A prisoner on Death Row in California has written to the Irish Government in a bid to save his life.
Scott Collins, 39, is facing the death penalty for the abduction, robbery and murder of a man in North Hollywood in 1992.
While in prison Collins has cultivated an abiding interest in his Irish heritage and says that he adores “Irish history and politics, Irish culture and language, all things Celtic.”
He has become a scholar of the Gaelic language. He corresponds in it and has written a journal entitled “Irish Thoughts from an American Death Row.”
Collins also discovered that the Irish government is against the death penalty and is appealing for official assistance. He has claimed that his attorney at trial was incompetent and that he never received a fair hearing.
Collins is also appealing to the Irish American community to help him.
“Even if I am in prison, my mind and spirit are not, and I am now appealing to the Irish community for financial help. Any contribution would be very much appreciated to obtain the justice I have been denied. Please help me bring forth the truth,” he says.
According to a consular spokesperson, the Irish government cannot interfere in the American judicial process.
“We cannot help in this kind of a case because this man is an American citizen and would be accountable to American laws,” said the spokesperson.
At the time of the murder fopr which he is on Death Row, Collins was just 21 — and was just one month out of prison after a five-year stretch.
Collins claims he is innocent. “I was wrongly convicted of a capital murder of a 41-year-old man that I did not commit," he wrote.
“Reasons being, like so many other defendants in Los Angeles, I was unable to afford a private attorney or an investigator to assist the defense against the Los Angeles Police Department’s dishonest tactics, which included falsified police statements from witnesses, manufactured y the homicide detectives,” he wrote.
Collins was found guilty of the murder of Fred D. Rose, 41, a construction supervisor who lived with his family in Valencia. He was abducted in Palmdale and forced to accompany his killer to the San Fernando Valley, where he was shot in the back of the head.
In closing arguments the prosecution said that since the age of 16, Collins had been in and out of jail and always had a violent streak.
Blaming a dysfunctional relationship with his mother, Collin’s lawyer, Bruce Hill, pleaded for a lenient sentence. But in 1996, just one day after Christmas, Collins was brought to death row in the famous San Quentin State Penitentiary He became number K-35003.
California currently has 610 inmates registered on its death row.