"I was eleven years old when I heard the judge exclaim, "Jeffrey Dicks, you are to be executed by electrocution until you are pronounced

Dead, Dead, Dead!"

It was at that moment life as I knew it would never be the same..."

My first eleven years started in the peaceful New England village of Concord, NH in 1967. I am the youngest of four children. I have two older sisters, Tina and Laurie, and my older brother, Jeff. "Please Don't Pick the Daisies" was the TV show of the times with charming characters such as a big shaggy dog and two boys, Trevor and Tracy. Tracy was my father's first choice for my name, but my uncle's new baby girl was named Tracy so from that moment on I have been known as Trevor Dicks.

My father, Nelson, had recently taken an honorable discharge from the US Marine Corps where he served a tour in the Vietnam War (1965-1966).
These years would prove to have been some of the most brutal and heaviest years of combat and violence throughout the whole ten-year police action. Dad came home to stay with the family because my mother had attempted suicide after seeing friend after friend return home from the war, only to be laid to rest (closed coffin).

While I was still in diapers, the family (including grandparents, aunts
and uncles) relocated to Asheville, N.C. We set up house as Dad found work as a mechanic and Mom sold Fuller Brushes to make ends meet. We settled into the community and found a church where we enjoyed taking part in the weekly services and activities.

We were happy, really happy, at least temporarily. Dad was finding it harder and harder to adjust to family life after being exposed and subjected to the levels of violence in Nam. He turned to alcohol to deaden his inner turmoil. He experienced

flashbacks. These flashbacks often led to an eruption of violence from
his own hand. It didn't happen overnight. But as the years progressed, so did my father's alcohol consumption, which went hand in hand with the flashbacks and emotional outbursts.

Looking back through the years, I can vividly picture what became a typical Saturday night in our family. Instead of
packing all six of us in a car to take in a pizza and movie, which
we couldn't afford, we would gather in the living room as Mom played the piano. Gospel music filled the air, and our souls. We would sing, hymn after hymn, with my voice, young and

uninhibited, bellowing out the lyrics with a smile on my face and joy
in my heart.

Our voices exhausted, we would sit back, relax and wait for Mom and Dad to set up the projector. Now it was time for our movies, family movies. We'd watch and laugh at ourselves as the screen recounted past gatherings and holidays. There was no shortage of footage and my favorites were of Christmas.

At Christmas, I would be propped on Jeff's lap, smiling and eager to see what was hidden beneath the bows and ribbons. The only thing gleaming brighter than my expectant eyes, was the smile on Jeff's face as he helped me unwrap present after present, leaving his own to pile haphazardly in a corner.

Jeff and I were close, really close. We use to sit and talk about everything.
I can remember, during one of our talks, when he was explaining to me that he was ready to leave home to make his own way in the world. He was going to marry his girlfriend and work and have his own place. Naturally I was sad, but he said I could come and stay with him anytime I wanted and that some day I would be moving out to start my own family, too. In the mean time, I got to stay in his old room downstairs. I loved hanging out with him there, because it was away from Mom and Dad's room and very private. Now the room was mine but it just wasn't the same without my big brother in it.

Looking back, as if watching one of our home movies, I see my brother standing at the door of my new room. "Hey, you little sh#t. What are you going to do, sleep all day?" he greeted me, with a twinkle in his eyes. I leapt from the bed to his arms

as my eyes filled with excitement and a smile burst from my face. I
proceeded to interrogate him. "What are you doing here?" "I'm here to see you dummy."

There was a smile on his face, but his eyes clouded over. I was just eleven, but I knew something was up. Okay," I said, and enjoyed the hug. "Come on, little brother, we are going to have a party."

As we climbed to the top of the stairs, I saw my mother with tear-filled
eyes, the sound of sniffles caught my attention and my head snapped around to find my oldest sister sitting at the front door. Tina sat with her head buried in her lap and I could see her body quiver. Instantly a feeling of dread encompassed my body and I knew something really bad had happened. My mind raced to figure it out. At first I thought our dog, Nicki, had died, or worse yet, my grandfather who had been sick for a long time.

