I met Kyle Catlin almost one year ago. As I'm writing this, he sits in protective custody at the Marana Community Correctional Facility, afraid for his life after an inmate recently jumped him and then threatened to kill him for being "a snitch."
The inmate split Kyle's lip open. The inmate now sits in solitary because of the fight. Kyle is also in "the hole" for protection. Both of them were issued a complaint even though Kyle didn't do anything, according to his father Marvin.
This wasn't the first time. A couple of months ago, another inmate in a different correctional facility jumped Kyle and split his head open.
"His appeal for the guy punching him in the mouth was denied, he has one more appeal and is working on it now. If he is denied again he will have to be put in a medium security facility," Marvin told me through Facebook a couple of days ago. We've been in touch here and there since Kyle's trial.
"He is being threatened by a group of inmates. He should be moved to protective custody tonight.
I fear for his life," Marvin said last night.
It was a three-digit-hot August day last year, and the young medical marijuana patient/caregiver and I were supposed to talk about his upcoming two trials for nonviolent marijuana sale, possession and cultivation felony charges over some iced coffee or tea at Cafe Passé on Fourth Avenue. Kyle called me to let me know he couldn't make it because his car had broken down and he'd taken it to a shop in South Tucson. I met him there and we talked in the waiting room for at least three hours.
Before we got into the serious talk, he chatted about his upcoming birthday party on Aug. 15. It was his 27th birthday.
Tall, the blondest of hair, soft spoken, kind eyes, beyond family-oriented and a die-hard fan of car racing—I remember thinking, how can he be facing the possibility of going to prison?
At the time, he had at least 10 felony charges on him. (Read more about the charges, In Defense of Marijuana
, September 2015.) He told me he was afraid of going to prison. He was afraid of getting pulled into a gang, being jumped. He, without shame, said he wasn't a fighter. He'd lose a fight. But probably the biggest fear was separating from his family. They were always