Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020
Finally Something Good to Report
Finally something good to report! In early January, I was transferred to the GLU (Good Living Unit, pronounced like ‘glue’). It’s for people who don’t cause trouble, and there are 88 of us out of a population of a thousand. You have to be charge-free for a year to get in, and I’ve been charge-free for almost three years. Nobody will steal from me here, and I won’t be attacked. It’s great to be able to relax for a change.
We get incentives to be good. Once a month we get a pastry, cookie, etc., we have a small library of books we can read, we go to chow first every day, and every weekend we see recent movies on one of our big HD TVs. Recently, we saw Once Upon A Time: In Hollywood, which I found very slow-paced and way too long. The whole mood of this pod is radically different from others I’ve been in.
I take Celebrex twice a day for arthritis, and have to stand outdoors in a long line to get it, regardless of the weather. All my other pills are ‘self med,’ which means they give me a thirty day supply to keep in my cell and take every day. In the year and a half that I was at River North, I had Celebrex as self med, but here at Pocahontas they won’t let me have it that way. Pocahontas is security level 2/3, while River North is 4/5. So it makes no sense that I can’t have my Celebrex as self med here.
Recently, I stood in line for more than forty-five minutes to get my morning pill, the temperature below freezing, in a mix of rain and snow. I complained about having to do this for a single pill, and took my complaint all the way to the VDOC head office in Richmond, who said my complaint was ‘unfounded.’ Standing out in the weather aggravates my arthritis, the very thing the pill is for.
But, that’s typical of the VDOC. When I first came into the system back in 2008, I was complaining to a Sergeant about some policy. He said, “Mr. Shell, your problem is that you expect things to make sense. This is the DOC. NOTHING MAKES SENSE! Get that through your head and you’ll do just fine.” He was right, nothing in the system makes sense.
I read recently in Prison Legal News magazine (www.prisonlegalnews.org) about a man in another state who was given a belt by prison staff, and later given a charge for having it. Reminded me of the time I wrote a letter to a lawyer on a prison law library typewriter, and was given a charge for doing it, even though that’s one of the stated purposes of the typewriters. I was kicked out of the law library for six months over that! I appealed, of course, but my appeals were denied at every level. So that ridiculous charge is still on my record, and I was set back six months in my legal work to get my false convictions overturned.
My book COSMIC DANCE has received many positive reviews. If you haven’t read it yet, please buy and read it. It’s on Amazon under my name, also available from www. odalysllc.com, the company that did the grunt work on it and got it published.
I’m in good company. Amazon recently signed Dean Koontz and Patricia Cornwell to write books directly for them, bypassing traditional publishers. This move has publishers terrified, and for good reason. Amazon can get a book into its distribution channels faster than regular publishers. Unfortunately, it’s another nail in the coffin of independent bookstores, who won’t have access to these books. I love the bookstore experience. Browsing online just can’t touch it. When I was in college at Virginia Tech, I worked in an independent bookstore, and have fond memories.
I go up for geriatric parole again in March. So far I’ve gone up before the parole board eight times, and been turned down eight times. I’m a perfect candidate for parole, and was dismayed by all these turndowns, until I figured it out. Someone is sabotaging my parole attempts. I don’t know who it is, but I have my suspicions. Probably the same person who kept going onto my Wikipedia bio page and putting lies on there. Research has indicated that this was Marion’s aunt, who still must believe the nonsense spouted at my trial by the medical examiner. I’ve had proof that his testimony was nonsense, to use a polite word for it, for some time in the form of statements from prominent pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht and Dr. William T. Gormley, Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia. Anyone who hasn’t read it should go to my website, www.bobshelltruth.com and read Dr. Gormley’s interview. I’ve sent this to the Parole Board several times, but they choose to ignore it.
Dr. Gormley did tests that proved conclusively that Marion was never dead in my presence, disproving the prosecutor’s idiotic theory that she was dead the last time we had sex. I’ve never had sex with any woman who was not a fully aware consenting adult in my entire long life. I’m 73 as of last December, and my reputation on that score was unblemished until the Radford cops and prosecutors set out to destroy me. Their reasons were political, having absolutely nothing to do with any alleged crimes.
Many of you continue to ask about and wish me well in my quest to get my precious forest back. The case is still in court, but a lawyer suggested a new tactic to me, and I’m pursuing it. I’m going after the two lawyers involved in the sale, whose actions were certainly unethical, possibly illegal. I will pursue this to the end, no matter how long it takes or how much it costs.
On another topic, most of the contents of my photography studio are in a rented storage unit. Some of you have already helped me keep the monthly rent paid, but any who haven’t and are willing to help, please let me know and I’ll let you know how to help. All my contact info is on my website, www. bobshelltruth.com , the website friends built for me
Until next time, my friends, you have all my best wishes.
About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. He is serving the 11th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/photography/
Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.