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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Isaac Grimes Age 15 Sentenced To 60 Years

By JIM AVILA (@JeffreyKofman) and THOMAS BERMAN
Aug. 18, 2009
How far could an innocent high school student go to try to fit in? In a bizarre case in Colorado, the answer appears to be all the way to murder.

Isaac Grimes is serving a 60-year sentence for killing his onetime best friend Tony Dutcher when he was only 15. Grimes pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, but the most shocking part was his explanation of why he did it. According to him, it amounted to a twisted version of the children's game Simon Says.

It all began in the fall of 1999, when Grimes entered his freshman year at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was a lonely boy, who admits he was not popular.

"I wasn't a people person," he said.

His parents, Rob and Donna Grimes agree.

"It was like he was set apart, and he didn't relate as much to kids his own age. He read. Read lots and lots," said Donna.

But early in that fateful year, he crossed paths with a charismatic high school senior named Simon Sue. The unlikely pair shared an interest in chess and video games, and with that, the upperclassman took the younger, nerdy boy under his wing.

Grimes said Sue even offered him a chance to join his club called the O.A.R.A., or the Operations and Reconnaissance Agents. It would be the turning point of Isaac's life. For a young boy, desperate to have connections with others, hanging out with Sue and being invited to join the O.A.R.A was everything he desired -- at first.

Courtesy Jennifer Vandresar
Isaac Grimes, left, and Tony Dutcher, right,... View Full Caption
Isaac Grimes, left, and Tony Dutcher, right, were former best friends who began to drift apart in high school. On a sleepover trip at Dutcher's grandparents' remote mountain home, Grimes slit Dutcher's throat while he lay in his sleeping bag. Grimes claimed that he was forced to commit murder by Simon Sue, a senior at his high school. Close"It was a lot of compliments -- a lot of self-esteem building material. Like you're one of us -- you're cool. You're part of the group," he told "Primetime".

Grimes said he finally felt like he was part of a "band of brothers." Sue reassured him that the group of boys, which included fellow high schoolers Jon Matheny and Glen Urban, would look out for one another.

As much as they wanted their son to have friends, Grimes' parents were skeptical of the relationship.

"One time I had said, 'you know, Simon's a senior -- why is he hanging out with you?' And he said because 'I'm smart,'" recalled Donna, who is convinced Sue preyed upon her son's vulnerability. "It's a shark in the water thing, they smell blood, and I think Simon smelled blood."

She couldn't have imagined that her worst fears — and then some — would soon be realized.

Sophomore Kills Best Friend, Blames Crime on Cult

Teen Says He Was Forced to Murder
Cathleen Mann is a national expert on cults. She readily applies this label to Sue's O.A.R.A. She has interviewed Grimes many times and helped his legal team as they strategized his defense.

"[Grimes] didn't know he was getting involved in a cult, of course," explained Mann. "This is the way that all these groups work, is they get you emotionally invested and then they start to disclose their inner purposes. And by the time you figure out what's going on, you're involved."

Grimes and his so-called band of brothers would quickly move on from fun, harmless activities, like chess to much more dangerous ones. Grimes claims that Sue took the boys to a local range to practice shooting weapons, and he taught them how to disassemble and clean the firearms.

The group was organized in a paramilitary structure with Simon in command. "I started out as a lieutenant, and then became a major, and then a lieutenant colonel," Grimes said.

Grimes also says he was forced to eat and drink until he vomited and that he had to repeatedly watch "Faces of Death," a notorious cult film featuring gruesome footage of animals and humans being killed.

This was all part of Sue's master plan, says Grimes.
First Of The Story, I'm Sorry The Web Site For Below No Longer exsists since He Was sentenced*

Isaac Grimes Organization
PO Box 7055
Colorado Springs, CO 80933

( This Was Before Isaac Was Convicted)

Here's a short message from Isaac's mother, Donna Grimes:

