New Castle News (Newspaper) - January 28, 1921, New Castle, Pennsylvania
N1 \v CASTI i: NEWS, FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 1921
“LIFER” IS FREE AFTER 22 YEARS
Wlittc-Haiiecl Man, Pardoned Por Murder, Tries To Take His Place In World Again
T International New* Service)
DETROIT. Jan. 28—Tim* rous and
apprehensive, a white-haired man climbed aboard a Woodward avenue car at the "rush hour."
"A little speed," grumbled the conductor. "Move up front—show a little life."
Obediently the man went forward. He was used to obeying commands. He was a former "lifer" going to work for the first day in bis life He has Just been pardoned from Marquette after serving twenty-two years in "the big house.*'
In 18 9 6, a youth of nineteen threw a little town in the northern section of the state Into panic when he killed three people. Jealousy- -and drink, he pleaded. "Life" said the court.
The prison board decided that he had paid his lebt to society. Never once had he broken the prison rules. But he was always held as a "bad actor." He had been placed in murderers’ row, along with the others doing the "stretch" that has no end.
"I’m going to work," he said slowly, "in an automobile factory. You wouldn't believe it but I have never ridden in an auto in my life. I never was close to one before until Saturday. From the window I’ve seen 'em roll up to the prison, but they were far away.
"Everything Is so strange—it’s like coming back and being born in the world again.
Prayed for Freedom.
"I’ve been paroled to a man in this town who has pledged that I will go straight. I will, too. He got me this job. They know all about me. I wouldn’t hurt a fly. 1 want to redeem myself. I want to b* a man. How I have dreamed of this! In all the awful watches of the night the guards passing by the cells, I have prayed for this freedom.
"It seems so ’strange' to be able to get up and go and come as you please without being restrained. 1 found it difficult to begin to ‘talk’ again. I keep looking about for guards and keepers. One can’t forget the ‘screws’ after being under their iron rule twenty-two years.
"And the newspapers" Wonderful. I watched the presses Saturday. When I last saw a newspaper press it was a slow thing. Now they go like lightning.
"It's wonderful, being able to go to bed at any hour you want to. And to think that you can walk into a restaurant and order what you want and take your time to eat it. No one to say 'faster there’ and ’who is that whispering?'
"And I can take my hath whenever I want it. No being ‘dressed out of the ceil block." and marched to the baths and allowed only so many seconds' for a bath and then made to dress and march back with your line whether you were through or not.
"You don’t know how they ‘kill’ a man in prison. I served a lifetime. Many a time I have given up. One gets so he can’t cry any more. He is ‘dead’ to that emotion. TIL heart hag been ‘cut" too deep.
Lost Track of Days.
"I used to go to the services In the chapel every Sunday. I used to hear that Christ would for give even the worst sinner. I tried to be good. But it was always the same old awful life of living without manhood. .I tried to keep track of the days and weeks and months on the wall of my cell. I marked down the years. For the first five years I hoped. Then a5? the years went on—went to ten and fifteen—I began to ‘die inside’ I* was awful torture. I no longer dared to dream. I hated the look of the outside world, of the birds and the trees that I could catch a glimpse of when I was in the prison yard. And then I no longer asked for parole. I had given up. Twenty-two years. I'm only forty-one now—but twenty-two years of that in prison turns a man into a stone. And then came the word that I was wanted in the warden’s office. I couldn’t grasp what h^ was saying a* first. Then they told me that I was to be paroled into the care of this man here. I was dazed—and then I realized. I went back to my cell and fell upon my knees and thanked God—after all he hadn’t forgotten me. I wa ashamed of myself for ever doubting him."
"Move up front," again came from the conductor. "I'll teil you when we come to the plant."
"Thank you, sir," came from the former "lifer."
"What has impressed you most in your new life of freedom "’ the old "llfar" was asked this morning.
For a moment his face was inscrutable. Then a slow grin overspread the fa^e of the man who has come back.
"The greatest surprise to me," he said, reaching to his nerk, "is this white collar. Do you know It is the first one I ha\e ever worn in my life. I think they look good, but they are sure uncomfortable "
British Navy Would Still Lead Powers
kfX’rr-tary Daniels Has Not Much Faith in Six Months’ KuHjx-n-slon In Naval Budding
(International New« Service) WASHINGTON, Jan 2 GretU Britain can well afford a naval boll- ; day for six months or a year for, ; even with hueli a holiday fdi* would ! still ho superior in capital chip ;, j Secretary of the Navy Dani'-L. today sa:d in reiterating his belief in die- j armament by agrement.
"Any other plan would be like ap- . plying a poultice when a surgeon is needed" the secretary said
Groat Britain haa railed a confer- j enc# to discuss her naval program and oil her colonies will be represented, Secretary Daniels said. He in timated that thin conference might 1 have something to do with proposals j for a naval holiday. j
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