tv Lockup Raw MSNBC January 28, 2012 5:30pm-5:52pm PST
y to stay well. today my journey continues across the golden state, where everyone has been unbelievably nice. mornin'. i guess i'm helping them save hundreds on car insurance. it probably also doesn't hurt that i'm a world-famous advertising icon. cheers! i mean, who wouldn't want a piece of that? geico. ah... fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent oh dear... or more on car insurance.
convention center. police say the protesters threw bottles, pipes, rocks, even imp viced explosive devices against police officers. police used tear gas and flash grenades to break up the crowd of about 2,000 protesters. and newt gingrich says he's in until the gop convention. gingrich is behind mitt romney in the florida polls. now back to "lock up." i don't know what else you want. this is it. this is life. okay? you know, you've got your cell, you've got this, and the yard. that's all there is. there's nothing else. come out, go to a table, play chess, get on the phone, get a drink of water, and that's it. prison consists of nothing else. inside the cell, a couple hours, maybe in the day room, a couple hours maybe in the yard. and that's it, day after day after day after day after day after day after day.
it's the same thing. nothing changes. >> 90% of prison life is actually boredom. and it's what the inmates do with this down time, this lack of stimuli, that has led to some of the most interesting parts about lockup. >> you do your time. don't let it do you. >> the monotonous grind of life in prison can push some inmates to the limit. in trying to understand how they deal with the specter of never being free again, we've met some of our most memorable characters and recorded some of our most dramatic footage. >> i'm serving a life without parole sentence, two life sentences, two 99-year sentences, a 40-year sentence, a 20-year sentence, and a 10-year sentence, all together. >> at the time of our visit bobby gilbert had been at
alabama's holman correctional facility for only four years. but he first landed in prison at the age of 18. he told us how a minor dispute over money led him to murder an acquaintance from his town. >> he said basically the only way i would get my money is over his dead body. you know. i was hot-headed then. so that's how i got it. >> how much money did he owe you? >> he owed me $36. i paid $37 for the gun i killed him with. so, you know -- >> once behind bars, gilbert's violent temper led to numerous other crimes, including stabbing another inmate to death. this time for much less than $36. but gilbert made it clear to us, in prison, things aren't always as they seem. >> everybody wants to talk about i killed somebody over a carton
of cigarettes. you know, it's not a carton of cigarettes. that may be the catalyst that leads to something, but, you know, if somebody owes me a soda pop or i owe him a soda pop and they come to me and say i need to get that soda pop you owe me, i spit in their face and talk to them like they a bitch or something and they kill me, whose fault is it? it isn't about the soda pop no more. on the street, you call the police to put a stop to it. what do you do in here? i tell you what you do, you go get you a knife and you stab that son of a bitch and say you ain't taking nothing else. that's the end of that. here's what happens when you come to take something from me. >> weigh want to do bobby gilbert first. >> a-1 to a-4. >> gilbert's life behind bars is often punctuated by his frequent battles with holman's warden. grant culliver. at the time, culliver and a disciplinary committee were about to review gilbert's behavior and his request for a transfer to a prison closer to his family's home.
within moments other inmates had seen that "lockup" cameras were present decided to disrupt the hearing and the shoot by banging on the cell doors. that's when warden culliver decided to take matters into his own hands. >> beat on that door again. beat on the door again -- you, you do it. you, you i want you to do it. you do it. beat on the [ bleep ] again. i don't beat no [ bleep ] beat on the [ bleep ] door again. [ bleep ] put his ass out the door. the sooner we get [ bleep ] out of here. >> once the inmates calmed down gilbert's hearing got under way. his appeal for a transfer was quickly dismissed. but it didn't take long for gilbert to make another request, one to help beat the boredom of prison life, the return of his recently confiscated chess set. >> i sure would like to have my chess pieces back. why can't i have my chess pieces?
>> this is segregation. what are you going to do? >> play chess. >> play chess? let me tell you something. get you some paper. draw you a checkerboard. >> i just don't see where it can hurt anybody to let somebody have something semi-constructive to do in their cell. >> ask the law library clerk next time to bring you a copy of the admin regs. see if it says you're allowed to have chess pieces. >> you the man, you run this place. >> i follow the regs. >> that's what i'm saying. that's your decision. >> i follow the regs. >> we supposed to be able to have books here. >> that's what i'm telling you. if they said that, you'd have them. >> it's segregation. it wasn't meant to be nice. you ain't here because you were doing something constructive. if you had been doing something constructive -- >> i was doing something constructive until they [ bleep ] down that hall. >> it is always somebody else's fault. >> you want us to exhibit some form of model behavior.
but yet every avenue is closed to do anything constructive. we can't read a novel because we can't have none. i can't play chess through the mail like i used to because my chess pieces took away from me. jumping up on the door, sticking my [ bleep ] through the tray every time a female came up here, i guess that's model behavior. >> our cameras followed gilbert back to his cell where he continued to fume over his chess set. >> that's about the only thing i had going for me. you're locked in a cell 24 hours a day. i would play in correspondence chess tournaments through the mail. i'm a member of the u.s. chess federation. that's how i did my time. and the warden walks by one day sees my chess pieces on the table. "you can't have those." and that was the end of it. i would like somebody to give me one reason, just semi-intelligent reason, why it would hurt somebody to sit in a cell, locked in here by myself, with some chess pieces. i ain't hurting nobody in the world.
