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tv   Lockup Raw  MSNBC  April 3, 2016 1:00am-2:01am PDT

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due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. msnbc takes you behind the walls of america's most notorious prisons into a world of chaos and danger. now, the scenes you've never seen. "lockup: raw." >> shot the man three times, right? >> and we beat him to death. >> i hold him in a choke hold. >> i shot him. >> i took the towel and strangled him. they opened the door and i tried to throw him off the tier. >> murder is a respected crime in here by a lot of these inmates. >> kill or be killed. >> human beings are the most dangerous animal on earth there is.
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>> he ran upstairs, i fired. it happens. >> one of the most intense things our "lockup" field crew encounters when they go inside a maximum security prison is conducting interviews with murderers, sitting five, six feet away from a very violent offender. but more often than not, they leave those conversations feeling like they just talked to somebody that's just a normal, everyday guy. >> when our crew went behind the 40-foot walls of indiana state prison, they had ample opportunity to meet killers among the 2,000 inmates that are incarcerated there. >> the number one charge at this facility is murder. approximately 70% of the offenders housed here are housed for taking the life of another human being. >> one of the those offenders is jocco bailey.
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at age 16, he received a 40-year sentence for murder. >> i was selling marijuana. two older guys wanted to buy some weed. when they seen i was young, i guess they figured they could take the weed. they figured wrong. because i was carrying a weapon. it was a gunfight. one of the guys ended up dead, the other ended up wounded. and i ended up in prison, to my regret and my family's regret and the person that's dead's regret. >> when we met him, bailey had been in prison at indiana state for 17 years and spent more than 11 of them confined to a 23-hour-per day lockdown cell in administrative segregation. >> a person ends up in administrative segregation are usually the problem child in the institution, they want to make money in the institution by trafficking.
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the troublemakers. >> bailey seemed more interested in creature comforts than violence. >> this is my la-z-boy. my chair. sitting in the cell for years and years and years will mess your back up because these steel beds and through the years people jump up and down on them, so it makes them uneven and gives you back problems for the rest of your life. and that's it. this is my home. this is my -- this is where i live. >> bailey is also allowed out of his cell once a day for an hour of recreation in an enclosed yard. >> why is it important to keep someone like this segregated? he seems to be just a sociable kind of guy. >> sure. a lot of sociopaths are. a lot of his problems are
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substance abuse related and that leads to other problems, for instance violence in the institution. that's why he is where he is. it isn't like he hasn't been in the open population, he has been, but he hasn't been successful. >> i've stabbed offenders for snitching. i've had illicit drug activity, i've organized gang group demonstrations. i've been incorrigible and been an all-around troublemaker for most of my years here at the prison. >> but bailey says there's a practical side to his behavior. >> in prison there's a delicate balance because some guys here are never going home. and for those of us who are, if we lose our edge one bit, then like wolves, your own could turn on you. being in this environment, i've had to become and to be a predator in order to avoid being prey.
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>> finding appropriate housing for convicted killers who have continued their violent ways behind bars is always a challenge. a fact dramatically illustrated during our visit to kern valley state prison in california. >> it's all we got, work, work, work, you know. >> when we met james randall, he was working his prison job helping officers serve food to his fellow inmates. when we sat down to talk in his cell, randall seemed to only have one concern. how his shaved head looked on camera.
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>> there's no lint on my head or nothing? >> no, you're fine. >> i'm cool. i got a gang out of it. i don't want to be shining. i'll be shining like money. >> when you interview people in prison, you know they are in there for a good reason. and when you meet them, sometimes they're very likable. they might even be somebody you think you could be friends with. but sometimes you end up hearing a jaw-dropping story. the day we met james randall, we heard a jaw-dropping story. >> originally i came to jail february 21st, 1981, convicted in san bernardino county for murder/robbery. >> given a sentence of 34 years to life, randall was 18 at the time of his conviction. but his rap sheet started much earlier. >> i have been gang banging since i was 9 years old. coming from an impoverished neighborhood in southern california, my mother and father tried to move to pomona to establish a better life for us. by the time we moved there, it's mostly a middle-to-upper class neighborhood, being already bit by the gang bug, we just exported the gang life out there. >> randall's gang activity led to his incarceration at the youth facility and soon after, prison. there he joined a militant gang called the black guerrilla family. >> ended up in 15 years solitary confinement. tried to get back into the main line, but it was kind of hard. after facing walls for 15 years and handcuffs everywhere i went,
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i didn't adjust too well. i still became more assaultive, more combative, more violent. >> after 25 years of incarceration, randall had plenty of violent episodes to share. >> i had threw a bomb in an inmate's cell and blew his toilet off the wall and blew a patch of his leg off. an officer came to my door. i made a zip gun out of some magazines and i shot him in the face. >> as the story unfolds about why he's there, what he's done in prison, it can send chills up your spine. then it occurs to you, i'm sitting right in front of this guy. anything can happen to me. >> most of randall's violence was directed at his cellmates. >> i don't have a problem taking a cellie but what i have a problem with is crackheads. people who don't know how to gel. people who like expose themselves to female staff. i have a mother and sister. i don't play that.
