Interview with Jamaal Beazley
Jamaal Beazley is the brother of the late Napoleon Beazley, who was executed in 2002 for a capital murder committed in 1994, at the age of seventeen. In the interview, Beazley reflects on the role of memory; recalls his reactions and his coping mechanisms during the arrest, conviction and eventual execution of his brother; considers the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in the case; discusses the setting of the Walls, how the events have affected his family, possible perceptions of the victim's family, and the importance of communicating his message to others. The interview took place on April 4, 2008, in the public library near the Walls in Huntsville, Texas, where Beazley was also in his final year at Sam Houston State University.
DIALLO Thank you. One, two, three. You can hear me? Five. You ready?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Yeah, I guess so.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: No better time than the present.
DIALLO: Jamaal, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with us.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: No problem.
DIALLO: And just to begin I’d like to give an idea about who is present at this interview. My name is Papa Diallo, and I have the chance to interview Jamaal Beazley. And here in the room we have Gabe Solis and Virginia Raymond with us today. I’m just going to start by asking you to tell us about yourself.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: You’re going to ask a big broad question. Twenty-four years old from Grapeland, Texas. Currently attending Sam Houston State University, supposed to graduate May 17, 2008, 10 A.M. Full time student. I work full time currently at Wal-Mart Super Center, the store, as a sales floor associate in the garden center department. Right now that’s all I really have that I’m doing. I mean I don’t have any major accomplishments that I’ve done yet. I think they’re small. Well, a lot of people think there are big. Whatever, but I don’t know. I don’t really have anything.
DIALLO: And you can also tell us about your family, your friends, and—
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Oh, y’all have met my family. I have a great family. This is my mom and my dad right there. In case they don’t have a picture. In case they don’t already know them. This is my brother who we are currently talking about today. The name, the last name is spelled wrong. It is B-E-A-Z-L-E-Y. The guy misspelled that. I don’t know. He was a great person, I’m a great person, my mom’s a great person, my dad’s a great person, my sister’s a great person, my nephew’s a great person. I don’t know.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I mean, my whole family is just amazing. That a lot of people— I guess since this is my family, I take it for granted. You know what I’m saying? But I don’t know. A lot of people think we’re strange because we normally stick to ourselves, but we stay— we are a well-knit family. We always— well my mom’s side of the family, we always get together, always doing something. Pretty much every weekend playing dominos, playing spades. We’re always doing something. I don’t know. Family is just— The death of my brother really brought us together, you know? I can’t— I— The only bad thing I see that has come out of this is that he is gone. Other than that everything else has been pretty— blessings. You know what I am saying?
DIALLO: Was he your older brother? sensor censor
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Yeah, he was. It’s three of us: my sister, my brother, then me. They were one year apart. I’m nine years from them.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I was actually planned. Why they planned me, I have no idea. I don’t know.
DIALLO: Nine years.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Yeah. So I don’t really—
DIALLO: Can you tell us about growing up with your brother, your sister?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I mean growing up it just was like— I think I was like ten before everything happened, but before that everything was like— I mean it’s your big brother. Anytime you get it trouble, you ain’t got to worry about nobody bullying you or anything. You know what I’m saying? My brother was— He was the captain of the football team, 185 pounds on the power lifting team. Pretty much all muscle. Ran like a four five, forty-yard dash. So, I mean to be in high school, that’s crazy. So, I mean he was a tailback. I don’t really think— I don’t— You know growing up, any male figure older than you that’s doing stuff like that, you don’t really understand the gratitude or the power that they possess. You just take for granted that that’s your brother, you know what I’m saying? So other than that, I mean, everything good.
