This Friday, January 26, is a day of meditation, prayer and action for San Quentin death row prisoner Jarvis Masters, who was wrongfully convicted of the murder of a prison guard, Sgt. Howell Burchfield, in 1985. Jarvis was in another part of the prison when the guard was killed. Another prisoner was convicted of the actual stabbing, and a third man of ordering the killing. Of the three accused, only Jarvis was sentenced to death.
Five years ago, Jarvis filed a habeas corpus appeal with the California Supreme Court and still nothing has happened. To bring attention to his case, Jarvis has been on two hunger strikes, and been hospitalized for both. He’s now back on death row, but has lost 60 pounds, and at 55, is not in good health.
So this Friday, we’re asking you take a few minutes to pray or meditate for Jarvis, if you’re so inclined (You can find a list of Bay Area gathering places, here.), or take action and write to Gov. Jerry Brown, and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Ask them to ensure that Jarvis’s habeas corpus petition, which was originally filed in 2005, is heard soon by the California Supreme Court.
If you’d like to know more about Jarvis, he has written two well-known and much-admired books, That Bird Has My Wings: An Autobiography of an Innocent Man on Death Row as well as Finding Freedom — Writings From Death Row.