With all the authority my voice could muster, I demanded to know what had happened. I sat tentatively, my soul in tune with the truth of the events that were now revealed to me. With every crackle of desperation in his voice and the helpless cries from his heart, my brother's every hope and fear became my own.

Jeff and his new bride, Betty, had been living in Kingsport, Tennessee, only sixty miles from Asheville. Jeff was selling Fuller Brushes as he had done back home. Kingsport was an area that had growth potential for sales and he worked very hard to obtain a regular customer base. As they were expecting their first child, Jeff poured an enormous effort into establishing himself in the business.

It was a realistic goal to be given the entire Kingsport area, with salesman working under him. The future was looking bright: a growing business, a growing family and making new friends. As they were just starting out, they lived poorly, in a one-room efficiency barely making ends meet. Jeff was used to this lifestyle, as money was never abundant at home. We were raised to believe that it wasn't money that mattered, but friends and family; helping one another as we were taught as Christians.

Jeff, caring and softhearted, befriended a boy, Donald, who was somewhat
down on his luck. They had met when they were neighbors at a previous address. One day he showed up at Jeff's door with his girlfriend, Barbara. They had nowhere else to go and so Jeff and Betty opened their home to the couple.

Donald, who liked to be called Chief, was obviously a troubled young man. He had been in trouble with the police throughout his juvenile years and into his short adulthood. He had a great deal of anger and resentment built up inside of him and constantly told stories to project how tough he was. He'd tell of people he had assaulted and battered; how much pain he could inflict upon other people, all in an attempt to gain respect.

Chief told so many stories that Jeff hesitated to believe them all, but instead of
questioning him, Jeff let it go, not wanting to threaten his ego and
anger him.

Chief and Barbara were without a car and Jeff took on the responsibility of chauffeur in the attempts to get the couple back on their feet. As Chief was finding it difficult to secure work, Jeff often found himself financing many of their personal needs, from doing their laundry to buying a six-pack of beer.

I remember going to visit and meeting Chief for the first time. There was something about him that I couldn't put a finger on it, except that he wasn't the same quality of friends that my brother had back home. I knew all Jeff's friends because they were my friends too. I can recall many happy times when Perry, Jeff's best friend, would come over and we'd all hang out and listen to music.

I was blessed with the privilege of being a little brother who was allowed to hang out with the big brother, even when he had his friends to the house. Perry, and Jeff's other friends were good people, even Mom considered them family. When my eyes first met Chief's cold black eyes staring back at me, I was instantly intimidated. The movie Jaws provoked the most fear I had ever encountered, until that moment. I stood there feeling as if I was the vulnerable prey to his great white shark and I was frozen to where I stood. It wasn't until he forced a smile that my feeling of dread started to subside.

It was evident to Jeff that Chief was starting to fl a certain degree of guilt for having to rely on Jeff's kindness in order to survive. He would boast continually of how one day he would pay Jeff back for looking out for him. While driving Chief to the store to pick up some clothes Chief wanted to stop at a second hand shop. Jeff waited in the car unaware of the events that would transpire.

Chief returned to the car and insisted that Jeff hurry up and drive. When Jeff questioned Chief, he stated that he had to hurt the old man, but he would be all right. A robbery had taken place, suddenly, all Chief's boasting took on a whole new meaning. Not wanting to be any part of this, but not knowing what else to do, Jeff drove as Chief pressured him to do. Jeff took none of the money when offered and once depositing Chief where he was told immediately severed all ties.

Jeff learned on the news what his heart dreaded, "shop keeper murdered." Not knowing what to do, he called Mom to come get him. Mom left right away and when they returned Jeff told us that he had decided on his own to turn himself in. This was why he was home. This was the reason for the tears and the party.