DIALLO: Do you remember the event that happened surrounding the incident?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Oh, yeah. I don’t know. I just remember I was like eleven, ten or eleven or something like that. I don’t remember all the details, but I just remember when he went to jail he called on the payphone and he was just apologizing. So that’s really all I remember. All other events pretty after that— I remember going to the— staying in the car putting money in the parking meter while they was in the courtroom. That was, to a little kid, that gives them something to do. You don’t really know what’s going on, you’re just sitting in the car and every time you see the thing pop up red you go and put a coin in it, and go back in the car and listen to music or whatever. You’re not really comprehending what’s really going on, you don’t really know the magnitude of the situation. You just know that something is going on and you’re just sitting there, but they kept me occupied sitting in the car.
DIALLO: When did you realize that something was going on? Do you remember the first time?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: You’re asking me something that’s happened a long time ago. I can’t even recall. Maybe it still really hasn’t hit me, you know what I’m saying? Because— I mean they did it like three days before I was graduating high school, so three days before you’re graduating high school, you’re just— senioritis has already kicked in; you’re just going through the motions after that. You’re a senior you’re just going through the motions. So it was like—they told me, “Well, you’re brother’s going to die. What do you feel?” I mean I didn’t feel anything because I was just going through the motions. So everything after that was just going through the motions, but it’s a blessing because after it happened, it was like God just wiped away everything from me like, I was I don’t know, like a— I don’t know how you would use that, like a rebirth of me or something. I really can’t explain it.
DIALLO: Do you mean in terms of change?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Just as— not really, not really changes, just— you know how sometimes when a person does something, it’s a burden to remember? You see what I’m saying? Because every time you think of it it’s like, “Dang, why did I do that?” or “What did I do that for?” or “What kind of state of mind was I in when I did it?” But it wasn’t like that with me, it was like God just wiped everything out of my head and it was like, “Don’t worry about it, my son. You are okay now.” So I was. I mean we are very blessed. Our family is very blessed. We came together. I mean every Saturday it was like— So I mean I really can’t because he blessed me so much I can’t really think of any bad. I don’t even— I mean the only bad that I really see coming out of this is that he’s gone. I mean other than that, I really don’t know anything else.
DIALLO: What about your family? You’ve talked about how it has affected you personally, also, but do you see any difference, also, how it has affected your sister, Maria, for example? After she heard the news and—
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I mean, well, we’re closer, but I mean everyone has their own problems. You know what I’m saying? So for some reason our family, we don’t really just share our problems with each other too much. We normally keep them. I guess it’s because of my dad or whatever, but we normally keep everything to ourselves, and deal with it yourself. I guess because we have always been like that. But sometimes we do ask for help, but we ask each other. I rarely can think of an instance when we go outside our family and ask for help. I mean that’s another blessing; it’s hard to find a family that you can actually talk to, so I don’t know, but that’s me. Now if you was to ask my sister, maybe she sees something different out of the situation. I have no idea, but she always comes to me for advice. But see, me personally, I rarely go to anybody for advice because I feel like I’m getting to be a grown man so I need to take my own, figure out everything by myself because there’s a ton of sayings. You got a lot of young people don’t listen to older people, but I tend to listen to a lot older people, and they say, “You know, you can take a horse to some water, but you can’t make 'em drink.” It’ll take you a while to realize what they’re talking about, but I mean it’s, if you look into it, it’s a lot you can get out of it there. And I mean it’s true, you can take a horse to water but you can’t make a horse drink. If the horse is not thirsty, you cannot make that horse drink. And it’s the same way, you can give your problem to somebody but you can’t make them accept your problems, you can’t make them even feel the same way you feel. You can’t make— you can’t force whatever you want them, the way they believe upon them. They just have to get on their own, and that’s the way I feel. I got to get everything on my own, so.
DIALLO: Do you remember talking to your sister about this specifically at that time? Anyone in the family?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: No, no. I ain’t talked to nobody. I mean who could I have talked to? Man, I was so busy at school. Like I was telling you earlier, I was captain of the football team, one of the four captains. I also tried to play basketball. I was in the national— I was the Treasurer of the National Beta, the National Honors Society. Beta Club, that’s what we called it in our little school. What else? Track. I was in track. I was in one act play. I mean it’s— I was also in the band, I played the tuba in the band. So I mean, so there was a ton of things that I was doing so my mind was totally occupied. Totally, totally occupied, and that was another thing an old person told me, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” So for some reason God kept me busy. He kept me busy. He gave me the talents and I tried to use them to the best of my abilities. Why I’m not using them now, I have no idea, but I think I have different skills and abilities that are coming along, so I’m cool with that.
