Marie "Mechie" Scott
NOTE: Mechie is applying for commutation and invites letters of support from all! Please see the tab below for some sample letters that have already been submitted. These may be copied and mailed to the address indicated.

Sentenced to Life Without Parole at age 19.
She is now in her 40th year of incarceration. How much punishment is enough?

Picture at time of arrest:(does she even look 19?) and now.

Mechie Arrest 1 cropped Mechie Arrest 2 cropped Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 5.12.56 AM

Some writings by and about Mechie (Please click on the tabs below).

Mechie's Story: Life without parole at age 19.

The Gap of Justice: In 2012, the US Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama ruled that minors (aged 17 or younger) may not be sentenced to life without parole. But what of those who were found guilty of crimes--even those who played just a tangential role as minor accomplices, over the age of 18. Mechie Scott is just one of these young people. She and so many others have been bypassed by the Supreme Court, discarded through "The Gap of Justice." Below is her article arguing intelligently and compassionately for parole.

40 Years into a life sentence. Outside supporter Ellen writes about Mechie.

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Social Activist Ellen Mechiondo writes about her friend Mechie.

OP-ED: Mechie — 40 Years Into A Life Sentence that Began at 19
Link to Juvenile Justice Information Exchange: 40 years into a life sentence


Marie Scott does not want to be called by her given name. She prefers Mechie. Her name rhymes with Peachie, as in Sharon “Peachie” Wiggins. Peachie died on March 24, 2013 at the age of 62 after being incarcerated since she was 17 in 1968. In fact, originally sentenced to death, Peachie spent two and half years on death row along with her 17- and 18-year-old male co-defendants.

Mechie joined Peachie at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy in Pennsylvania in 1973, charged with murder in the first degree, aggravated robbery and conspiracy, at the age of 19.  Mechie and Peachie’s friendship soon developed into soul sisters and soldier sisters. Peachie was the consummate friend and leader who selflessly shared her refined value system, spirit and grace throughout Muncy. Mechie embraced Peachie’s ethics and wisdom and grew up to be an equal to Peachie. Sadly, Mechie must carry the torch once held by Peachie, alone but with strong determination to gain her deserved second chance.

Mechie has spent 40 years incarcerated at Muncy. I met her for the first time on March 25, 2013, when I went to Muncy to find out what had happened to Peachie and to offer and receive comfort from Mechie and another woman serving life. I had been writing and visiting Peachie for a little more than two years.

My life revolved around Peachie. I reached out to her friends and to lifers advocacy groups to learn more about commutation and juvenile life without parole, and she guided me and taught me about case law. We were so hopeful that she would be released when the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 abolished mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles in Miller v. Alabama. But Peachie died while waiting for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to rule on retroactivity of the Miller decision.

I, like so many of her friends and advocates, was devastated by her death and missed opportunity for freedom. Prior the Miller ruling, Peachie was viewed by all at Muncy to be the most deserving of commutation. She applied 13 times. The women would say, “She did it all, tried 13 times and was turned down. Why should I try for commutation?”  In fact, since 1971, only nine women have received commutation from a life sentence. I doubt I’d try.

I was aware of Mechie from other advocates who spoke highly of her, and I had wanted to meet her for quite some time. Any friend of Peachie’s was someone I wanted to meet. As an Official Visitor with the Pennsylvania Prison Society, I was able to visit Mechie on that cold, dark, sad day after Peachie died. Mechie and I never thought that our first meeting would be on such an overwhelmingly emotional occasion. We tried to cheer each other up and we vowed that we would not let the memory of Peachie fade. We would work to preserve her legacy.

Mechie didn’t tell me about her situation until the next visit. Until she was 19, when she was sent to Muncie, Mechie’s reality was drugs, alcohol, physical and sexual abuse, prostitution, co-dependency, depression, mental illness, suicide, homelessness and being the mother of a four-year-old son. Her co-defendant was a 16-year-old boy. He shot and killed the gas station attendant during a robbery in Philadelphia. Mechie’s role was minimal. The robbery was to be carried out with a knife held by her co-defendant. But he found a gun while searching the gas station attendant, and the co-defendant took it. Mechie didn’t see the man get shot.

Later that same night, when the police arrived where she was staying, Mechie reportedly admitted to her role in the robbery. Both she and her co-defendant were convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life without parole even though Mechie was not the killer and didn’t plan the robbery.

Mechie told me that when she first arrived at Muncy she couldn’t comprehend her sentence. Her trial transcripts show that the judge told her she would be released on parole at the discretion of the Pennsylvania State Board of Parole. Consequently, Mechie didn’t think she had a true life sentence. It was this understanding that gave her hope for relief all these years.

Mechie’s 19-year-old brain, like that of her 16-year-old co-defendant, was not developed enough to be sentenced to the harshest possible punishment. The Supreme Court decision in Miller was based on neuroscience research that found the brain is not fully developed until the mid-20s. And the parts of the brain that develop last are impulse control, risk assessment and moral reasoning. In addition, there are several Pennsylvania statutes that define the end of childhood as anywhere from 17 to 21 years of age. For these reasons, Mechie is fighting for her freedom.

