Thomas D. Arthur

In His Own Words....

By Thomas Arthur

Edited by Stormy Thoming-Gale

Justice:Denied magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 7 (Fall 1999)

Thomas Arthur
Thomas Arthur

(Note from Editor: This direct plea from Thomas Arthur is a compilation of three separate writings by Thomas. The first part of the story combines a letter Mr. Arthur wrote to a long-time friend with a plea he has sent out to any and all who might help him. He offers all the information he has to any interested parties available on his website. After his case account, read Alabama the Beautiful, and see the life Thomas has lived, as an innocent man, for fifteen years. Please look into your heart and see if you can help Thomas or know anyone who can.)

Unless a private attorney who cares about justice is willing to step up and take on the fight now, Alabama is going to kill me. That's all there is to it, period.



For detailed information about Thomas Arthur's case, see his website at,

I am purposely keeping this short. There is much more connected to my case. It would be impossible to state it all here. I will, of course, be glad to furnish any and all information and answer any questions if you choose to get involved.

I will try to illustrate how critically dangerous my present personal situation is and my absolute need to get an attorney who's willing to fight for me, investigate, and follow up on information I have. An attorney has to start soon before the appeals process grinds on to the point where the courts will not let me accept help. All I ask for is a fair trial. Alabama's court appointed attorneys don't get paid enough to care.

After fifteen calendar years of being on Death Row in an 8 x 5 ft. cage, my cries of frustration and desperation for not being allowed access to legal representation and investigative support that the law says I'm entitled to, keep falling on deaf ears.

How on earth can it be possible to reach a point where a Court of Law will refuse to hear, see, and evaluate even the slightest possibility that a person is actually innocent and has not had a fair trial? How can that happen?

I stress the vital importance of getting press/media/television in other countries to get involved on my behalf. American press/media/television simply does not care but will if other countries do it first.

So-called death penalty fighters and groups supposed to help on appeals will not raise the necessary hell with the Government because their organization's grant-funding comes from the Government. It's an unwritten agreement. The groups won't expose the Government's illegal, irresponsible abuse of Human Rights and killing of people for political gain and promotion of Judges, District Attorneys, and political funds. The groups won't step on toes and Government politicians quietly OK funding for the groups. It's a damned shame.

Poor people simply cannot afford the same justice the wealthy can buy in the United States of America, especially in Alabama.

Alabama law allows payments to court appointed attorneys in death penalty cases. Court appointed defense attorneys in capital cases are paid $1000 -- yes, that's only one thousand dollars, plus $40 -- yes, that's only forty dollars an hour when in court.

Attorneys are not allowed the time needed to prepare for a case unless they do it pro bono because there is a cap on funds, a total limit of  $3000. Yes, that's only three thousand dollars to defend a person's life. Alabama is quick to point out that they appoint two attorneys in a death penalty case, two attorneys with a total of $6000. Six thousand dollars together equals next to nothing.

Take this into consideration: the recent high-profile case in the media in America, Oklahoma bomber Tim McVeigh's federal case appointed attorneys were allowed over $10,000,000. Yes -- over ten million dollars for the defense in his death penalty case.

My God in Heaven, how can this imbalance be possible under any set of circumstances, tell me how it can be possible?

Why is a moratorium not put in place to simply stop all executions in America until the Justice Department can investigate cases like mine where I say I am totally innocent and can provide irrefutable evidence that's never been checked, witnesses that have never been talked to? Show physical evidence that's never been tested in a laboratory?

The only three Alabama death row inmate's cases that were investigated and thoroughly examined were due to media attention. All three were found to be totally innocent: Johnny Harris, Bo Cockran and Walter McMillan.

How many of those executed -- fried alive in Alabama's electric chair -- were possibly innocent? Who knows, who cares?

My trial was anything but fair. Please read the following list of irrefutable facts and violation of law and trampling of my rights to have competent, capable, legal representation.

I was literally forced to act as my own attorney in my trial, I can prove this and provide documents to support the proof.