I sat in awe and joined in the worry and sadness. Jeff had already spoken to the chief investigator for the case. He told them everything he knew and this confirmed what they had expected. Chief had already been apprehended. With his prior record of violence and the blood soaked clothes, they knew they had their man. Jeff was told he would have to serve some time in jail as an accessory to robbery for not going straight to the police.

So, this party was going to have to last us all for a long time. At least a few months and maybe even a year! It seems like such a short time now, but back then, it seemed like an eternity.

Time that night neither lagged nor raced, but allowed for time to think and feel, to laugh and cry, to hope and to thank God for what we had: each other and each other's dreams. We listened to Mom's favorite Gospel song, Will the Circle be Unbroken and to Jeff's new favorite song, by Leonard Skynard, Free bird. We had time enough to pray, and we did. I prayed, selfishly, that God would return my brother to me swiftly and safely.

The next day I watched the detective's car carry my brother away until it was out of sight, a single tear rolling down his cheek and a simple way good-bye. Everything I had learned told me that he was doing the right thing, turning himself in, but I continued to sit on the front porch and stare down the road.

I already missed him and the only comfort I found were in words he'd spoken to me earlier, trying to reassure me and let me know everything was going to be all right.

"I'll be back before you know it, Trev. You'll see." Jeff lunged toward me with arms out, ready to snatch me up to wrestle with me, but I didn't feel like playing, especially a cat and mouse game.

I just wanted a hug. As Jeff drew closer I wrapped my arms around his neck and hung on for dear life. Jeff stood up and I brought my knees up and locked my feet behind his back. I could feel Jeff's arms tighten around me and I knew he was feeling the same as I was...

Trevor and Jeff

By this time, I'd given up all pretense of playing the big boy and I gave into the child within me. I rested my head on his shoulder. The tears flooded my eyes and rolled down my face.

This was my first experience with the feelings of loss and helplessness.

A minute passed, maybe two, before Jeff bent down giving me the chance to plant my feet back on the ground. I was reluctant to let go, but I didn't want to act like a baby. I took a step back and wiped my eyes before focusing on Jeff. His eyes were glossy too, I knew he was holding back, probably for my benefit.

He lunged at me again, he was still going to whip my butt. I jumped
back and a smile broke through the sadness, he always did know what to do to make me feel better, to make me laugh...

I sat there for hours trying to make some sense of it all. I don't know if it was an exceptionally spectacular sunset or if my mind was searching extra hard for the strength to get up, but it reminded me of the awesome power of God and nature.

I suddenly longed for church day to come, so I could talk to God. I
knew he would make things right and make sense of all the things that were now baffling me.

I made a conscious decision to try and carry on as if everything was normal.

I grew up watching shows like Perry Mason. It was one of my mother's favorites. In every episode the bad guy ended up going to jail and the innocent were always set free. This is how I thought the justice system worked, I didn't know any different.

Mom and I had a standing date whenever Perry Mason or The Fugitive was on TV. We'd curl up next to each other on the couch and have some quality time, just the two of us. The Fugitive, Mom's other favorite show, and mine too, was about an innocent man, wrongly convicted, who had escaped from jail. He was trying to prove his innocence while being chased by the police. I can remember thinking that that could never happen in real life, especially if he'd had a lawyer like Perry Mason who would have proven him innocent before he went to jail.

Trevor and Sam Shepherd on the Journey of Hope

When I was older, I found out that The Fugitive was based on a true story. I am a close friend with Sam Sheppard Jr., whose life was destroyed by violence and injustice when he was a child. His father was accused and found guilty by the court of murdering Sam's mother. Sam's father spent eleven years in prison before he was set free, his sentence overturned because of improper procedures. In addition, there were leads that were never perused in the investigation, and today Sam, whose life has already been irreversibly damaged by the incident, is still trying to prove his father's innocence.

I recently accompanied Sam in Ohio on a walk to promote alternatives to the Death Penalty. The event started with the exhumation of his father's casket in order to perform DNA testing that would prove his father's innocence of the crime for which he was prosecuted. Dr. Sheppard was finally laid to rest along side of his wife, Sam Mother, as he should have been many years ago.

