Her Brother Is On Death Row, But She Can’t Visit Him During The Pandemic

Anti-death penalty activist Delia Perez Meyer usually visits her brother in prison every week, but not since the coronavirus hit Texas.

By Joy DiazApril 21, 2020 12:12 pm, ,

Once a week for almost 23 years, Delia Perez Meyer drove four hours from her home in Austin to visit her brother, Louis Castro Perez, an inmate on death row at the Allan B. Polunsky Unit in Livingston. She’d watch him walk through steel doors in chains and handcuffs, and they’d talk for two hours through a prison phone. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, those visits have stopped.

“It is torture for us not being able to see him right now,” Meyer said. “I want to know how he is doing; I want someone to go check on him.”

Courtesy Delia Perez Meyer

Louis Perez Castro, right, and his 90-year-old father Ernest Perez.

Castro Perez is on death row for a 1998 murder conviction. Today, he’s 58 years old. He had a heart attack in November and another one two months later. Meyer is worried about his health especially as the pandemic presses on.

Meyer is a retired college professor, but now dedicates most of her time to anti-death penalty activism. She even attends executions to bear witness. She contends that her brother was wrongfully convicted of a triple homicide more than 20 years ago. And when she thinks about him on death row, she also thinks about his grandchildren whom he’s never met.

She suspects life has gotten harder for him and other inmates as prison officials implement social distancing in a confined space.

“They are in absolute, total isolation,” Meyer said. “They have no idea what is going on; there are no radios, no cell phones, no televisions. There is nothing for them.”

For her brother, there is no chance he’ll be released to quarantine at home during the pandemic. But executions have been temporarily halted.

“We are in no hurry for the gears to start up again – and they will,” Meyer said. “We dream that one day that he is going to come bounding through that door.”

Web story by Laura Morales.


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