I was denied a pretrial hearing by the trial Judge where I could have shown irrefutable proof that the court appointed attorneys had not prepared my defense. One even wrote me a letter saying he knew nothing about my defense and to contact the other attorney. The other attorney refused to accept telephone calls. I made over fifty attempted calls. The attorney also refused to answer certified letters. I sent over ten letters.

I have never had access to an investigator who could locate and talk to eyewitnesses who would prove I was seventy-five miles away from the crime scene at the exact time the crime was committed. The investigator could talk to people with direct knowledge of plans by the victim's wife and her sister to kill the victim. I never had an investigator to talk to the victim's neighbors who saw strange cars at the victim's home only minutes before law enforcement was called at the scene. Literally dozens of other critical issues were never investigated in my behalf.

There is not one single shred of physical evidence, no hair, no fingerprints no nothing. There is zero evidence that connects me to the crime scene. Yet hair samples can connect a prime suspect (whose name is known to investigators, but who was never even questioned). No hair sample was ever taken from me to compare. The blood at the scene of the crime was not mine and was never compared to the suspect's.

The only witness against me who openly said I did it was the victim's wife, Judy Wicker. She was beaten and raped by the black assailant who murdered her husband. I was acquainted with her and her husband, and at the time of the crimes she told police investigators that I had nothing to do with the crime -- and I couldn't have had because I am white. Yet, some 3-5 years later, after being sentenced to life in prison for allegedly being involved in her husband's murder, Judy suddenly appeared as a witness in Court against me, saying I did the crime. The State of Alabama released Judy from prison as payment for her testimony against me. So she traded the lie that put me on death row so she wouldn't herself die in prison. Yet if Judy's original statement was true then she put me on death row to save herself from her own wrongful conviction.

Another witness clearly lied about a time he was supposed to have seen me --  a difference of over three hours. The reason for the difference is that the State told him to change the time. It's on the Court's transcripts. Another witness gave the correct time but suddenly died.

This testimony is on record for all to see. There are literally dozens of other facts that show my innocence and lack of a fair trial. They are too numerous to list in this document.

Last, but very important and damaging to my appeals, is that the 1995-1996 Alabama State Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, was running for election to become a United States Senator. He was behind in voter polls in the area where I'm from and other areas of the state as well.

In order to boost his public image, Mr. Sessions wrote a personal letter to the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals and to the Alabama Supreme Court (State Court).

In that letter Mr. Sessions specifically named six death row inmates from the area where he was falling behind in voter polls in his bid for election to the Senate. I was one of the six he specifically named. In his letter, he demanded that the death sentence appeals of those six men be accelerated and pushed through the system. This is a direct Civil Rights violation. News of this letter demanding the acceleration of appeals of six death row inmates was leaked to several leading newspapers in areas where he was behind in the voter polls.

This was a hit-list -- an order to kill six men for the express purpose of influencing voters on his stand against crime. In other words "I will kill for votes!"

He broke the law himself in an effort to get elected to the United States Senate.

Mr. Sessions' letter prejudiced Appeals Court clerks, Judges, State Court Judges and their clerks. They must have thought, "Here's a letter from a man going to be a United States Senator demanding that we push six death row appeals through the appeal process." They did exactly that. The Criminal Court of Appeals ignored the clear issues in my case that automatically demand a new trial.

Criminal Court of Appeals Judge "Buckey" said, in his response, that I had been to Court on several occasions to act as my own attorney. Judge Buckey obeyed the letter from the man who was going to be the next United States Senator for Alabama. Judge Buckey was also running for re-election to his seat on the Appeals Court.

United States Senators have the power to help appoint State Court clerks (actually young attorneys) and State Judges. Senators have the power and influence to help appoint Federal Court Judgeships. Federal retirements benefits are good in America.

Alabama Supreme Court Judge Harold Gee did exactly same thing, he agreed with lower court Judge Buckey's opinion, ignoring glaring issues warranting a new trial in my case. Other Judges, the Appeals Court and the State Supreme Court fell in step with Buckey and set out to please the future Senator of the corrupt State of Alabama.

