Inside Job – Stillwater Prison & the Day Before Yesterday (A Shannon O’Day Story)

Inside Job
(Stillwater State Prison) 1961-63

Part one of two

Dana Stanley, born September 27, 1942, met Edward Morrill born August 28, 1930, while working as a teacher’s aide in the Dakota County school system…

Forward: Shannon O’Day was the cause Edward Morrill had been sentence to five-years in prison for his affair with a minor, Dana Stanley, during the fall of 1958, and it was now December, 1961. He had served a little over two years, with good behavior, he was to get out in another year 1963, September, and was going up for a board hearing and hopefully be placed on parole, thus, at this point and time he had a parole hearing come September of 1962, one year from this date, and he had told his roommate, he was going to kill the person who put him in this prison when he got out, and the person he told (kidding or not), was Otis Wilde Mather’s third cousin, and when his name came up, Shannon O’Day, Oscar Lewis Charleston, had written Otis, to visit him, saying it was urgent. And he did just that, and gave Otis the information of his roommate, inmate friend, and Otis, gave Oscar enough chewing tobacco to last him the year out. But now something needed to be done to stop this potential hazard in the making.

And Otis’ plan was two fold. Get him a new sentence, another five or ten years, or do him in. Whichever one was favorable, under whatever circumstances prevailed, in accordance to the time period; and the less people that knew, the better off, to include Shannon O’Day himself.

The Story

Chapter One
The Meeting

“Youall do me this here favor cousin Oscar Lewis and I’ll give Youall $200-dollars for you time. Ef-in that be okay with your conscious, and it dont go against your nerve,” said Otis Wilde Mather at the Stillwater State Prison, in Minnesota, during his visit with his third cousin, Oscar Lewis Charleston.

They both looked at one another, and Otis pulled out two-hundred dollars, “Ef-in I takes the money the guard here, I mean, the po-lice man, he a-goin’ to take it away anyhow, I wish I could buy a-whore, but there aint any here, we’all men here and we can do what women cant I reckon…so give da money to some poor sucker,” he said.
“Waht!” said Otis, “Youall sure you wants to do that?”

“How you mean, wants to do that? Jest finds someone who aint got a cent and give them two-hundred dollars worth of those cent’s, all right cousin?”

“We’ll,” said Otis, “ef-in that makes you feel a little better, how about that white girl, Dana Stanley, Morrill got her a baby, and she a-liven on her own in some shack on the levee in that there shanty town down by the Mississippi River, below the cliffs, in St. Paul?”

“Well, I’d like to see a color folk git da money, but poor white is fine I reckon. Waht do he do to her?” Asked Oscar.

“He done treated her like a whore and she waz only fifteen at dhe time, and turned sixteen, then he gits a heart to confess, and gits mad cause Shannon O’Day, he gits the Judge to put him away for five years. Oh I suppose she did her flatiron, but she as poor as a mouse with no cheese. So I’d say if anyone deserves that-there two-hundred dollars, its Dana.”

A woman started screaming in the visiting area, some inmate was running around trying to open up his fly, and everyone started looking, and his wife tried to settle him down, and by the time the guards got him, settled him down he had his britches half off wanted to do whatever he could do with his wife, right there and then, and his wife’s hands were over her face embarrassed, just shook her head. And a guard said loud and clear, “We got to cut visiting time short today folks-all right everybody leave please.”

Otis, hushed up, as the guard pulled the man’s britches back up around his butt, and zipped up his front. The guard said to the inmate,

“You’ll be walking a tightrope for along time Henry!”

Otis was done talking anyhow, and when he reached the last steps to leave the prison, hearing the heavy metal doors, steel bar doors, clang, and catch the lock, and click as if death itself, burped, close behind him, he took in a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Then he unfolded the money he was about to 17 wsm Ammo for sale  give Oscar, and put it into a separated department in his billfold. It was that very afternoon Otis visited Dana, and gave her the money on behalf of Oscar. “Do me a favor,” Otis, told her, “Write him a thank-you letter, ef’in that aint too much.”

She brought a beer to her little kitchen table, and opened it for Otis, “All Right,” she remarked, “just give me his full name and how to sent it to the prison, and I’ll do as you ask.”

Chapter Two
The Decision

Oscar had told his roommate, Edward Morrill, who slept on the top bunk bed, “Every inmate has a right to try and escape, the guards expect it. And I got life, or twenty-years in this cell, fifteen more to go if- I keep my behavior well. Then I am free, jest like that, free. But I aint got fifteen years in me left, I’m forty-eight now, I expect I be dead by then. And I reckon every guard has a right to shoot anyone who tries to leave this prison without the proper paperwork. I need your help, cuz my fate is doom, I aint goin’ to run out of her, Im goin’ to walk.”

Morrill didn’t know of course he was being set up, and that he should have known all along he was being set up, because he didn’t need to help anyone, he was not getting a promissory note for anything but trouble, but he said, “What is it you’re asking me to do?” So he even asked before he had to, what Oscar wanted him to do. Oscar had made sure he owed him a favor, a few black friends were going to blackjack him, threatened to slash his head with whatever they had if they couldn’t find a blackjack, and rape him. And Oscar put a scare into those fellows, and Edward was grateful. On the other had, Edward had wished he didn’t even know as much already as he did. In fact, if it was left to him, he would have likened to have been locked up in solitary until Oscar was over his escape theory.

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