Isaac was subject to trauma and torture and cult tactics. He believed his own family would be slaughtered if he did not follow the demands of his leader. He was so traumatized and disassociated that he confessed to the murder, but seems to think he did it a certain way that does not agree with the physical evidence. Isaac confessed to the police and later helped the prosecution to find all the evidence with which to convict himself and others involved. He has consistently cooperated with investigators and told the truth. He was given a "deal" of 60 years.
Isaac Grimes, will be 19 yrs old on May 30th. He has spent the last 3 yrs and 2 months in Colorado adult prisons. Isaac confessed to the horrid murder of his friend and conspiracy to murder his friend's grandparents. It was a crime beyond belief. It was a crime that Isaac, of own volition could never have committed. The forensic psychologist testified that Isaac had severe PTSD, believed he needed to be punished, was extremely remorseful and in his 15yr old mind had no other option other than to commit murder. The Psychologist testified that Isaac has no sociopath tendencies and had been physically and mentally tortured. Judge Kenneth Plotz said "I don't buy this story "and sentenced Isaac to 60 years. Isaac is a boy who has total redemptive potential. Isaac is currently in Colorado's "prison for the seriously mentally ill" on 23hr lockdown due to his youth. He receives drugs for depression, but no mental health care. 5 months ago he was seen by another psychologist who specializes in cult abuse. This Dr. reports that he has an acute case of PTSD which will turn into psychosis if not treated. Isaac has been accepted to Wellspring which is a cult treatment facility. He is not a danger to society, but will cost society $54,000 a year to keep in confinement. Even the victim's parents have stated that they believe Isaac's sentence to be severe and that there is a difference between Isaac and the other defendants and that "they got into Isaac's head". Isaac has a very strong support system including a church that is raising the $5000 treatment fee for Isaac's first two weeks at Wellspring. Isaac is doing everything he can to keep himself together - taking college courses via mail (no, DOC is not paying for this), corresponding with multiple people. The chaplain at San Carlos has a weekly Bible Study with him. Isaac will have reconsideration of his sentence and we are doing everything we can to see he gets treatment at Wellspring and hopefully can come home. In the day of terror phobia, it is ironic that Judge Plotz would not believe it would happen here. Please check Isaac's site at we have been blessed with friends who are helping us get the word out. Please join us.

Thanks, Rob and Donna Grimes

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Teens In Georgia Prisons


Fighting to Survive Is The Way of Life at Alto


Alto, Ga. - The day begins sometime after 4:30 a.m. with a flash and a bang. Prison guards snap on the bright, overhead lights and the steel cell doors clang open, signaling inmates at Lee Arrendale State Prison that it's time to get out of bed.

Lazing too long can bring a DR, or disciplinary report, and too many DRs can cost an inmate dearly when he tries to transfer to a lower-security prison or gain certain privileges.

For the next 20 hours, until lockdown is called and the lights go out, life is a monotonous pattern of mediocre meals, head counts, inspections, outdoor recreation, hours of TV and, according to some, simple survival. "There was fighting every day. You couldn't stay out of trouble there," says Glenn Sims, 20, who spent nearly two years at Arrendale State Prison, better known as Alto. "If you don't fight, though, you're going to be somebody's punk," meaning another inmate's sex toy.

At any given time, a couple of dozen of the 1,200 inmates at the maximum-security prison are juveniles convicted as adults. By law, they are supposed to be kept away from adult prisoners, but for all the close encounters they have, Sims says, "We might as well have been together."

He remembers the constant fear of being a minor among hundreds of adult convicts, most accused of violent crimes, felons and his need to always be on guard. During mealtimes, when the juveniles would be herded into the cafeteria as adults were finishing up, the older men would talk about which youngsters they hoped to rape. Shower time brought the occasional peeping adult inmate, who would masturbate while watching the minors.

"You've got a lot of people with life sentences and no possibility of parole, and they're never going to see the streets again," Sims says. "Inmates really run that camp, and they're not going to take anything lying down."

Sims considers himself fortunate. After nearly a year without wracking up a DR, he won a transfer to Hancock State Prison in October 2000, a lesser-security facility where inmates can sleep later and where he says fighting is not a prerequisite to staying alive. Still, it doesn't change the fact that he's in prison and will remain there until December 2008, when his 10-year term for armed robbery is up. He's reminded of it every second of the day, from the "horrible" prison food he eats to the views of walls, fences and guard towers that he faces from daylight to dark. On this particular morning, breakfast was sausages, eggs and "some kind of muffins," he says with a wry grin. He spends much of his day keeping his dormitory clean and poring through books by his favorite authors, John Grisham and Dean Koontz.

Each evening he tries to watch the 6 o'clock news on one of the two television sets shared by his dorm-mates. One is used for watching movies, and the other is usually tuned to a sports station.

Like most inmates, Sims, who grew up in Roosevelt on Long Island, says he didn't know about the Georgia law passed in 1994 that required juveniles to be charged as adults for certain crimes. If he had, he says he would not have done what he did. But he admits he had gone wild as a young teen, skipping school to sell drugs and using the money to buy fancy clothes, more drugs and hotel rooms for sex. He admits he was a hothead who got into fights, including with his strict stepfather. He has a tattoo on the inside of his left arm attesting to his involvement with gangs. Etched into his skin by a fellow prisoner, it reads in large Gothic print, "Little BG," for Little Baby Gangster, his nickname on the street.

When the police came calling shortly before Christmas in 1998, he figured the worst he was facing was a charge of violating curfew. By law, though, his participation in the armed robbery of a convenience store required him to be charged as an adult, and his guilty plea brought him a mandatory 10-year term.

"I thought they couldn't do it," he said, arguing, as prisoners often do, that he doesn't deserve this punishment. In his case, though, and in the cases of other juveniles charged as adults, many human rights groups and legal experts agree. Rather than putting juveniles in prison for long periods, Sims says it would make more sense to jail teens until age 21. Under the current system, he argues that problem kids, forced to use aggression to survive in prison, only become worse.

