CLIFFORD BOGGESS, # 887
ELLIS ONE - DEATH ROW
HUNTSVILLE, TX 77343
December 2, 1995
Ms. Lisa Hazelwood,
I'm sorry it has taken so long to answer your letter. This has without a doubt
been the most difficult letter I have ever written in my life and I wanted it
to be "right." I've done my absolute best to convey my thoughts and feelings to
you accurately. If my thinking seems disordered or jumbled on occasion, please
bear with me. There is a lot that needs to be said and deciding just what order
to put it in is difficult at best. Thus, the delay in answering you.
Before I go any further I would like to assure you that no matter what I say
to answer your questions or explain things, NOTHING I say is intended to
JUSTIFY my past conduct. (In the words of King David in Psalms 51:3, "For I
know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.") There is no
justification for what I have done and I accept responsibility for my actions.
What I did was wrong , HORRIBLY wrong, and it CANNOT be justified. This letter
is NOT and "excuse."
For the killing of Mr. Hazelwood, your PaPa, I am as sorry as a human heart
can be, and I apologize from the deepest depths of my soul to you, and to your
entire family. There is not a day that goes by that I don't feel and agonize
under the immensely heavy burden of what I have done. [And this is as it should
be!] I know words are so inadequate in situations like this, but the truth is:
I did it, I am guilty, and I am sorry. I would gladly do anything in the world,
make any sacrifice, to bring your Grandpa back to you. As God Almighty is my
witness I swear to you, if my execution would bring your Grandpa back to life,
I would willingly drop all my appeals this instant. But sadly, there is nothing
that I can do. My death won't bring him back. It will only create another
grave, another funeral, another set of mourners overburdened by their grief.
[My family. I deserve whatever happens to me, but my family doesn't deserve any
punishment, just as your family doesn't deserve what happened.] I am sorry that
I can't bring your loved one back to you. I sincerely wish that I could.
In March of 1989 I gave my heart and life to Jesus Christ as my personal Lord
and Savior and was baptized in the prison chapel. This is not a case of
"Jailhouse Religion" as there is no purpose to that "scam" on Death Row; I am
not up for parole and religious conversion is not considered by the courts in
appeals. It is something I had to do for myself and in response to God's
promptings when the Holy Spirit convicted my heart....
... Grief, anger, hatred, vengeance... all of these things eat at a person
from the inside. They must be dealt with for the sake of your own health, both
mental and spiritual. I am not the only one who feels this way. The scriptures
agree with me. (Matthew 6:14-15, "14 For if you forgive men when they sin
against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not
forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.") Here also is
a quote from a recent Ann Landers column that made me think of how some members
of your family might be feelings. Here is the quote from her column:
To Ann Landers
... And now I will try to answer the rest of the questions in your letter.
I'll start with a specific question from your letter, (underlined), and try to
answer that specific question before going on to the next one.
"...Our family is struggling to deal with our anger and outrage over the
murder. There are so many unanswered questions: How long did she lie there
suffering and bleeding before she died? Was she conscious through it all? We
pray not. Did she call for anyone? If so, who? Our pain will never end. When I
read letters about protecting criminals from "cruel & inhumane treatment",
my blood boils. How many of those animals thought about the cruel and inhumane
treatment of their victims? I have zero sympathy for them.
--M. in Fla.
You have every right to be bitter and angry, but there is nothing you can do
to help your daughter, so I hope you will try to help yourself.
If you haven't had grief counseling, I urge you to do so. You need to come to
terms with your loss, let go of your anger and find peace. I hope writing to me
will be the first step toward the final resolution."
I'm including in this letter a newspaper article that may be of some interest
to you. Also, I would encourage you to get in touch with members of an
organization called Murder Victim's Families for Reconciliation. They are
victim's families, just like you, and they can help you with your grief and
pain. They put out a newspaper entitled "The Voice." Here is how you can get in
touch with them.
Murder Victim's Families for Reconciliation (MVFR)
P.O. Box 208
Atlantic, VA 23303-0208
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO DESTROY MY FAMILY? The simplest reason for the
crime is that your Grandpa was known to carry a large amount of cash in his
pocket and this was a robbery that became a murder. And the main reason for the
murder was that, at the time, I thought it would keep me from being identified
later. If I couldn't be identified, it meant I might not get caught. At the
time I was young, stupid, full of anger and emotional problems, not thinking
about others, or caring about them or myself, and I was selfish, greedy and
sinful. You are right in saying I "chose" to do what I did. Although there are
many contributing factors that made me who I am, etc., nobody was there to
actually "make" me do anything. I "chose" and I chose wrongly.
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN I WALKED INTO THE GAS STATION THAT DAY? (If I
had been alone would you have killed me too?) When you walked into the
station that day I was "waiting" for everyone to leave. I was waiting for
everyone who might identify me or attack me to leave the store. No, I would not
have killed you too. I honestly don't think I could have killed a girl even at
this extreme time in my life. Nor could I have killed a child. Even though I
was "psyched up" to do a vicious and terrible thing, I was also filled with
adrenaline and fear, and felt almost as if I was forcing myself to do something
I knew was horribly wrong. Because of this fear, I didn't want anyone else
around. I was waiting for everyone to leave.
TRY TO PUT INTO WORDS WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND AND WHAT LEAD UP TO
YOU KILLING HIM. I want to restate that none of what I say is intended as
an "excuse" for what I did, but merely an explanation. Many things occurring in
life contribute to who we all become as people. No one thing justifies anything
we do later, but each "straw" on the "camel's back" adds to the total effect.