DIALLO: Did you notice any change in the way people, other people related to you?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Oh, yeah. I mean people don’t really know. I mean how can you address someone that has just lost their brother by a lethal injection. You see what I’m saying? You can’t even— you don’t even know what to say to that person. You’re looking like, “Hey that’s that guy right there,” and then you can’t hear them so you’re looking like— but you don’t— I mean it didn’t bother me because I mean I already knew they were talking about me. But I mean I did so much, you always everywhere you go somebody’s going to have to talk about you regardless if you’re doing good or doing bad, somebody’s going to talk about you. So if they’re not talking about you, you’re not doing something right. That’s what Katt Williams says, so you’ve got to take that, too.
DIALLO: When did you realize the difference in people, the way they reacted to you? Was it around the time that the murder happened, or—
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: When I realized it? I couldn’t even tell you, man, because when you’re living your life you really don’t notice a lot of things happening around you. I mean everybody around you can see it because you are in the box trying to look out but it’s always a lot of people on the outside looking in, and they see what’s going on inside, but when you’re inside, you worry about what’s inside the box. You’re not looking at what’s outside because it’s irrelevant, so I wasn’t really paying attention. I mean I had so much stuff on my plate, I wasn’t aware of anything. I mean a lot of people treated me differently, but I mean I wasn’t really aware of it, didn’t really pay attention to it, or what not.
DIALLO: Were you living in Grapeland at that time with your brother?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Oh, yeah. We’ve always lived in Grapeland.
DIALLO: Okay. With Grapeland being such a small community, I assume that everybody knows everybody. And do you have any memories of what other people in Grapeland were saying or how they related to you right after the incident happened, the murder happened?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I mean I was a little kid, but something that tragic, nobody really talks directly to you about it. You know what I’m saying? They don’t really just come out and say anything to you. I mean and then there’s kind of like a— just a touchy subject that a lot of people just don’t even want to talk about. They just want to, “Okay, it is what it is. That’s what it is. Leave it alone.” That’s the way— that’s how most small communities go. They don’t really, they know what it is because— I mean that’s what it is. Like I mean, I don’t even know. I can’t— I don’t even know a good analogy right there. Like in a small town you know who has money and you know who don’t, so when you see the people that got money, you know they going to do whatever they want to do. Because it’s a small community, they not going to mess with those people, so it’s kind of like this. You know who to talk to, who not to talk to. Just like a social class or whatever, you know where you fit in, so and in that, in such a tragedy like that, it’s like something you just sweep under the rug and try not to bring it up until it gets too dirty.
DIALLO: Tell us about your brother when he was on death row, if you don’t mind.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Oh, man. He was great guy, man. It was a lot of things he has done to a lot of people that is strange, ‘cause like I say, I was inside the box. A lot of people they looked up to him because, I mean he was seventeen and to go to be on death row at age seventeen, you got to grow up quick. You can’t be a little kid on death row because the majority of people on death row with you like what, probably early thirties to older, so you got to grow up quick. Smart man. Smart, smart man, but I was in my teenage years. I really didn’t really grasp a lot of the advice he was giving me. I just thought when I started grasping advice it was ‘cause he was gone, you know what I’m saying? Started listening to older people, a lot of older people respect you and they would— they understand that you are young, and they give you respect that you deserve. I mean not that you deserve, but they just give you respect just ‘cause, you know? So it’s— I don’t really know how to explain it, man. It’s strange. It’s awkward family, awkward time. It was just like the perfect family, the perfect crime, the perfect everything, and just— God just used it, and at that time I thought I was against this, but actually seeing a lot of light out of it, so. Like this right here; that’s a great light out of it. So I mean, I don’t really know.