I, like so many other Americans, was under the assumption, that if you tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth you would get proper justice. I woke up to find that it just isn't so. I learned that families are destroyed, for no other reason, but because of their skin color or lack of wealth. I quickly learned that truth and justice no longer played a role in the courts, but it had been replaced by politics and how many votes a death penalty conviction attracts.

With the help of gruesome headlines from the news, they set the stage to sell the public an act of vengeance; a guise to solve their ever growing fear of crime and violence problem with a quick fix. Even after twenty years, it's still being bought and sold like a commodity.

We were considered second class citizens - poor. But my family was just like millions of others; we went to church every week and watched fireworks on the Fourth of July. We never went without food or clothing because my Dad worked six days a week and our mother made most of our clothes.

I didn't understand what was happening inside of me at that time. I was being shunned by society and rapidly filling up with anger toward any and all authority. Everything I had been brought up to believe I found myself doubting. My mother tried desperately to hold my family together and save my brother's life, but the heavy strain was taking its toll on my father, who was drinking every day now. This became an even heavier burden to carry. He was out of work now and all their savings were exhausted, so they sold our house and divorced after seventeen years of marriage.

I could not find a single friend to express these feelings with because I was also condemned. Adults literally pulled my friends away from me, like I was some kind of a beast because I had a brother on death row. I could not understand why this was happening to our family. I thought even God had abandoned me, and it was many, many years before I found my way back to Him.

I tried to carry on with school but my teacher seemed to have it in for me also. I began to get into trouble for fighting because my classmates and teachers were saying these terrible lies about my big brother - being a murderer.

I remember one day I felt so bad. That was the day my neighbor and best friend of 6 years told me he wasn't allowed to play with me anymore. We shook hands and went our ways. I don't think he understood why either, but we never saw each other again.

I prayed daily and waited for an answer, but it seemed like there was one bad thing happening after another. My family was separating. By now my Dad and Laurie were in New York. Tina, now 16, stayed in Asheville, NC and found work to help with Jeff's attorney fees before going to trial. We were told by one attorney that he wanted $100,000 minimum to defend Jeff, and if not, he would die. I left the fourth grade behind and Mom and I set out on the road.

My new stepfather, Donald, gave up a lot to try to save my brother. He sold his land, his trailer; everything of value along with our house and cars, but it still wasn't enough. I remember being at the flea market in North Carolina, shortly before we set out on the road. We were selling every thing of value in our home, things we had accumulated as a family our entire lives. I remember seeing Mom crying and I asked her why, she told me she was just sad because she didn't know how she was going to come up with all the money for Jeff's attorney.

Without hesitating, I quickly surrendered the few dollars I had made selling some of my old toys and things, but this only made her cry harder.

Trevor at flea market

After a few moments she pulled me to her for a hug and told me what a big helper I was. It felt pretty good to think I was helping my brother too, still I knew from overhearing conversations we were a long way away from raising that money.

My Mom did see the potential in the flea market and after exhausting
every other option except robbing a bank, she decided she would write "hot" checks to purchase tools and things that we could sell at the markets. She knew this was illegal and so did I but it was either that or Jeff would surely die! So, we set out to the biggest markets we could find.

It felt great and I became quite the little salesman. We had two booths
and Mom would let me sell by myself at one, while she and Donald sold at the other. I was pulling in 500-600 dollars a day and there seemed to be some hope. Mom raised thousands of dollars in the months that followed and sent nearly every cent of it to Jeff's attorney, Larry Smith.

I remember the trial well. My mother was upstairs in jail for contempt of court because she dared cry out to the jury when evidence was not allowed in my brother's behalf. "That's a filthy lie!" got my Mom ten days. Laurie and Tina were both kicked out for crying. My uncles were kicked out of the entire state, and my Dad, of course, was in no shape to be in a courtroom.

I'll never forget the look of terror on Jeff's face and the feeling of dread as the judge read the sentence. DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!!

