Hugo Lyon Antonio Pinell, aka Daddy

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The longest held prisoner in solitary confinement: 46 years in solitary, 51 years in prison

by Allegra Taylor

Aug. 12, 2015, I sat waiting for the mail to come as I did each day. This day it was different because for the first time my dad was in his first lockdown on the mainline. He had only been there 15 days – abruptly moved on July 29 after a meeting with the DRB (Departmental Review Board) on July 28. Each day I waited to hear from him hoping and praying he was OK. Finally the mailman delivered the letter I was waiting for.

This is “the hug” that rewarded Hugo Pinell after 46 years of being barred from touching a friendly human being. Allegra, who had the pictures taken Aug. 2, says her father asked that if these photos were published, “the hug” should come first. In his last letter to her, written two days before he died, he wrote: “I felt uncomfortable posing for our first photo. I was nervous; somehow I mustered up a smile. Then you got almost behind me, put your arms around me and I felt wonderful.”
This is “the hug” that rewarded Hugo Pinell after 46 years of being barred from touching a friendly human being. Allegra, who had the pictures taken Aug. 2, says her father asked that if these photos were published, “the hug” should come first. In his last letter to her, written two days before he died, he wrote: “I felt uncomfortable posing for our first photo. I was nervous; somehow I mustered up a smile. Then you got almost behind me, put your arms around me and I felt wonderful.”

Here are quotes from Daddy’s letter I received the day he was killed. It’s dated Aug. 10, 2015 – a small sample of my loving Dad:

“Hi, Presiosa. Thinking of you always and loving you more with each heartbeat. Sending more love to the family and to All other true loved ones. It is Monday morning and it appears that the program is getting back to normal because more prisoners were let out for work assignments, but nothing official. No yard today; I know for sure because it is 12:00 p.m. and we usually go out at 11 a.m.

“My Sweetheart Daughter, I love you, love you honey. I felt uncomfortable posing for our first photo. I was nervous; somehow I mustered up a smile. Then you got almost behind me, put your arms around me and I felt wonderful. Do take much care, give everyone more love and Yogi Bear hugs, and keep loving me.

“More hugs, kisses, and love,

“Your Daddy, Hugo L. Antonio”

Just a couple of hours after receiving my Dad’s letter, wherein he was telling me not to worry because he was OK and the lockdown had been placed on modified program; the phone rang and I answered it – to hear the news of my Dad being killed.

My heart was instantly broken. I fell to my knees … they killed my Daddy!

The news reports started coming in. On every television channel, they were talking about him being the most notorious and the most dangerous man in the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation). To hear them describe my Dad that way was akin to killing him over and over again.

They referred to him as inmate A88401. To mainstream media, he was just another inmate, the worst of the worst. To so many, including many of the inmates, he was considered a living legend. He was considered to be the one who could not be broken.

Allegra Taylor and her father, world renowned, beloved political prisoner Hugo L.A. Pinell, pose in the visiting room at New Folsom Prison just outside Sacramento on Aug. 2.
Allegra Taylor and her father, world renowned, beloved political prisoner Hugo L.A. Pinell, pose in the visiting room at New Folsom Prison just outside Sacramento on Aug. 2.

He was the committed one, the one with vision and fortitude. To those who knew him personally, he was even more: He was the first born son, first grandchild, the big brother, the uncle, the nephew, and even the cousin. To me he was simply DAD!

My Dad was the best dad in the world. He used to say: “Honey I can’t give you much because I am here, and you are out there. The one thing I can give you is love.” Those words became the beginning of the best days of my life.

Each and every weekend I couldn’t wait to see him. My Dad was soft spoken and honest in sharing with me anything I wanted to know about the past, the present and the future.

He was the committed one, the one with vision and fortitude. To those who knew him personally, he was even more: He was the first born son, first grandchild, the big brother, the uncle, the nephew, and even the cousin. To me he was simply DAD!

We had the best times together in our visits. He would talk and I listened. I talked and he listened. We cried and laughed together.

We went on imaginary trips back to San Francisco to our old neighborhood to Mission Delores Park, always together. It was our way of escaping the reality that he was in there and I was out here.

He would sing songs to me in English and in Spanish. He would tell me how blessed he felt to have me in his life and how spending time with me felt like a reward for the time he had invested in becoming a new man.

My Dad was a class act of love. No matter what he endured, he kept pushing on. He often stated that the continuous love and support he received was his backbone.

No matter what he endured, he kept pushing on.

My Dad shall be remembered as unifier of people. He lived, fought and died with purpose. His conviction as a humanitarian made him a revolutionary and an agent for change. His principal sense of integrity and love was the foundation of his strength.

My Dad shall be remembered as unifier of people. He lived, fought and died with purpose. His conviction as a humanitarian made him a revolutionary and an agent for change. His principal sense of integrity and love was the foundation of his strength.

In Loving Memory of my Dad

Allegra Taylor is the only child of hero and martyr Hugo Pinell. She can be reached via the Bay View.

7 COMMENTS

  1. So sorry for your loss. I am haply he worked hard to become a better person and that you were able to see that part of him. Keely your head up,💖

  2. Allegra,

    I am truly sorry for your loss. This article was very touching and brought tears to my eyes. I am grateful for you and you dad after so many years that you two actually were able to have a contact visit and hug and have the pictures you posted here. Do not ever let anyone bring you down. Keep your beautiful head held high; I am sure your dad would want you to as well and never ever let anyone bring you down. Prayers and hugs to you.

    Margo

  3. I am truly sorry for your loss! However he is always in your heart n now forever by your side watching over n guiding you as a free man. My prayers, thoughts n heart go out to you and your family.

  4. Education is really a word which brings changes in our life and also in our living style because doing so teaches us the actual difference of everything and let us differentiates between every thing. Education is a road which is endless and those that will travel and need to take it the item positively they find succeed.

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