CONTACT CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR
Linda Tant Miller
MURDERED BY VIRGINIA
DAVID MARK TRACY
February 4, 1980 - April 5, 2000
20 BRIEF YEARS
David Mark Tracy was the 12th of Alice and Thomas Tracy’s 13
children. Weighing but 6 lbs. 4 oz. at birth, David was a beautiful baby
who grew into a healthy and happy little boy within the loving circle of
his large, happy family.
David was a smart child with a playful
nature. He loved bike riding, going fishing with his 8 brothers, 4 sisters
and his parents, and he loved playing baseball and basketball. He was a
fun brother, who loved to laugh and attended church every Sunday at the
Salvation Army church.
David’s parents are good people who raised
him to realize that we are all God’s children, and that people were not to
be judged by their race, creed, color, financial status or religion, but
by the content of their characters and what’s in their hearts. David
understood that we are all brothers and sisters and he accepted everyone
in that spirit.
David was only 17 years old when he went to jail
for possession of approximately $100 dollars worth of drugs, which were
found near but not on him. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and
spent fewer than 2 years in a Connecticut prison before he was transferred
to the newly-built, and already notorious Wallens Ridge Unit, which sits
on an isolated mountain top in Virginia.
Wallens Ridge is staffed
by a cadre of racist guards who immediately singled David out for verbal
and physical abuse because he associated with people of all races. David
wrote home that the guards were always messing with him and had begun
spraying women’s perfume into his cell and calling him “nigger lover”,
“race traitor”, “northern scum” and “Connecticut bastard.”
months before he was due to be released David’s family received a phone
call from another prisoner. The frantic caller told David’s family that
the guards were constantly harassing David and he was afraid they would
kill him unless they could help him. He begged them to please help David.
Before they could get help to him, David was dead.
statement to the media Connecticut DOC Commissioner John Armstrong stated
that a guard had witnessed David jump off a bunk with a noose around his
neck. The guard claimed to have gone for help, but no help was possible
because David’s wind pipe was crushed and they couldn’t get air into his
According to the autopsy performed on David’s body, there
was nothing wrong with his windpipe. David’s family are certain that their
beloved son and brother DID NOT commit suicide. David loved life and his
family. He was making plans to regain his life in 7 short months, and
looking forward to being home where he could once again relax and enjoy
the safety, love and warmth of the family he missed so desperately.
The prison kept David’s body for 11 days before sending him home
to his family for burial. During that time they called David’s family
several times to ask if they wanted his body cremated. Why the delay in
sending David's body home? Why were they so anxious to cremate him? What
is the Wallens Ridge prison covering up????
The families of prisoners
transferred to Wallens Ridge from New Mexico and Connecticut began
receiving word from their loved ones of treatment such as that inflicted
on David Tracy as soon as they reached that dungeon of torture and death.
After two inmates were shot by guards Connecticut legislators finally
responded to the pleas of prisoner families and made an inspection tour of
Wallens Ridge. In Warden Stanley K. Young’s office they were surprised to
see displayed an array of Civil War memorabilia and a model of a slave
ship. But they took no action. They still have taken no action.
How many young men will die at the hands of Virginia racists
before the states of Connecticut and New Mexico stop sending the husbands,
sons and brothers of their citizens to be tortured and murdered by the
degenerate fiends entrusted with the lives of the helpless inhabitants of
What REALLY happened to David Mark Tracy? Does
anyone REALLY believe that after serving 23 grueling months of
incarceration and with only 7 months left to go on his sentence and
anxious to see his family again, David Tracy committed suicide?
This was David’s first time in prison. He was a completely
non-violent young man. We want to know why he was sent to a level 6
private prison in the first place.
David’s family needs answers.
They need justice - for David and for themselves!
Please write to
the Governor of Connecticut by clicking the first button on the left of
this page and demand that he remove all Connecticut prisoners from
Virginia prisons NOW, before the life of another life is sacrificed on the
diabolic alter of racism!
REMEMBERING MY SON
BY ALICE TRACY
I’d like the memory of him to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles, when day’s done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the way,
of happy times
and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve to dry
before the sun of happy memories
that I leave behind
when day is done.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
for I really did not die.
David's brothers carry him to his
...and lay him to rest
Gone, but never forgotten
THE SYSTEM ADDRESSES DAVID'S DEATH
Hartford Courant Wednesday, April 13, 2000 by Edward Fitzpatrick Staff
Writer State lawmakers on Tuesday grilled Correction Commissioner John J.
Armstrong about the death of Connecticut inmate David M. Tracy, who
apparently hanged himself in his Virginia prison cell on April 5.
