forgiveness, and love, and to try and become a better man. If I hadn't, the opportunity to become a writer would've never materialized, nor would I have been given the gift of being able to entertain people, and give back to a world that I did nothing but take from for decades. There would have been no Bank Robber's Blog and we would never have had the unique opportunity that we do now. Not all poked dogs turn mean; and some old dogs even manage to learn new tricks.

You may be wondering if in writing this blog, if I am seeking absolution from you. No, it's not yours to give, and the time for that has long since passed. I'm just doing what I do, and I'm pulling another brick out of the wall that surrounds my life and showing you something from my world. Something that's not funny and that I'm definitely not proud of, and something that I can't change - no matter how much I wish I could. That's just keeping it real.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

--- CAPITAL CRIMES ---
8th June 2014

"I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. I will bring them out of the country where they dwell but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord."

This is the scripture from Ezekiel 20:38 that Samuel L. Jackson quotes before he executes people in the movie Pulp Fiction. He played a hitman (along with John Travolta) who worked for the crime boss Marcellus Wallace. When you saw them, you knew it was your last day on earth. When it comes to executing people in America though, they certainly have competition.

April 29, 2014, was a bad day for Clayton Lockett. For over 10 years he had sat in Death Row at McAlester State Penitentiary, in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, for the killing of 19-year old Stephanie Neiman. He blasted her twice with a shotgun, then stood by while his two accomplices buried her alive. This was his transgression and April 29th was the day the State of Oklahoma purged him from the world. Only things didn't go quite as they planned.

The first problem they encountered was months before the execution. They couldn't obtain the requisite chemicals required to kill Lockett, because the drug companies that manufacture the drugs used for lethal injection wouldn't sell them to the Department of Corrections. Neither would several pharmacies. They were finally purchased from an unknown source, after being sued and subsequently have a judge order them to do so. They finally disclosed what the chemicals were and admitted that one of them (midazolam) was new to them, and they'd never used it before. The other two drugs were sodium thiopental and pentobarbital. These are three drugs commonly used in lethal injections.

In accordance with the civilized and humane process of taking his life, he was required to make a trip to medical that morning. The only problem was he didn't wish to come out of his cell. He had cuts all over his arms where he'd sliced his veins in an attempt to thwart his executioners, and he was scared to come out of his cell and go see the doctor. So the guards Tasered, handcuffed, and dragged him there.

Sometime after 6 PM, they strapped him to a gurney, and because they couldn't find a suitable vein in his arms, they used the femoral vein in his groin. AT 6:23 PM they drugs began to flow but Warden Trammell and his professional execution staff didn't realize the needle was no longer in his vein. So instead of receiving the IV, they were being administered IM. Their first clue was when instead of quietly dying like they expected, he reared up gasping for breath and said, "Oh man! Oh man!", then tried to break his bonds.

At 7:06 PM, 43 minutes later, Clayton Lockett finally died of a massive heart attack. The press has referred to this as a botched execution but I don't agree. It was Oklahoma's mission to kill Lockett and they accomplished their goal. They state lawfully murdered him. If you're thinking use of the word murder is overly sensational, it's not. Black's Law Dictionary defines murder as the willful killing of a human being with malice aforethought, or in layman's terms premeditation. Clayton Lockett's execution by the State of Oklahoma fits within the confines of that definition. So does every single execution in the United States of America.

America has a rich history when it comes to capital punishment. The first execution in this country happened in the British colony of Jamestown, when Captain George Kendall was executed by a firing squad for allegedly spying for Spain.

From 1608 until 1991, 15,269 people in America were executed for various offenses. Here is a random sampling of the people and their crimes:
* In 1785 in Massachusetts, Hannah Piggen was executed for "Concealing the death of an infant."
* In 1859 in South Carolina, Starling Carlton was executed for "Aiding a runaway slave."
* In 1901 in New Mexico, Black Jack Ketchum was executed for "Train robbery."
* In 1945 in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, France, the United States Army executed Private Eddie Slovak for "Desertion."
* In 1960 in California, Billy Monk was executed "For kidnapping."
* The last person to be executed in the U.S. for something other than murder was in 1964 when James Coburn was put to death for robbery.

The largest single execution in U.S. History occurred during the Dakota Sioux uprising of 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota when 38 (300 had been convicted but President Lincoln commuted the sentences on all but that number) were put to death following military trials for rape and murder. To accommodate this, a four-sided platform was constructed that connected to one rope, all doors the condemned stood upon. A single blow from an axe sent everybody but one to their death. One rope broke and he had to be re-hung.

The Untied States has come a long way in executing people since then. Some states still offer electrocution (Virginia), firing squad (Utah), the gas chamber (Arizona), and as recently as 1996, Delaware killed convict William Barley by hanging. For the most part, the states have opted for lethal injection as the preferred method of execution. Death by injection is not considered "cruel and unusual" punishment in accordance with the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment was designed to safeguard U.S. citizens against punishments such as a 43 minute execution...no matter how deplorable the person or crime may be.

Did Clayton Lockett deserve to die for the cruel and unusual way in which he murdered 19-year old Stephanie Neiman? The answer to that question will vary depending on who you ask but most would say, "yes." No matter an individuals' reply, it isn't the business of the government to kill its citizens. Ever. There is no Sharia Law here; this is still the United States of America. If as an evolved and civilized society which no longer would execute someone for concealing the death of an infant, must continue to become more humane and stop executing people. If we don't we are no different than the Clayton Locketts of the world.

As I write this, there are 3088 human beings on death rows throughout the country. This includes 59 condemned Federal prisoners in Terre Haute, Indiana. 3088 rebels that will pay the ultimate price for their transgressions.

The scripture I quoted at the beginning of the blog was from the Book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament, when it was an eye-for-an-eye. As people progressed morally and mentally, there came a New Testament, and in the Book of John, the Pharisees bring to Jesus, a woman who has been condemned to death and is about to be stoned.

They ask Jesus, what he believed they should do. Though the answer he gave was nearly 2000 years ago, in another part of the world, it is still relevant today. He said, "Let he who is without sin among you, cast the first stone."

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2