Jail Mate Recalls Time With Former Death Row Inmate, Rickey Newman

CRAWFORD COUNTY (KFSM)- After former death row inmate, Rickey Newman was released from jail on Wednesday (Oct. 11), a former jail mate is sharing his experience behind bars with Newman.

Sonny Harper spent four month this year in the Crawford County Jail for failure to pay fines for a DWI and for running from police. During that time, Harper was incarcerated with Newman.

"He's an older guy," Harper said. "He had some kind of disease, shaking all the time. [He is] real kind, just talked quiet, talked properly and everything."

Harper also spent previous time in jail several years ago and said that's when he first met Newman.

"One day, I asked him what are you in here for," Harper said. "He told me he was in for capital murder."

During some of his time in jail, Harper was on lock down for 23 hours a day and said Newman would make sure he and other inmates were taken care of.

"Every week, we'd get commissary and he'd buy us hot chocolate, noodles, chips, candy bars and he'd pass it around," Harper said.

Those same inmates are who Newman admitted his crime to.

"He confessed to me and a couple other buddies who were in there," Harper said. "He told us what all went down. He told us he had killed her and that's what he told everybody else; he killed her, he never denied it."

Newman also gave his jailmates a glimpse at his paperwork, some showing what would later set him free.

"He even showed us his prison release papers, his booking sheets, everything where they had violated his constitutional rights," Harper said.

Harper said it's hard to believe that Newman committed murder, but said he never showed remorse.

"I wouldn't say he'd do it again," Harper said. "But, he never said that he was sorry for what he did, never apologized, never shed a tear, nothing."

Harper said he never heard Newman say what he would do if he were to get out of jail. He said from conversations with Newman, he didn't have any family still living and had nowhere to go. He said he really thinks Newman wanted to stay in jail.