Open letter to the Reader from Staughton Lynd

Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising
By Staughton Lynd

June 29, 2004

Dear Reader:

I have written this book with two concerns. The first is to do what I can to save the lives of five men unjustly sentenced to death. The second is to describe the most extraordinary experience of interracial solidarity I have encountered since leaving the South in 1964. (Three of the "Lucasville Five" are African Americans, and two are Caucasians who in 1993 were members of the Aryan Brotherhood.)

Among the more particular conclusions of the book are the following:

  • 1. The State of Ohio has a significant share of the responsibility for the death of Officer Robert Vallandingham.

  • 2. None of the Lucasville Five were hands-on killers of Officer Vallandingham, nor did they participate in the decision to kill him. There is overwhelming evidence that the murder of Officer Vallandingham was planned and supervised by the State's principal informant, Anthony Lavelle.

  • 3. In the absence of physical evidence, the Special Prosecutor and the State Highway Patrol obtained convictions by threatening and cutting deals with prisoners who stood to benefit when they turned State's evidence.

  • 4. The statements of fact by the Ohio Supreme Court in State v. Robb and State v. Sanders are devoid of citation to the record and riddled with factual errors.

  • 5. Ohio should follow the example of the State of New York when that state came to recognize that its investigation and prosecution of the Attica rebellion were flawed by prosecutorial misconduct: Ohio, like New York, should declare a general amnesty for riot-related offenses.

I welcome the opportunity to debate and discuss the material
presented in Lucasville.

Staughton Lynd