Introducing…Inmate Robert Pruett

This instalment of “Introducing…” is a little different than previous entries. Due to the circumstances surrounding my featured author, Robert Pruett, I had to forgo the usual Q&A format.

That’s because Robert, age 34, is a death row inmate at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas.

Robert Pruett
Robert Pruett

Of his 34 years, he’s spent 19 in prison, 11 of which he’s sat “on the row”. At arrest he was 15 years old but tried as an adult.

Robert and his brother Steven witnessed their father kill a man, for which Robert received a 99-year prison sentence under Texas’ “Law of Parties” rule. A few years later he was convicted in the murder of a prison guard, on the flimsiest of evidence, and given the death penalty.

So why am I featuring him? Because he maintains a fascinating and introspective journal which has been published online. It offers the reader an often chilling glimpse into the Texas legal system, as well as the violent world of its prisons.

It’s not my intention to criticize Texas law, its police, or its prison system (although it appears that all three bears some investigation and overhaul, especially when the accused is dirt poor and without political influence).

My intention is to bring Robert’s writing to this forum. In his own words:

“The primary purpose of this website is not only to expound upon the above mentioned themes, but, more importantly, to reach out to “at risk” kids, youngsters living similarly to the way I once was. It is my hope that the people who are travelling down the road that ultimately brought me to where I am will review my life and try to avoid the countless mistakes that I’ve made in life.”

I can tell you that at-risk youth would benefit from Robert’s recollections. Robert also touches the lives of those he meets personally, and can offer insight as to how others can avoid the same path.

But instead of recognizing his value, the state has decided that he should die.

Robert has a hearing on November 18th, 2013, at which time he may receive his “date”.  Let’s hope he stays around for a long time to further inspire others to walk a straight line.

See you out there…

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenplay writer, and social media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

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Author: Richard S. Todd

Pro copywriter. Expressive voice artist. Award-winning public speaker.

22 thoughts on “Introducing…Inmate Robert Pruett”

      1. Please let Robert Pruett know I think he is innocent, there is no evidence to suggest he murdered him, I also find it beyond belief he was in prison for 99 years for just being present at the murder his father committed. Thank you

  1. Is he dead yet? Look I get the whole “injustice” of some matters but really? You fall prey into the I’m “reformed” gambit and that I’ve learned my lesson. So he on or about December 17, 1999, Pruett physically assaulted a male correctional officer, Daniel Nagle, at the McConnell Unit in Bee County, resulting in his death. Granted the situation and the charge, you can’t really argue with this…you *Robert* killed a prison guard…. light a candle brother…your going home…hell or heaven you are going there… I did see that you got a sixty day stay back in March. However, it would appear, on paper that you have a track record and impulse to kill “Prosecutors told jurors that Pruett — who was already serving a life sentence for another murder he allegedly participated in with his father — killed Nagle because the inmate was upset that he had written him up for taking a sack lunch into the recreation yard at the McConnell Unit in Beeville. ” I don’t want to rain on your parade, but stabbed that many times, have a history of deadly force with a weapon…you expect DNA to draw your innocence? Your stalling for what ever reason but brother…you are good as dead…RIP.

    1. Pruett isnt claiming he has reformed hes claiming his innocence which its a very different matter rather than all this reform blah blah blah

  2. Mr Pruett continue to fight for your life I had heard of this case years before I came across your website and guys who were at that unit when this that murder took place had rumor out that they had punished wrong man but for fear of what this very dangerous gang would do everyone kept mouth shut I pray someone has the courage to speak out n do whats right I got this gut feeling youre innocent of this frame up your story touched me deeply n left me dumbfounded as to how they can kill you base inmates testimony but damn if they do and damn if they dont because in all theyre shitless scared no doubt life has dealt u a hell of a card but keep head up dont give up keep fighting you deserve some happiness the true will prevail ill keep u in prayer

  3. I have just watched the Documentary of BBC’s Life and Death Row here in the UK which featured Robert and was so disturbed by the lack of actual evidence that I came to look online to see if anyone else had similar grievances.