DIALLO: What kind of advice did your brother give you? You mentioned that he gave you some advice.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I can’t— I didn’t even take it, so I don’t even remember. You know what I’m saying? I mean he had said, “You can’t hurt steel.” I remember that. He always said that. Man, it’s been so long.
DIALLO: Do you remember visiting him at, in death row?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Yeah, I mean that was like every weekend for what, seven or eight years.
DIALLO: Was it on your own, or with your family, or—
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Oh, it was with the family because I was a— I’m assuming I was a minor, so you had to have two adults, and you can't have any kids with you, but you got to have two adults, so I was always had to ride with somebody else.
DIALLO: Do you feel that he was expecting these visits to happen or was it— did it shed a bright light on his life in death row, or—
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I don’t really know if he expected it. We never did ask. I don’t really know if he wanted it, you know? We never did ask, so for me to sit here and tell you that he expected a visit, I can’t tell you. I don’t really know what he was thinking or even the mind frame he was in because I mean death row is— that’s crazy. They say it’s rehabilitation, but how much rehabilitation do you really feel like it is? It ain’t no rehabilitation. If I was to tell you that at 1:45 we was going to take you to this place and strap you down and kill you, you think you gonna be able to deal with that? You see what I’m saying? I mean that’s— and then they gave him a stay so it was like they took him down there, strapped him in, and was going to do everything to him, and then be like, “Nah, we’re not going to kill you today. Come back another day.” I mean, for somebody to deal with that, that’s strange right there. How did he do it? I have no idea. If I could see it right now, I’d be like, “Man, he’s strong,” because I couldn’t have done it. I’d probably try to kill all of them before they killed me. That’s common sense, whoever you are. If somebody tell you, “As soon as you walk out that door, we going to kill you.” I’m going out the window. That’s common sense. That’s just— I don’t know. So it’s just— I don’t know.
DIALLO: Growing up you said your brother did well in football, baseball, and was always a good student, and all of a sudden, this whole thing happened, and he’s in death row. You personally, what is your fondest memory of your brother before the event took place and after the murder happened, for example?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: The only thing I remember him doing, he used to cutting my hair, and he used to steal my bicycle. I used to hate that, but those are the only two. Well he ain’t— we were living in the same house he could have stolen my bicycle, but he used to take it and ride to school so I always hated him for that, but you were a little kid; every little kid wants their own stuff. And I was always jealous, and the baby of the family so I was very spoiled. I don’t know. Afterwards? I couldn’t even tell you, man. The fondest memory? Just seeing him behind the bars, that’s the only thing I can really remember. So, I don’t know.
DIALLO: Did you and him ever have a chance to talk about the murder, or—
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: No, like I say, it was just like a social class. You just don’t talk about it.
DIALLO: What did you talk about when you went to visit?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Everything else.
DIALLO: Was it about football, or—
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Yeah, pretty much. I mean there was a lot of things we talked about. I can’t remember, but we talked. I remember we used to talk because I think we’d get like two hour visits, so we were always talking about something. It was always something in the world going on you can talk about. I can’t remember them, but we always found— it was never a silent moment.
DIALLO: Do you remember when he had to stay?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Yeah, that was— Yeah, I remember that. It was right here in Huntsville. I mean, we were all happy. Well, they were happy. I wasn’t really too happy, because I was just— I was a teenager, man. I ain’t know no better. I was like— what the thing I was thinking about was just being locked up twenty-four, twenty-three hours of the day. That was the only thing I was thinking about, and personally, I was mad at everybody else for being thankful for him having a stay, but the only reason there was because it was selfish; selfish on my part because now that I see it and think about it, but at the time I was actually thinking that everybody else was being selfish because I was like, “Why do you want him to live like that? Go ahead and kill him.” And a lot of people on death row, that’s the way they feel. And you see a lot of people of death row they end up killing themselves because it’s hard to think about stuff like that, and that’s why I said earlier it’s a burden to think about all that stuff. It is a true burden to think about that stuff. But me, I just try not to bother myself with it. And God just, he wipes it of my plate. I don’t know why, but he has something in store for me. I’m just waiting to get it.