Thousands of Children Are In Solitary Confinement

While there are no concrete numbers, it’s safe to say that hundreds, if not thousands of children are in solitary confinement in the United States–some in juvenile detention facilities, and some in adult prisons. Short bouts of solitary confinement are even viewed as a legitimate form of punishment in some American schools. In several posts over the next week, Solitary Watch News will be covering the story of children in lock down. In this first post, we address teenagers in solitary confinement in adult prisons.
* Henry Weinstein, chair of the APA Caucus on Correctional Psychiatry and a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University, “believes that solitary confinement can have mental health impacts on both healthy people and those with psychiatric illness,” according to the article. “Its effects are likely similar to the mental health consequences of torture, which leave some permanently mentally impaired and others relatively unscathed.”
Different kinds of challenges to solitary confinement, through both lawsuits and legislative efforts. It is scrupulously “balanced,” presenting opinions from some who think that prolonged solitary confinement may exacerbate pre-existing mental illnesses, but does not drive sane people crazy. (They might wish to conduct the experiment suggested by one prisoners in Illinois Tamms SupprtMax “Lock yourself in your bathroom for the next 10 years and tell me how it will affect your mind.”)

Now 29, Manuel has spent half his life in a concrete box the size of a walk-in closet. His food comes through a slot in the door. He never sees another inmate. Out of boredom he cuts himself just to watch the blood trickle. Attorneys who advocate on behalf of prisoners call Manuel “the poster boy” for the ill effects of solitary confinement….
In 1991, when Manuel arrived at the prison processing center in Central Florida, he was so small no one could find a prison uniform to fit him, Ron McAndrew, then the assistant warden, recalled. Someone cut 6 inches off the boy’s pant legs so he would have something to wear. “He was scared of everything and acting like a tough guy as a defense mechanism,” said McAndrew, now a prison and jail consultant in Florida. “He didn’t stand a chance in an adult prison.”
Within months, Manuel was sent to Apalachee Correctional Institution in Jackson County, which McAndrew called “one of the toughest adult prisons in the state.” At Apalachee, the boy mouthed off to other inmates and correctional officers and made obscene hand gestures, racking up disciplinary infractions that landed him in solitary.
On Christmas Eve 1992, he was allowed to make one phone call. He called Debbie Baigrie, the woman he had shot. “This is Ian. I am sorry for all the suffering I’ve caused you,” she remembers him saying. They began to correspond regularly. Baigrie said she was impressed with how well he wrote.
She asked prison officials to let him take the General Educational Development test and take college courses. “I got a second chance in life. I recovered and went on,” Baigrie said. “I wanted Ian to have the same chance.” But the rules of solitary forbade Manuel from participating in any kind of self-improvement or educational program. Instead, he sat in his cell day in and day out, without reading materials or human interaction, racking up more infractions for “disrespect,” which only extended his time in solitary.
After several years, Baigrie gave up. “Not because of Ian,” she said, “but because the system made it impossible for him to improve. What does it say when a victim tries to do more for an inmate than the very system that’s supposed to rehabilitate him?”…
“It’s my belief,” [Manuel said at a federal court hearing], “that the reason I haven’t been able to progress off CM (close management) all these years is the way the system is set up. One DR (disciplinary report) will keep you there for six months and those six months add up to years and those years turn into decades.” In the past seven months, prison records show Manuel received three disciplinary writeups: one for not making his bed, another for hiding a day’s worth of prescription medicine instead of taking it, and yet another for yelling through the food flap when a correctional officer refused to take his grievance form. Those reports extended his stay on the strictest level of solitary for nine months.
Manuel told the judge that in isolation he has become a “cutter,” slicing his arms and legs with whatever sharp object he can find – a fragment of a toothpaste tube or a tiny piece of glass….In the past year, Ian Manuel has attempted suicide five times. In late August he slit his wrists. A prison nurse closed the wounds with superglue and returned him to his solitary cell. When the judge asked him why he attempted suicide, Manuel said, “You kind of lose hope.”
>>Cruel and Unusual: Sentencing 13- and 14-Year-Old Children to Die in Prison, described the case of Florida prisoner Ian Manuel, who was “raised in gruesome violence and extreme poverty,” raped by a sibling at age four. “When Ian was 13,” the report continues, ”he was directed by gang members to commit a robbery. During the botched robbery attempt, a woman suffered a nonfatal gunshot wound and a remorseful Ian turned himself in to the police. Ian’s attorney instructed him to plead guilty and told him he would receive a 15-year sentence.” Instead, he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Ian Manuel was also featured in a powerful article by Meg Laughlin, published in 2006 in the St. Petersburg Times, on solitary confinement in Florida, which has the nation’s highest percentage of prisoner’s in lockdown. Laughlin wrote about the nearly 15 years Manuel had spent in lockdown.