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>> one cellie in particular sent randall into a rage. >> he raped and cut these females up and cut their areolas off their chest and put "v" and "g" on the wall. he's bragging about what he did. i said you really did that? what got me was he blew a 9-year-old girl's head off. i said, man, you really did that? he started laughing. he said, yeah. so what i did to him, i said i'm going to treat you like you did those women. i stuck my hand up his ass and bashed his head and made him drink out that toilet. i took at towel and strangled him. i tried to throw him off the tier and they said that's it. you can't have no more cellies, man. >> randall eventually quit his gang and his behavior improved even more after correctional officials said despite his violent record, he might one day be released. >> after all these years, i never gave that no thought because i didn't care. i was playing tag with satan. i didn't care.
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now, i look back on it and i think, wow, they are seriously considering letting me go. i haven't had a write-up in three years. that's like a dope fiend going through withdrawal. >> for somebody that led such a violent past, it was very interesting to find what james randall did in his spare time. he made cards, cute little cards for kids. >> draw like little mickey mouses, i love you, happy birthday. it was like therapy for me. instead of acting out, i draw. >> though randall has attempted to put violence behind him, he knows his past can haunt him, in prison or out. >> in my mind, coming from the dark side, as i like to call it, you're out but you're never out. if i walk up and i'm in like sears or one of the department stores, say i got my son or daughter or my wife with me and some gang members that have heard of me see me, i might be dead right there, along with my wife and kids.
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so once you're in, you're never out until you're dead. even when you're dead, it's going to always be there, no matter what i do. next, on "lockup: raw" -- >> i was 16 and i shot somebody. >> me being 15, one side of me wanting to shoot at somebody. >> when i was 12 years old, i killed some guy who tried to kill my brother. >> teens who kill and one father's determination to end the cycle. >> this is our son, evan. tomorrow he would have been 10 years old. he's not here to celebrate it.
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one of the more unique facilities ever profiled on "lockup" is the stark youth correctional facility in southern california. referred to as wards, rather than inmates, the young men incarcerated here were all convicted as juveniles for serious crimes. they transfer to stark when they
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turn 18 and depending on their sentence, will remain here until age 21 or 25. we met several wards convicted of murder. they asked that we not use their last names. >> when i was like 12 years old, i killed some guy who tried to kill my brother. and it was gang related. and i retaliated and been in here ever since. >> you shot him? >> no, we beat him to death with tire irons, lumberjacks, mops, stuff like that. >> the guy walked through the gate. i drew down on him with a .22. and told him he was selling dope and we told him not to sell dope in this particular area. he looked at me and tried to get the gun out of my hand. he ran up the stairs. i fired. he got shot seven times. and i killed him. me being 15, it excited me to shoot at somebody. because it made other people look at me and say, man, you see that guy, that's a cool guy
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there, it made me proud. >> what made you proud? >> them knowing that i would kill somebody and not even worry about it or not worry about getting caught. >> i was 16 and i shot somebody. it was the first day of the semester and i was by myself and, you know, there was one of my rivals with a bunch of his home boys, probably about 15 or 20 of them. i was surrounded by everybody, something was going to happen to me. and i was genuinely scared. i was worried for my own life. my reaction was to pull out my gun. and, you know, in the middle of the confrontation, i shot him. and the gun had discharged while i was running and another innocent bystander was shot in the process. human beings are the most dangerous animal on the earth. and when it comes down to what i was doing, it was insane. >> this is our son, evan.
