LIMA — Willie Carter III was convicted Aug. 29, 1997, on two counts of aggravated murder in connection with the Aug. 18, 1996 murder of Destiny Elmore and the Dec. 3, 1997, murder of Edward King out of the Toledo area. He’s serving two consecutive terms of 20 years to life for his crimes and an additional four-year term on a burglary charge.
He’s an inmate at the Allen/Oakwood Correctional Institution and has had plenty of time to think about his crimes.
On Saturday, Carter, and several other inmates at the prison, put on a play called “Do Your Remember …? A production that looks at women in black history. Carter wrote the play and acted in it.
“All throughout black history, we hear about all the great African-American women and men,” said Carter. “Even some of the European people that help us — abolitionists and everything else. We always hear about all of the men that made these great strides, and we don’t really give too much dedication to the women. The female, to me, is the mother of civilization, the birth of civilization. The paradise of a man lies at the feet of his woman, so I just feel like pay homage to the queens.”
Inmate Doylan Rivers worked with Carter on the play. He was convicted on two counts of aggravated murder and two counts of aggravated robbery in 1992 for his role as an accomplice in a double murder. He is serving two life sentences,but will be up for parole in 18 months.
Rivers claims he was wrongly convicted. The play has been cathartic while he awaits his fate.
“The purpose of the play is for us to have a sense of who we were,” said Rivers. “We’re in prison so we want to reflect on things in our life. People that fought for our rights, that live dignified lives. (Carter) wrote a play for us to reflect on those contributions from many people of African descent that did things for us. We want to reflect on those things so that we can live better lives.”
The play itself debuted in late February for the general inmate population. On Saturday, family members were able to watch the play.
“The guys have so much talent in here, whether it be in art and drawing, whether it be music, whether it be theater, so when we can do something like this, where they can have a good time and enjoy themselves, get a little bit of normalcy in their lives, and provide something that’s got a good input and a good educational piece to it,” said James Haviland, Warden at the Allen/Oakwood Correctional Institution.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.