Legislators said they thought the state Department of Corrections
was sending only the worst offenders to Virginia’s Wallens Ridge prison to
ease crowing in Connecticut’s prisons. They zeroed in on the fact that
Tracy, who was convicted on a drug charge died just 7 months before he was
to complete a 30 month sentence.
“It came as a surprise to me that
there was an inmate in Virginia scheduled to be released in the near
term,” Senator Donald E. Williams, Jr., D-Killingly said during a joint
hearing of the judiciary and public safety committees at the Legislative
Office Building in Hartford.
“Doesn’t it make sense to have
inmates in Connecticut, where we have maximum control and accountability ,
to ensure they have the preparation we demand upon release?” asked
Williams, Judiciary Committee Co-chairman.
With Tracy’s family and
friends filling two rows of seats behind him, Armstrong defended the
decision to send the 20-year-old Bridgeport man to Wallens Ridge. He said
those inmates transferred to Virginia include not only killers and
rapists, but also inmates who’ve become involved with gangs or created
management problems while behind bars.
Tracy, he said, had
‘chronic disciplinary problems,” receiving 30 disciplinary “tickets” in
Connecticut and Virginia prisons. Also, Tracy was affiliated with a gang
and failed to participate in prison programs aimed at rehabilitation,
“Some offenders nearing the end of their sentences
are not appropriate for low-security prisons,” Armstrong said. “We once
had a burning murder by inmates who were leaving in a matter of months.”
Senator Alvin W. Penn, a Bridgeport Democrat and public safety
committee co-chairman, asked why Tracy would kill himself. Armstrong had
no answer, saying, “That’s a question you’d ask whether it was an inmate,
a neighbor, anybody. Questions are all you are left with.”
members, who wore “In Memory of David Tracy” T-shirts to Tuesday’s
hearing, have said that Tracy was being harassed by prison guards and that
they suspect foul play in his death. “Even though we buried my brother on
Monday, he’s not going to rest until we find justice,” his 27-year-old
sister, Mary Tracy said after the hearing.
Attention also focused
on the larger issue of what to do about Connecticut’s crowded prisons.
Senators have written two amendments that would double the number
of inmates that can be transferred out of state - pushing the current
limit of 500 up to 1,000. The proposal, supported by Republican Governor
John G. Rowland’s administration, would be attached to a bill concerning
escapes from community release programs. Penn said he would fight those
During Thursdays’s hearing, Armstrong noted there has
been strong opposition to out-of-state transfers, and to a now-dead plan
to turn the New Haven armory into an 800-bed jail.
“We must do
something,” he said. “This is not just my problem. It needs your
investment as well.”
Representative Michael P. Lawlor, an East
Haven Democrat and Judiciary Committee Co-Chairman, has said he is hoping
the legislature and administration can agree to a package of legislation
to address the prison crowing problems.
DAVID'S COMMUNITY IS OUTRAGED!
DAVID'S GRIEF-STRICKEN MOTHER DEMANDS TO KNOW WHAT REALLY
HAPPENED TO HER CHILD
DAVID'S FRIENDS PROTEST HIS MURDER
DAVID'S MOTHER COMFORTS CARMEN RUIZ WHOSE SON IS A PRISONER AT
STANLEY K. YOUNG, the Warden of the racist Wallens Ridge
DAVID'S FRIENDS FROM WALLENS RIDGE TELL WHAT THEY
Dear Miss Tracy,
Hello. To begin this
letter I want to send my condolences. I'm truly sorry about what happend
to Dave. I have to begin by saying that I was not down there at the time
when they did what they did to him. I had been transfered back to
Connecticut about 2 and a half weeks earlier.
I can tell you that
I was on the first bus down to VA and Dave was on that bus with me, also.
Once we got to VA Dave was put into the cell right next to me. We spent 5
months next to each other. He was in cell D-XXXX I was in D-XXXX.
Now, the entire 5 months I was next to him I myself was harrassed
on a daily basis, and I can tell you that so was Dave. I watched them go
into his cell one day about 2 months ago and take his TV for no reason. He
was quiet and didn't really bother nobody. He used to go outside once in a
while to get some fresh air but he never gave the c/o's a hard time. They
gave him a hard time.
They used to mess with his mail all the time
and I know this because it used to happen to me all the time. I can
remember on several occaisions seeing the gaurds threaten him and not
allow him phone calls or his commisarry or even a shower. They used to
also talk shit to him, calling him a Connecticut bastard and a nigger
lover and a race tratior (excuse the language). They hated us all because
we were from Connecticut, but the white dudes even more because some where
friends with spanish or black families and I think they targeted David as
well as myself for these reasons.
