Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Meet Jahmir Ricks

My print column is up on meeting 14-year-old accused killer Jahmir Ricks.

But it's also about what goes on at our privately-run country prison and the importance of having good public oversight. Which is to say a good, smart superintendent making sure the prison runs according to Hoyle and the contract the county has with GEO.

Acting Superintendent John Reilly is such a guy.

He says he's proud of the professionalism of the staff out there and invites anyone who's interested to come out for a tour. It's an eye-opening and pretty interesting experience.

Of course, I went out so you don't have to. But all are welcome, says Reilly, come into the light. He'll show you a few things.

One thing that didn't make the column:

On our way out of the jail, Reilly pointed to a silver-haired, gentleman in a glass both. His name is Eddie Martin. He's been working at the prison for years.

When Reilly was a DA, he reminded me, he prosecuted the man who raped and murdered Eddie Martin's daughter. His name is Wayne Smith and he is on Death Row today.

It is unlikely, however, Smith will ever be executed. His appeals for a new trial continue to this day and the commonwealth would commute his sentence (essentially) to life but so far Smith refuses to go for it.

I remember the trial. I wrote about it when defense attorney Ray Williams dramatically announced to Judge Anthony Semeraro he was quitting the case because he didn't like one of the judge's rulings.

Eventually, they worked things out but Smith, I understand, is hanging part of his appeal on that jailhouse favorite: ineffectiveness of counsel.

Too bad, some will say, the people of Pennsylvania can't appeal Smith's appeal, charging ineffectiveness of justice when it comes to putting convicted murderers to death in this state. But then maybe an innocent man or two -- the name Nick Yarris springs to mind -- might not be alive today.

UPDATE: Let's remember, thanks to DNA testing such mistakes are less and less likely to ever be made.


Anonymous randal said...

I smell sympathy for this murderer. Why? Just because he looks young and innocent? Crap.
He was a schoolyard bully who murdered his brother over a friggin video game. F him. He is where he belongs and where he was no doubt headed anyway. The public is safer with this violent criminal removed.

February 27, 2008 at 10:35 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gil, you didn't happen to see the former King of Penn Delco School District while you were there? I'd love to hear that story if you did?

February 27, 2008 at 10:45 AM 
Anonymous TG said...


It was actually Jahmir's brother who did the mental and physical tormenting of his younger brother.
Years of abuse caused the kid to snap, in a way, he is a victim too.

February 27, 2008 at 12:39 PM 
Anonymous r said...

Everyone with an older brother suffers mental and physical tormenting.
I didn’t kill mine.

February 27, 2008 at 7:07 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

randal and the rest of ya'll not knowing anything fools u don't know anything i can see that!!...well let me say 1 thing im a female and i also was a classmate of jahmir yes im older than him and i know alot about him...he was never a bully this kid had lots of friends in that school and i was one of them so do that make me a bully?..i think not!!...yes he made a big mistake but i 4give him and will always love him..he was 1 of my closest friends and when i saw him oneday in prison i couldn't believe he was's not him!!...i miss that boy with my heart he's like my little brother!!i feel 4 his mom i really do she lost both her sons 1 from death and another to a jail...i sit here and say i trust him and miss him he suffered and so did his brother they both are wrong 4 making each other suffer but life is hard for a teen and in my eyes he's not a criminal he's just a victim who got a bad impression *gone*...i love ya Jahmir Ricks N R.I.P to ya bro Twan he misses you N 4gives you *muahz* from ya sis N friend Unique "06-07" was our year ya digg...make o8-o9 better see ya whe ya come home *muahz lil br0*

March 5, 2008 at 5:58 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanx to everybody who's sticking up for Jahmir.
For real if you didnt know what happened in real life then you have no right to say negative things bout Jahmir. Jahmir was nice & would do anything to put a smile on your face if you were sad. All i gotta say is, if your not God you can make a jugdement.
I love you Jahmir.

April 9, 2008 at 11:33 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about letting these brothers fight? If the murder victim was so abusive, why didn't the "mother" do something about it. She was there when the murderer went down stairs, got a knife and stabbed his brother in the heart. That doesn't sound like self defense, it's murder, Noone even called for an ambulance for the victim. I guarantee you that Jahmir will kill again. I hope the Judge keeps him in jail where he belongs

April 21, 2008 at 7:14 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evrythin went wrong i knew Twan nd Jah 4 about 3 yrs now, Jah nd i use 2 ride da same bus 2 skoo. Twan waz ma high skool sweetheart. he gave me a hug 2 days b4 his death nd i still cry ^ 2 diz day i still hve his number i hve da news paper where his casket waz shown i miss u Twan u safe wit God now baby boi i will alwayz luv u 4eva

May 23, 2008 at 3:40 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i jst got out of george w hill and actually has a court date with jahmir and rode in the transport van with him that kid does not belong in that jail he need to be in a juvenile detention center.he has to live with wat he did 4 the rest of his life. he doesnt need to be sharin a cell with hard criminals

June 10, 2008 at 3:33 PM 
Anonymous unique said...

i sit here and read all the things you people have wrote so are good some are bad.but all i can say only one person can be the judge of this problem not their mom who i got mad love for not other people who want to comment not even the court but GOD!!! can!! i knew jahmir for the longest never met his brother but have heard about of him. i love jahmir dearly and i care for him alot he wasnt only my friend but he was real, fun,loving goofy and just him and i love him for can't judge him because you dont know him. i spent over 365 days with him in school and so much more outside of school. i know the real him and everbody mad mistakes and will continue to make them so please dnt judge unless you got your shit together in your life!! i love you jahmir ricks and i will see you soon. we ride or die together your 7th grade buddy and forever friend Unique G. 6-2-09

June 2, 2009 at 11:24 AM 
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March 14, 2012 at 7:17 AM 
Anonymous Ceaze said...

Its not rite 2 jus say things so foul about him..i was in placement with him any he's not what ppl make him out 2 be.Hes actually a kind.outgoing person.He jus let his emotions get the best of him.No need 2 disrespect his character.He kno wat was done is done.It really hurts him too.

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