Murdering Machines

by Jay Goodman

One thing about doing time is you will hear story after story of other prisoners’ experiences in prisons all over the country. If a man goes to prison, he is subject to being moved from state to state. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has one or more prisons in almost every state. And if a man has some serious time to do, there’s a good chance he will pass through dozens of prisons.

It seems like every prison has a story, sometimes men will show up and tell us what’s going at other places, and as a whole it’s usually bad. Just when you believe you are in a prison that’s bad, you will meet someone who just left a Prison that was pure hell. I recently met a man who has been in prison for most of his life. He goes by the name Tex. In fact, he went to prison in his 20’s, got out when he was almost 50, and stayed out less than a month. Now he is 70 years old. He is institutionalized way beyond repair. As likable as he is, I noticed it was almost impossible for him to handle any type of stress. He has to have everything run on a schedule: up at a certain time, eat at a certain time, watch his daily programs, and go to bed on time. Anything that changed the scheduling he would almost lose his mind. I am talking, it could be something as small is not getting the T.V. changed at exactly the right time. Say it’s Sunday, and one of the football games just went off, if he was just a few minutes late getting it changed to the next game, he would go into such a rage that the older man looks like a child who didn’t get his way. I saw years ago that long-term imprisonment will destroy a man mentally, physically, and spiritually if he allows his mind to fall into the habit of flowing with prison life. The sad thing is, is Tex wasn’t a stupid man. In fact, he possesses a lot of good qualities. But he had allowed prison life to consume him to the point where he never dreamed of anything else. He lost his parents, his wife, and his sister didn’t want anything to do with him. His daughter only would write him. Nothing mattered to him anymore except his daily life in this hell hole. I would actually try to talk some sense into him from time to time. I even asked him why he did this, or acted like that? And he would listen to me, in fact, we had some good conversations. I even asked him a few times, “Tex don’t you want to go home?” He would say, “of course I want to go home.” Then I would ask him, “then why do you do everything in the world, that will keep you in here?” “I don’t know,” he would say. As I got to know Tex, he would talk about his past, and all the different prisons he went to. And I could tell by our conversations that he was traumatized by some of the things he had seen. One of his stories were so brutal, that it even surprises me, at the insanity of what happened.

Tex was moving to the United States penitentiary, in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was put in an 8-man cell. Six of the eight we’re in a game called the Aryan brotherhood. All of them were from California, one of the other men was from California also, and of course Tex was from Texas. Tex said, they all got along okay but he could tell the 6 in the Aryan Brotherhood were dangerous. He said that all they talked about was how they were going to kill this guy or that guy. He also told me how whatever guy they were talking about, would usually end up dead within a few days. He also said, that they controlled most of the drug business inside the prison. And that the Mexican Mafia and the Aryan Brotherhood work together inside this prison. He also noticed that all 6 of these gang members would shoot heroin. One night Tex told me, “I woke up late one night, and heard the 6 Aryan Brotherhood members talking with the other guy who was California. They asked him what part of California he lived in? “San Diego,” he answered. “How often does your wife come to visit,” they asked. “She usually tries to come every few weeks. That is, if she can afford it.” One of the guys said, “if she had the money, would she come every week?” “Yes,” he answered. Look, one of the men said, “If we would pay for your wife to drive her each week, would you and her be willing to help us with something?” He said, “well I don’t know, what do you want?” Now, the main guy spoke. “Look, we will pay your wife to come visit you every week, if she will drop off some heroin. We will have a lady go by her wife’s house, and give her 15 balloons that will be filled with heroin. She can put them inside a small plastic bag, and once she gets in the parking lot, all she has to do is shove them inside of her and walk in. Once you go out to the visiting area, you both just sit and talk for about an hour. Drink some coffee, or a soda, and she can go to the restroom and take out the bag and put the balloons in her pocket. Once she gets back to the table, she can slowly start passing them to you, you already have food and a soda at the table so you just act like you’re eating, and then take a drink of soda and swallow them. Once you get back here, we have some stuff you can drink which will make you use the restroom. Plus, after we sell it in here, we will put $500 on your account. That’s $2,000 a month, plus you and your wife can see each other every week.” The guy said, “sure, when do we start?” “How about next week?” “Sounds good to me.” The next evening Tex hears this guy tell these six that he talked with his wife, and everything was good to go. They had one of their girlfriends drop off the dope to his wife and she came to visit him. The visit went good, he was able to swallow all the balloons. Back in our cells they gave him some medicine to help him use the restroom and then just waited. He uses the restroom but no balloons. One day, two days, three days nothing came out. The six members were all getting frustrated. The main guy asked him if he swallowed the balloons? He promised them he did. He said look, “I don’t understand why they’re not coming out. But I give you my word that I did.” So, as the next few days went by and he never shit any balloons out, these guys became angrier by the minute. Finally, after a week went by, they called him into the cell, the first thing that they guy said was, “I swear, I swallowed them.” One of the Aryan Brotherhood guys walked up behind him and hit him in the head with a metal bar, which knocked him out. The main guy told Tex to stand at the cell door and watch. Then another guy took out a metal pick, and stabbed the guy through his heart. Once they killed him, another guy cut him down his belly, they pulled out all of his intestines. Tex said, “I couldn’t believe what this guy was doing. I started to run out of the cell, but to be honest, I was scared to death.” Then this guy starts feeling down disguise intestines, until he feels one of the balloons. He cut the balloons out of him, then handed it to his friend to rinse off in the sink. Then he kept feeling down the intestines until he found all of the balloons. They cleaned all of the balloons off, then they fix a shot of heroin. Tex said, “the main guy told him, come over here.” When he walks to him, the guy said, “this is for you.” It was some heroin. Tex did the heroine and the main guy spoke to him. Listen Tex, “you have a choice, you can keep your mouth shut and live, or you can talk and die. Don’t tell anyone, if we get word that you said something, that’s what’s going to happen to you.” And he pointed at the dead man. Now everyone is to go outside. Stay outside and give the guard time to find this piece of shit. When they do their investigation, everyone say we don’t know what happened to him. There will be a little heat for a while, but just like everything else that happens in here, it’ll pass. Hell, someone else will probably be killed soon. And that will take the heat off of us.

Tex told me, “the captain called each of us in his office the next day. He asked if I knew what had happened? When I told him “no,” the captain joked about it and said, “damn, this guy must really piss someone off because it looks like someone tried to do surgery on this guy.”” Tex told me, can you imagine how hard it was to go back into that cell and sleep? Every night I would lay there wondering if these guys were going to kill me. As I looked at Tex after that, I started to understand why he acted the way he did. He had become a product of his environment. Many people come inside these walls, and after years of seeing the violence and murders, they become like Tex, their nerves are shot, they sit in front of the T.V. all day doing nothing. Watching show after show or sports all day, they do anything they can to escape the reality of our situation.

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez