By Jennifer Latson - Houston Chronicle
Death row inmates are held in 24-hour isolation and are forbidden any contact with the outside world. But state officials say they have confiscated 19 cell phones from death row prisoners this year.
During the phone calls, Whitmire said he tried not to ruffle Tabler or arouse his suspicion.
"I said, 'How did you get a phone?''' Whitmire recalled of his first conversation. ``He said, '$2,100.' I said, `How are you charging it?' He said, `I have a charger.'''
Many of their calls went to fellow gang members outside of prison, Whitmire said. They also called relatives and anti-death penalty advocates, he said.
A random search of Tabler's prison cell last week had come up short. Tabler told Whitmire he had handed the phone off to a guard in advance.
As police arrested his mother in Austin on Monday, investigators surprised Tabler in his cell.
Ward did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday. Whitmire is taking extra precautions to keep his family safe, he said.
"We need to support them, but we need to find and prosecute every crooked officer. I just think you need to ask the honest correction officers to help clean the mess up.''