I also have to say that I don't
know how they are saying that he did it (which I don't believe), but there
is NO way that anyone can do that in them cells. The light on the ceiling
and the space between the light and ceiling are flush with each other for
anything to be tied. I honestly believe that they killed David. I feel
this because I've seen them get physical with other Connecticut inmates
and also all the threats and harassements, not to mention that they also
housed 200 inmates from New Mexico, and there were so many beatings to
them that the F.B.I. has been investigating that place.
want to try and contact an attorney who is representing some of their
families. I feel they have a lot of Very, Very helpful information that
can help you out greatly.
I again encourage you to write to me at
anytime. If I can help in any way I promise I will. I will testify if I
have to,make further statments etc...
I would appreciate it very
much if you would write me back so that I know you recieved this letter.
Please write back.
I'm truly sorry for your loss.
P.S. It was so bad that the c/os down there used to talk bad shit
even about the Connecticut c/os. They hated all of us from Connecticut, it
wasn't just us inmates..
Please take care.
NOTE: IDENTITY WITHHELD TO PROTECT INMATE FROM RETALIATION.
MORE LETTERS WILL BE ADDED AFTER THEY ARE ENTERED INTO EVIDENCE
IN COURTS OF LAW
A cell like the one David supposedly hanged himself in. How would one hang themselves in this cell?????
THROUGH THE YEARS
David at age 1
David at age 1 being embraced by his brother Richard
David at age 8
DAVID'S BROTHER JOE MEMORIALIZES HIM IN
NM PRUP COORDINATOR AND FOUNDER OF COMMITTEE ON PRISON
ACCOUNTABILITY, TILDA SOSAYA SPEAKS OUT ABOUT DAVID'S
Sunday, April 09, 2000
DEATH AT WALLENS RIDGE
Surprised? Unfortunately, many of us in New Mexico are not
surprised that a young inmate has died at Wallens Ridge State Prison in
Big Stone Gap Virginia. Reports of abuse from both NM and CT inmates have
been consistent and repeated for months, now. Family members and friends
as well as many concerned citizens both in NM and from across the nation
have been writing to NM state officials - from lawmakers to the chief
executive. Governor Johnson makes no bones about it - those inmates should
be in Wallens Ridge - they deserve it - they kill, he told me in January.
Nevermind that the inmates sent to Wallens Ridge include many non-violent
drug abusers, petty thieves, drug addicted, and other offenders. Few of
these men were the "worst of the worst" NM Department of Corrections
Secretary Rob Perry claimed to be sending into exile.
are trying to help, they tell us in phone conversations. The attorney
General believes the FBI is doing an investigation but her office is
unsure of which FBI office in particular is conducting the investigation
and uncertain as to any findings. This investigation was in its
"preliminary phase" when it began in December. It is still in the
preliminary stage. . . the AG's office tells us. And, they are all -
legislators and deputy attorneys general alike - "trying to cooperate"
with Secretary Rob Perry to bring the men back from this torture chamber.
What a lucky man to have so much power that everyone is cooperating with
him! Rambo as King! Torture and racism aside whether true or false, it is,
sadly, politics as usual.
Amnesty International and Human Rights
Watch have both declared the institutional practices at Wallens Ridge and
its near-by twin Red Onion, to be in violation of human rights. Local
organizations have attempted these endless months to persuade the state
government to bring New Mexico Inmates back from Wallens Ridge. Likewise
in Connecticut, families and friends are doing the same. Our pleas,
requests and prayers remain unanswered. The public must raise its voice
and protest to put an immediate end to the torture, racism and inhumanity
being perpetrated on our inmates. Secretary Perry continues to have
inmates transferred to Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap,
Virginia. This continues unabated as so many people in our state are
"working to resolve this problem."
The prison is new there. VA DOC
Secretary Ron Angelone needs to fill space. He calls his golf buddy Perry
and the deal is done. New Mexicans - mostly people of color - were the
first "guests" at Wallens Ridge. The prison is in the middle of the
Cumberland Mountains, which border TN, NC, and VA. According to KlanWatch,
this area has the highest rate of KKK activity in the USA. You know - it's
down in the holler and up the ridge over yonder - just ask Bubba - in
Appalachia where people of color have been historically welcome. Yeah,
Death - the final measure - has finally been confirmed.
Threats of death and fear of death we've known of since our inmates were
transferred to Wallens Ridge in September. However, it is now a reality.