I could see his whole body shaking as he turned around in the courtroom looking, searching desperately for someone to rescue him from this nightmare. The guards had a firm hold on his arms that were shackled to his waist. They immediately started to escort him from the courtroom, pulling and tugging vigorously. I could hear the sound of his leg irons as they dragged on the floor over the noise of the prosecutor’s celebration. I watched, helpless to save him, as they dragged him closer to the door. Everything in me told me they were taking him straight to the chair.

Nana and Pop could offer no words through their tears and we made our way out of the courthouse. My heart was racing and at the same time breaking. No one was telling me squat to put it bluntly.

That's when I heard my mother's screams coming from the bars over the courthouse. If there is an actual 'Moment of Terror', I was in it. Visions of my Mom watching my brother being executed from behind her bars overpowered my mind. Her screams were long and agonizing and I wasn't about to wait any longer for answers or actions.

I began pulling on my step dad desperately pleading with him to help me save my big brother and maybe even Mom too. I was jumping up and down ready to burst into an all out run, an all out fight if necessary, back into the courthouse through all those policemen. I guess good sense told me to go get reinforcements as I pulled Larry and Donald. Mom's screams had stopped but mine were still going strong deep inside. I guess it was at that moment everyone realized that I didn't have a clue, and my Grandma and step dad began to educate me on the appeals process and that we still had some time.

The following days, weeks, months were a blur. I guess I went into shock and I don't know if I've ever really come out of it.
There were some 23 mistakes at Jeff's trial. Witnesses were told not
to testify in Jeff's behalf. Please read the Jeff Dicks story for all the facts about Jeff's case. These facts come straight from trial transcripts. The police were hot and heavy after Mom in the days that followed the trial, and there was probably a truancy officer looking for me. We had some close calls but I guess we were lucky, they never did catch us. Every close call was kind of like a round won against the heavy weight champion, the world, the system that started this bout and was by no means playing by the rules.

Mom turned herself in to the FBI, as she wanted to be there for Jeff. Knowing Mom was desperately trying to save her son's life she received probation with restitution.

I couldn't find a single reason why all this was happening to our family and I thought even God had abandon me. I began to truly believe what almost every one else was saying about us. That we was "white trash!"

I had a talk with God and told him I wouldn't be talking or praying to him anymore. I felt as if he was punishing all of us for something that escaped me. But when I got older and could figure out just what it was we had done to be punished like this, I would speak to him again... When he wasn't mad at me anymore.. I said goodbye to my God that I loved so very much and the pain in my heart was unbearable. Now the only person in my life I could count on, was my mom.

I became very confused and angered and I searched for things to make me feel better. The things I found along the road that now laid before me, included drugs and alcohol. When just a little bit would no longer ease the pain it led to serious substance abuse. I traveled from state to state looking for something to change the way I was feeling inside, never staying more than a few months in any one place.

I settled back in Asheville, NC, and it was there I met Darlene. We married and started a family of our own, but my low self-esteem and lack of trust in society made it impossible to maintain any kind of relationship. We soon divorced.

I moved from NC back to Tennessee. My mother was there and I hoped
to find some work. But what I found was myself in and out of jail, mostly for fighting or public drunkenness. My depression seemed incurable. I had tried everything but nothing seemed to change the hopeless outlook I now had on life.

All I wanted to do was go to sleep. Forever....

I found a field close to my trailer, and in the early morning hours I laid down beneath the stars. I waited and watched until those big bright stars slowly faded, until at last I found peace.

I remember hearing sniffles and a soft whimpering, I could feel a hand caressing my cheek and head. I struggled to focus my eyes, but there was still a haze. I felt a few more strokes to my face, and then from the darkness she began to appear. It was Mom, her eyes were swollen and her eyeliner stained her face. She cringed up and I saw the tears come streaming down her face. "Oh, Trevor," was all she could muster.

It had taken doctors 67 stitches to stop the life from pouring out of my wrists. I felt so ashamed, as if it was Mom and I against the world and I had left her there to fend for herself.

"Oh, Trevor," she said again, "I've fought so hard to save one son and I may loose him, I can't take losing you too." I could almost feel how hopeless she felt. I knew it was the same helplessness she felt as my brother's death sentence came down. I knew she would take away all my pain and put it on herself if she could.

I promised her I would never try that again.

I felt like a kid again as I entered my apartment to find my clothes washed and folded, dishes done and some macaroni salad on the counter with a note that read, "Love, Mom." I felt so guilty taking so much of Mom's time in her already full schedule. I tried to shy away some, but it didn't seem to work very well.

My Mom can be a very stubborn lady when she sets her mind to something. Mom tried desperately to find someone to help me with my depression, someone to help me sort through all the mixed up distorted feelings that were reeking havoc deep inside my soul.

Mom and I spent a lot of time together after that, but she would soon be by my bedside again.
I was a victim in a violent crime and was robbed, beaten, pistol-whipped
and left to stare death in the face. The anger inside me manifested into hatred directed at almost everything. I found myself unleashing it at my car, beating it in a rage, or at anyone who dared try to tell me anything I didn't want to hear. I can still see the burning hatred in their eyes and hear the gunfire like it was yesterday.

I began to realize once again, just how precious life is. There was no more room for anger, my body simply could not harbor it. It was time for change. I was 22 years old, homeless and in trouble with the law again. I was searching for a bed at a rehab center to escape my problems for a short time, with out much luck. Another job, another home, another relationship down the tubes. With suicide no longer an option for me, I dropped to my knee's and cried out out to God, Why? Why? Why?... Why

do you hate me so? What's wrong with me?... Either let me die or help me! GOD PLEASE! Please help me! Forgive me...
I screamed and I cried, and then I felt it. I felt a bit of peace.
Things began to happen fast for me. With in minutes the phone rang. It was a rehab, they had a bed for me. With in an hour I was on my way. I checked in and it was a bit late. All the counselors had gone home for the night. I was given some work sheets to fill out. It was the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and fourth step of the 12 step AA program. I took them to my room and filled them out, honestly.

I wrote down all the bad things I had ever done in my life. It all flowed through me so fast. The more I wrote the more I could see how many mistakes I had made in my life. And how many people I had hurt because of my anger and drug addiction. I truly felt sorry full in my heart and I asked God for forgiveness...

It was granted to me. I felt as if the empire state building was lifted from my shoulders. I cried and I laughed. I was filled with so much joy there is no words to describe the feeling.

Hatred no longer consumed my soul, instead I was given the gift of reconciliation. I no longer looked for vengeance or alcohol to ease and suppress my feelings of anger.

I began to understand that I was in fact a victim. I realized that God did not hate me. That it was me that shut him out of my life for so many years, and he had been waiting a long time for me to come home. I was re-united with my best friend, and my healing process began.

The burden I carried for so many years was lifted from me and words can not express to you how it came to be. I can however tell you, for the first time in many years, I feel alive again.

I was baptized for the first time a few weeks after that night and received the holy ghost. Again, the joy in my heart was overwhelming. Openly now, I could see the miracles God was working in my life. Everything from clothing when I was cold to money when I was in need.

Today I can truly enjoy watching my son, Riley Christian's, first steps and hearing those precious words, "I love you, Daddy." God has opened up these doors and many more that I thought had been locked forever.

Since 1994 I have taken an active part in The Journey of Hope, which has enabled me to share my personal experiences with other people and my goal is to continue to reach out to victims. I founded Journiers for Justice, Inc. in 1996 after becoming disabled from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, due to the levels of violence I have encountered in my life.

Take my word for it, there is a better way! It was a long hard struggle and has taken nearly two thirds of my life before I found my way back to God...the help I needed. With regenerated hope of a bright future, I am now free to pursue a better tomorrow for my son and newborn daughter, but never, ever losing sight of yesterday...

