Kenny's Letter

This is an actual letter received from Kenny Richey on 9/17/97 This letter will spell out the Mansfield riot that took place on Friday 9/5/97

Hi Marianne, Got your letter earlier this past week but couldn’t reply until now. It is great to hear from you again and I too enjoyed talking to you last week. Unfortunately I couldn’t call you earlier this week as planned and it’s going to be a long time before I can ever get to use the phone again. Anyway, let me get straight to it. On Friday the 5th around 4:30 p.m., I was sitting in my cell and was just halfway down the first page of a letter from Karen (One of 6 that I got in the mail that day) When the block alarms/sirens sounded. I ignored them and continued on with my letter as it wasn’t unusual. Inmates set them off once in a while trying to heat water in cans in their cells. About a minute later I heard a lot of banging upstairs in the cell above mine, which was Pee-Wee’s cell. About a minute after that PeeWee tumbles down the stairs get up and run to the block door, Pursued by inmates Tony Powell and Keith Lamar. He couldn’t get out as the door was locked and the guards had deserted the block, so he tried to protect himself from the other two inmates by backing into the closet. Powell and Lamar beat him with chains and a padlock until he collapsed into unconsciousness. They ran back upstairs and let inmates out on both sides of the block. They all came back down onto my range, then a few opened Lorraines cell and gave him a beating, then a few ran upstairs and opened Berrys cell. He got the worse beating of any of them. After that they said every had to come out of their cells or they’d get a beating too. They opened everyone’s cells then shouted for the block to be trashed. I stood at the front of my cell door and just watches as did most of the other guys. I had no part in any of it, and refused to be involved in the riot at all. I spend the next few hours in my cell or sitting just out in front of it with my best friend and a couple of other mates. One of my friends Jason Robb, was the main one involved in the Lucasville riot of 93. He asked Robert VanHook and I to come over and sit and wait in his cell as there was safety in numbers, so we went over to his cell, stocked up on coffee and rolled some smokes. I took Karen’s letters with me to read, but only got on read when all hell broke loose. We had locked ourselves in Jason’s Cell, everyone else in the block had also locked up by this time, I was sitting on the bunk just about to open a second of Karen’s letter when all of a sudden the window in the cell exploded, sending glass everywhere and two canisters of tear gas flew in filling the place with smoke. We couldn’t breathe, our lungs felt like they were being crushed in a vice. Our eyes and skin started to burn. We couldn’t get out as we had locked ourselves in the cell. Jason and Robert started heaving and ran over to the broken window to get some air but just as they did, a guard outside the window told them to get the fuck away from the window you pieces of shit, and sprayed them both with maze. I had a folded up blanket clutched to my face in an attempt to avoid breathing the gas and was laying on the floor at the cell door. Over the next 25 minutes, the guards tossed in 13 canisters of tear gas in our cell or rather "Robbs" cell. We learned later on from the others that they had only been hit with one to three canisters of tear gas.

Anyway, after an ˝ hour to an hour the guards came to our cell door, told us to strip down to our underwear then get up against the back wall with out faces right against it, which we complied with. As soon as we did, they burst into the cell pulled us down to the ground on our stomachs and cuffed us. Then they proceeded to beat the shit out of us. One guard stomped once on my head , once on my face, then stood on my face and ground his boot into it then kicked me in the face, while some of his fellow guards stomped on my bare feet, lets and kicked me in the ribs, while another one kneeled on by back and sprayed a whole can of maze in my eyes and face, burning my skin till it actually blistered, The next day it started to peel and caused a dozen open sores in the spots where the skin came off the most. They beat the crap out of all three of us but Jason Robb got the worst of it, they fractured his skull. He had to go to OSU hospital, he was so bad. The guards finally lifted us up and lead us out of the block and the building and gave us to two regular guards. (Two guards to each inmate, one on each arm) Then we were taken into the maintenance building where the Highway Patrol took pictures of us, then we were given a brief look over and clean up by a nurse, put in an orange jumpsuit and laid on our stomachs on the cold floor (cement) with our hands cuffed behind our backs. They kept us there like that for 5 bloody hours. At first they wouldn’t even let us go to the bathroom, so Powell and Madrigal pissed themselves were they lay. After 10 minutes after they did that some of the guards who had stormed our block, came in and took some of us to the toilet. The two who took me, punched me and pushed me and one smashed his elbow right into my mouth, knocking a tooth loose. They actually had the audacity to tell me that if they wanted to," I could end up like that fucking whore of a princess of yours, you British piece of shit." They said they could kill me and really wanted to. They beat me in front of everyone, including a sergeant and a nurse. The latter two never said a thing, they just sat there.

Eventually we were all lead to another building that was being used as the hole for population inmates. They were moved out and we were moved in. All 36 of us that were in that block are all considered SC inmates. We don’t have our property, as we’re not allowed any of it. They made us send it all home or have it destroyed. They had already stolen or destroyed most of our property in the first two days after the riot anyway. I was missing a lot of things from my property. I was missing 60 embossed envelopes, 7 legal pads, 4 bags of coffee, 3 cans of tobacco, one tooth paste (new) one old tube half full and 2 toothbrushes. One full $5. Bottle of cologne, 2 pairs of running shoes, one black sweatsuit, one stick of deodorant, on fan, one beard and moustache trimmer, 15 music cassette tapes, one pair of sunglasses, one family photo album, with photo’s, 2 coax cables (for TV and radio), 20 or so writing pens, and at least 3 books and a bag full of personal letters. Also about 25 letters from people whom I was going to write to in reply that weekend. My phone numbers and all of the addresses are also missing. My TV seemed fine and my radio and typewriter, but I couldn’t plug them in to check them out. The guards smashed a good 20 TV’s and as many radio’s. So I was lucky with mine.

Right now I’m confined to a cell with no sheets or pillow and nothing to read. I have no shoes, just shower shoes. I get out for recreation once a day for an hour. Mon, Tues., Wed, Thurs, and Friday, however I have to remain chained cuffed and shackled in a small cage in the middle of the block. NO phone calls. Could you please call Karen for me and my dad and tell them what’s happened? I’d really appreciate it. Tell them I won’t be able to phone for a long time as they plan on keeping me and everyone else back here for as long as possible. As soon as they allow us to go to the commissary, I’ll get some stamped envelopes and aerograms and get a letter off to Karen. Tell her to tell everyone that my addressees were destroyed so I won’t be able to contact most people until they get in touch with me first. Oh could you also please call my attorney Ken Parsigian, and tell him what is going on and that I would appreciate it if he could get someone down here to see me as soon as possible.
Thanks Marianne.

Tell Karen and my dad, that I’m holding up just fine and not to worry about me. This is just another storm on the journey to justice and freedom, and I will weather this as I have the rest.


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