    For him to be serving 99 years in the first instance for witnessing a murder at the age of 15 is abhorrent. Unlike other men featured in this 3 part documentary, Robert is the only one claiming his innocence in the murder of Prison Guard, Daniel Nagle.

    There is no DNA evidence whatsoever tying him to this crime and to see the photos of the crime scene, and with the amount of blood there, I cannot believe there wouldn’t have been any to place him at the scene. I have looked at the flimsy Prisoner testimonials that have slowly filtered in and the controversy surrounding them. It’s all hearsay I am afraid. Look it up yourselves! In this age of DNA evidence we surely cannot condemn a man to his death without any actual proof. I understand Daniel Nagle’s family want justice for his horrific slaying and my sympathies are with them. But on the evidence (or absolute lack of) I am so deeply disturbed that this man will be executed for a crime he did not commit.

    Obviously I was not present so will never know what truly happened. What I am sure of there is sufficient doubt and for that reason alone this execution should absolutely not take place. Surely the State of Texas want to punish the right perpetrator or is this about re-election and a big ‘tick in the box’ that the case is solved, done and dusted?

    Robert is serving is life in prison anyway (which I have total misgivings on that particular issue too.) I thank God that I live in the UK.

  4. I’ve seen the BBC3 Documentary. This is a truly tragic case. Robert Pruett was out of control at fifteen – His upbringing and lack of parental control and society’s response to allowing people who should not be allowed to raise children is at the center of this harrowing story.

    I should point out I’ve only read about the case in Pruett’s own words and seen the TV show but the following is pretty clear: By the time Ray Yarborough was murdered, Pruett was dealing drugs, committing burglary, and according to himself addicted to cocaine. As a child (his father was in jail) his mother left him to search for food in the bins behind Wal-Mart and his father introduced him to marijuana.

    It’s clear that the night Yarborough was killed, Pruett had already primed his father and stoked him up with details of a row he’d had with Yarborough that afternoon. According to his brother Steven, Robert had tried to enlist him in beating Ray Yarborough up when he got home.

    When Ray Yarborough got home was Pruett was still awake. He claims he thought that Yarborough was calling at him to come out (Yarborough was in fact calling his dog – And I am pretty sure Pruett knew this was the case) and Pruett by his own admission went outside to confront him. Again by his own addmission, he was ‘boiling’ and he began by immediately punching Yarborough in the face.`

    His brother Steven went outside to help his brother and then their father, bringing a steak knife with him followed them. His father stabbed Yarborough to death. They fled the scene, went on the run and were apprehended in a police raid a few weeks later. Pruett insists that although he wanted Yarborough beat up he never wanted him dead.

    And all of this was over a stolen shotgun that Robert Pruett had taken as part of a burglary.

    Now in my opinion this makes Robert Pruett an accessory to murder. But this is what I don’t get – How could he be tried as an adult and be held awaiting trial in an adult jail – He was fifteen years old. Surely his father was the person who was meant to exercise control and good judgement and tell him to forget the row. If Pruett was eighteen then OK he has reached an age when we expect people to take full responsibility for their actions.

    The Daniel Nagle killing in December 1999: I think he did it. But I have a doubt and these doubts are strong.

    Why do I think he did it? Well first off this was a young man who was not in complete control of himself – He was capable of resorting to violence if riled. Next Pruett is really intelligent. He is sharp and I’ve no doubt he had the smarts to kill Nagle with a shank a leave no physical evidence at the crime scene.

    He had also been brutalized by the system – He tells us that he had to fight everyday for food, toilet roll, toothpaste. And these were mean fights. Now if a man has to fight for toilet roll – He will fight a guard if he is written up for bringing food into the Rec Yard.