On Thursday at about 1:30 in the morning, CT inmate David Tracy was
pronounced dead. That was two hours after a guard had "noticed" him
fashioning a noose in his cell. The next time this guard bothered to look
it "appeared" he'd jumped off his "bunk." This was a segregation cell with
a cot - not a bunk. David Tracy was - what - unconscious when a guard next
bothered to look? Officials at the prison have been unavailable or unclear
regarding information about David or his death, and reports have been
contradictory, according to family members in Connecticut. So, how did
David Tracy die? Did he hang himself? Did he fall to the floor? A blow to
the head . . . asphyxiation? Both have been suggested and nothing is
clear. The location of David's body, for example, in the hours following
his death - family members were phoning officials at the prison and no one
knew where the body was - at Lonesome Pine Hospital? At the prison? In
Roanoke at the Chief Medical Examiner's office? In any case, his mother
was told she could see the body of her son, but she could not touch him
nor could she move the sheet below the neck.
Why did David Tracy
die? He was a white kid who'd grown up in a mixed neighborhood in a city
in central Connecticut. Many of his friends were Black and Latino. He
could talk some jive, he was street-wise. That made him a target at
Wallens Ridge, where white is truly white, and David had suffered his
share of abuse like everyone at Wallens Ridge. He was - allegedly - beaten
and suffered severe abuse. We don't know what kinds of abuse, how repeated
and violent that abuse might have been. Now we will never know. David is
dead. His voice will never be heard so we must speak for him. We must
listen to his voice and the voices of hundreds of other inmates who are
presently in and have been to Wallens Ridge, Red Onion, Denver, Pelican
Bay, Ely Nevada or any other of these violent super-max fortresses of
racism and brutality.
Families in New Mexico have letters -
hundreds of copies of these letters have been mailed to legislators in New
Mexico. They have read the words of these suffering men. Yet our New
Mexico inmates remain there. Will the death of David Tracy be the only
death? Has it, in fact, been the only death? What will it take, New
Mexico? Wake up and demand the immediate return of NM inmates from
Virginia. Call or write the Governor's office and your legislators - every
Senator and Representative you can think of! Wake up before it's too late.
At the present rate of incarceration it is conceivable that in twenty-five
years half the population will be locked up. We now have 2 million
imprisoned in the US - that's 25% of all the prisoners in the world. We
incarcerate more youth than any first world nation. One mistake can cost a
kid his life, and the next kid in trouble could be yours!
before David Tracy died, his mother Alice received a birthday card from
her son. He was looking forward to coming home in four months, he wrote .
. . "only four more months, and I'll be home. I can't wait!" He had a
2-and-a-half year sentence on a drug charge. He was almost done. He had
just turned 20 on February 2, 2000; ironically, this was the day that the
inmate population in the US hit 2 million. He wanted to get back to his
family. Maybe in the next world, David.
We'll see you there. Rest
in the arms of light and peace.
BURIED IN BRIDGEPORT
David Tracy was buried in
his home state of Connecticut this past week, twelve days after he died in
Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap, VA. The grief and mourning
are continuous. His mother and father, brothers and sisters - all are in a
state of shock. They ask the impossible questions: How? Why?
confusion and misinformation surrounding the death of this 20 year old
from Bridgeport has motivated the CT legislature to undertake an
investigation. Dr. Henry Lee, the medical examiner well known for his role
in both the OJ Simpson and Jon Benet Ramsey cases, was called in by the
state of Connecticut. According to Lee he was doing a favor for Senator
Alvin Penn of CT. Dr. Lee observed the final autopsy in Virginia but was
permitted only to observe the proceedings. Lee ruled out hanging - the
first noted cause of death - and said Tracy died of strangulation. Still,
all officials concur - it was a suicide.
Many haunting facts
remain: Tracy had been convicted as a juvenile at age 17 "for the sale of
hallucinogenic or narcotics, " according to a CT DOC press release dated
4/6/2000. He was validated a gang member and sent to an adult facility
when he turned 18. When CT inmates were sent to Virginia late last year,
David Tracy was among them. His family and others have reported that David
was harassed and abused by Wallens Ridge staff. His easy friendships among
Latinos and Blacks made David a target for abuse in this rural population
where the Klan still flourishes. David was a white kid from Bridgeport, a
working class, industrial city.
Last fall, when Connecticut
followed New Mexico's lead and shipped inmates to Wallens Ridge, CT,
Commissioner of Correction, John Armstrong, stated that he was sending the
"worst of the worst" of Connecticut's inmate population - just like NM DOC
Secretary Rob Perry said when he sent New Mexico inmates there last year.