DIALLO: Can you tell us about your shirt a little bit? I see you are wearing a shirt with his picture, and your family.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Yeah. He was born August 5, 1975, and they executed him May 28, 2002. That was him in his football uniform. I graduated on the 31st, 2002.
DIALLO: What does wearing it mean to you? Wearing the shirt? What does wearing the shirt mean to you?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I mean, not too many people have these shirts. I think the guy making these shirts, Ernie Byrd, he didn’t put his logo on this shirt, but it’s a fellow in Huntsville, he makes shirts for— he did a great job. He made me several other shirts, but it really— In a way it makes me happy, but it just when I have the shirt on, it relieves a lot of pressure off of you. It makes me cool, and calm, and I can hold my chest up, hold my head up high, so. I don’t know, just when I wear this shirt I’m comfortable. I’ve got about two or three more shirts at the house.
DIALLO: And are your brother on those shirts?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Yeah.
DIALLO: What about your parents? Did you see any change in them prior to the murder happening and after the murder?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I mean not really. The only change that happened afterwards was that me and my mom, we’ve actually become closer. And me and my dad, we’ve actually, I guess, we’ve pushed farther apart. The reasons, I have no idea. Personally, I feel the reason is he already lost one son, and I don’t think he wanted to get too close to me and then lose me, so that’s what I feel about that, but I don’t know.
DIALLO: Did you see any change in the way they monitored you, like who your friends are going to be, what did you have any curfew after that? When—
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I’ve never had a curfew, but ever since I was little I’ve always disciplined myself. So it wasn’t, it wasn’t a big deal. My mom, she really didn’t pressure me to be home at a certain time because I was always— because I was too tired. Whenever I got out of football practice, I went to band practice, whenever I got out of band practice I went home, ate, and went to sleep, so I did homework and went to sleep. I mean there wasn’t really nothing, it being such a small town there ain’t really nothing to do. In a small town, I mean nothing open after ten anyway. Well, now there is but when I was growing up there wasn’t really nothing open after ten so there wasn’t really nothing to get into, besides trouble. So I didn’t really want to get into any trouble so I was always in the house by the time the streetlights came on. Or at least I tried to be anyway. I mean other than that, I can’t think of anything else.
DIALLO: As you recall, we were going to do this interview by the Walls, and at the end, did you suggest to have it by the Walls?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Oh, yeah. I mean, when I first got there it was a burden for me go to even look at the Walls Unit. I— sometimes I would break down within the car as I drove by, but, again, you can’t really— I mean who can you look at for advice about something like that? I mean people that have family or relatives on death row that has deceased or passed away, they have a hard time dealing with it themselves, so how are you going to ask advice from them? I mean, in an incidence like this, you can’t really. It ain’t nobody you can look to for advice because everybody is trying to go through it by themselves. I mean you can look to family for advice, but they can’t really give you advice because they’re in the same boat. And then, if they can give you advice, they’re not as close to the situation as you are, so it’s harder to them to try to give you good advice. Anybody can give you advice. You can get a doorknob to give you some advice, but the problem is, is it going to be worthwhile? And a lot of times that’s when you have to justify what’s right and what’s wrong and go on about that, but it ain’t always a good case, but I think our case was a pretty good case. I think this was the only case that even when we tried to appeal it, that went to a three-three-three vote. Was this the only case that you know of? You have no idea?
DIALLO: I don’t know. (inaudible)
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I’m pretty sure. I mean I’m pretty sure that it was the only case that had a three, three, three vote in the Supreme Court. And for the reporters to not even mention it? I mean that was— And probably because everything is politics these days. The dude probably paid them to not say anything about us, so. I mean ain’t no telling, but I’m pretty sure that’s probably what happened. You know what I’m talking about? Not really?