I desperately need a private attorney to help me immediately.

Many Thanks

Please write Mr. Arthur at:

Thomas D. Arthur,
Z-427 Death Row 6-D-11
Holman Prison 3700
Atmore, Alabama

I look forward to your letter!

Alabama the Beautiful

Those who believe they are free do not understand that they could be the next innocent person to be behind bars.

Living conditions on Holman Prison Death Row

My cell is only 8 feet long and 5 feet wide. It has a two and a half foot wide bunk and an eight foot long toilet assembly, so actual space to move around is two and a half feet wide and six feet long -- about thirteen and a half square feet. The law says we are supposed to have about sixty square feet.

Inmates are only allowed out of the small cell 45 minutes to one hour a day. If people have a visit they get to go to visitor's area, plus one day a week they are allowed to visit the law library if the inmate knows how to read or work on his case.

Food is cold nine out of ten meals. Some food is dangerous if cold. No milk ever, none for years. No fresh fruit, no apples, no oranges, no bananas, no pears ever. No fresh vegetables such as salad ever. Food is put into the cells through the same hole in the cell door that filthy mops, brooms, and toilet brushes come through. The hole is only four and a half inches high and only eleven inches wide. All meat parts are pressed Soya mix. The only fresh meat is chicken and it is always leg portions and usually half cooked, usually always cold.

No one is allowed to shower except every two days. Inmates are forced to keep their hair short, above the ear. No mustaches, beards allowed. Publications, magazines, newspapers must be bought by death row inmates; no outside party can purchase subscriptions outside or have them sent by any publishers. Except for religious books.

Only eight people allowed to visit. That's only eight allowed to each  inmate's visitors list. Only eight people are allowed on each inmate's phone call list, including attorney(s) if any. No overseas calls allowed, period. Inmates can only receive money orders from a list of only eight people. Mailroom intercepts all incoming mail, and nobody knows what is taken there. Items allowed in cells are limited to four books. The administration harasses by taking things from us for no reason, not a security risk at all.

In Alabama prisons, the guards actually tell people who want to help by sending in books or teaching/learning videos, "We don't want the folks in here to learn how to do for themselves."

When there's an execution at Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama, the warden actually gets all dressed up and celebrates his "duty" with a sick pleasure that would turn your stomach. There's hardly ever any news on Alabama executions because no one cares. Those people in Alabama have dead hearts, minds and souls, while they go to church and profess to be Christians!

The world needs to know how it is on "Planet" Alabama, for it is nothing like any other state in this country and so far they've been able to keep it a guarded secret from everyone. There's only one thing worse than a thief (which Alabama is) and that's a liar (which IS Alabama). Please call or write the prison directly to let them know that its treatment of prisoners is unconstitutional:

Holman Prison
1240 Ross Rd #3700
Atmore, AL 36502-4263
Phone: 334-368-8173.

Please write Mr. Arthur at:

Thomas D. Arthur,
Z-427 Death Row 6-D-11
Holman Prison 3700
Atmore, Alabama

Thomas Arthur's website is at,
You can also e-mail his daughter, Sherrie Stone at,, or his friend, Mrs. Sherry Swinney, at:

Justice Denied Comment

Thomas Arthur, as is true with many innocent prisoners, is convinced that if only he can reach the media with his story and people can look at the facts for themselves, they will be rescued from their cells or from impending death. Until the last year or so, most innocents have believed their cases are unique -- that the system incredibly malfunctioned for them, but that if people were to know the truth of their stories, their compassion would move them to DO something. Justice Denied shares that simple view to some extent, or we would not present these cases each month. So it is that Mr. Arthur asks other countries to get involved to press the American criminal system to do the right thing. He might be right. Who knows? Maybe you can take Thomas Arthur's story to the media in another country. If you do, tell them we have hundreds and hundreds of people crying out for the same kind of help Mr. Arthur wants. Thomas speaks with raw emotion as he asks for someone to care and listen.

Justice Denied