Monday, July 23, 2007

Protest at home of Harris County DA on County's 100th Execution

The Committee for the October 27th 8th Annual March to Stop Executions is announcing a press conference and picket at the home of Harris County's District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal on Tuesday, July 24, 2007 at 7 PM, one hour after Lonnie Johnson is set to be executed in Huntsville.

Johnson's execution, if not delayed, will be Harris county's 100th execution since executions were resumed in Texas in 1982.

Harris county, if it were a state would be Number Two in the country for executions, following the state of Texas. Number Three is the state of Virginia.

Please read the article from today's Houston Chronicle and following it an excellent report on Harris County by Amnesty International.

Then make plans to join us on the tree-lined sidewalk in front of Chuck Rosenthal's home at 7723 Pagewood. The home is three blocks west of Hillcroft and three blocks south of Richmond, in between Hillcroft and Stoneybrook.

Invited speakers for the press conference are Assistant Minister Eric Muhammad with Nation of Islam Mosque 45, the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Harris County Green Party, the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, prison activist Ray Hill, producer of S.O.S. Radio Brother Zin and the family of Michael Richard, a mentally retarded man set for execution on September 25.

July 22, 2007, 8:40PM
Tomball killer is set to be executed Tuesday
Case again focuses attention on race relations in community

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

Midnight came, midnight went and downtown Tomball seemed dead as dead could be. From her post at the Stop N Go's cash register, Tammy Wynette Durham scanned the bleak scene, enlivened only by the lights of an occasional passing car. Then, about 1:30 a.m., she noticed something that frightened her: a lone black man loitering at the store's front with his hand concealed beneath a newspaper.

Durham, alone in the store, telephoned her friend Gunar "Bubba" Fulk, 16, and asked him to keep her company. Minutes later, Fulk, a strapping 6-foot-plus Magnolia High football player, and his friend Leroy "Punkin'" McCaffrey, 17, pulled into the parking lot.

The teens talked to the man — later identified as Lonnie Earl Johnson — then told Durham they were giving the seemingly stranded motorist a ride.

Four hours later, about 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 15, 1990, a motorist spotted Fulk's body beside FM 2920, about four miles from the store. He had been shot three times in the head and once in the chest. McCaffrey's corpse was found 350 feet away.

Detectives traced Johnson to Austin, where he was arrested at a topless bar Aug. 30. Although the Tomball landscape worker said he killed the teens in self-defense, a Harris County jury found him guilty of capital murder and sentenced him to die.

Barring favorable action on last-minute appeals accusing prosecutors of illegally withholding crucial information from defense attorneys, Johnson, 44, will be executed Tuesday. In a recent death row interview, Johnson likened himself to James Byrd Jr., the 49-year-old Jasper man whose racially motivated dragging death in 1998 gained international notoriety.

"The only difference between me and James Byrd," Johnson said, "is that I lived."

The case, which has attracted interest from as far away as Canada, again focuses attention on race relations in the tiny northwest Harris County community, which two years ago hosted a Ku Klux Klan function in a city-owned building.

Racially charged period

The Tomball murders occurred during a racially charged summer as a campaign in neighboring Montgomery County to free Clarence Brandley from death row moved toward success. Brandley, a black high school janitor condemned for the 1980 rape-strangulation of a 16-year-old white student, was released from prison after almost 10 years.
Austin attorney Jodi Callaway Cole last week launched an appeals strategy at state and federal levels arguing that prosecutors withheld investigators' reports and other documents that could have buttressed Johnson's claim of self-defense.

Read the rest of the article

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1 comment:

John Coby said...