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tomorrow he would have been 10 years old. he's not here to celebrate it. >> on our second day of shooting at stark, some of the wards were getting a tough lesson on the consequences of violence. >> i'm leading prayer at the church as a licensed minister. i get a phone call that says you need to come to the park because there's been a shooting that involved your family. we need you to come right now. >> the father of evan foster told the group how a bullet found his son at a neighborhood park. >> my wife took him to sign him up for basketball, to pick up a trophy. the trophy is not there. they go to leave and she sees some guys in the parking lot and basically, the guys came and they were seeking to kill somebody. they actually told the authorities later, they came to kill somebody. and since there was two rival gang situations, they saw a red
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car and they decided they were going to kill that person. they approach him, pull out an assault weapon and he takes off running. unfortunately, he runs toward our vehicle. my wife sees all this as she's putting the kids in the car. she's trying her best not to frighten them. so she just floors it. she puts it in reverse and she tries to get out as fast as she can. she's talking to evan and everything saying i'm sorry i didn't get your trophy. he's saying, that's all right, mom, i -- then he stops talking. she took him in her arms and stroked his head. one eye was hanging out like a slinky. you could see all the veins and everything. he got destroyed on this side of the face and also had a big gash in his forehead. she stroked his head, she said and she told him, i'm sorry that i didn't get you out of here. you know, these are the kind of things we have to live with. for mr. foster, sharing the story of his son's death, helps relieve his pain.
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he spoke to the wards for more than an hour. >> i'll keep trying until there's no breath left in me because the cycle needs to stop. if you don't begin to look at the cycle and touch the cycle, try to impact it, it just continues to spiral. >> one of the gang bangers involved in shooting evan had once been incarcerated at stark. one of his former dorm mates also convicted of murder raised his hand to speak to foster. >> on behalf of all of us, i want to apologize. you know what i mean, for the mentality that we grew up with, the state of mind that we're in and the decisions that we make to make that kind of action or take that kind action towards other human beings. on behalf of the men that are incarcerated, i want to apologize for that. and thank you for sharing that with us. >> my reaction was sincere
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appreciation that he could be that sensitive or that charitable and take, in an odd sort of way, some ownership or some responsibility for the maladaptive actions that this other person did. my son evan was about love. he wrote this campaign speech, a class assignment, one of his last class assignments. and one of the things he said in the campaign speech is, i would tell those who bring harm to others, to go to church. next on "lockup raw: killers among us" -- >> i think the greatest fear the public should have is some of us are going home. >> a freed convict commits murder on the outside, and then again back on the inside. >> i held him in a choke hold and my friend started hitting him, beating him up.
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we've heard the warnings from prison staff. >> they're going to come back to our communities. they're going to go back and
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live next to you or him or me. i want to make sure i've done everything i can so when he does live next to me, i can worry about asking him to turn his music down, maybe share a 40 with me, have a barbecue but not whether or not he's hiding automatic weapons. >> we've also heard the warnings from inmates. >> i think the greatest fear the public should have is some of these people are going home. when they get out there, you're going to meet these guys in an alley one day. if he asks you for your wallet and you don't give it to him, he's going to callously pull out a gun and shoot you dead. he's been taught that in here, to be sensitive is to be weak. >> but for johnny estrada, the warnings turned into reality. >> when you're in prison, you learn a certain mentality. and that was my mistake when i got out. i took that mentality that i learned in here out there. and it didn't get me nothing but
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back here. >> here, it's colorado state penitentiary. and this time estrada is in for murder, a crime he committed after being released from his first prison term. >> in here, you take things a lot more serious. somebody calls you a punk, somebody calls you a bitch, someone says i'm going to kill you, in here that means, you know, you hold people to that word -- to them words, man. when i got out and guys were saying that about me, i'm going to kill john, i'm going to do this to him. the first thing in my mind is i better go kill him before he gets me even though he was probably talking out of his ass. he didn't understand the type of person i am and where i've been and the thought process i've learned in here. and he's dead now for it. it's kind of like a kill or be killed. >> estrada's prison education started early. >> how old were you when you were first arrested?
