My nightmare started there in the early part of 1958 and ended in December 1958. I was fifteen years old. I was beaten at the white house seven times, mostly for fighting. My fights were for defending the smaller boys from being beat up or sexually abused by the bigger boys. Mr. Hatton beat me four times, Mr. Tidwell, I believe was the one armed man, he beat me twice and then one other official once, I can't remember his name.
When I was released from there in December 1958, I was a very bitter, angry young man filled with hate. I'd never experienced anything as terrible as Marianna, and it certainly damaged me emotionally beyond what I could cope with. Within three months I was breaking into houses and resisting all my Mom's efforts to settle down.
I was arrested in early 1959 for three burglaries. Instead of being sent back to Marianna I turned sixteen in March 1959, and on May 18, 1959, I was sentenced to twenty years in prison. At that time I was the youngest person ever sent to prison in Florida. I served three years and was paroled in December 1961.
I'm not going to blame all of my bad behavior and law breaking on my horrible experience in Marianna, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't believe that it contributed. My life has been one of extreme ups and downs, some very successful and wonderful times and others of pure hell and disappointment. I went from the age of twenty nine when I committed a crime, to hard work, success and happiness for the next thirty four years until I burglarized a store in South Carolina which got me here.
What makes it doubly tragic is I don't remember any part of doing it. I was on a strong pain medication for a bad back and disabled hip when I made the terrible mistake of doubling my medication. I woke up in the county jail and ound out what I had done.
I certainly hope that you fellows efforts will bring out the full scope of the horrible atrocities that took place at Marianna over the years to the State of Florida and the nation. If I can ever be of any help please feel free to contact me or have anyone else do so also.