This article was published in The Orlando Sentinel on July 22, 2017.
By Gal Tziperman Lotan
CLERMONT — For six weeks, Susie Boone said she called officials at the Lake Correctional Institution, trying to get the personal effects of her son, Adonis Boone, who was killed inside the prison in June 8.
And Thursday she got them — some clothes, toiletries, and dozens of letters and hand-written papers inside a white sack.
“It just feels great” to hold his things, Boone said, keeping her composure as she flipped through pages of rap lyrics and short stories he wrote. “But I’ll never see my child again, you know?”
Less than a week after an Orlando Sentinel reporter asked the Department of Corrections about Adonis Boone’s belongings, a Lake Correctional Institution official told Boone she could come from her home in Tampa to the prison and pick up his things, she said.
She had already received his body and held a funeral in June.
Adonis Boone, 27, is one of two inmates at the prison whose deaths were ruled homicides this year. The other is Jose Gregory Villegas, 39, also of Tampa, who was killed March 28. Little information has been released in either case because both investigations are still active, according to the Department of Correction and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is investigating the deaths.
Susie Boone has not been told how her son was killed except that it was a stabbing and no one has been charged in his death.
Department of Corrections records show four homicides in all of Florida’s correctional institutions in 2016 and six in 2015. Between 2001 and 2014, the deaths of 76 Florida inmates were considered homicides, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics study. That’s about six homicides per 100,000 inmates, the same as the national rate.
Adonis Boone was convicted in 2015 of drug possession, carrying a concealed weapon, unarmed robbery and battery. He was set to leave prison in late 2018.
In the parking lot outside the prison, his mother stood at the rear passenger’s side of her four-door sedan and began pulling her son’s things out of the plastic sack: A gray sweatshirt; prison-issued bottles of off-brand shampoo and hair gel; issues of Rolling Stone and Fortune magazines; a family photo album; a bible.
She took out letters she had sent him, with print-outs of words in Swahili he likely wanted to work into the rap lyrics he was writing and clemency paperwork he asked her to send but did not fill out.
“If he was alive and well and I was going through this stuff I’d be yelling at him, ‘didn't I tell you to get your stuff organized?’ ” Boone said.
On one of her visits to the prison, Boone’s son told her he wrote a song about her. That’s one of the things she’s been thinking about in the six weeks since he died, she said. She couldn’t find the lyrics in the parking lot — there were too many papers to dig through.
“I can’t wait to get home and — hopefully I find the one for me,” she said.
Boone has many lingering questions about her son’s death, she said. No one has told her how it happened, what lead to it, or who was responsible for it.
“I’m still gonna call them,” she said. “So I know they don’t think that’s the last of us.”