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watched those movies but I never thought I’d pull anything like that.” Many more robberies followed mostly convenience stores and gas stations. The boys, who lived together, soon had enough money to pay rent five months in advance. They even went on a vacation. On their way home, the teenagers stopped at a Safeway store near Lubbock to pick up some snacks. When they realized the store was almost empty, they decided to rob it their biggest job up to that point. Individual interviews .. . recommended separation for all handicapped prisoners from the general population. Their reason: extensive abuse. Foster had occasional misgivings about his friends’ methods. He hadn’t been in faVor of the Safeway robbery, but he’d been overruled. When the group robbed a 7-11 with a female attendant, one of the boys wanted to take her with them, but Foster dissuaded him. Foster never carried a loaded gun, even though his accomplices thought he was foolish not to. “I didn’t want to take the risk of killing someone and going to jail for the rest of my life,” was his logic. Foster did embellish his hold-up technique, however. “I was getting to the point where I’d aim the gun and the guy would throw up his hands and I’d say, ‘I oughta blow your head off right here and be done with you.’ I’d never do it, but I felt like saying it.” After several months, the young outlaws were caught during the daylight robbery of a convenience store. Unlike his three accomplices, Foster got a court-appointed lawyer and waited in jail for the hearing. His friends were released on bond until the trial, a practice generally considered to give a better impression to the judge or jury. “I got a speedy trial. They wanted to give me 20 years. At that time I didn’t know what aggravated robbery was. They came back with 10 years and I took it,” remembers Foster. Foster’s three accomplices jumped bail when they learned of his conviction. Eventually they were each sentenced to seven years in jail, three years less than Foster’s term. Foster was sent to Ferguson, where he was assigned to the fields. Although pick ing cotton was difficult work, there were severe consequences, for not working hard enough in the eyes of prison officials. A field major ordered his officers to pick several inmates each day to “catch the wall,” assigning them to mundane tasks like picking watermelon seeds out of the fruit with a spoon or shelling peanuts for hours at a time as punishment. If missing sleep were necessary to complete the assigned task, inmates were still expected to return to the fields early the next morning. “Once I worked three nights in a row to get two cans full of peanuts,” Foster recalls. “I started falling asleep, so they made me stand up. I said I didn’t want to shell peanuts no more, so a building officer started kicking me in the leg. I still have the scars.” In prison, Foster experienced all of the hazards of being a mentally handicapped inmate. The money his parents sent him was stolen, his bags of cotton were ripped open and emptied so he’d have nothing to show for a day’s work the tricks of other inmates. He was disciplined for his attempts to fight back with periods in isolation cells, and he was eventually shipped to a higher security unit, Ramsey II. “Ramsey was a worse environment. Inmates with life-sentences had jobs as building tenders \(since forbidden by and were running the farm. They gave the rest of the inmates a hard time to make life easier for the officers, thus making it easier for themselves. “Since I was shipped from another farm, I was marked as a trouble-maker. As soon as I got off the bus, an inmate hit me right in front of an officer. I said, `What was that for?’ but the officer pretended he didn’t see it.” Foster also was subject to mistreatment by officers. Once the field major rode his horse through the shower. He was in a bad mood because inclement weather had cut the workday in half. After working in the fields, prisoners are allowed to walk quickly through the showers. \(They can take more leisurely showers on “Somebody was trying to take a beauty bath,” explains Foster with a smile. The angered officer scattered the line with his horse, exclaiming, “My horse deserves this more than you idiotic people.” Foster’s first bit of luck came when prison officials neglected to inform his father that Foster was in isolation during a scheduled visit and wasn’t allowed to receive visitors. His father, having The final assembly of all U.S. nu clear weapons takes place in the Texas Panhandle. Houston has more oil company headquarters than any other city in the world. The whole state reeks of Sunbelt boosters, strident anti-unionists, political hucksters, and new industry and money. 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