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In Memoriam Tributes to those who have been executed or died whilst on Death Row.

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  #1  
Old 07-17-2014, 06:57 AM
franky11 franky11 is offline
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Default Robert W Murray Arizona 06/28/2014

I will always remember my friendship with Robert. Despite his continuous optimism that he would win his appeal in my heart I was certain his life would end within the prison system, but I did not expect the end would come like this although I knew his health was not good.


Robert was a mass of contradictions. At times infuriatingly opinionated and yet insecure. The giver of frequent unasked for advice and with a desperate need to be involved and feel able to make a positive contribution. Moments of thoughtfulness and kindness. And the humour! The art work and poetry – some of it deliberately bad just to see who would have the courage to be honest and tell him. The constant lessons on how to correctly write his address on an envelope. Its this minutia that will keep the memory of our one time friendship alive. Those of you who also knew him will I'm sure recognise some of this and have your own memories. Please share!

I don't know if he was guilty, or innocent as he claimed. I never forgot the impact upon the family and friends of the victims of this crime and how life continues for them without their loved ones. I don't know if Robert's death brings closure or appeases anyone although there will be those who think with his death he has in some way escaped justice. The legal battle is over for Robert but continues for his brother.

With his death history will always accord Robert the title of a condemned inmate who died on death row. For those who knew him a wider description will exist. I didn't know him before his incarceration but met him 10 years into his sentence. Are any of us still the same person we were 10 years ago?

Like all friendships it had its ups and downs but I still saw Robert as someone who tried during the last 23 years to be a better person.

I think its best said by another inmate who briefly remarked to me that although he was guilty and deserved his punishment he couldn't turn the clock back. But instead of being bitter learnt to be grateful for the system giving him years locked away where he was forced to look within himself and live with his regret and still find the honesty to become a better person although he knew it was never going to lead to his release.

In the end whatever path or decisions any of us take we are always being judged by others and nobody whoever they are meets with universal approval. Death comes for all of us and however the world wishes to judge us we are human and all we leave behind are the different memories we instil in others.

As I said to Robert in one of my first letters, nobody is the sum total of one event in their life however good or bad. Perhaps we will never know the truth but the justice system said he was guilty and that is how most will remember him. To those who knew him the question of guilt or innocence will be their private decision but more than this memories of their interaction with him including, dare I say, the friendship will remain.

I will always remember Robert, both the broader picture and as the individual I came to know personally.
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Old 07-18-2014, 03:43 PM
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Hi Franky,

Welcome to PTO! We are always happy to have someone join us, even as we grieve the reasons for joining... I hope that this is a place of support, information and comfort for you--as it is for me.

I did not know your friend, but I am sure he will be missed. You discussed his guilt or innocence...I know that for me, this has rarely emerged as a subject between my love and myself. I suppose that in some part this is due to not being able to discuss it, since every conversation and word is used by the courts at a later date and time. Like you, I leave that discussion for him and the courts, while we deal with the business of living.

Hold on to the memories that you have and continue to celebrate his life. I have no doubt that while he left a profound mark on your life, you did the same for him. The best gift we can give to someone is our authentic self--and the knowledge that they matter to someone else. He was very fortunate to take comfort in those truths before he died.

Take care, and once again, welcome!
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:48 AM
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thanks for posting this. there is much in between the lines!
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the way the other acts is his karma and responsibility, the way I respond is mine!
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:34 PM
franky11 franky11 is offline
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Thank you both for these replies. It is good to know that the post has been read and acknowledged. Thank you also InsomniaCT for welcoming me to the site.

And Shush I hope I haven't offended in any way, it is the last thing I would want to do. I guess I am just intrigued by your remark that there is "much in between the lines".

I just wanted to remark that we see more in our friends than just the description stamped on them by society.

In the pen pal ad that I replied to he stated " If I don't make you crazy, I'll make you smile - if there is a difference " and oh yes many, many times he would make me feel like banging my head but usually there was also a wry smile on my face!

He was fortunate to connect with a few people over the years and although I may not have known them I was wanting to say - here is the person I knew and I'm sure we can both recognise him from this description Remember him with a smile while we also react to his death.
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:23 AM
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Hello,

I've been Robert's penpal between 2000/2004 and then we've been writing only once in a while untill 2010. I wanted to catch up with him, and found out he passed away from cancer in jail, the most frustrating way (he would probably still be alive if the medics had taken care in time)

He was indeed a cultured, humorous, polite, passionate, philosopher gentleman. I never wondered if he was guilty or not neither, there are many other reasons to remember him.

I am now praying for his soul and I am in touch with Roger, his brother in DR. I've not been a good friend to Robert as I let our relationship fade away the last years - I felt very guilty about it, but, hopefully, now I'll be a better friend and support for his poor brother still waiting in DR.

Thanks for this forum (which I didn't know before) this will help me understand better the relationships between inmates and penpals, it will help me to be myself a better penpal.
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