I was later told that Patrick Sonnier had the hardest time adapting and forgetting what had happened. One of the trusties had told me, “He just wouldn’t eat or sleep much around here. The memories completely took over his thinking process.” It came to my attention that even after he had been arrested, he tried to commit suicide. I was guessing that it was to take himself out of his misery.
Although he seemed sincere, I couldn’t tell if I should allow that to take over. The picture kept flashing in my mind as if I were actually there. I could see the poor couple kneeling on the ground praying for their mercy. Although he did not actually do the shooting, he acted as an accomplice. This had happened before as well. This wasn’t his first offence.
The hardest part is listening to his side of the story. He repeated to me, “I didn’t touch her. I did not rape Loretta.”
Pat told me about him and Eddie’s plan. They figured out a way that they could hopefully stay out of trouble. They both planned to say the other one did the murder, so the real murderer was never found out. He had seen the gun while being arrested and was afraid of the police. In Eddie’s confession, he said that he had committed the murder so the kids could not identify him. He didn’t want to go back to Angola. He had done well last time he was there, but he just didn’t want to go back again.
He said he was arrested in 1977. The death penalty had just been reinstated. He said that if he had known he could have gotten the chair, he never would have confessed. Patrick Sonnier really has me tied up. He is innocent of murder, yet he confessed to it.
Patrick speaks quickly, never looking up for any of my reactions. His words just seem to flow right out of his mouth. He doesn’t try to keep repeating that he is innocent. He told me once and that was it. I thought a man on death row would be much more timid and trying to prove his innocence. He has no hatred towards his brother which also surprised me as well since he actually committed the murder that Pat is paying for. About a week before his execution, Pat will have to face the Warden and ask for permission to see his brother before he dies. I cannot imagine being in this situation. I am stunned at this point.
As I was talking to Pat, all I could hear in my mind were the words that the chaplain had said to me. He said, “These people are the scum of the earth, and they’ll try to con you.” Although I was aware of that statement, something about Patrick Sonnier brings me closer and closer to him.