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>> about 13 or 14. >> what did you do? >> stealing a stereo out of a car. that's how it all began. start out stealing bubble gum at the stores all the way to snatching purses, stealing car stereos, stealing bikes, stealing the whole car, breaking in houses, robberies, escape, just graduate all the way to murder. it seemed like it was a never-ending chain. >> and estrada added even more links to that chain. when he returned to prison on the murder charge, he was involved in another killing. >> another inmate came up behind a friend of mine and stabbed him in the eye. i got up. he tried to stab me. i grabbed him and held him in a choke hold. my friend started hitting him, beating him up. all the officers were aware of this at the time. and they have aapolicy here. they won't intervene unless there's four officers to one inmate. at the time there were 16 of us out in the pod eating breakfast
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and that is what, 64. they need to come in. they just sat there and watched. i didn't want to let go of the guy because he still had a knife tied to his hand. i never let go. he ended up dying. >> estrada was again found guilty of murder. but he hasn't given up his kill or be killed outlook. >> i can't sit here and say, i'm remorseful for what i did, because better him than me. they chose their own fate. i mean, taking human life, that's the worse you can possibly do. but i'm not going to let anybody hurt me or do anything to me. and i have to live regardless of the consequences, if i have to pick up 40-year sentences, 50-year sentences for defending myself, then i'll do that. i'll do everything i can not to be carried out in a box from in here.
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>> together, estrada's sentences almost guarantee that the only way he will ever leave prison is in a box. >> the first murder case i got 36 years for, the second one i got 48. so now i'm doing 84 years. i'd like to sit here and blame the officers for not coming in and intervening. you know, i didn't have to choke the dude for six minutes. >> though estrada could be spending the rest of his life in this super max penitentiary, he isn't losing sleep over it. >> is there a bible down there? you read that much? >> no, it's just there for good luck. at peace? i'm at peace with myself. i have to be. there's a certain time you have to look at reality and say, this is home. this is home. this is home. you can't focus on what's going on out there. can't let it get to you. just have to forget about the outside world and understand that this is a world now. and this is reality. this is home. i can sit here and say, i did
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what i had to do. regardless of the consequences. can't sit here and kick myself in the ass for it. it happens. next on "lockup: raw" -- >> i'm in here for heat of passion. i caught my wife with somebody. >> the spouse killers. >> i had tried to make it look like a suicide. i mean, my husband had been suicidal. he had a history of being suicidal.
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i'm milissa rehberger, here's what's happening.
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prisons usually aren't associated with churches. but over the years on "lockup," we filmed almost every type of religion there is. and yet, still, on a standard cell search, we found out behind bars, few things are sacred. >> even though they have their bible or koran, whatever religious preference they are, they'll still hide dope in it, and weapons in it. you'll find razor blades and dope stuffed in the bindings. everybody finds god in prison. if you're looking for him, this is where he's at. come on in. >> we've met some inmates that have seemed very devout, even as they grapple with the realities of their crime. ♪ >> it was in the middle of central california we heard the sounds of the muslim call to prayer emanating from a cell at kern valley state prison. cellmates jose garza and rehan ali bhutto explain to our crew how their religious practices aren't hindered by prison bars. >> at 5:00 we come up and do prayers. we begin our day like that. >> talk to me guys, why this cell is so different from the other cells you've been in. >> it's based on cleanness. we have to be clean. ww keep ourselves clean and organized. islam is islam. in here or the street, it's the same. >> but bhutto and garza have more in common than religion. >> my sentence is life without a possibility of patrol. >> i'm charged with murder, first degree, so as far as details, life without possibility -- same thing. >> i'm here for heat of passion.
