Interview with Laverne Barkley
QUESTION 7
TERRY ROCKEFELLER:

Tell me something about the kind of person that Elliot was, the kind of impetuous and um, maybe kind of had a little bit of bravado. How- how, how did he get in trouble with the law, and how did he end up at Attica?

LAVERNE BARKLEY:

Well, he, he was the type of person that you can't put in a cubicle because, just, you can't do it with a person like Elliot. He, um, would see something happening, um, a few guys fighting one person, and he would go and jump into it, no matter what, you couldn't, you know, you just couldn't restrain him from doing something like this. And he was the type of person that would give his friend or anybody the shirt off his back because he did it a lot of times. They couldn't wear his pants, but, ah, they would certainly his shirts, you know. He was very thin and tall, and normally you'd have to have his pants, um, tailored to fit him. He was, a very neat person, a very clean person, always had, his nails would be clean and, and shiny, and I couldn't even say the same for me, you know. But that was part of him, that was Elliot. He, um, experimented with things. At one point he experimented with drugs. At that time I think it was heroine, I think. And, um, prior to this, all of his life, his father was a mason contractor and would give him things, buy him things. He, he wore nice clothing, nice shoes and some of my husbands employees would say, or laborers would say, "You, um, you give those, you, you buy those boys Florsheim shoes, and man, I'm working for you and I don't, you know I can't buy 'em." It's things like that. And I think Elliot had money to first experiment with drugs, whereas maybe some other kids during that period didn't. But, um, this one time he, um, I think he, his father had stopped giving him the money that he had been giving him, for some reason, and I think that was when Elliot, I think he snatched a purse. And I know now that, um, he was so very, very upset with himself, and so very remorseful of what he had done--

TERRY ROCKEFELLER:

You're doing fine, the camera just runs out of film about once, once every ten minutes.


TERRY ROCKEFELLER:

Just if you could finish that story tell me how, how he ended up getting in trouble and, and, going to Attica and then what he learned about the prisons and what he told you about the prisons.

LAVERNE BARKLEY:

Well let me finish what I want to say about--

TERRY ROCKEFELLER:

OK. Finish that.

LAVERNE BARKLEY:

He was very much ashamed of what he had done. And, um, he asked his sister Betty to stay up with him all night he said because he was going to get that stuff out of his system. And at that time there were no rehabilitation centers. And I realize now how very, very strong he must have been to do this. He, um, went to Attica, however, because he had violated his parole.

TERRY ROCKEFELLER:

Could you just mention his name? Could you say Elliot? Or my son Elliot?

LAVERNE BARKLEY:

My son Elliot, ah, went to Attica because he'd just violated his parole and according to the parole board which he had not. And which the lawyer had overturned this and proven that he had not violated his parole. And consequently that's why he was being sent home. He was coming home the week of that Attica uprising. He was coming home to us.