Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Death of Robert Knott Tortured to death

Guest writer Carol Strick

Transcribed by me.

Carol asked me to post this the truth about Robert’s death.

I sent her The MarshalProject’s article and this is her reply:


Robert Knott didn’t die from “indifference”. He died from the constant and severe mental and physical torture to which he was constantly, subjected to from the B.O.P. He was a victim of poverty, racism, and abuse. He was without a support system of any kind. He spent his youth in Foster care, juvenile detention centers and jails.


When Robert was 3 years old his mother shot and killed her husband. Some time after that she met a man. she had 2 more children. Robert wasn’t born Robert Knott. He was born Robert Gerald Orr. After his mother split with Orr she gave her sons the name Knott the name of her older children.


Robert was a young man when he and a friend, Jeff, went on a “crime spree”. They traveled through 3 states ending up in Oregon with a hostage Dana Bridges. Confronted by police; a shoot out occurred and the cops shot and killed both Dana and Jeff.


From the time he was arrested and ultimately sentenced to do time in Marion, IL, before ADX was built. Marion was a hellhole like ADX and from the beginning; Robert was singled out for abuse. Probably the guards were picking up the baton from the cops that killed Dana and Jeff.


Robert was lonely, talented, warm, friendly, kind and concerned. He sent me long descriptive letters. He called me “Ma” or “mom”. I called him “sonny boy” or “Roberto”.

For many years we wrote to each other a few times a week. These letters were hardly what one would expect from a man with “severe mental problems”.


In April 1994 I answered an ad in a zine; “Bayou la rose”, that was published in Tacoma, Washington, the ad said “Indian artist seeks penpal”, I am an artist; I wrote to him. He answered with a letter and a drawing Tunkasila (grandfather). He sent more letters and more drawings. The subjects were often pride at being an Indian (native American). The drawings turned into depictions of torture. Robert the Indian, was tortured by the state. I was amazed by all of this because I realized you had to live that life to draw it. Sometimes he drew women. He wanted a girlfriend. I put ads in the tribes newspaper hoping to attract a young woman who would write to Robert.


I don’t know what happened in 2002. It seemed as though Robert was writing a little less frequently and then I received a letter from his friend Scott saying that Robert was extremely upset that they were taking him back to Springfield; the Federal mental facility. Scott sent me an address where I could write Robert.


For the next few years I noticed Robert’s handwriting changing and his fine motor coordination was gone. He was not the same person. Who knows what happened in Springfield; experiments with psychotropic drugs, shock treatments? For all we know lobotomies; whatever they did they wanted hid from the coroner. It was 2 weeks after; in September 2013, 2 weeks after he passed away, I received a phone call from a man who identified himself as Rev. Henderson from ADX. He said he phoned to tell me that Robert Knott had died. I asked him how it happened. He said that Robert committed suicide. I thought to myself, “If he killed himself you led him to it”. He added that I was the only person Robert wanted notified in an emergency that made sense. He knew I loved him and that I would expose the cruelty to which he was constantly exposed.


I asked Rev. Henderson if he notified the tribe, He answered “What tribe?” He didn’t know enough about Robert to know he was an Indian? I called the tribe. I had contacted them many times in the past years on Robert’s behalf.


The tribe called the prison. On the 3rd day of calling the prison answered!. They sent his body to Winnebago in Nebraska.


A few days after his Robert’s body arrived his half sister phoned me. She knew from her mother, that she had 2 half brothers. She was sorry she hadn’t met them. She asked me to come to the funeral but it was expensive to fly to Nebraska.  I was happy they made me an honorary pallbearer.


In March 2014, I received a letter from an “uncle” of Robert’s the uncle wrote that he was glad the prison was able to contact Robert’s “birth” family.

In 2016 the “family” settled for $175,000. from the B.O.P. for Robert’s death. The uncle’s out of nowhere letter suddenly made sense.

“We are all connected t the earth. Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. The perfumed flowers are our sisters and the deer, horse, bear and the eagle these are our brothers”… Robert Gerald Orr Knott”

Rest in peace Sonny Boy.

I send my Love


Other links for Carol Strick, Art in the lives of prisoners, Art.

Robert’s art is courtesy of Carol Strick.
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Robert's cry for help mail and art are extremely important to these isolated prisoners I will discuss this further in future post

the torture depicted in Roberts Art as Carol wrote


Letter from Robert to "Ma" Carol.

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