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i caught my wife with somebody and -- >> and? >> killed her. know, i'm not proud of it, i've regretted every single minute of it. >> so what was the charge? what was the conviction? it's not heat of passion. >> it is heat of passion. >> he told us he took responsibility for his actions. but during the course of the interview, it seems like he kind of left the door open a crack to say, i'm not really sure. >> a lot of people say i can justify according to the bible or koran. if your spouse is cheating on somebody, you have a right. god tells it a certain way. it is, but be better -- we are human beings. we are given choice, right from wrong. i knew what was right. what i did, i can't justify it. she had a mother. she was somebody's daughter. she had a father. the worst part is, i have a daughter with my wife and she don't have a mother or a father for what i did. i live with that every day. >> born in pakistan, but raised
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in wyoming, bhutto told us his religion made him a victim as well. >> during my trial, it was after september 11th. so it was part of it. not one case like mine, anybody got a sentence like i did because i'm from pakistan. i believe in muslim. you know what i mean, i'm muslim. still, i'm a firm believer, whatever i have coming, nobody can stop it. nobody can benefit me or nobody can harm me without his permission. the way of the muslim i believe is when leaves fall from the tree, it doesn't fall without his will. so every day what i do, what i don't, it's been written in my book. ♪ won't you take my hand ♪ we will follow just the same >> bhutto is not the only spouse killer we've met that sees the hand of god at work in their lives. ♪ >> our crew first noticed
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cynthia while she was singing in the gospel choir at the north carolina correctional institute for women. >> i've been convicted of first-degree murder and my sentence is life in prison without parole. >> but the real surprise came when she told us of her life before prison. the mother of two used to make her living on the other side of the bars. >> there's not too many people in here who used to be a correctional officer for the same state they are now incarcerated in. but it's actually been very helpful to me. having been an officer, i can understand the reasons behind a lot of the silly rules we have to go through, and the procedures we have to go through. i understand their perspective more. so it's easier to take some of the humiliations we have to go through. >> rupel offered no excuses for her fall from corrections officer to inmate. >> i'm convicted of first-degree murder. it was the death of my husband. we've been married 22 1/2 years and he was a good man.
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my husband did not abuse me. he did not deserve what i did to him. it's horrendous. there's no excuse for what i did. i know that i'm here -- that life is a merciful sentence for what i've done. my husband was clinically depressed. when he would be off his medication, be in a depressive state, he was not an easy man to live with at that time. he was hard to please. and, yes, there was another man involved at that time. and my husband knew about that. but he didn't -- i guess he didn't really see the danger in that. here he was being so difficult to please. and here was this other man who thought or at least told me, i'm a goddess, i walk on water and everything i do is right. >> rupel believed her background
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in law enforcement would allow her to pull off the perfect murder. >> it happened on a saturday morning and i was arrested monday morning. it was pretty fast. i guess it was pretty obvious, too. and i tried so desperately to convince people i was innocent. i had tried to make it look like a suicide. i mean, my husband had been suicidal. he had a history of being suicidal. so i figured that would be the easiest way. make it look like he did it. >> how did you do it? how did he die? >> i shot him. i shot him. i wish i could go back. in one stupid moment i destroyed everything. it didn't mean anything to me and i lost everything i thought i was going to keep. i lost my husband. and he was a good man. like i said, he did not deserve what i did to him. i lost my daughters.
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>> she told us she regrets the past but she's also moving on. >> i still face the consequences of what i did. but i don't go around piled down with that guilt any more. yes, i'm guilty but god has forgiven me. >> but rupel told us her religious conversion wasn't easy. >> we had these ladies that would come in to do a bible study. i have to say, i hated them. they come in with their cheery little faces, smiling, telling me everything will be all right. everything will be all right. jesus will fix it. i was like, you don't know what you're talking about. maybe the biggest problem you got is that you might burn the dinner or have an overdue parking ticket. you're not facing what i'm facing. i was facing the death penalty at that point. and i don't want to hear it till finally i just -- i'll come if you just leave me alone. i don't want to hear it!
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and don't ask me to talk! that's how i was. >> eventually, she joined the bible study and found a connection with several of the other participants. they too, killed their husbands or boyfriends. >> it helps me just knowing i have sisters i can lean on, someone i can talk to, someone i can share these things with. in here, you have to be careful who you share things with. ♪ here is power for you all ♪ here is power for you all >> while rupel appeared to have found redemption behind bars, our crew was struck by a parting comment made by the director of her prison choir. >> the inmates are con artists. they kind of have to be to survive. okay? you can't be sure, no matter how beauttful the song sounds, how much heart and soul and person there is behind that song. i mean they're not very different from the rest of us. ♪
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coming up on "lockup: raw killers among us" -- >> i hate to say it, but murder is a respected crime in here by a lot of inmates. >> i just shot the man three times, right, and the other police, he was still down so i shot him three times.
