|Charles Henry Rector, 1999 photo|
who will cry for me
when I die?
will my children cry?
my father? my brothers?
my sisters? my friends?
will my mother cry
out from her
own lonely grave?
years ago she wondered:
who will cry
for me when I die?
a poem for Charles Henry Rector
by dorothy charles banks
|Charles Henry Rector 1954-1999
|Lola Mae Edwards Chism|
Charles and his mother had a stormy relationship. Nevertheless, he was favorite, even though she had three daughters. However, she loved them all in her own way. None of them were physically abused or neglected.
Charles' father and Lola Mae separated when he was a small child. He had no contact with his father after he left Texas, and relatives on his father's side did not keep contact with him or Lola Mae.
After Charles was executed I decided to go to the Austin County Courthouse to read his court transcripts. I thought they were housed at the Courthouse, but they on file at another location. That's when luck led to me to a clerk who directed me to the correct location. I went to the there, and was allowed to read them. I scanned copies for over a month, almost nonstop.
At home I read the transcripts carefully. I needed no attorney to tell me that something went terribly wrong with the trial. But that's what happens when a defendant is too poor to hire a capable attorney. Red flags hopped off pages of the transcripts like Mexican jumping beans.
I learned that the victim's boyfriend rearranged pieces of furniture in the living room before calling the police. This puzzled me. There was no explanation in the police report explaining his actions. Charles supposedly climbed a trellis to gain entrance into the apartment through a window. A trellis is a frame of latticework used as support for climbing plants. It is not strong enough to hold a small child, let alone an adult trying to climb it like a ladder. Unless it was custom made out of steel, a cheap trellis will crumble under a heavy plant. His attorney did not inject this information into the trial.
In addition to the transcripts I also made copies of police reports the night of Charles's arrest. He gave up his right to have an attorney present when the police questioned him. The report stated that Charles said he had not committed a crime, so he saw no reason to have an attorney present. They fooled him, telling him he had nothing to worry about. That move was a big mistake. Charles sealed his own fate.
After reading the transcripts I contacted an attorney to see if he would look at them. I wanted to see if, perhaps, Texas has executed another innocent man. I had no other course of action in mind. I just wanted to affirm my suspicions. The attorney was reluctant to look at the transcripts, and advised me that Charles had been executed already, and there was nothing I could do. I was willing to pay him to look at the transcripts but he had no interest in looking at them.
Charles was briefly married to Mabel O. Kekeocha, an African. The marriage took place July 1, 1981. They got married so that she could get a green card. The marriage was a charade. They divorced August 31, 1984. They had no children together.
While on death row Charles became a prolific poet and song writer, mostly rap. He even got interested in art. I got his first and only drawing a few days before his execution. Despite his pending fate, Charles kept alive his dreams of getting his music produced. His dream died with him. Having death lay next to him on his prison bed, Charles did not shrink from what was awaiting him. He never lose faith that a miracle would happen.
In a brief letter dated February 20, 1998, Charles wrote to me: Sorry I’m just now writing you back, but as you know my mother died December 12, and that took a lot out of me because I loved the girl very much. So it’s taken me some time to deal with the fact that she would die before me. But I’m getting my head back together because I know I'll see her on the other side.
This last letter from Charles speaks for itself. Two days later he was executed.
March 23, 1999
I hope this letter to you find and all the family in the very best of health, and doing good. As you know by now I’m writing what looks like will be the last letter to you, and I wish to let you know that all of you are in my thoughts.
I have an execution date of March 25, 1999, and just about all of my counsel can do is file a motion for clemency, because he has no resources. I should say I have no money so he’s giving up. Even though we now have the evidence that I was in custody of the Austin Police Department at the time of the deceased was being murdered, I can’t get the court to give me a hearing so that I can show the court the evidence. So I just might die. I don’t have the money to pay an attorney to get me a hearing.
I am filing a motion on my own, and just maybe the court will hear my motion. It’s my last appeal. I don’t think the court is going to do the right thing. So they can just kiss my ass. That’s the way I feel about it. I have very little fear of death so I’m really ready for what they push my way. I know that they can’t make an innocent man guilty with a foul execution because they can’t execute the truth. I feel you can feel me and understand what I’m saying.
I have you and Jr. (Ernest Smith) on the list to come and see me off, but you may not get this letter in time. If not, then tell my Dawg Jr. that I love him, because he’s the only brother I know, and I know that he feels the same way about me. I will see him and all the family in another time and space. They are about to come to get me, so I must say Peace Out.
With love to all the family
Charles H. Rector
***Charles Henry Rector, 45, was executed by the State of Texas March 25, 1999, 6 p.m in Huntsville, Texas. He left behind to mourn his sisters Gigi Edwards, Barbara Jean Edwards, and Linda Gray, a host of cousins, nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his mother Lola Mae Edwards Chism, his grandmother Imogene Gray, his great-grandmother Leora (Leola) Fowler Sterling, his great-grandfather Mose (Mozell) Fowler, and several cousins. Rest in peace.
Below are a couple of news reports regarding the rape and murder
Monday Morning Edition
Oct. 19, 1981
By Jerry White
August 21, 1982
January 7, 1984
Anthony Michael Miller, acquitted a year ago in the abduction, rape and murder of Katy Davis, was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for a burglary at the First Baptist Church of Austin.
***Also see September 27, 2011 post on Charles Rector