Today I have my best friend back in my life, God. If it is his will I will have my brother back in my life as well. I don't know Gods purpose for me. I do know that Jeff's best friend is also God. God promises not to put onto any man a burden he could not handle. I know in my heart there is a reason for Jeff being on Death Row. If only to help one of Gods children there. I'm proud that God chose my brother. Don't get me wrong, I wish he had not. But seeing my brother through the years, all he's done for the guys on the row, I am proud to call him my big brother.

A better man never lived, except for Jesus. He too was sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. He accepted his fate and did not ever complain to God for his lot in life. Jeff never lost faith in God. He never said a hated word or participated in a violent act. He teaches about God. He teaches to men who is commended, never judging them for their acts. I truly believe in my heart, their was not another man alive to fulfill Gods will except for Jeff.

So today I except my lot in life.

Changes take time! There are still times I want to strap on my six shooter and go take my brother home, or at least die fighting. I know today this is not an option and what scares me is there are millions of people out there whom still don't know this type of behavior is unhealthy to say the least. That Violence begets violence and like a virus it destroys everything that it comes in contact with.

I lost an uncle to the act of murder. I hate the "act" of murder and I can't help but love life today. The taking of a life creates victims regardless of what acts they committed. I know there are people who knew them before; as a child learning to walk, or a father who lovingly tucked them into bed at night. I would not wish upon those innocent children and mothers to have to experience, in the name of justice, the same needless pain and suffering as I did.

I've experienced violence in many different arenas, from the victim’s standpoint to the contributor. I am an avid believer that anyone can change their behavior, as I am proof of this fact.

Many people tend to forget that the family members of the condemned are victims. When they lose someone to the death penalty, they feel all the same pain and loss of their loved one, just as a murder victim’s family does. It was nineteen years ago that I heard those works, "dead, dead, dead!" and have lived with the knowledge that the state of Tennessee is going to kill my big brother for a crime he did not commit!

They call one an act of murder and another a mistake. Some even say the innocent are expendable, but I say no life is expendable...

We are teaching our kids that killing is the answer. We need to stop the violence cycle and look more to ways of prevention. Life without parole works! More policing works! We could use some counseling for our young people to help them deal properly with the many problems they face in the world today.

I am not saying I have all the answers, but I do know the death penalty is a primitive and barbaric method punishment. If we, as Americans, are going to continue to call ourselves a civilized nation, we need to abolish capital punishment.

On May 10,1999, My Big Brother, Jeff Dicks died of heart failure. Through improper diet, lack of exercise and medical neglect he was allowed to die by this so-called humane system. For three days Jeff begged to see a doctor because of his chest pains. It wasn't until he collapse did he get his request. By this time Jeff had suffered great damage to his heart and was told he would not survive another heart attack. This was last year. a few weeks ago they took him off his medication, he complained of chest pains, and collapsed again before seeing a doctor.

"FREE BIRD" By Trevor Dicks

On your last night of freedom you played us a song, before turning yourself in, because you had done no wrong.
It said, " If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me, for
I am free as a bird now and there's to many places I've got to see.

Well the Answer is... Yes brother! and all to clearly, every hour of every day since they took you away
from me.

The only places you've seen have been from behind your steel bars, except for our letters, pictures and post cards.

Your heart was pure Gold and your strength won't be denied. You're the bird they couldn't change no matter how hard they tried.

This long await day Is my living Hell... This day all whom loved you must bid you farewell...

You've earned your wings brother, Its time, you must fly.

And I will be brave Jeff, I'll try not to cry. And I will make you this promise, your story will be heard!

My voice will speak for you, My dearest brother, "Free Bird"

I miss you brother, I love you, and this is my voice... I hope, at least in your eyes, I have fulfilled my promise. And brother,
as it's been said,

"I have yet begun to fight"...


** On June 7th 2005 Trevor was killed in a one car accident in NH. His memorial site is www.trevordicks.com

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Comment by Mari Sloan on March 23, 2008 at 2:02pm
This is very sad. I'm sorry your family has had to endure all of this. Good luck with the book.

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