The executioner unmasked

Why was Tyrone X Gilliam murdered?

By: James E. Perry

I have deep sympathy for the families of the victims of murder and other crimes, but does one death justify another?

In the state of Maryland, a man who had truly repented of his crimes and displayed deep remorse each day - Tyrone X Gilliam - was executed in November. Tyrone, who had become Imam Ben-Maryam through submission and dedication to the will of God, sent a letter of remorse to the mother and family of the victim he was accused of killing. Surprisingly, Mrs. Doerfler wrote Ben-Maryam offering her forgiveness of his participation in the death of her daughter Christine. Through the grace of God, her gesture was of such a magnitude that it overwhelmed Ben-Maryam and touched him to the quick.

From the ashes of injustice and ignorance, here is a man who had rehabilitated himself through the avenue of religion. He was popular and loved by all that knew him. People like Ben-Maryam should be heard in order that society learns why crimes of this nature take place in the land of so-called plenty.

How could Maryland's governor be so narrow in mind, so vicious in his policy, so devoid of human sentiment and compassion? Gov. Parris Glendening said that Ben-Maryam's crime was so heinous and barbaric that it called for the death penalty.

But if Ben-Maryam was a cold-blooded killer, what do you call this governor - who could have shown mercy, but chose to continue on the path of a methodical serial killer with a license? The tragic events of Ben-Maryam's crime haunted him. He knew that he had taken something that couldn't be replaced; he knew the pain the family was enduring. At the same time, he was wise enough to understand that two wrongs don't make a right.

Society is caught up in the revenge factor. The prosecutor says, "I'm not the killer, I just present the facts to the jury." The jury says, "We're not the killer, we're just triers of fact and follow the instructions of the judge." The judge says, "I'm not the killer, I apply the law as the legislature dictates." The legislature says, "We're not the killer, we just make laws that the people vote on." The people say, "We're not the killer, it's the executioner who murders." The executioner says, "I'm not really the killer, I carry out the law..."

The injustice of a calculated justice system is at the root of crime in this nation. It has everything to do with the poor and underprivileged suffering from a lack of education and rehabilitation and getting into the cycle of the revolving door of crime.

Ben-Maryam convinced many that people can change and are capable of repentance, remorse and redemption. He chose to educate those within prison and those without. He made his life count for something.

We keep a piece of him in our hearts, for he put a face on the faceless, showing that the real monsters are not on death row. The real monsters are shown from the top down, every day on your television screen.

Politicians, the true killers, the executioners unmasked!

One James E. Perry #253-296
M.C.A.C. (Supermax)
Baltimore, MD 21202