but that's d.o.c. for you. that's rehabilitation at its finest. next on "lockup: raw" -- >> there is nothing i have done that god has not forgiven me for. >> a serial killer claims he found god. >> is it a greater sin to steal a cracker or kill someone? >> and another "lockup" inmate finds satan. >> in the name of satan, the ruler of the earth, i command the forces of darkness to bestow the infernal power upon me. ♪ ♪ is it fast? it's got a lightning bolt on it, doesn't it? ♪ ♪ is it fast? i don't even know if it's street-legal. ♪ ♪ is it safe? [ male announcer ] the secury of a jetta. one of nine volkswagen models named a 2012 iihs top safety pick. ♪ got you in a stranglehold, baby ♪ ♪ we were skipping stones and letting go ♪ [ female announcer ] nature valley granola bars rich dark chocolate
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>> you know, you hear a lot of people who come to prison and say, oh, i found god. well, i did. >> robert fry's religious conversion came only after he found himself on death row in the penitentiary of new mexico. >> i'm in for four counts of murder, and i'm currently serving three life sentences. >> i thought maybe we might do "what a friend we have in jesus." >> today fry is a regular at a prison bible study. the inmates, all death row and maximum security, are confined to their cells. >> i apologize for the filming going on. this isn't about me. this is about this fellowship. showing what prison fellowship in christ is doing for us. >> fry's crimes were both numerous and gruesome. >> i was very angry, very confused. >> fry received a death sentence for bludgeoning and stabbing to death a 36-year-old mother of five in 2000. >> you best show your love for god by the way you show your love for your fellow man. >> he has three other murder convictions, as well. fry beat one man with a shovel and threw him off a cliff. another victim was nearly
beheaded. but when he sat down with us, fry told our producer he was confident of one thing. >> i believe i'm going to be with my lord. when i die, i go to my maker with a clear conscience because i have accepted him as my savior, and i have asked forgiveness of my sins. >> do you feel like your god forgives you? do you feel -- >> he's your god too. >> okay, does god forgive you? >> god forgives all. god loves everyone regardless. >> fry would not discuss his crimes with us. but our producer pressed him on whether his victims would be as forgiving as he believes god would be. >> what would you say if you showed up to the afterlife and there were the people you victimized? >> hello, brother. you know? when we go to the kingdom of god, there is no anger. there is no strife. all that will be taken from us. ♪ amazing grace ♪ >> the people i have hurt directly, i do beg forgiveness. you know. i've already asked god for his forgiveness.
and all i can do is ask you to please forgive me, and if you don't, okay. and you get to live with the power of your own hate. >> fry surprised our crew when he placed his four brutal murders on the same plane as another crime. >> let me ask you a question. is it a greater sin to steal a cracker or to kill someone? >> kill someone. >> god doesn't see it that way. you break one sin, you break all sins. if you are guilty of the least of this, you are guilty of all. so what does it matter what sin you perpetrate? sin is sin. ♪ amen ♪ >> you're not the best singer. >> sounds like someone running over a cat with a lawn mower. >> today fry remains on death row at the penitentiary of new mexico while continuing his appeals. >> even at the hour of your death, if you turn to god and are truly repentant of the things you've done, he'll forgive you and he will accept you. and he knows. >> what if that's not the case
though? >> that is the case, though. >> but what if it is not? >> it is. >> but what if it is not? >> you can say what if and why about anything in the world, but faith -- >> does it come into your mind that maybe the interpretation is not quite there and you may be meeting a different kind of maker? >> no, no. it's faith. faith brought me to god. faith cleansed me of my sins, and faith will see me through. that's all there is to it. >> when we visited iowa state penitentiary, we found the prison attempts to provide services for a wide range of religious beliefs. >> a lot of the religions are a quieting, mellowing, peaceful type of thing. for them to pray, to see god answer something is just very very special, it's empowering. >> then we met an inmate named travis wolfkill. >> in the name of satan, ruler of the earth, the king of the world, i command the forces of darkness to bestow the infernal
power upon me. >> i'm in a satanic group here. there are only about four of us. it's a real small community. the church of satan is about enjoying life. it's about doing what you want to do. we believe in indulgence rather than abstinence. we believe in doing what makes us happy and what improves the quality of our life. >> such an attitude may have been what led wolfkill to a life sentence without the possibility of parole for murdering his grandmother over a $300 tax refund check. but he told us he has found a salvation of sorts in his religion. >> this has what's called the 11 satanic rules of the earth. if you look at number nine, it says, do not harm little children. number ten says do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food. so that right there destroys all
the bad stereotypes that you have about this religion. there is no human sacrifice. >> later in our meeting we asked wolfkill to clarify a few points about his church's doctrine. >> you pointed out number nine. >> yeah. >> tell me what that is. >> it says do not harm little children. >> tell me the next one. >> it was do not kill animals unless you are hunting, unless you need them for food. >> it said do not kill non-human animals. >> no. is that what it said? non-human animals? okay. do not -- >> that begs the question. >> non-human animals. that sounds about right. >> yet you are here for murder. >> yes. yeah. it says do not kill little children. i'm not in here for killing a child. coming up -- >> if i'm not busy, i have a tendency to get in trouble. >> "lockup" discovers true talent behind bars. ♪ it's either kill or be killed ♪ ♪ if you're scared to make a
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