You may– I suspect it’s unlikely, but you may– recall this August 2021 post about Makyi Toliver, a former student of mine and one I was quite fond of, who had been sentenced to 45 years in prison for felony murder. I don’t know if you know what felony murder is, but it’s a wildly unjust fucking crime. Makyi and a sixteen-year-old friend attempted to steal a gun from a third person, a bungled theft that led to the gun’s owner killing his friend and shooting Makyi at least eight times. This, somehow, led to Makyi being convicted of murder. 45 years. At 20.
I’ve corresponded with Makyi a couple of times– not enough, to tell the truth– since he’s been locked up. Yesterday morning I checked my messages and noticed that his account was marked as inactive. I didn’t initially think much of it; maybe he’d been transferred or the prison was changing providers or something.
At 8:00 yesterday evening I got a text message from another teacher who had also had him in her classes. Makyi was dead. As far as we know right now, he died from suicide. Why “as far as we know”? The jail and the coroner are refusing to give his mother any information, which means we’re relying on– wait for it– rumors and secondhand information from other former students at Parchman.
Makyi was a good kid. He was a good kid and he had an immense amount of potential and he didn’t fucking deserve any of this.
I hate it here, and I’m not okay.