Earlier this year, I wrote to every American death row inmate scheduled for execution in the near future. I asked them about their personal history, their lives in prison, and their thoughts on America and its justice system. Today we hear from Abdul Awkal—a man who was scheduled to be executed by the state of Ohio last week, before receiving a last-minute reprieve.
Abdul Awkal was convicted of shooting and killing his wife and brother-in-law at a courthouse in Cleveland in 1992, in the midst of a custody battle over his daughter. He was scheduled to be executed on June 6. The day before he was scheduled to die, Ohio governor John Kasich granted him a two-week reprieve, citing doubts about Awkal's mental health—a psychiatrist hired by his defense called him "a severely mentally ill man" with "a chronic psychotic disorder." (Many of Awkal's writings can be found here.) His execution is now scheduled for June 20. Below, his full letter to us; click on each page to enlarge.
[Image by Jim Cooke]