DIALLO: Can you explain a little bit more?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Well, in the Smith— in the State of Texas versus Napoleon Beazley, when he got to death row, we tried to appeal it and go to a habeas corpus, that’s the one the lawyer was trying to accomplish, but that fell through. So, the next step was to take it to the Supreme Court, but in order for you to get into the Supreme Court you have nine judges on the Supreme Court, and they have to vote. You have to get five out of the nine votes in order to take on the case. Well, three of them said they was going to take the case, and three of them said they were not going to take the case, but the other three said that they was too close to the victim’s— to the family, and they didn’t even want to look at the case. So my perception of that is if it’s a three-three tie, don’t you think that do need to figure out another solution? I mean the majority of this stuff is common sense, but when you go to the justice system, they don’t really use common sense. They try to do everything by the law and by rules and regulations, but in society you’re— that’s not really a great way to implement things. Yes, rules and regulations, they do formulate and help organize our society where we don’t become as corrupt as we could be and try to keep us as ethical as possible, but I mean sometimes you just need common sense, and that will help you out a whole lot in life if you got a ton of common sense. Just basic common sense will help you out in life, but I don’t know. They just didn’t feel like dealing with it, but I mean if you got three who want to take it and three who don’t want to take it, you could’ve at least flipped a coin and said— You know? But they didn’t do nothing. They were like, “ Okay, it’s a tie. You lose.” You know? To me that doesn’t make sense. So every time you tie, it’s a loss? You see what I’m saying? That doesn’t— that’s not even okay in American society. If a baseball game was played and it’s a tie, you got to go into overtime. Basketball, you go into overtime. Football— That’s American society. But why is the judicial system different? In Japan, if the baseball team ties, it’s a win. I mean no team is better than the other one. So in this case it’s a lose and I’m— But God has his ways for doing everything so I’m not complaining. I’m still confused, but I mean— there’s a lot of stuff that will confuse you about life. But— Not complaining. Dinosaurs were here for millions of years, but the Bible says we’ve only been here for thousands of years, so it’s a confusing statement, but roll with the punches.
DIALLO: By suggestion, earlier you have suggested that you wanted to talk by the Walls, right? Can I ask why?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I mean for the purpose of that was for— I knew I was going to wear this shirt, and I mean sometimes— I mean we are in a library right now, but sometimes your settings and your clothing— I’m a general business major, so they teach us a lot of management, marketing. Since it’s general business, they teach you a little bit of everything. So my thinking was how to maximize everything in this. You want to give an interview, okay what is it dealing with? Death row. We’re in Huntsville, what’s the best location for death row? The Walls Unit. That’s where the death rows are normally, you know what I’m saying? The lethal injections are normally performed, so why not do it in front of the Walls? Me, how should I dress? I can’t look like nobody else but me, so I can’t really change that. Clothing, I knew that this shirt would have been the best shirt, you know? All I had to do was find some pants and shoes to wear. So every little thing is— if somebody would see if they’d be like, “Oh, wow, they’re at the Walls” If somebody knew it, and then you probably could put in a subtitle that this is done in front of the Walls Unit, Huntsville, Texas. I mean sometimes a lot of people don’t think a lot of that stuff makes sense, but sometimes it’s the small things that’ll make somebody want to look into it a little more, tell them more.
