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Juan Melendez’ Statement
on the Execution of his Friend, Clarence Hill
This is the saddest day for me since my release from death row on January 3, 2002.
Today at 6pm, the State of Florida killed my friend Clarence Hill, known to me as Razzaq Muhammad. I am so grateful for Razzaq’s friendship. In fact, he was more like a brother to me than a friend. He taught me so much about love, compassion and forgiveness. He taught me how to read, write and speak English. When the State of Florida killed him today, it was not killing the same person who committed the crime for which he was executed. Razzaq changed so much during his years on death row. He became
a good man, a friend to so many of us and a great counsellor to the younger inmates. He helped so many of us change for the better. He will be terribly missed. And it is a terrible shame that he will no longer be able to help others on death row.
As an innocent man who spent almost eighteen years on Florida’s death row, I know first-hand the suffering that the families of death row inmates endure. I believe my mother suffered more than I did. I cannot even bear to imagine what would have happened to her if I had been executed. My heart goes out to Razzaq’s family but I want them to know that he was at peace. He has been ready to die for a long time. He is no longer suffering.
Razzaq’s deliberate and premeditated killing by the State of Florida has resolved nothing. It will not keep our communities safer and it will not end the suffering of the victims’families. All it has done is create more death, more pain and more suffering. Another family grieving over the loss of a loved one. What a waste of blood! What needless suffering!
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims in this case and with Rasheed’s family.
God bless you all!
Juan Roberto Melendez Colon
January 24, 2006
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
2603 NW 13th St (AKA Dr. MLK Jr. Hwy)
Gainesville, FL 32609
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