While communicating with another incarcerated person, Missouri Prison Reform was made aware of James Scott. We were asked to reach out to him, to hear his story. We did a quick Google search to see what it was about and unfortunately, it sounds like Missouri…younger people may be more familiar with Ryan Ferguson. But you need to hear James Scott’s story. Here’s our first letter from Mr. Scott.
Greetings. First thank you for the length email that I received from you on March 4th. Thank you for explaining who you are what you do and the reason for you contacting me. You are an answered prayer and as mom said after I read her your email, “Thank you Jesus.”
Mom and I have spent 10 plus years writing to anyone that we believe might be of help to me and over that period of time we’ve received one response. I have been told by innocence projects since the late 1990’s that because I’m not serving a life sentence or on death row as a result of a rape, murder, child molestation, sodomy ect. or a combination of those crimes that involves DNA they won’t help. Reason being is because they said we can’t prove your innocence. I can’t sit here writing this and try to convince you I didn’t cause the West Quincy Levee to fail. They never proved at my trial that I did because I didn’t break that levee. In so many words the judge said the same thing. He said we found you guility on circumstancial evidence.
I’ve been locked up for the past 27 plus years for something I haven’t done. I’m tired and I don’t want to do this anymore. I will not stop fighting because if I do them the ones responsible for me being here win and I refuse to give them the satisfaction. There are people who have committed more heinous crimes like some of the ones I mentioned earlier in this email that receive less time and do less time then me. A lot of people don’t think that’s right or fair. I’ve made my share of mistakes during my life and have done things I’m not proud of. When it comes to this case the only thing I could of possibly done differently was to not even go volunteer. If it wasn’t for a friend of mines mom who suggested he and I go volunteer during the flood of 1993 I can say with 100% certainty I would not be in prison today.
My dad passed way a few years ago and it hurt him knowing that I was in prison for something I didn’t do yet no one would come help me. I heard the pain in his voice every time he and I talked on the phone. I hear it in my moms voice daily but not as much. She has faith and believes that God has his hand in this and for me to believe that as well. She, like my dad doesn’t understand why no one will help, why no one will look into my situation into my case. Staff, c/o’s, reporters and other inmates who know about my case have said even if you did cause that levee to fail you’ve done enough time. I’m serving a life sentence because of my past and I believe that. My attorney has said that my case was politically and financially motivated. After my trial during an interview he said besides his family I’m probably the only other person who believes Jimmy Scott is innocent.
There was a young man (at the time) who testified at my trial during a video taped deposition saying that I told him I broke the levee. He said that I had a shovel, dug a hole then got on my knees and bored the hole out causing the levee to fail. He said I told these cops this. Well who did you tell? **** *****, ****** ****** and *** ******. There wasn’t a *** ****** at the Quincy Police Dept. it was Dective ****** ****. Well during my appeal the attorney I had took deposition from all three police officers and they said he, *** ****** never told us Jimmy Scott broke the West Quincy Levee. One of them went as far as calling him the biggest damn liar he had ever met. I was denied my right to confront him face to face when they didn’t bring him to my trial which was about a 3 hour drive. Yet they flew someone to my trial that lived in Ohio. **** ****** the man who wrote the story about my case talked to *** and asked him why he lied and said that Jimmy told him he broke the levee. His response was, “If you pay me I will talk.”
Here’s an FYI for you. When I was interrogated by the ***** boys after my arrest in October of 1993 they made a comment to me, ” You used a shovel didn’t you?” I said, “I don’t know what your talking about” and that was the last time a shovel was ever mentioned until it came out of *** *****’s mouth. He initially told the police in July of 1993 that Jimmy Scott never broke the levee and he never told me he broke the levee. I can’t prove it but I feel he was promised or given something to say what he said. Someone gave him the shovel story.
There was another person who was a river ranger I believe with the Corp of Engineers said that the day after the levee failed the police were in his office talking to his superiors openly discussing blaming me for the levee failure. In **** ******’s book Damned To Eternity the mans name was Earl Basswood but his real name is ** *****. He was afraid to come forward at the time because he feared losing his job and pention. One of my experts that testified ***** ****** from the University of Missouri-Columbia stakes his career on my innocence.
There was a man who testified at my trial **** ***** who the police said I made up. If it wasn’t the work of a good investigator for the Public Defenders Office he wouldn’t of been found. The day the levee broke he was approached by a couple guys who said there was a problem and he needed to look at it. Well he walked part way there then said my main concern is with my guys south of the Bay view Bridge but I will have someone go look at it. Well he never did. One of the two guys was me. While reviewing some video tapes for my trial one of them showed the levee failing but the problem with that was were the levee failed isn’t where I saw the problem. More questions. There is a story about a cake you might find interesting. You can’t make that story up.
I just hope and pray that someone can please help me with my case. To look into it and see there has been an injustice committed. Help me to go home to my mom and the rest of my family. I’m not guilty and people know it. I will email more tomorrow. God bless you all.
Thank you for your time.
Respectfully, James Scott”