Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Paul William Scott: A Brutal Travesty of Justice

"Paul had no idea about anything other than hanging out with me and Alessi when he came with us. --- ...5 months later I pleaded guilty... I admitted to it, the champagne bottle and all." -- Richard Kondian
If after reading about Paul William Scott's  life, you don't feel at least a tinge of existential guilt, or moral outrage, you never will.

From the moment Scott was born - with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - saying the odds were stacked against is clearly an understatement, for that was just the beginning of a long journey marked with continuous tragedy.

Scott's formative/developmental years consisted of physical, sexual and emotional abuse by a father who abandoned him at 7-years of age.  After his father left, things got even worse as he spent the next decade subject to the ravages of  living in the ghettos of  Long Beach, CA with a mother who could barely take care of herself, let alone her children, one of them with a significant disability. So, the abuse continued, only it was compounded by poverty and Scott's growing dependence on drugs (Since the age of 7 Paul was hooked on drugs: first legal (thorazine), then illegal (heroin)).

Finally, at the age of 21, having no money, no friends or family, and nowhere to go, Scott left California to look for his father in Florida which turned out to be a big mistake. His father threw him out after Scott refused to allow his father to molest his girlfriend, Bernadine. Once again, Scott found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and with the wrong people.

In 1979, 22-year old Scott met 18-year old drug user, Richard Kondian. Together, one night, they went to visit drug user/dealer, James Alessi in West Palm - a man that Kondian had met the night before - to use and purchase drugs.

While Scott was lying down in another part of Alessi's house,  Kondian claims a naked Alessi tried to rape him. Scott heard Kondian’s cry for help and rushed to his side, where both men tried to beat Alessi off of him but Alessi, much bigger than either Scott or Kondian would not stop. Kondian then smashed him with a bottle, leaving Alessi dead.

Despite Kondian's confession and sworn affidavit,  Scott ended up paying the price, as he has already survived five execution orders, while serving over 31 years on Florida's death row.

Kondian, on the other hand, hired David Ross, the country’s top criminal defense attorney in the 1970s, pleaded guilty to second degree murder, received 45 years in prison and served 14 years before being released in 1994.

During the struggle, Kondian cut his hand with the cork wire from the bottle, and a circle of blood from the bottle was left at the murder scene. At Scott's trial, the prosecution withheld this blood evidence. Two witnesses to the murder have also come forward to exonerate Scott. In addition, upon being informed of these irrefutable truths, nine of Scott’s former jurors have expressed shock and dismay in being misled, lied to and tricked into coming forward with a guilty verdict and a death sentence. Eight of these jurors signed sworn statements.

Fr. Ed McElduff



Below is a song written by Bob Pauley, who also wrote a book about the case entitled A Circle of Blood.
A PRISONER'S LAMENT

It's been two years since I've felt the light of day
When that judge said you've a lifetime boy to pay
The view here from my prison cell is but an empty wishing well
For me to wish this wasted life away

Cause I'm here for murder in the first degree
And yet a spark of hope still flickers inside me
For with that jury's final word I swear the truth was never heard
Do I die tonight or will they set me free

Oh, I could climb these walls to freedom and escape this deathly place
But then I'd know no one would listen, deaf ears still haunt my case
Past the guards' eternal rounds, the barbed wire and barking hounds
But what's the good of freedom if I can't show my face

I was guilty in their eyes before my plea
Yes the governor made it clear with his decree
The lights grow dim they test the chair, the smell of death is in the air
But I'm innocent! And that's what's killing me

Oh, I could climb these walls to freedom and escape this deathly place
But then I'd know no one would listen, deaf ears still haunt my case
Past the guards' eternal rounds, the barbed wire and barking hounds
But my name would still be whispered and I couldn't show my face

It's been two years since I've felt the light of day
When the judge said you've a lifetime boy to pay
The lights grow dim they test the chair,
the smell of death now fills the air
But I'm innocent! And that's what's killing me

I'm innocent! And that's what's killing me
I'm innocent! And that's what's killing me

Copyright 1980 Bob Pauley Music
There are no wealthy murderers on death row. Over 90% of defendants charged with capital crimes are indigent and cannot afford an experienced criminal defense attorney. They are forced to use inexperienced, underpaid and overworked lawyers who, many times do not even meet the minimum standard of qualifications.  

"Them without the capital get the punishment"

3 comments:

Anonymous,  18:32  

This kind of stuff makes me ashamed to be an American. The measure of any society is how it treats its weakest members. If that's the case, our society is at the bottom of the barrell.

Thanks for posting this man's tragic story. I really hope there is an afterlife, because it's obvious that this man will never get justice in this lifetime.

david,  01:11  

Death row inmates are disproportionately racial minorities and indigent. Rarely do any approach middle-class economically. Tom Capano came the closest to someone considered upper class and of course, his sentence was commuted.

State-sanctioned execution is nothing but society's lust for blood. It also costs a fortune and is not a deterrent.

Justice for Provably Innocent Paul Scott Committee,  08:37  

Thank you so much for relaying these vital truths and facts. We are so grateful for your commitment and concern for justice. We'll print this out and send to Paul. Please know it will mean the world to him!

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