In the June 2007 feature story The Boomtown, the Gringo, the Girl, and Her Murder" Tony DSouza reports on the murder trial of American ex-pat Eric Volz in Nicaragua. On March 26, 2007, after months of research and nearly two weeks of attempting to get access to Volz, Supreme Court Magistrate Dr. Marvin Aguilar Garcia granted DSouza permission to enter the prison where Volz was incarcerated. DSouza spoke to Volz for nearly two hours on the trial, the town of San Juan del Sur, the accusations against him, and what the future holds. Here, read selected excerpts of their talk.
LIFE IN PRISON
TD: Tell me about your treatment in prison. If you could kind of give me a timeline.
EV: I've been held in one jailhouse [Rivas], a police interrogation centerhere in Managua called El Chipote, and I've been held in a safe house when I was on house arrest, then in the Federal Penitentiary System in Granada, and here in Managua in Tipitapa. You have to distinguish between the police jurisdiction and Federal Penitentiary because the treatment has been totally different. They're much more professional here. They know this is their business. Rivas was, it was what it was; barely any food, sleeping on concrete, shit smeared on the walls; bad situation. Then the worst was being in Chipote in ManaguaI was tortured there. And there's been several threats and fights and all kinds of shit that's happened.
TD: So the Penitentiary System you feel has been good to you?
EV: Well, I mean...
TD: It's still prison...
EV: It's relative. It's fucked up. They should have me in some safe house and not even in prison. I shouldn't even have to have personal bodyguards around. That obviously is not cool. You don't get enough food here. You don't get sleep here.
TD: So what kind of threats do you get?
EV: Death threats, man.
TD: Like how? Like they come up to you and say, 'I'm going to kill you' ?
EV: Yeah. People yell through the cells. People say things in the hallway. People that I know will say, 'Hey man you need to be careful, I talked to this guy and this is what he is saying.' There's acquaintances of Doris's family in prison here. The reason why I was moved to this prison from Granada is because they had information that they were organizing a hit on me. It's very simple. These guys kill for a living. That's what they're doing here. They got a 30-year sentence and they don't care. Their life's already done.
TD: Are you making any friends here?
EV: Yeah I've made a couple friends. You know I wouldn't call them friends, they're acquaintances, you need to have a couple allies. But I'm not joining any gangs or anything.