On 23 April 2006, the life of Richard Michael Rossi came to an end. He died in the prison hospital in Florence, Arizona.

Richard was born in New York in 1947. While addicted to drugs he killed a man in 1983, while trying to sell him a stolen typewriter. He received the death penalty. He always regretted what happened on that fatal day. During the long years on deathrow Richard Rossi succeeded not to drown in self-pity. He kept an active interest in the world outside his cell, had many contacts with people in the world, wrote articles and he published a book about life on deathrow which was published in several translations around the world. He continued to fight against injustice. While his body was locked up, his spirit remained free. The prison system was not able to break him but his health did deteriorate. Richard, for 22 years kept in solitary confinement, kept behind concrete and bars, in a cell without daylight, locked in a body that was not functioning that well anymore, that is the Richard who died. He was spared an execution. Death, which came unexpected, made an end to his double imprisonment.

How much Richard appreciated the contact with his friends is shown in this piece that he wrote:

"I live for my letters with news from my friends. They have become my extended family. They are the root system that keeps me anchored and in touch with reality. Certainly a reason for living when little else remains. Although hatred and pain will always exist, I have found there is an antidote, that being the caring and love that arrives in the form of letters that float through these prisonwalls like magic, carrying a drug stronger than the poison of hate. You who write to me have given me hope and strength, you have taught me the meaning of true friendship and humanity. It is not the length of life that matters, but rather the richness and quality of life. Thanks to you, my friends, I have the knowledge that I have worth and value as a human being."

What remains is the memory of a human being, who was more than the one deed that brought him to deathrow. May the peace he longed for, now be his. Rest in peace, Richie.

Else Bougie
April 2006

Should you wish to express your sympathy, you can send an email to condolences@richie-rossi.nl
The emails will be send to the executor of Richie's will.



Last modified: April 24, 2006