Having said that, let me start with a brief history. (i don't expect you to
feel sorry for me, but perhaps it will help answer your questions of
I was born to a Manic-Depressive & Alcoholic mother, the 8th child and the
5th one fathered by her illicit affair with her husband's boss. Her lover
killed himself and this drove her into more despair and alcoholism. There was a
lot of abuse in this house. I was left in a play-pen alone, not fed or cared
for properly, and beaten occasionally if I cried too much. I have an Aunt who
can remember coming to visit and seeing bruises on my arms when I was six
months old. At the age of 11 months, the State of Georgia (where I was born)
came in with the police and took me away from my family "due to severe neglect
and abuse". I have seen the paperwork from the state welfare department on
this. I was pulled from the arms of my (then) 8-year-old sister. The State took
all children away from the family. Later, as they got their house in order,
children were gradually given back to the family, beginning with the oldest
first. When it was time to give me back, my mother told them "I've got too many
kids already. I don't need another one, especially an infant." I then belonged
to the State, she signed away her parental rights, and I was put up for
adoption. I was suffering from some mental, emotional, and physical
deficiencies. I was put through two different Foster homes until my health
seemed better, and at the age of 2 was adopted by a man from Texas, (a 20-year
naval man), and his wife. At the age of 4 they divorced and I was sent to Texas
to be raised by the people I call my Grandparents. I was a victim of Fetal
Alcohol Syndrome which causes some emotional impairment. I was also born
Manic-Depressive, although nobody knew it at the time. In addition, one of the
Grandparents who raised me was filled with bitter resentment toward me because
she didn't want me there, but wasn't asked about it first. Her overbearing
resentment over the years, plus the fact that it was a completely dysfunctional
family totally lacking in communication skills or the ability to show love,
plus my childhood ailments that nobody knew about at the time, all created an
emotionally bankrupt childhood that lead to all kinds of emotional problems
that essentially guaranteed I would be a "screw up" of one kind or another in
my adult life. I never felt a part of a family, knowing from childhood that I
was "adopted" and that "these people" weren't my real family. I was always
haunted by the fact that my real mother didn't want me and gave me away. I
never EVER felt truly loved or wanted anywhere in my life as a child. None of
my emotional needs were ever met. In addition, although physical abuse was
never more than an occasional slap or spanking with a board, switch, or rubber
hose (once), as a 10 year old boy I endured some sexual abuse by an older
cousin that scarred me for life.
All of these things were contributing factors. As a young adult I quickly fell
prey to the crowd of drinkers and drug users because of the "easy acceptance"
available there. I became a drug abuser and alcoholic. I was suffering
black-out drunks by the time I was 21. I dropped out of college because of
drugs. I tried the army and later got kicked out because of my drugs and
alcoholism. (I was physically and intellectually very capable, yet all the
while the emotional problems were contributing to my slow downward spiral in
life. I was steadily acquiring more inner rage, more alienation from society,
and less feeling for the "world" that seemed to have done so much wrong to
After the army I returned to Texas and bounced around from one job to another,
partying and doing more drugs and alcohol. My life was going nowhere and so was
I. I had talked to my Dad about going back to college, and he demanded that I
earn my first semester's tuition myself. I began to save money. I began working
out at a gym, quit drugs for 2 months, quit cigarettes for 6 weeks, and quit
beer for 2 weeks (the hardest thing for me to quit). I thought I was fixing to
get my life together. The, on the way to a job one morning, the pick-up motor
blew apart. This meant that my money-for-college would have to go to auto
repair. There went my plans to return to college and thus "fix" my life.
Whether because of mental impairment, bad genetics, Satanic influence, Original
Sin, or whatever, when this happened something "snapped" inside me and on that
exact day, (June 13, 1986), I ceased to care about anybody or anything in life,
including myself. I went out and bought a case of beer, 5 hits of LSD, some
Methamphetamine (speed) for intravenous use, some cigarettes, and began a VERY
self-destructive "spree" of drugs & crime that ended 65 days later with me
in jail suspected (& guilty) of two murders...
... I sincerely hope and pray that you will write to me again. I'm guessing
that you will share this letter with family members, and perhaps they will have
additional questions as well. Please feel free to ask me anything. I have
nothing to hide anymore. I want to help you all that I can.
Alan Austin said your mother said I had turned your Christian family into a
distrustful & vengeful one, and wanted to know what I had to say about it.
Other than "As God is my witness, I am TRULY sorry" all I can do to explain is
say that I was a sinful man & a slave of Satan, following Satan's ways.
Once I was the man described in Romans 1:28-32. (Please read the verses.) But
thanks be to God, through his grace I realized my need, and threw myself on the
mercy of the blood of Jesus. [John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10, John 5:24, Romans 8:1,
Isaiah 55:7, Ezekial 18:23, 27-28, Ezekial 36:26, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 John
1:8-2:2] I can only hope that now, for your own sakes and because of the
Scriptures, you can give your grief to Jesus and find his love and forgiveness
in your hearts. [Mark 11:25, Luke 17:4, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13,
Matthew 6:14-15] And it is my sincerest hope and prayer that some day, by God's
grace, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we may have love for one another.
[Mark 12:30-31, John 13:35, 1 John 4:7-12, Matthew 5:38-48, Luke 6:27-38.]
I am sorry; I repent of my sins; I beg your forgiveness. May God's grace and
mercy and peace be yours, now and always.
A Disciple of Christ.
By God's Grace,