By John Banner
Judge Williamson motioned for the courtroom’s packed audience to take their seats. The press was there, their camera crews just outside, waiting to get shots of Brennan. “Irish” Johnny Brennan, California’s premier middle weight boxing champion, now an Alcatraz convict guilty of killing a prison guard was big news. Everyone wanted to get a glimpse of Brennan, the man, the fighter, the legend, now a convict capable of killing a correctional officer, using only his bare hands as weapons.
Throwing a nervous look around the courtroom,Brennan saw Phyllis sitting toward the back of the room. She sat very still, her blue eyes mirroring the deep love each held for the other, the eyes saying: “I love you, Johnny, and I always will.” Brennan smiled. His lips formed silent words: I love you. The pain of Phyllis seeing him about to be sentenced for a murder he did not commit hurt far worse than any sentence he would receive.
Phyllis had put her nickels and dimes together for this lone trip to San Francisco. She had come by bus from Los Angeles. Now she sat very still, about to witness an act that would surely break the most loving of all hearts.
About the Author
John Banner spent four years in Alcatraz during the 1950’s. Banner discovered his gift for writing poetry and verse while in prison, and wrote much of this material in his cell in the 1950’s. It provides a rare glimpse into what Alcatraz was really like – the psychological aspects of the experience. Banner combines the introspection of a poet with the knowledge of a historian to create this unique CD, backed by a sensitive musical score and sound effects – this CD will take you into the dark depths of America’s most legendary prison like nothing else. Banner was a featured character in the documentary Alcatraz Reunion.