When the D.A. Screws With a Sixteen-Year-Old's Life,
He Gets Away with It
By Daniel Lee Wilt, Prisonersolidarity.org
Dec. 4, 2007
My name is Daniel Lee Wilt and I am something of a political prisoner. I was
incarcerated at the age of 16 for defending myself, and was originally
sentenced to 18 years. On an appeal, I have been able to reduce my prison
term to 8 years.
It is my hope that you will inform activists in the New York area of my
wrongful conviction and that they in turn will shed some exposure on my
situation. I was locked up in October 2002 and formally charged with
assault. Despite the fact that all evidence supported my self-defense case,
I was still found guilty.
For starters, there were over 50 witness contradictions. These
contradictions added up against the testimony of myself, and of the friend
who was with me. Other witnesses included the people who were surrounding
me. Those people were on drugs, and it was proven that they had come
looking for us. My friend and I were clear-headed, and yet somehow their
testimony took precedence over ours.
The District Attorney used my ethnicity and my religion (at the time) as stereotyping factors, as he built his case against me. I am Apache and Korean. At the time of the incident, I also happened to be a wiccan. The D.A. said that, as an Apache, I was "territorial." Also, the stabbing took place in a cemetery around Halloween. My friend was a little "out there," and had found a dead turkey that he placed in a stone circle, as a joke. That circle served as a decoy, to keep away wanderers. We had a second circle deeper in the woods, far away from the one with the turkey in it. Furthermore, the stabbing took place nowhere near where the turkey was. And yet the D.A. continuously tied this into his argument and referred to me as a "devil worshiper" and a "bizarre individual."
In truth, I was just a 16-year-old kid. I was a doofy friggin teenager, and
they made my case into the Salem witch trial.
Did I mention that I had a mistrial? Not surprisingly, some of the people
("witnesses") who were surrounding me turned out to be criminals, who were
being represented by the same public defender's office, as the one who was
building a case against me. This sparked a conflict of interest and I had a
mistrial. I had to go to trial again, two weeks later, with a new lawyer.
Despite the fact that the D.A. was continuously making stereotyping comments
about my race, and portraying me as a "devil worshiper," the judge allowed
the jury of "my peers" to be made up entirely of white people from the
suburbs. Due to all of the violence that had been taking place in
Schenectady, the judge also wanted "to make an example out of me."
It goes so much deeper, even. I'd sent my appeal brief in, but it was
confiscated because I had asked law library inmates to help me without first
receiving written permission. Luckily, I still managed to shave off a
decade. But still, 8 years .. This is unfair, considering that I stabbed
that kid only to avoid being shot.
Anyway, since my incarceration I've managed to accomplish the following
things: I was valedictorian of the GED program at Coxsackie Correctional
Facility. I helped run a poetry workshop alongside civilians in the same
facility. I have written more than 20, as-of-yet-unpublished bodies of work.
I've obtained copyrights and recently have had two pieces published in a
local paper called The Utica Phoenix (April 2007 edition). I have recently
been submitting my work to national magazines. Basically, I am an aspiring
writer, trying to rise from the inferno of his past.
It is my sincerest hope that you will help me to support my dreams by
putting my story on your website. I don't deserve this sentence I'm being
forced to serve. Should you decide to assist me at this, my lowest point,
then I will return to support your movement when I one day gain a position
of more influence. I'm 21 now, and I get out in two years. But I've been
down for damned near 5, and I can't take this silence anymore.
I've been mastering the way of a writer for all these long, lonely years.
And now I will use my pen to try and expose all of the corruption that is
tainting our society. It has been my experience that many publications
disregard the voice of the prisoner. I hope that Prisonersolidarity will
allow my cries of lament and protest to be heard.
Dehumanizing corporations (for example, like Merck and Co., which produces
the dangerous new Gardasil vaccine, which has been made mandatory for
girls), need to be promptly dismantled and replaced by companies that have
the interests of human beings in mind.. We live in a world where businesses
are interested in money-making, and nothing else. I've written on many
political subjects and will continue to do so without relenting. I hope
that perhaps you could give me a place to put my writing in print. Perhaps
I, in turn, could help you expand your movement.
If some of what I've said appeals to you, please write to me and share your
thoughts. Perhaps I could send in articles, covering all of the corrupt and
vile practices of this system I've encountered during my incarceration. I'd
like to express my thanks for everyone who took the time to read this.
Daniel Lee Wilt, #03A4787
Marcy Correctional Facility
You may contact Daniel Lee Wilt directly by writing to them at the addresses listed above. The following link offers tips for writing to prisoners: https://prisonersolidarity.org/TipsForWritingPrisoners.htm