I believe that Mechie has served her time and deserves to live the rest of her life outside the prison walls of SCI Muncy. As Mechie likes to say, “I’ve been here since dirt was discovered.” It’s time to let her discover the free world she has not seen for 40 years.

Below are two letters recently written in support of Mechie's application for commutation. Please feel free to copy all or part, and snail mail them to:

Mr. Johnny Johnson Department of Corrections
Bureau of Treatment Services 1920 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, Pa. 17050


February 12, 2018

The Interagency Liaison, Bureau of Treatment Services
PA Department of Corrections
1920 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

For the Attention of: Governor Tom Wolf and the Board of Pardons

Re: Commutation of sentence for Marie Scott, #004901

Dear Governor Wolf,

I write in support of commutation of sentence for Marie Scott, currently in your Cambridge Springs Facility. Sentenced in 1974 to Life Without the possibility of Parole, she is no longer the same person. This is a rehabilitated person – now a concerned adult who’s been around the block, a mature woman who understands her responsibilities as a citizen, a woman with a purpose – a far cry from the immature, desperate, drugged pawn of overwhelming circumstances. Then, she was a girl who looked to others to come up with the ideas, push the plan, make the decisions – now, she can do that on her own, with a degree of stability and reason that exemplifies personal growth.

Many of us question the prison state we have created – an ignominious megalith that when statistically compared with other western countries makes us blanch with incredulity. It is within your power to inspire a difference in the image and reality – one rehabilitated, over-imprisoned, poor and poorly represented inmate at a time. Marie Scott, an elderly, reformed black mother and grandmother, offers proof that the State of Pennsylvania genuinely rehabilitates its charges. She has not merely aged out of crime. Ms Scott has maximally taken advantage of the programs the State has provided.
Forty-four years later, both The People and the person can pronounce hers a success story. A commutation neither diminishes the court’s intention nor reduces the sentence, and in this case, demonstrates the effectiveness of State programming. In addition, the citizens of Pennsylvania gain relief from fiscal burden where it is no longer warranted.

Forty-four years ago the judge of Ms Scott’s case visited her in prison and apologized for the severity of the sentence, holding out good behavior as grounds for release. Since then she’s earned a GED, an Associates degree, participated in mandatory and voluntary rehabilitative training, received consistently exemplary evaluations, and become a champion for children of incarcerated parents. This last activity is a passion based on her foresight and understanding of how judgment and behavior are taught, are represented in the culture, cultivated and modeled. Her words and her actions support her commitment to proactively creating good citizens of her daughter and granddaughter, a precious role that is being denied her after her own rehabilitation. She should be there for them, as well as the countless other children she can positively influence through continuation of her programs and personal connections.

Further, her latest project builds on establishing resources for the unrepresented children of murdered parents. She has written a bill to legislate a State study to determine these victims’ needs. Her vision outpaces current research in that no centralized data collection is presently tracking the
victims’ children.

Being nearly the same age as Ms Scott, I find that my greatest disappointment in life is that people do not automatically become wise with age. A person has to actively accumulate the knowledge and skill to become wise. Through introspection, guidance, philosophical alignment and tenacity, minds can process and strive toward the goodness. Before us is a woman who has made and is making great effort in that direction. She offers the potential for community gain – especially for those in circumstances similar to hers when arrested – which massively outweigh the risk of again jeopardizing her freedom. The community will benefit from Ms Scott’s intense desire to
prevent – to prevent thoughtless, hurtful, unnecessary mistakes. She is a person who has gone well beyond contrition, who will now effectively contribute. I respectfully ask that you grant Ms Scott’s request for commutation. Her journey is not finished – let’s see what she can do if given a second chance.


Robin F. Bertomen
Citizen of the United States of America


Michael H. Fox
Women's Criminal Justice Network
Hyogo University
Kakogawa City

February 11, 2018

To Board of Pardons
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Letter in Support of Clemency for Marie Scott

In 1973, at the age of 19, Marie Scott was sentenced to life without parole. Marie participated in a robbery which inadvertently ended in murder. She did not hold the murder weapon, see the shooting, nor did she harm anyone. The robbery was planned and the murder was committed by a male accomplice.

Though only age 19 at the time of the crime, pictures taken after arrest show a woman who appears much younger. (pictures viewable at Her immature appearance is likely due to growing up poor, abused and codependent.

Pennyslvania maybe the only place in the known universe which sentences accomplices in murder cases to life without parole. In other states, she would have likely been released in 12 years. In Japan, (where this author lives) she would have been in prison until her 26th birthday, and then on parole for a short time. In most European countries, the sentence would be similar.

Marie has outside supporters and family who are eager to take care and offer emotional and financial support. She deserves to be released.

Sincerely submitted,

Michael H. Fox