This was the picture which was taken was the day I married Frank. I was so happy. I used to visit Frank on every holiday.
  I have so many questions when I one day see him.
  -- Wanda Valdes

Innocent Death Row Prisoner, Frank Valdes

By Wanda Valdes

My husband suffered beatings and abuse at the Florida State Prison for years before they murdered him. He endured as a true warrior of God the physical torture as well as the mental torture of being isolated for years at a time.

When I spoke to Frank from jail before he went to Florida State Prison, he told me that the guards had sent a message to him that they would beat him when he arrived at the prison, and he would be put on X Wing, just because of who died in his case. X Wing means no contact with others. That is where he was when he was murdered.

For the first two years Frank got no bad conduct reports, but they worked on him and slowly broke him down. He went from praying together to being more and more hostile until they murdered him. From the day Frankie entered the prison, they did all they could to destroy him emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. They created what he turned out to be. They isolated him, and they got rid of all that was dear to him. Then like a wolfpack, a gang of guards went into his cell and killed him because he was demanding medical help for fellow inmates who had been beaten by the guards. They stole frankie's life for doing the right thing.

He had a heart full of love. He was always wanting to help those whom he felt could not help themselves. The prison wants to create an image of a violent inmate who was hostile and threatening guards. He was screaming for medical help for some inmates who were being abused on his wing. For two weeks one them, Willie Matthews, had a broken jaw caused by repeated beatings, and he was in horrible pain 24 hours a day. When Frank demanded they get medical care for Willie, they told him to shut up, or he would get the same, and when he would not shut up they went in and beat him. Then the next day they went into his cell and beat him until he was dead. His jaw, arms, legs, and back were broken; all of his ribs were broken. Four guards claim he repeatedly threw himself off his bunk. He had no bunk on X Wing; he had a cement bed. His was a planned and premeditated murder!

I found out Frank died when my girlfriend brought the newspaper to me. As I read the paper, I felt like my blood drained from my body. My heart sank, and part of my spirit died. I immediately called the prison. All they said was they found him dead in his cell; that he had a heart attack. I was so in shock, I felt like the earth had dropped out from under me and I had walked into hell. All the years of fighting with the Department Of Corrections welled up in my soul. My heart is broken. They brought nine men with stun guns, shields, and pepper gas into his cell, and they took turns beating and stomping him to death.

God says "Thou shall not kill." These men will one day answer to a higher power. Whatever these correctional officers say to try to justify the murder is not good enough. I do not want these guards to die. I just want them to answer for what they have done. I want these abusive men to never work in criminal justice or prisons again. I want them to spend time on the other side of the bars, the side they belong on. They did not just murder Frank?they murdered me. When you love the way I loved Frank, your heart screams for justice.

I loved Frankie with all my heart and soul. He touched my soul in a beautiful way. Our spirits became one and since he died I feel that a part of me has died. No one deserves to be murdered for any reason. Prisoners are beaten and abused on a daily basis and most of them are released back into society. They are angry and they wreak havoc on our society. Until we become interested in rehabilitation and stop the abuse and murder, our society will pay a price. Every action we take reaps a reaction.

People do not care until someone in their family dies. These men abused and murdered Frank. How many other men have had to suffer abuse and even death?

Prisoners are human beings. They hurt and bleed and cry. Frankie was on death row, but he was never proven to have been the killer in his case. He had been offered a plea deal to testify against his co-defendant. He refused, so they gave him death. But the guards took it upon themselves to torture and murder him. This is not justice.

These guards are killers. They are no different than any man on death row. The day they murdered my husband, they created many victims. Frankie, myself, and their own families. They made a conscious decision to go into his cell and beat him until he was dead. Then they put his body on a trash cart and took him to the front of Willie Matthews' cell and told him he was next.

The world must remember Frankie and not let what happened to him and his loved ones happen to anyone else. I love you, Frankie, forever and ever. You did not die in vain. I will work to make things better inside prisons in your name.

Your husband ... Frankie


TRUE DEMOCRACY Summer 2002 Copyright © 2002 by News Source, inc.