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over the years on "lockup" we've learned two things. about convicted killers. one, they can come from any part of society and two they assume a place of honor on the inmate hierarchy. >> probably your most respected inmates here are your men who are serving life sentences for murder. it goes all the way down to
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armed robbery, burglary, grand theft auto. >> i'm not a thief, i'm a killer. >> i hate to say it but murder is a respected crime by a lot of these inmates and they don't bother me. >> we met gerald at the penitentiary in iowa where he was serving two life sentences for murder and attempted murder. 11 years earlier he opened fire at the factory where he worked. >> i was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and didn't know it at the time and my family was trying to get me committed and i refused to go to a mental health place because i was afraid they'd take away my guns. i was a gun collector. i had a lot of guns. i knew once they found me mentally incompetent, i wouldn't be able to have guns anymore. and it developed to the point where i got delusional and hallucinated. i imagined my wife had been kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed by these guys at work. i thought i'd take vengeance into my own hands. and that's what i did.
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i shot two employees in the head, then i also shot two in the leg. >> riefland's symptoms have been treated with medication for several years. he now works in another factory, the metal shop on prison grounds. >> here you are back in a work environment. your fellow workers, did they know what your crime was? i was curious how that played out. >> i imagine some of them were a little leery, a little scared. i got a lot of respect, it seems like. >> where? >> at work and in the yard and stuff because of my crimes. >> he's not the only convicted murderer who sees fear behind the respect. when our crew arrived at anamosa, they were warned. the toughest inmate here might just be james "t-bone" taylor. he's serving a double life for murdering two police officers in 1981. >> i had a cop killing case. it made me feel like i was big
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man on campus, because i was getting respect. but it was only out of fear. it wasn't because they respected me because of who i was. >> he was involved in gang related activity on both sides of the wall since he was a teenager in east st. louis. he earned his nickname t-bone while serving time at another prison. >> because the incident happened at ft. madison in the '70s, it was hard to get a knife. so i made a knife out of bone, out of a t-bone steak. we used to get steak back in the day. i sharpened it down and i was going to stab the guy with it. before i could stab the guy with it, they had busted me with it. they saw it in my hand. they took it. the name stuck. the guys in the penitentiary called me t-bone. >> but it was taylor's desire to rise to the top of the gang hierarchy on the outside what led him to conduct the cold-blooded murders. for which he will spend the rest of his life behind bars. it happened at a ruckus party in waterloo, iowa. when police arrived to shut it
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down, taylor grabbed one of the officer's pistols. >> i just shot the man three times, right? everybody broke and run. and the other police, he was still down, right? so i rannover there and i shot him three times. it wasn't because i was on no drugs or alcohol. i wasn't impaired, you know. >> and afterwards? >> trying to get away, it wasn't no remorse or nothing. i wasn't even thinking about turning myself in or nothing like that, right? i hid for about five or six days in the cornfields before they caught me, right? they give me a natural life sentence, discharged by death. >> for the next 20 years he was transferred to various prisons due to gang activity and predatory behavior. the aging inmate landed in anamosa in 2002.
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shortly afterwards taylor chose to participate in a victim pact program. but it wasn't out of remorse. he was hoping it would earn him a transfer back to his favorite prison. >> first, i was going to use it to try to get back to ft. madison. you know, i wanted to play a game -- because i wanted to go back to ft. madison. >> his participation in the program required him to meet the sister of one of the officers he murdered. >> i was scared, you know, because, you know, we're under the illusion that they're going to come and cuss us out, call us all kind of names. and this and that. and you know we're sitting down. i'm truly scared. first thing she asked me, she said, why you kill my brother? i don't have no reason, you know. she said, did you kill my brother because he was the police? i said, no. she says, suppose i kill your mother or something -- and that tore me up. we broke down. we cried. i'm talking sincerely. we cried.
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she said, i hate you. she said, i wish you was dead, you know? and it was hard for me, because all this time i've been the one that's been in control. she took that control and i couldn't, like, attack her or nothing like that. you know what i mean? that wasn't even in my mind. i didn't have control of the situation. she took control of the situation. she asked me, should i be forgiven? i said, no. she said, i'm going to forgive you. you know what i'm saying? everything that i perceived that made me the big dog, she just took all that from me. you know what i mean? she took all that from me. she made me real humble, you know what i mean? i'm saying we hugged when she left. i killed this woman's brother. and people don't do that, right? people don't just do that.
