Hello everyone. I am Jim Fussell, A154-973, a prisoner at Marion Correctional Institution. Thank you for spending a few moments with me. I value your thoughts, views, suggestions and I welcome you to engage, in any manner you are comfortable with.
I want to welcome the new group on the scene EPIC. I wish them the best of luck and hope folks will lend a hand to assist in the cause. They need all the support we can give.
I come to you with issues regarding prison, sentence, and parole reform. I always strive to be open minded, sincere, honest and I speak from the heart. I reflect on my experiences behind bars the past 42 years.
I did an interview on the following back in November, but evil entities have tried to cover up, block out, delete contents and where there is a will, there is a way to get valuable information/facts to those in society, the stakeholders, the pieces of the puzzle that they previously did not know existed.
To bring you up to speed about who I am and what brought me to prison, I offer the following. I was arrested in 1978, after a jury trial, convicted of TWO counts aggravated murder, for the deaths of former prosecutors 53 year old wife and his 21 year old daughter. He went on to become judge after election. Years later he died of natural causes.
My case was high profile. I was unable to obtain a change of venue. The trial took place in a small rural county with roughly 15,000 population. Virtually everyone knew either me, the victims, our families.
There was no capital punishment in Ohio during 1978-1979. I received 20-life even though my journal entry states life-life. In 1998 after serving 20 years, my first eligibility to be considered for parole, I received a TEN year continuance. Then at my next eligibility in 2008, 2013, and 2018 each time I received FIVE year continuances. 25 years in continuances, basically re-sentencing, only not by a court of law.
I never had any juvenile record nor any previous incarceration. I have not had any prison violations in over 35 or 37 years. I spend my days painting 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week. The landscapes I paint are donated to worthy causes. So far 8 thousand, 830 landscapes have been painted and donated to help assist the lives of countless individuals, causes, charities, around the globe. This shows that each of us can make a difference either by our voice or our actions.
Today I would like to share with you, something that recently developed. On November 5th, 2019 the Ohio Parole Board Chairperson, Ms. Thalheimer, held a town Hall meeting here at M.C.I. for roughly two hours. There were about 25 ODRC staff members in attendance as well as over 200 MCI prisoners.
It is only fair to state that virtually everyone in attendance was eager to hear just what the leader of the Ohio Parole Board had to share. Please keep in mind, such a town hall meeting was unheard of, had never happened before, at least not in the past 42 years that I am aware of. So this visit was epic!
It did not take long for Ms. Thalheimer to crush any hope any lifer had, of ever seeing freedom. This parole board chairperson, who guides the other parole board members, she made reference to the fact that each of us prisoners, have our individual crimes in our heads, that we must somehow deal with. Then shockingly, she waved her arms around the packed room and exclaimed “I HAVE ALL OF YOUR CRIMES IN MY HEAD”.
Now I ask you to please take a moment and try to imagine what this lady has read, heard, seen, been privy to, regarding thousands of cases that are surely horrific, sickening, repulsive. How does any human being get those images out of their head?
I can relate on a much smaller scale. The first twelve years of my incarceration I was the special incident photographer at Lucasville, the states only maximum security prison at the time.
While carrying out my job duties I had to photograph a lot of dead bodies, as well as take pictures of men whom were still barely alive, filled with far too many stab wounds to count. Blood gushing out of the bodies, things that I witnessed were enough to make you throw up. There were things I saw that have embedded in my mind and have never been able to forget.
Today after 42 years those images are as fresh in my mind as they were the day I witnessed them, thru my camera lens.
Another example might be from any of you readers. I watched KUJO, a Stephen King movie decades ago, although fictional, the images of that crazed dog standing on the hood of that car, THAT stuck with me and instilled feelings I would like to forget, but can’t.
Some of you may have watched “IT”. Now perhaps you are terrified of clowns. Those triggers were pulled by make believe, fictional characters. Just think how traumatic REAL life things must be to people like Parole Board Members.
We all know that former member Shirley Smith voluntarily gave up a high paying job, with no job on the back burner, to expose the inner workings of Ohio’s Parole Board. Ms. Smith walked away, sounding many alarms that society has so far ignored. If your loved one were in prison, would you then heed the alarms this whistleblower sounded?
Was Ms. Smith suffering from PTSD some might wonder? Did she notice that her abilities to evaluate and make rational decisions were being ruled by her emotions. Did her human decency kick in and overpower her failures, before she made decisions that ruined lives, ended in death of some prisoners and disrupted families even worse than they already were?
Ms. Smith is and was a hero. She led by example. As a society whether behind bars or on the outer side of the bars, we all owe her our gratitude. Too bad the others on the board have held steadfast to their power, refusing to be honest with themselves.
With the above examples, I can only wonder what the other parole board members see, and feel. I can’t help but see a distinct connection between the parole members and chairperson, the traumatic images, facts, details, the gruesome portrayal of thousands of the worst crimes in the entire State of Ohio.