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Friday, October 26, 2007

Houston Chronicle: Anti-Execution March Moves to Houston This Saturday

Congratulations to the Houston organizers of the 8th Annual March to Stop Executions for getting the Houston Chronicle to cover the march before it even happens. This is great media work! Way to go Gloria Rubac, who works with the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement.

To see pictures from past years marches in Austin, click here. One of the speakers at the march in Houston will be the sister of Michael Richard. He was executed in Texas on Sept 25 after Judge Sharon Keller told his lawyers "We close at 5". If you would like to join the more than 1,000 who have signed a judicial complaint against Keller click here.

There are always a lot of people who comment on death penalty articles in the Chronicle, so if you follow the link, you can leave a comment on the article.

http://www.chron.com/disp/commnts.mpl/metropolitan/5247314.html

Oct. 26, 2007, 12:46AM

Anti-execution march moves to Houston

Ex-death row inmates to take on Harris County's sentencing record
By ALLAN TURNERCopyright 2007 Houston Chronicle


Former death row inmates Clarence Brandley and Kerry Max Cook will be keynote speakers Saturday at a Houston anti-death penalty march and rally expected to draw protesters from throughout the state and nation.

Normally held in Austin, the march, now in its eighth year, was moved to Houston to protest Harris County juries' record of leading the nation in assessing death sentences, said event organizer Gloria Rubac. Since executions were resumed 25 years ago, 102 killers from Harris County have been executed; 122 remain on death row.

The March to Stop Executions will assemble at 2 p.m. at Emancipation Park, 3018 Dowling, then proceed to SHAPE Center, 3815 Live Oak, for a 3:30 p.m. rally.

The theme of the event is "Celebrating Our Victories, Remembering Our Losses; Continuing the Fight for Abolition!"


Brandley, who was convicted of the August 1980 rape-murder of Cheryl Dee Ferguson, a 16-year-old volleyball player at Conroe High School, spent a decade on death row before prosecutors dropped charges against him. Investigators' failure to compare a Caucasian hair found on Ferguson's body with that of other possible suspects in the case was among presumed irregularities in the case cited by Brandley's advocates.

At the conclusion of an evidentiary hearing in October 1987, state District Judge Perry Picket called on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to grant Brandley a new trial. "The litany of events graphically described by the witnesses, some of it chilling and shocking, leads me to the conclusion the pervasive shadow of darkness has obscured the light of fundamental decency and human rights," he wrote.


After unsuccessfully appealing to stop a new trial, the prosecution dropped charges in October 1990.

Cook spent 22 years on death row after he was convicted of the 1977 rape-murder of Linda Jo Edwards, a Tyler woman. He was tried three times and twice condemned. After he won a new trial in 1993, Cook was freed from prison based on time served after he entered a no contest plea. Months later, DNA linked Edwards' murder to another man.

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