Prison inmate Ricky Silva thinks the death penalty is too severe a punishment for strangling his cellmate with a shoestring
. In fact, he’s proud of what he did.
And he wants you to be proud of him, too.
“It’s not like I killed an innocent citizen or somebody who was undeserving
,” said Silva, 29, of Terry Bell’s Oct. 14 homicide at the Martin Correctional Institution, where both men were serving life prison terms.
“Under my belief system, there’s still some people in the world that need killing and he was one of them,” he said. “I don’t believe I should pay for killing somebody that needed to be killed.”
Bell, 45, was convicted for raping a young Marion County girl after entering her bedroom through a window while her parents slept down the hall, said to Jerry Burford, a former state prosecutor who tried the 1999 crime. Bell left behind a palm print on a windowsill, he said, and Bell’s DNA was found on the victim.
Silva told several investigators he caught Bell committing an inappropriate act while holding a photo of Silva’s young niece
. Silva said that prompted the attack.
But a fellow inmate has said Silva’s attack on Bell was racially motivated, and he’s threatened to kill again,
said Assistant State Attorney Nita Denton, who said putting him on death row might be the only way to prevent Silva from harming anyone.
During an interview at the Martin County jail, Silva recited details of Bell’s death.
“I stepped off the bed, I hit him, when he hit the door he fell to the ground,” he recalled, his voice flat. “I continued to hit him a couple of more times and then I wrapped a noose around his neck and I strangled him.”
“If you had kids, you would understand,” Silva later told a prison nurse treating wounds to his right hand. “You should thank me for it.”
Despite confessing to the grisly crime, Silva has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. He said it’s wrong for state prosecutors to seek the death penalty against him.
“I don’t believe I should be punished,” he insisted. “I believe people should be celebrating and clapping their hands.”
Denton couldn’t disagree more.
“He has no respect for human life,” she said.
She said based on a stack of confession letters he’s written to her office, she alerted jail authorities that he’d threatened to kill again.
“He was asking for the death penalty,” Denton said, “and that he would continue to kill not only inmates, but the people he came around if he in fact did not get the death penalty.”
Silva in his letters, she said, railed on the prison system and claimed he killed Bell as a message to prison officials.
“I’m tired of the system,” Silva wrote. “They feed us like little kids, they won’t pay us for work ... there is no reason for me not to kill again.”
He’d keep killing, he wrote, until correction officials “give back everything they took from us: packages, weights, hobby crafts, paying jobs and three decent meals a day, or until I am dead.”
“I suggest (Bell) be taken as a warning,” Silva threatened, “because next time it will not be a black inmate who is killed.”
Silva, too, was accused by another inmate of killing Bell, an African-American, because of ties to a white supremacist group.
“He stated he’s made it his mission — from now on — to murder any blacks he gets access to inside the prison system,” George Warner wrote to prosecutors. “That was his chief motive for strangling his black roommate.”