DIALLO: Do you have any recollection, any memories of the execution day?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I can remember like it was yesterday. That day I can remember like it was yesterday. I just remember— I remember we was staying— we didn’t go to the actual room where they executed him at. We stayed at the Hospitality House which is two streets over, which is pretty much actually two streets over, and we stayed over there. I mean it was stressful for us, too, because we were sitting, we were all sitting in the room. It was, I think, my immediate family: my mom, my dad, my sister, me. No, I don’t think my sister was there. I can’t remember. My aunt, my cousin, Arthur J.R. Johnson, he’s one of my friends, we’re real good friends, Anthony Turner, my cousin, Cynthia Turner. I think she was there if I’m not mistaken. I can’t remember who else was there, but those are the main people that I remember. It was— I mean the building was packed full of people. People outside, I know when somebody watches this, my family is going to be pissed off: “Hell, you didn’t remember me? I was there!” I apologize, man. And we’re just sitting around waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Just waiting. Six o’clock came. We still waiting, waiting, waiting. Still no answer. 6:05 came, and I think, I think Walter called at like 6:02 or something. He was telling us, I mean like there was nothing else he could do. He had already did everything else, and then I think at like 6:07 or something like that, they had called us and told us that he was dead. All I remember was I went outside. Everybody was crying and I went outside. Soon as I went outside, I saw my dad. He gave me a hug, and that’s all I remember there. How I got home? I have no idea. I don’t even know if I drove. I can’t remember. I don’t know. Everything else is a blur. Can’t remember too much of nothing, nothing else. It’s been almost six years in a couple more months, but it’s all right, though. I can’t think of anything else.
DIALLO: How many, if— I can’t even begin to imagine.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Yeah.
DIALLO: Definitely, and do you remember after the execution? I know you said you can’t even remember how you got home—
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Yeah.
DIALLO: But anything else, like was there a burial?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: No, actually—
DIALLO: Anything after?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Actually he was cremated. We had a funeral. Everybody, some— I think one of his classmates, Teal Morphea, was trying to get me to get it to be an open-casket, but I mean that ain’t it. Nobody really have— Because he, my brother, he really didn’t want a funeral. He just wanted it to be over with it like it was, because he didn’t want to invite a crowd or anything. If I had that poem here, you would— He wrote a poem, and it’s on the back of his tombstone that we made. We actually got a tombstone out at the church house, Mount Zion Baptist Church in Grapeland, Texas. We got a picture, a tombstone, his tombstone with a picture on it and his poem on the back. But at the funeral, man, I don’t even know. I was— my family’s so big, man, I was sitting by my own grandfather and I ain’t even know who he was. I ain’t— I’ve only seen him like three or four times, but I was sitting right by him and I didn’t even know who he was, but other than that I don’t remember anybody else. Something like that. I don’t know. God’s just blessed me, man. Wiped everything out for me like a disk clean-up on a laptop or something. He just took everything out and was like, “You’ll be all right.” I didn’t ride in the limousine, though. I know that part. I remember that part. I drove my own car there. I think I drove by myself; I don’t think anybody rode with me, but I don’t really remember anything. I don’t even think that anybody cried at the funeral, because he told them— we was like, “Man, if you cry, we’re going to escort you out of there.” I mean because my mom, she was already having a hard enough time as it was, so I don’t know.
DIALLO: The night people came to know your brother, either online or people from— not in this country who know his name and all that, just by the media that’s out there, but if you were to talk to those people and tell them about your brother, what would you tell them?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: I mean I wouldn’t even know where to start. I mean he just got caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong set of people. I mean it could’ve happen to the, to anybody in the world, so I mean to just— just to tell them about him I’d just be— I don’t know, man. I was so young at the time, but if I was to tell them anything, I’d probably just tell them that he was a great person. I mean he loved everybody. He loved everything, but I mean given his circumstances, I mean— Well, I can’t say. I can’t say anybody would have been like that, but maybe anybody from our family would have made, would have turned out like that. To— because we all love everybody and everything, it’s really hard to find anybody in our family that doesn’t really care for anyone else. So like you say, she, my mom took y’all in, so I don’t know. She’s very friendly.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: So, I don’t know. I don’t really— If you just meet my mom you’ll see my brother all in her. That’s the same thing. Like y’all say you see me in my mom, he’s the same way. But other than that, I don’t— I wouldn’t even know. I mean it’s kind of like trying to tell somebody about Michael Jordan. You know him, but he does so many things you can’t, you don’t even know where to start. You don’t even, you can’t— I mean now I’ve told you two, two totally different people, you can’t really compare Michael Jordan with my brother. It’s just— It’s too, too outrageous of a difference, but kind of like comparing apples and oranges, but I mean they’re both great people.
