Letters From Death Row: Willie Tyrone Trottie, Texas Inmate 999085
We periodically run letters from death row inmates. Today we bring you a letter from Willie Tyrone Trottie, who is scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas on September 10 of this year.
Trottie was convicted of the 1993 shooting murders of his common law wife (from whom he was separated) Barbara Canada, and Titus Canada, Barbara's brother. He was 24 years old at the time. He has been on death row in Texas for the past 20 years. Trottie's letter to us was not in a scannable format, so we have transcribed the relevant parts below.
May 11, 2014
Dear Mr. Nolan,
Greetings to you sir. I hope and pray that when you've received this letter from me and had the chance to review it, that all is well with yourself and family/ friends. As you can see from my address above, I'm a Condemned Texas Prisoner, which has just been set an "murder-cution" date for Sept. 10, 2014. Two days after my 45th birthday. As of the first week of this month, I made my 21st year of being incarcerated, and if the state has its way, I'll miss that 21st year by three months. of being on death row.
Being that I was recently set an murder-cution date, and moved to 'death watch', where those of us whom have active dates pending are housed, I was given your information. I'd never heard of you, or this particular organization, 'Gawker Media' before. My fellowman whom was recently murder-cuted about two months ago, Ray Jasper, did reach out to to you. I'd read his manifesto, and has known him for his duration here on the row. We agreed on many topics, but there's always some form of different views we'd have. Although, our lives were slightly different in growing up, but, it seems in the end we'll be more alike, having been murdered by the State of Texas.
So, from having that particular information shared with me, this is how I've came to contact you. I've read the questions presented. I'm not sure, if you'll have the same for me? But, what I've done, is answered those same questions as best I could and has enclosed them herein this letter. If you'd like more, or different questions, please present them to me, and I'll try to answer them best I can. I'll repeat your/ those questions my former fellowman was given and provide my own answers and insight to them.
1. What do you think the chances are of your execution occurring as scheduled? Answer: Having been a 20th year resident here on Texas' death row, its more then likely to proceed forward. Why? Because of the systematic way/ design from the outset. The court-appointed attorneys assigned to cases (capital cases) assures that there's an intended ending. However, in some, very few cases are spared from this pre-determinative outcome. But, my faith in God is still strong. Whatever HIS WILL, I'll be content with that. I just want MY SIDE/ STORY TOLD!
2. Can you describe daily life on death row? Answer: Well, as a former friend whom miraculously escaped the jaws of this beast said infamously in his many speeches before Congress! A LIVING HELL! i.e., quoted from an dear friend "Anthony Graves", whom was blessed to leave this place alive. Nevertheless, being the optimist I am, I'd say the glass is 'half full' and another would say its half empty. (: But, I make [due] with what God provides for me daily here. And that's in the form of many wonderful friends whom has come into my life over these years and has helped me to endure this daily madness of solitary. This question could not be answered in one or a couple of sentences. It fluctuates from day to day.
3. Can you talk a bit about your own past and upbringing? Answer: Well, this is a broadly question. I mean, I'd go on for pages here, with my answer. (: But, without the question being specific, I'm not so sure where, or what to begin with? My upbringing? Being reared by an abusive and alcoholic mother! ): And to think of this, on Mother's Day, I still have both fond and frightening memories of her. She passed away in 2007, Sept. 22nd. Having been ABANDONED by her with three other siblings, only to be thrown into foster care and shuffled around from one home to another as I was a run-a-way from them seeking out this beloved mom, finding her at cafes/ bars where we'd mostly stayed at outside in the car awaiting her return. I was only about 6 to 7 years old. I'd eventually be rescued by my Dad, and his mother and taken to their hometown, Alex. La., and reared there, off and on, between La. and Texas. along with my siblings, whom were also taken from the foster homes.. But, the emotional/ psychological damages had been done. ): I'd vowed, as a little kid then, to never allow my children to ever endure this abuse as I'd endured, from foster-care strangers and someone whom supposed to love them. But, unfortunately, that cycle was repeated where I'd still abandoned him. ):
My Past? Well, from since becoming a teenager where I'd work, I've held jobs since my day of incarceration. Was working three at the time of this unfortunate and unplanned circumstances that landed me on d/ row.
4. Has your time in jail changed your political or religious beliefs? Answer: Political views? No. Religious views? No! Only, in that its made it STRONGER! I can actually fully understand things now, that was being preached to me, or had been preached to me as a child growing up. There's no hussle and bustling of work, providing for family to distract me. God's revealed to me, and I've come to understand that all we, as humans does daily in our lives is all vanity! Theres much more to life, then what we sees and does daily. Oh, how so true is the words— Putting God First, in Everything you do in life, and you'll be richly blessed. I had it backwards, doing things first, and putting God last. Foolishly thinking that all I'd worked hard for, I'd gained on my own doing/ strength. Whether that was the various jobs I held, the family I had, the places I'd lived in from the cars I owned. All vanity! ):
5. Do you have any thoughts on how the media and the public view the death penalty? Answer: Well, from my view-point, and seeing the differences how those public views shifts from time to time, or year to year, because of such high profile cases, or mass murders that's committed, the public's views changes with each sensationalized case. And with the misinformation that's shown/ told to them. But, for many its just IGNORANCE of the laws, on how they're applied, and to whom they're applied. I was just this same citizen as well. Ignorant to the laws, and even supported the death penalty! Because, the cases that's used to promote such laws are those that's heart-tugging, such as those which are baby killer/ rapist, law enforcement, children under certain ages, etc.. Again, this can go on for pages as well.
6. What else would you like to say to the public about your life, your situation, and what you think it means for your country? Answer: About my life? That those whom partakes in jury services, try and get all the accurate information, and know that, even in their own families, when a person has went the wrong way, they can be corrected. Forgive, as you'd want to be forgiven. [...]
People asks, Tyrone, my middle name, some calls me Willie, are YOU the SAME PERSON YOU WERE TWENTY-ONE YEARS AGO?! I says, YES AND NO!! Yes, in that whom I was then, I am so still now, having been raised with a spiritual background, having love and compassion for others and doing the RIGHT THING! Those virtues are still present within me. No.. in that as a youth, I was arrogant, as most are, foolishly thinking that all I had, I had gotten on my own strength, knowledge. In time, I've grown to be more patient, and knowing that God's in CONTROL of our lives, NOT ourselves, as we so foolishly thinks.
So whether I die by man's plans, thats still all according to God's will, I'm resolved. I'm thankful for the many life's challenges and growth I've had since being here still. A part of me died that night as well, 21 yrs ago, when I lost my beloved wife. Literally I dies twice, but was revived, and God wasn't ready for me to go then, and if He's ready now? I'm so content, His will be done! But, I want my family/ friends to KNOW THE TRUTH! Thank you, Gawker, Mr. Nolan for this opportunity, in sharing a side of me. My family/ friends all knows this side of me, but for those whom may very well see my name/ face as another Texas statistic, I want more to be added as well. Thanks. [...]
Willy TYRONE Trottie #999805
You can read the full archive of our "Letters from Death Row" series here.
[Image by Jim Cooke]