HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 16
Page: 12 of 16
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All Chapter 16 Footnotes

Carlos asked if he could hold Pickett's hand.213 "We were not permitted to touch an inmate," Pickett explained, "but . . . he wanted me to hold his hands. I'd been warned by the warden . . . never put your hands through the gate, through the bars. Because they can either pull you forward— And we had on death row out here, not long ago, a chaplain put his hands through, and the guy had a knife, and he slit his arm open wide. But that didn't bother me about Carlos."214

Pickett put his hands through the bars. Carlos grasped them and held tightly.215 As Carlos gripped his hands, Pickett began to pray. He soon felt the downward tug of Carlos sinking to his knees.216 "By the time I finished the prayer—and it was probably four minutes, five minutes long—he was on his knees, crying," Pickett remembered.217

Carlos got up from his knees and asked Pickett to recite the Twenty-Third Psalm again and explain what it meant.218 Pickett read the Psalm and said to him, "We're in the valley of the shadow of death, Carlos."219 The guards entered the room and saw Pickett holding Carlos's hands, but they didn't say anything.220 "The warden knew what I was doing," Pickett explained.221

* * * * *

Carlos stood up and said he was ready to go.222 The guards walked him into the execution chamber and strapped him down.223 As he had promised, Pickett held Carlos's left hand, at the same time checking to make sure Carlos's veins were suitable for injection—another of Pickett's execution-day responsibilities.224

When the two executioners came in, they wanted to start on Carlos's left side, so Pickett switched hands.225 The executioners firmly taped down Carlos's left arm and went for a large vein in the middle.226 Pickett had promised Carlos that the first prick of the needle would be the only pain he would feel. Watching it pierce DeLuna's skin—the thirty-third time he'd seen it happen—still made Pickett wince.227

Carlos asked again: Would Pickett keep holding his hand?228 Pickett told Carlos that he could only do so until they strapped down the other arm.229 "Would you hold my leg?," Carlos asked.230 The executioners switched arms and inserted a second needle into Carlos's right arm. Pickett let go.231

After strapping Carlos down with needles in both arms, the executioners left his side and entered a little room next door where they would release the chemicals. The warden left the execution chamber, shutting the heavy metal door behind him. "He gave me about forty-five seconds. I had about forty-five seconds, just me and the inmate. And that is the forty-five seconds that is never recorded anywhere," Pickett explained.232

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:19:01–22:22:08 :

Now, we were not permitted . . . we were not permitted to touch an inmate, but he wanted me to hold my hand, he wanted me to hold his hands. I'd been warned by the warden, never let a convict . . . never put your hands through the gate, through the bars. Because they can either pull you forward . . . . And we had on Death Row out here, not long ago, a chaplain put his hands through, and the guy had a knife, and he slit his arm open wide. But that didn't bother me about Carlos. I put my hands through those bars, and he grabbed me like he was holding on for dear life. He was going to die, he was going to die in just a few minutes.

See also Susan Montez's Notes on Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain (July 17, 2004) at 5 ("I asked the Reverend if he had ever been threatened . . . [and] he answered that he had been stabbed twice, both times by prisoners doing LWOP [life without parole].").

See supra note 213.

See supra note 213.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:23:15 ("But I put them in there, and he was sitting on the cot, the bunk. But I started praying, and I could feel my hands go down. Carlos went down and he was on his knees. By the time I finished the prayer—and it was probably 4 minutes, 5 minutes long—he was on his knees, crying. Crying. And he got up and he said, 'Will you now repeat for me the twenty-third Psalm, and tell me what it is, it means for me right now.' So I repeated that. I explained to him, 'We're in the valley of the shadow of death, Carlos.'").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:23:15.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:23:15.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:23:15.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:24:07–22:26:20:

And I'd told him, at ten o'clock, where the door was, it was just a few steps away, and what was going to take place in there. And we went through the twenty-third Psalm again. He got back up and he stood. He didn't let go of my hands. The guards came over there and gave him that look, but he knew that—The guards never told the warden that my hands were through the bars. I was never permitted to pour coffee for them, I was never permitted to light their cigarettes. Of course, it wasn't legal to smoke down there but if they're getting ready to die, what's the difference? The warden knew what I was doing. Then he [DeLuna] got up and said, "I'm ready to go." He said, "I'm going to follow everything you said, and I believe everything you said." And that's the part that caused me to go [seek therapy]—after we got into the death house, it got even more personal, and that's what was my problem.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:26:00.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:26:20 ("Then he [DeLuna] got up and said, 'I'm ready to go.' He said, 'I'm going to follow everything you said, and I believe everything you said.' And that's the part that caused me to go [seek therapy]—after we got into the death house, it got even more personal, and that's what was my problem.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:28:55–22:30:57:

