Three women who were released from prison on Monday after spending more than a decade behind bars Breaking News461Posted: November 20, 2013 | Author: Lawyer | Filed under: Car Accident Lawyers | Tags: SAN ANTONIO, Texas | Comments Off on Three women who were released from prison on Monday after spending more than a decade behind bars Breaking News461
SAN ANTONIO, Texas
Cassandra Rivera, center, relaxes with her mother and brother on Nov. 19 in San Antonio, Texas, one day after being released from prison.
Other moments have been more bittersweet. Ramirez said her mother told her about her dad’s final moments three years ago when he died at age 84. Ramirez had been on the phone with him from prison, and told him she and the others wouldn’t give up their bid for exoneration.
“My mom told me that a tear came out of his eye, and I said, ‘I love you, daddy’ and he took his last breath,” she said. “I do want to go see his grave and I want to just tell him, ‘Daddy we didn’t give up and that we’re all home.'”
During their time in prison, they had sent letter after letter to innocence groups and anyone who they thought could help them win exoneration. Along the way, they received many rejection letters and had many false starts.
The women, who weren’t incarcerated in the same facilities, described having to fend for themselves in prison (Vasquez and Ramirez were at the same correctional center for a short time).
Ramirez, the first to go to prison nearly 17 years ago, said she had never been in trouble in her life and was at first scared behind bars. Other inmates knew that she had been convicted of molesting girls and threatened to hurt her. But one reached out. “She took me under her wing and protected me. She schooled me about prison: you go do your time and this is how you do it,” she said.
“It was difficult to accept to be put in the same category as . real sex offenders,” said Vasquez, who couldn’t drive near places where children gather – like McDonald’s or church – under restrictions imposed after being paroled one year ago (those were lifted Tuesday morning).
Their imprisonment didn’t just take a toll on the women, their families endured hardship, too.
Ramirez is re-connecting with her son, now 18, who grew up with his dad. She said he didn’t want to expose him to prison, so her son didn’t visit her there.
“Sometimes as a mother you have to make a sacrifice just so he won’t have to go through what we’ve been through over all the years,” she said through tears.
But mother and son are swiftly making up for lost time. They had their first interaction on Monday night over pizza for dinner. Ramirez said she tried to make him feel comfortable, but they were both a little nervous.
Martinez said she would help however she could with the group’s bid to get a full exoneration and hopes she can still have a relationship with her aunt. “If she would want to have one with me after everything,” she said. “I want her to be a part of my children’s life just how she was a part of mine.”
Martinez’s older sister maintains the attack still happened. The four women said they don’t blame the girls and applauded Martinez for coming forward.
“I believe it was a brave thing for her to do. I’m very, very proud of her,” Rivera said.
Ramirez said she would accept her niece with open arms, “because that’s what love does. It’s unconditional.”
The women, who couldn’t have contact with each other in prison, enjoyed re-connecting since their release. They considered themselves family nearly 20 years ago – and that hasn’t changed.
“The comfort was still there,” Rivera said. “It’s falling right back into place, because we’re family.”
The next part of their journey will be pursuit of “actual innocence,” which is possible under Texas state law, though Ware said winning such a declaration was extremely rare. But the women said there is no stopping them.
“We want actual innocence because that’s what we are,” said Mayhugh, who spent nearly 14 years in prison. “We’re actually innocent.”