Wednesday, January 8, 2014

John Norman Collins' Last Wish, "I Want To Die on Canadian Soil"

In a recent letter to a Canadian Immigration official, John Norman Collins (JNC) expressed his desire to attempt another International Prisoner Exchange Treaty bid with the country of his birth.

In 1981, Collins was one signature away from being transferred to a prison in Ontario near Toronto when a Marquette Prison inmate blew the whistle on him. 

A letter fell on the desk of the night city desk editor at The Detroit Free Press, William Hart, who ran a story about it after intrepid reporter, Marianne Rzepka, corroborated the details. The story "Transfer to Canada For Killer" was run in the evening edition of the paper, and by morning, the Michigan Associated Press sent the story far and wide throughout the state's media network. 

***

JNC took the words of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to heart when he made a public statement about there being too many people in Michigan's prisons because of minor drug offenses and an aging prison population. He was sixty-six and one of the oldest inmates at Marquette Branch Prison.

In several prison letters to his cousin, JNC moans about his aches and pains, the indifferent medical staff, and the inadequate services available to him. What he doesn't mention to his cousin is that he often refuses to ante up his co-pay for medical services. I have several prison Administration Hearing documents that detail how JNC refuses to pay, and then he makes an issue of it.

Collins writes that he is a physical wreck from "too much weightlifting and playing hockey," though he still plays handball and basketball whenever he can. He complains about his bad knees, bum hip, and arthritic back, the simple ravages of the aging process many of us Baby Boomers suffer from.

Of a more serious nature was an incident that occurred in May of 2012, which he details in a September 7, 2013 letter to his cousin:

"I did have a scary moment last year. I was going to the Chow Hall with my friend, Big Mike and we just got outside the unit and I CRASHED to the concrete FACE FIRST. I thought I woke right up, BUTT, Big Mike told me I was out for a couple of minutes. I tried getting up but the guards told me to stay down. My face was a bloody mess.

"They took me to Health Care and there was a doctor there and he sent me immediately to the hospital in Marquette. At first they thought I had a heart attack or a stroke. They did over $100,000 of tests on me for a day and a half and found no bleeding in my brain, so they were CORNfused and couldn't find a cause."

JNC now hoped he could parley his private health concerns to portray himself as an old-timer who is a shadow of his former self and a danger to no one. 

If he could only convince a sitting Michigan governor to pardon him or override the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) revocation of his 1981 transfer application, he could be "home" in the country of his birth awaiting a work release program. Of course, JNC needed his Canadian cousin's help with a commitment to sponsor him, to provide a home for him, and to supervise his "reintegration into society." In short, to be responsible for him.

***

In the same letter, JNC asked Chapman to visit him in Marquette Branch Prison which he had never done before. 
Shortly afterwards in an email to me, Chapman wrote:

"He does want to see me face to face for the first time and he wants my help, as he said neither (his brother or sister) have ever offered to 'put him up.' However, I am not sure what to do.

"I know who John is to me, regardless of what he has done in the past... however, never at any time, have I ever found myself afraid of him and I think I would be safe if I had him here. After all, his victims were all women, not men. 

"But with that in mind, I am worried that if I was miraculously able to get him to Canada, I would worry that he might hurt some woman, and I just don't want that on my conscience.

"As well, I am aware of the relationship that he has with some of his "friends" in prison, and I use the term "friends" very loosely. I may be naive, but I am not stupid. So that concerns me. Would he try something on me? I am not being paranoid, just trying to protect myself and my mom.

"Let's say (hypothetically), if John did get back to Canada and I did sponsor him, do you honestly think that my Mom and I would be in danger? I am conflicted now"

My immediate response to John Philip Chapman was:

"John, your cousin is a hardened criminal. Straight up! His own mother had discipline problems with him. He has a self-professed anger management problem. Factor in forty-five years of pent up frustration and rage. I wouldn't take a chance."

John Philip Chapman's quick reply was:

"I will take your advice seriously and be very cautious moving forward with communications with my cousin. The interesting thing about all this is that if this were anyone else, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, or any other serial killer, I would not even waste any time on the issue.