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>> taylor found it hard to shrug off the emotions stirred up by the visit. >> because i was brought up if you murder, people will get over it, you know? i was a hard and violent person. now that i see a whole different side of me, this is how i go, man. people don't forget. people don't forgive all the time. i'm saying you have to live with this your whole life. coming up -- >> we're not looking for pity. what we're looking for is understanding that we know we did wrong. >> t-bone's past continues to haunt him.
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james "t-bone" taylor was one of the most respected inmates among inmates at iowa's anamosa state penitentiary. not for doing good but for being a two-time cop killer. but when a survivor of one of his victims forgave him, taylor claims to have grown a conscience. in response, he and some other inmates were inspired to start a
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group they called s.a.v.e., seriously acknowledging victim's emotions. >> not enough attention is paid toward the victim. this group here is like after okay. it gives guys a chance to come and sit down and understand and find out why they have the behaviors that they have. >> our cameras rolled as inmates involved in the program met with families of victims. >> our past action implied that we held no regard for human life. today we know what it is to feel, see and hear all the insanity an destruction we've caused. this whole thing is not about us coming up here looking for pity. because we're not looking for pity. what we're looking for is an understanding that we know we did wrong. >> well, it affects me in a sense because i know the impact in these later years what i done. i don't do this to think i'm going to get out of the penitentiary because i'm not.
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but it gives me a sense of understanding. it gives me a sense of responsibility for my own actions. >> good morning, everyone. i want to thank these guys for taking the time out to come up. this today is -- i'm nervous, by the way. >> the day was especially personal for one other inmate as well. >> i've been in for nearly 20 years. my victim's mom and stepdad are here today. vicki and greg. i want to thank them very much for coming. >> mark smith murdered his girlfriend jenny crompton when he was just 18 years old. through the program he was first confronted by his victim's mother and stepfather several years earlier. >> i was a mess. jenny had been gone eight years and i was still barely functioning. and i was full of anger and i was full of pain. and my other children were suffering. >> i had numerous recurring dreams, kind of nightmares that
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i had a lot of anger. and i wanted to definitely take it out on him. >> the meeting lasted five hours. >> we brought with us, do you remember, some pictures of you guys when you were dating and then i also had this photograph of jenny that -- on the emergency room table. i remember we kind of pulled out the nice pictures and mark was smiling and kind of talking about them and then pulled out this other picture. and i know that mark, you didn't want to look at it. and i was so angry, i just wanted to keep shoving it in front of your face. >> i found her. i was the one police took and shoved into a cell for several hours. i let mark know about that. hey, i was -- i didn't do it but i was the one they thought did it. and you did this to me, plus i lost jenny that day. >> it's hard. every time i see these guys it's really hard because you're always thinking, i mean, it's like, i did something that
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completely damaged them, that will never go away, ever, for any of us. >> i remember, i said to you, i want to hear you say that you killed jenny. and i realize how hard that was for you but you did it. and for you -- and so everything just changed, because mark's reaction and he didn't try and act like, i didn't do it or it was your fault or -- but, no, i had to know. did jenny suffer? and from what mark told me, i believe that it was very quick. and so that has given me peace. >> when i walked out of there, i was probably 80 pounds lighter. you know? and i never since that day have ever had that same recurring dream. i don't think about mark the way i did. and it was a great release. >> thank you.
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you guys are so great. >> while the s.a.v.e. program has helped eliminate the nightmares, it can't reverse the past for the victims, nor the future that's in store for these convicted killers. in iowa, first degree murder means life without parole. on our last day at anamosa, we ran into t-bone taylor as he was moving into a new cell. as he unpacked, he talked about his own mortality and the place at anamosa where someday his sentence will end. >> ain't nobody going to take my body, right, when i do die. so, you know, my plans are already, i'll let the institution bury me up on the hill. i done even had staff say they will tend to my gravesite for me. >> you're going to stay in anamosa forever? >> forever.
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due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. msnbc takes you behind the walls of america's most notorious prisons, into a world of chaos and danger. now, the scenes you've never seen. "lockup: raw." >> they tell me i should feel safe living with another individual who's maybe been convicted of murder, rape, or whatnot.

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