In spite of heated debates in the legislature this year, in spite of
consistent and repeated reports of abuse from families in three states,
Mr. Perry is still sending New Mexico inmates to Wallens Ridge State
Prison - a virtual chamber of horrors, replete with all the hi-tech
elements of torture and inhumanity. A modern day version of the draconian
medieval torture chambers of the Inquisition. Many individuals and other
organizations, both local and national, have written to New Mexico
legislators objecting to any and all abuse and racism. Allegations of
brutality and coercion have been consistent and repeated since NM inmates
were first sent to Wallens Ridge last September.
It is hard to
believe. This is America - a democracy. A nation founded on the principles
of freedom and justice for all. It is hard to believe that men have been
tied down for days at a time with no opportunity to use a toilet; it is
harder to ignore such allegations when they are so numerous and from
different quarters. The shock of thinking that a young man can sit for
three days at a time in his cell with nothing to read - not even a bible -
without a shower, without paper or pencil, toilet paper or toothpaste -
the shock is palpable among those who know. Intercoms in cells are used
for nightly fear tactics. The basic message is the same: "Yo'-ur goin'
back to New Mexico in a body bag, boy." Such tirades accompanied by ethnic
and racial denigration, last for hours, inmates report.
members and friends of inmates in this super-maximum security hell hole
have been hearing these allegations for months - families in Connecticut,
North Carolina and New Mexico. Thousands of letters have been written and
sent to legislators and other officials in the governments of these
states. Amnesty international has taken testimony, filed reports, and
continues to investigate allegations of racism and abuses as they continue
to arise. Human Rights Watch in New York City also has published extensive
reports of abuse at Red Onion State Prison in Wise County Virginia - twin
facility to Wallens Ridge. The Justice Department is dong an investigation
which, VA DOC official Larry Traylor says, he is "sure" will concur with
CT and VA -"no foul play was involved in David Tracy's death."
Just before midnight on April 6, 2000, twelve more New Mexico
inmates arrived at Wallens Ridge. Earlier that day, in the wee hours of
the morning this young man died in a cruel cell at Wallens Ridge. For days
the body of David Tracy remained in Virginia. When shipped from Virginia
to Connecticut, there was no identification, no death certificate. Before
he was buried, the family finally saw David. Their mournful questions -
how and why did this happen - become a cry that should echo across the
nation. How can an adjudicated juvenile who sold - what? - acid, valium,
or marijuana, or mushrooms - end up in a Level VI Super High Maximum
Security Unit like Wallens Ridge? David Tracy was not a Columbine killer,
not a perverted maniac like Manson, Berkowitz, Scorpio, or Daumer. Those
types of criminals would certainly be candidates for a Level VI super-max.
Not David Tracy. He was a kid, a small skinny kid, a clown, always
friendly and joking around. He had been mocked and ridiculed by officers
in Virginia. David was a white kid who'd grown up in a very mixed
neighborhood and had many Black and Latino friends. He could talk the
talk, walk the walk. That made him a target at Wallens Ridge.
Wallens Ridge he was in segregation - no contact with others, except for
officers, no pens or pencils allowed.
It is the responsibility of
the people - not just families and friends, not only the government, but
of all of us to be guardians of human rights, ESPECIALLY of these, the
least among us. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
FACTOR 8: THE ARKANSAS PRISON BLOOD SCANDAL
Kelly Duda and Concrete Films have produced a documentary which details the corruption and greed that led the Arkansas Department of Correction to spread death from Arkansas prisons to the entire world. Hear the story from the mouths of those responsible for the harvesting of infected human blood plasma, and its sale to be made into medicines.
Duda's award-winning film unflinchingly documents the whole story the U.S. government and the state of Arkansas have tried to keep hidden from the world.
Click the photo of Kelly Duda at work to order your own copy of
"Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal"
Click the photo of Kelly Duda at work to visit the
Factor 8 Documentary website
Please help spread the word about this important film,
along with the urls to the linked pages.
David Tracy, Page 2
DUE TO CONTINUAL SPAMMING OF MY PRISON
REFORM WEB SITE GUEST BOOKS BY PRISON GUARDS POSTING URLS TO
PORNOGRAPHY WEB SITES, I HAVE BEEN FORCED TO SET MY GUEST BOOKS SO
THAT MESSAGES LEFT MUST BE APPROVED BY ME BEFORE THEY'RE
PUBLICALLY POSTED. PLEASE SIGN MY BOOK, AND ALL LEGITIMATE MESSAGES
WILL BE APPROVED AS SOON AS I RECEIVE NOTIFICATION THAT THEY ARE
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE, AS THIS WAS NECESSARY BECAUSE EVEN
WHEN THEY DO IT FOR A LIVING, SOME "PEOPLE" JUST NEVER GET THEIR FILL
OF TORTURING OTHERS......