DIALLO: And also, as we all know, your brother expressed a lot of remorse for what he did when he was still a juvenile, and even when he was locked up. Everybody knows about that. If you had anything to say to the, to the victim’s family right now, after the execution and so many years later, what would that be?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: To the family?
DIALLO: To the family. Or to anyone else, also.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Man, I wouldn’t even know what to say to ‘em. They would probably hold a grudge against me. A lot of people try— They probably feel that since he did that, that I’m capable of doing the same thing. So they probably wouldn’t even approach me. If they did, they would probably try to take their anger out on me. So for us to come into contact, they probably wouldn’t even—You know what I’m saying? Probably wouldn’t even be any interaction between us. I mean I saw the judge, Cynthia Kent, I’ve seen her at the— Because I went— I, in the middle of going, and before I graduated from Trenton Valley Community College, I went to Texas College in Tyler, Texas to play football. Well, I’m assuming she was a teacher there, but she saw me and she was at the top of the stairs and when I looked at her, I just— she was just a regular person to me because I was so young at the time of the crime, I didn’t really know, and then I wasn’t ever in the courtroom. I didn’t really pay attention to anybody, but then when she saw me, when I looked up at her, I just didn’t pay any attention, but she was looking right at me. She— I thought she had saw a ghost or something. She knew who exactly who I was, but I didn’t even— And that’s the same way about the victim’s, their family, they probably know exactly who I am. If I was to see them and walking down the street in front of, and with two other people I wouldn’t know who they were, but they probably know exactly who I am. But is that life? Yes, that is life. If someone killed your one of your kid or your wife, you’re going to know everybody in their family. You’re going to make sure you know everybody in their family in case something else happens. You know everybody in their family. But are they going to care about you? They’re probably not going to think twice about you. You will be totally irrelevant to them, the same way is they are to me. He is our victim, but the only people that we look for from him are the people that did it. You know what I’m saying? Which would be their lawyer and the judge. But you see they’re not looking like, they’re not— they’re on a different side of the story, on a different side of the page. So what they’re looking at is different than what we’re going to be looking at. You see what I’m saying? So it’s just the way people get things out of things. You’re going to have a different perspective from a different point of view, like where they get a whole bunch of people lined up and they pass a phrase along and see where it ends up at the other side? It never works out because everybody’s going to grab a different perspective from it every time. The same way in this case, they grabbed their perspective of it, is he’s a bad person, the whole family’s got to be bad people. We’re looking at it like we’re good people, he made a mistake, which people do make mistakes. He was seventeen, people don’t think that that was a major thing, but at seventeen, I know I was doing stupid stuff, too. I’m pretty— guaranteed I did some stupid stuff, I have no doubt in my mind, but depends on what side of the page you’re on, you’re going to look at everything differently.
DIALLO: Is there anything you want to add?
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: Not really. Got a great family. I don’t know. I'll probably do interviews more often so that people do see that it is good that will come from an instant. I just hope that they don’t think that the whole family is horrible, because they probably do. But it’s always a bad seed in every bunch, but just because, just because you think it’s bad don’t mean it, it really is bad. It might not meet your taste buds but somebody else’s taste buds; it’ll make them happy. It just depends on what side of the fence you are on, what side of the page or whatever.
DIALLO: Thank you so much.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: No problem.
DIALLO: Thank you very much for being willing to do this, and-- It’s just amazing since yesterday I’ve had the chance to meet your parents and your little nephew, Ethan, whom I had a great time with, and also you. Thank you so much.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: No problem.
JAMAAL BEAZLEY: You be careful, Papa and Virginia.