"What it's like as you wait to die on Ohio's death row"

Hello, my name is John. I am sitting here in my cell on death row in Mansfield, Ohio. You have all heard what the media and the politicians have to say about crime and the death penalty. Maybe I can provide some balance to that.

There is the sense that people on death row are animals that should be kept in a cage and executed as soon as it can be arranged. I have even heard people advocate an electric chair in the courtroom to be used as soon as the verdict is rendered - never mind that the system makes mistakes.

The truth is, some of the people on death row are fairly normal. Most guys here are not slobbering lunatics or cold-blooded killers. As for myself, I am here on death row only because I had court-appointed attorneys who didn't do their jobs - or should I say, didn't want to do their jobs!

One of the difficult things on death row is to keep your perspective and not let yourself become overwhelmed by the incredible pressure and stress that you have to deal with. You have to try to keep a grip on your sanity in the process of fighting for your life in the court system and just trying to stay alive and survive from day to day in here. There are some people in here that give up and commit suicide. Others slowly lose their mind and end up being medicated only to be able to function from day to day until they are to be executed.

After I wrote this, I wondered what I had gotten myself into by trying to explain what life is like on death row. The best I can do is talk about some of my experiences and observations and let you draw your own conclusions.

Thank you, John Stojetz

Write to John at:
John Stojetz #A-255-365
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville Huberd Rd.
Youngstown, OH 44505-4635