Our newest contributing RP, former Ohio State Representative Carlton Weddington, is currently serving a three-year sentence at the Allen Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio for charges of bribery, election falsification and filing a false financial disclosure statement.
Here’s Part Two:
Columbus seems to be unfortunately well represented in protective custody (PC), but fortunately, very few people recognized or know who I am.
I am a little surprised that so many know very little about politics or government. Cleveland and Cincinnati also are represented, and the neighborhood, side of town, or project you came from will dictate what kind of reception you receive from others.
Association with a gang is prevalent as well: The Aryan Brotherhood (AB) dominates among white inmates and Heartless Felons among black inmates — Gangsters’ Disciples, Bloods, and Crips also are represented. Religious affiliation provides some with a sense of protection if they are Muslim. If merely housing men who have broken the law is all that is desired of Ohio’s Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC), they have met the standard. These men, if they get out, will return home with no more education, programming or sense of purpose than when they arrived, and those that remain within the system are destined for a life’s experience of mental, physical and social ills that ODRC is not equipped to handle.
Never in a million years did I think I would be sitting behinds bars in a state prison interacting with some of Ohio’s notorious high profile murders, rapists, pedophiles, drug dealers, robbers, drug addicts, gang members, and snitches; but in 2012, that became a reality. A who’s who of individuals that you heard about on the news, read about in the papers or that T.V shows did reports about; they all seemed to have ended up in A.O.C.I. in protective custody.
Almost two years later — these same men who if I were told I would have to be confined with for more than 2 minutes, let alone 2 years, I might have taken my own life in fear that whatever heinous act that got them here — I might meet the same fate, but now I have no fear of. In fact, mostly I feel sorry for them because my mental strength and education out-matches whatever means they used to victimize others on the outside.
Most inmates I encountered abandoned the difficult path of study, self discipline, and rehabilitation for the instant gratification of prison life that leads to the perpetuation of the street life that brought them here. In PC alone, my first year in East 2 Block (where they house us are called blocks), I lived among “The Angel of Death”, “The Handcuff Rapist”, The 1-75 Murderer”, Matt Hoffman who murdered a family and stuffed them in a tree, and since then in West 2, “The Highway Shooter” and T.J. Lane “The School Shooter”.
For 6-plus months I celled with one of America’s most notorious serial killers — although now in his early 60’s this soft spoken, openly gay and unassuming man was once know as the “Angel of Death”. Donald Harvey still scares many of PC’s other inmates even though he’s a stroke survivor, and he moves a little slower than usual. His resume proceeds him, even after serving 25 years of a life sentence for murders associated with his work as an employed medical assistant at the local VA and hospitals in Northern Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio.
During a conversation we had, he mentioned he had 91 bodies to his name although he was convicted for less. I never felt threatened by Donald, although initially when I was told he was going to be my cellmate, it was a concern. It was either take him as a “cellie” or take someone I didn’t know.
I actually had some interactions with Mr. Harvey when we were housed across the hall in E-2 Block. Now in W-2 Block, I was part of a group that was assigned to the old patient wing which consisted of much larger cells and hot water sinks in two cells on the hall. The highlight of these cells is that they are actually big enough to hold 4 men, but now since we occupied the unit, only 2 men can live in these cells now.
The greatest thing I liked about these cells was that both beds were on the floor and not stacked on top of one another, as the other cells were. I chose the bed next to the window and wall rather than be next to the door across from the toilet: Being able to sleep with my back to or facing the wall, and not having to be awaken by a grown man doing the number 1 or 2 at the toilet, or the door slamming shut by my head.
Harvey and I got along for the most part. He had his quirks, as I am sure I had some issues too, but for the most part it was a non-eventful cell relationship. Occasionally his southern mis-education clashed with my northern progressive learning when the political talk shows were on, but most of the time I was tortured by daytime soaps, the Home and Garden Channel (which had no sound), or primetime reality shows like Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor, or Big Brother.
Harvey was the avid fan, and I learned to watch Big Brother with Donald as if I had chosen to watch it myself. Eventually, I got my own TV and plugged in my headphones to watch what I wanted. Sleeping with a serial killer was not so bad, at least now I know how to discreetly and secretly get rid of some folks if necessary.