"I have been writing to him since I was ten years old and obviously too young to understand the kind of person he was then. As the years went by, I suppose I never outgrew that vision I saw of him in my head... but then the facts are what they are. John is NOT where he is by accident or a corrupt legal system... he deserves to be where he is. This is for society's protection and, I suppose, even for him.

"Greg and Ryan, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for not judging me or regarding me in the same circle as my cousin. I am who I am and John is who he is."


***

After nixing the trip to Marquette Prison, Chapman received an unexpected collect call from JNC. Collins needed to strengthen his grip on his wavering cousin and synchronize "their" strategy. 

On September 13, 2013, JNC wrote to Chapman:

"I was so pleased with our phone call. I must admit that I was (a) bit nervous at first. I didn't know what to say. You sound so grown up now. Anyway, it was finally great to break the ice after so many months. You are the most important person in my life right now. I also consider you my best friend."

The message soon shifted into drawing Chapman into JNC's transfer conspiracy:

"We have to watch what we say about Frank (Collins' contact at the Canadian Consulate). I don't know how the process works over there, BUTT it is so easy for the MDOC to simply say no to everything. Hopefully a higher power (the governor) will take over and over-ride the MDOC (VETO)."

***

Early in October, Chapman wrote Collins saying he had been reading internet articles about him and didn't feel comfortable sponsoring him. This must have hit Collins like a punch in the face. 

In an email dated October 7th, JNC began to panic and show desperation:

"I HOPE YOU HAVE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO THINK OVER YOUR DECISION. WHATEVER THEY SAID WAS A LIE JUST LIKE IT WAS 32 YEARS AGO WITH DELHEY (Washtenaw County Prosecutor). THEY USED THEIR EMAILS TO SCARE YOU. WHO IS IT THAT CONTACTED YOU? 

"YOU HAVE WORKED TOO HARD AND TOO LONG TO LET THEM KEEP US FROM EACH OTHER. YOU HAVE KNOWN ME FOR OVER THIRTY YEARS AND THEM ZERO. THEY MADE YOU OVERACT BECAUSE THEY KNOW YOU ARE A VERY GOOD AND SENSITIVE PERSON. I NEVER HURT(my nephew), AND I WOULD NEVER HURT YOU OR YOUR MOTHER. NEVER!!!

"I WANT TO CALL YOU TOMORROW IF I CAN. PLEASE DON'T DO ANYTHING UNTIL YOU RECEIVE MY NEXT LETTER. YOU WILL RECEIVE ONE THIS WEEK AND ANOTHER ONE THE WEEK AFTER. PLEASE READ THEM BOTH BEFORE MAKING YOUR FINAL DECISION. 

"I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO PROTECT ME... NOT SELL ME DOWN THE RIVER. I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY SENT YOU, BUT IT IS A LIE AND THEY WANT TO SCARE YOU INTO THINKING THAT I WOULD HURT YOU JUST LIKE THEY DID 32 YEARS AGO.

"PLEASE DON'T FALL FOR THIS PLOY. I'M OUT OF TIME. I LOVE YOU, JOHN, WITH ALL MY HEART. I KNOW THAT WE CAN BE A REAL FAMILY. BYE FOR NOW. LOVE ALWAYS."

In an October 17th email that John Philip Chapman sent me, the Canadian transfer saga came to an abrupt end:

"Greg, I really want this man out of my life for good, and I seriously want to cut all ties with him. There was a time in my life up until recently that I did care about my cousin. After all, he is family, and I believe that family needs to stick together and support each other, but that has its limitations.

"For over 30 years, I believed my cousin and thought what he was telling me was the truth. It was complete and total bullshit. John tells half-truths and is an excellent manipulator, that is for sure. All I got to see over those years was a side of John that he wanted me to see and not who he really is.... However, I just do not want to communicate with him anymore, and I see no value in doing so."

When JNC tried to call Chapman back at his home, John Philip decided to block all future phone calls from his infamous relative. With that, the Canadian International Prisoner Exchange became an impossible reality for Collins. JNC had exhausted all of his appeals and every avenue for an early release. 

My advice for Mr. Collins is that he make an application to the Make a Wish Foundation and see how that goes.

But the Story Goes On!
Background on JNC's first attempt at a Canadian Prisoner Exchange: http://fornology.blogspot.com/2013/06/john-norman-collins-and-canadian-prison.html