They brought him [DeLuna] in and they strapped him down. I stood right next to him. And he kept looking at me. The guards left. The guards walked out. There's nobody in there but Carlos on the gurney, the warden standing here, I was standing here, and he says to the warden, "You need to keep the same guards, because this chaplain is very—he's my daddy for today." I'm churning. So I'm holding his left hand. I agreed to hold his left hand. And I told the warden—What I would usually do is, I'd have to check their vein. I'm not a doctor, I don't know anything about veins. But they didn't want the executioners to be known. So I checked his veins, and I asked him if he'd burned them with drugs, and he hadn't. They were good. So I had to go up—Every night at eleven o'clock I'd go up and talk to the warden and say, this is what his last words are going to be, this is what he's expecting, and these are his last requests. And I told the warden, I said, "Warden, I want to get your permission, he wants his hands to be held." He said, "You know how it works, do whatever will keep him from fighting." That was the warden's big concern. So I was holding his right hand. The executioners, two of them, came in, one big tall man and one short man. And they always started with the left arm. They put ace bandage around the hand and tightened it down, sometimes taped [it down]. Then they would go for the vein right in the middle. Most of the time they were successful, most of the time. But it's traumatic to watch, it was traumatic to watch. Because I had told Carlos DeLuna, that was going to be the only pain. That was all I'd seen before. So it [the needle] went in real well. And the sodium, or the salt water, as the first, when it just cleans out, it began to run. And the two guys came around to the other side. And Carlos said, "Will you hold my other hand?" Well, the other hand already had tape and ace bandage around it, so I went around the gurney and held the other hand. I said to Carlos, "This is the last I can touch you. Once they get that I can't touch that." He said, "Would you hold my leg?" Because I'd told him I would be five inches from his leg. So I held his left hand till they went around and did insertion and needles in his right arm. And then I went back to my required place where I could watch the drip. It was my responsibility to watch the changing of the drugs and notify the warden by a nod. We had signals. So Carlos—The two executioners left and went into the little room. The warden left to go tell, he went out the door and he went to the next door, big heavy metal doors. And he always shut that door. He gave me about 45 seconds. I had about 45 seconds, just me and the inmate. And that is the 45 seconds that is never recorded anywhere. Everything else is recorded. What time the syringe started, what time he took a bath, what time he ate, what time he made a telephone call. All that's recorded. This is never recorded.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:28:55–22:30:57.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:30:25–22:30:57:

So I was holding his right hand. The executioners, two of them, came in, one big tall man and one short man. And they always started with the left arm. They put ace bandage around the hand and tightened it down, sometimes taped [it down]. Then they would go for the vein right in the middle. Most of the time they were successful, most of the time. But it's traumatic to watch, it was traumatic to watch. Because I had told Carlos DeLuna, that was going to be the only pain. That was all I'd seen before. So it [the needle] went in real well. And the sodium, or the salt water, as the first, when it just cleans out, it began to run. And the two guys came around to the other side.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:30:25.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:02:26;

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:30:57.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:30:57:

So it [the needle] went in real well. And the sodium, or the salt water, as the first, when it just cleans out, it began to run. And the two guys came around to the other side. And Carlos said, "Will you hold my other hand?" Well, the other hand already had tape and ace bandage around it, so I went around the gurney and held the other hand. I said to Carlos, "This is the last I can touch you. Once they get that I can't touch that." He said, "Would you hold my leg?" Because I'd told him I would be five inches from his leg. So I held his left hand till they went around and did insertion and needles in his right arm. And then I went back to my required place where I could watch the drip.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:30:57.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:30:57.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:30:57.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Carroll Pickett, Texas Death House Chaplain, in Huntsville, Texas (Feb. 26, 2005) at 22:30:57:

And then I went back to my required place where I could watch the drip. It was my responsibility to watch the changing of the drugs and notify the warden by a nod. We had signals. So Carlos—The two executioners left and went into the little room. The warden left to go tell, he went out the door and he went to the next door, big heavy metal doors. And he always shut that door. He gave me about 45 seconds. I had about 45 seconds, just me and the inmate. And that is the 45 seconds that is never recorded anywhere. Everything else is recorded. What time the syringe started, what time he took a bath, what time he ate, what time he made a telephone call. All that's recorded. This is never recorded.

Chapter 16
Page: 12 of 16