    He also had 99 years in jail to look forward to – He probably figured what did he have to lose? Can you imagine the anger, frustration, despair of being locked away at 15 for the rest of your natural life. Having to contend daily with the brutalizing effects, such as casual violence, of prison life – This I’m sure will mess you up, depress you and even lead to pent up anger.

    Why do I have doubts? Well no one seen him commit the stabbing. There is no physical evidence (no prints on the shank and no blood on Pruett’s clothes (an inmate testified Pruett swapped clothes).

    But criminals lie – Deception and lies are part and parcel of the criminal life. Consequently inmates testimony (and that of Pruett’s claiming his innocence) is highly suspect unless it can be corroborated by physical evidence or other information.

    Other criminals (including murders) could have killed Nagle – There was up to 100 criminals on the wing who could have got to Nagle’s desk.

    So I have doubts. I don’t think he is innocent but I couldn’t say with any real certainty he is guilty.

    So we get to my original point. It’s tragic two men are dead and Pruett’s life was really over at fifteen. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to raise (even have) children. I know this is a controversial view and it is one I would NOT have agreed with until I seen the BBC documentary that told the story of Pruett, Richard Cobb and Guy Heinze jr.

  5. I also am from the UK and I believe he’s innocent under law, in this case based on the lack of evidence. Growing up he was clearly neglected and treated appallingly. In the UK we would hope that the state would interject and remove him from the cycle of abuse, which may have given him a chance. I agree with John when he says Robert is an intelligent man, which suggests had someone intervened at an early stage he would have had a chance at a totally different life. My thought is if he is killed and later it’s found he was innocent then surely someone must be held accountable for murdering an innocent man (in regards to Officer Nagle) and what justice is that for the family of Officer Nagle who deserve justice for their loved one. I also think that he should never have been tried as an adult for his involvement in the previous crime, he was as a child at the time of the crime. I don’t understand the law of parties in it’s entirety but I don’t believe he should have been tried for murder even if it was his intention, he never actually killed the man and I believe he should have been convicted of perhaps an accessory to or an assault, I’m sure some of the more educated in the UK law would be able to place the suitable name to the crime. I can’t believe the death penalty is right as I believe murder is murder whether you mask it as law or not, no man has the right to take another’s. I hope that he gets a reprieve from death row unless they can prove with absolute certainty that he is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. I apologise my post isn’t as eloquent as the ones I have read above but I wanted the opportunity to air my view.

  6. Please let Robert Pruett know that believe that he is innocent. there is not enough evidence to connect him to the crime and they are using other inmates testimonies that do not add up with each other. I feel that he has been let down by the justice system. He didn’t even commit the first crime his dad did so why should he be sentenced to 99 years. He was 15 and they threw him in adult prison and tried him as an adult. what a joke. I hope that someone comes forward soon to spare his life as this man does not deserve to die. I first heard about his story on the BBC3 program. I live in England. I have also read his autobiography and journal. He was born into a family where his mum made him find food in bins and his dad in and out of jail this is no life for a child. I believe that he was let down by the people that should of been protecting him the most. Yes he had a fight about guns but he didn’t want the bloke to die over it. his dad should of known better than to stab that poor man. Because of his dads selfish actions Robert is now in jail in the first place for what his dad did. I don’t believe in death row as Sometimes guilty people on there are found innocent but by then its too late. I believe Robert is in this category. the truth will come out one day I just hope that it comes out before its too late. Believe in yourself Robert like I do

  7. I certainly do not approve of the death penalty, and would prefer to see Roberts sentence commuted to life. Not because I disbelieve the evidence. I know a different side of Robert, not the one he projected but the one that left me feeling empty and used for knowing him. I hope he puts himself right before he dies, a charismatic man who does indeed have qualities worthy of redemption.

      1. Then Robert has shared with you the story and you know well who I am. And you know damn well the above statement is a copy and paste from her blog when it was active.

  8. Innocent until proven guilty .. let the man live he’s had nothing but a crap life since birth by sounds of it give him a break. Dealt with as a child that’s a joke by all means!!

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