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Friday, August 31, 2007

Message to the National Anti-Death Penalty Movement



There are certainly many lessons to learn from the Kenneth Foster victory. The victory was the result of the entire Texas anti-death penalty movement working together, including every anti-death penalty organization in Texas, as well as Kenneth's lawyers and family members and some long-time supporters of Kenneth from other U.S. states and around the world.

One important lesson is that organizing works. In particular, affecting public opinion through grassroots organizing works. Pressuring elected officials works. Texas is not a lost cause, as some people outside Texas sometimes seem to think. Here in Texas, we have known for some time that we are making progress. But, we also know that the national anti-death penalty movement should be investing more time and money in Texas. Investing more financial and other resources into the Texas anti-death penalty effort would pay off in more of the type of successes that we saw with the Save Kenneth Foster Campaign.

The Texas anti-death penalty movement would like to ask for more help from national funders and organizations. Some people do understand that Texas is where a lot of effort should be expended. For instance, we are thrilled that the Journey of Hope is coming back to Texas this fall. But, we need more resources and more help. With increased attention to Texas, we will be able to win more often and we will be able to significantly reduce popular support in Texas for the death penalty and greatly reduce the number of executions that take place here.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fascinating audio with NY Times Reporter on Kenneth Foster Case

The Kenneth Foster story, together with a picture, is on the front page of the New York Times online. It includes an mp3 audio with the reporter and he gives a lot of credit to the anti-death penalty movement and the power of swaying politicians through public/popular opinion. This is a similar observation that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram made in this editorial.

In the audio, he mentions the annual March to Stop Executions in October and says that with this victory the anti-death penalty movement in Texas will be "encouraged that they can change things".

http://times.com

Governor Commutes Sentence in Texas
Mona Reeder/The Dallas Morning News, via Associated Press
Governor Commutes Sentence in Texas

Kenneth Foster, whose case has raised international protest, won a rare commutation to life in prison.

  • Back Story With Ralph Blumenthal (mp3)

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Victory Celebration for Kenneth Foster at Governor's Mansion

We just returned from the governor's mansion where a group of us celebrated saving the life of Kenneth Foster.

Here is the first news report from the mansion.

Death Penalty Opponents Celebrate Perry's Decision

Commutation Of Kenneth Foster Is Rare Victory For Anti-Death-Penalty Forces

Video: Watch Our Latest News

Image

Gregg Watson
Reporting

(CBS 42) AUSTIN A planned protest for death row inmate Kenneth Foster is now a victory party. Earlier Thursday afternoon Governor Rick Perry spared the prisoner from execution.

Friends of Foster and death penalty protesters gathered in Downtown Austin to celebrate.

It's unusual for the parole board to recommend the governor commute a sentence, so they're saying thanks to those who supported their struggle.

The background in this case goes back 11 years.

Foster was the wheelman, driving the get-away car on the night he and four buddies went on a crime spree in San Antonio.

They botched the robbery of Michael LaHood, who was shot and killed by Foster's friend Mauriceo Brown.

Brown was convicted and executed in 2006.

Death penalty opponents say Foster was only the driver, so he shouldn't die. They protested and used the Internet to save his life. But state law allows accomplices to be executed.

Opponents see this as a victory.

Perry issued a statement earlier Thursday.

"After carefully considering the facts of this case," he said, "along with the recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment."

Foster's date with death would have been the third this week and 24th of 2007.

But now he'll spend life behind bars.

Before the governor's decision to spare Foster, the LaHood family said they were looking forward to putting this day behind them.

Family members say they're disappointed with the governor's decision.

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Houston Chronicle Reports on Kenneth Foster Commutation

Perry spares inmate set to die today
By LISA SANDBERG, Austin Bureau
Full article

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry offered a rare reprieve today to a death row inmate who was sentenced to die for a killing he did not personally carry out.

Six hours before Kenneth Foster was scheduled to die, Perry accepted a recommendation from the state board of pardon and paroles and commuted Foster's death sentence to life in prison.
In a statement, Perry said he arrived at "the right and just decision" after carefully reviewing the facts and after considering the board's 6-1 recommendation, which was issued earlier this morning.

Foster, a former gang member from San Antonio, was sentenced to die for being an accessory to the murder of 25-year-old law student Michael LaHood Jr., who was killed in 1996 at age 25. Foster, who was then 19, was the getaway driver in a car some 80 feet away from where one of his buddies shot and killed LaHood during a botched robbery.

Perry specifically cited the fact that Foster was tried, convicted and sentenced directly alongside the triggerman, which could have tainted the jury's punishment choice.

"After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment," Perry said in a statement.

"I am concerned about Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine."

The seven-member parole board had voted 6-1 to recommend the commutation. Legally, Foster remains a convicted murderer.

Perry was not obligated to accept the highly unusual recommendation from the board whose members he appoints. The commutation is the first in his more than eight years in office this close to an actual execution. The board decision was announced about seven hours before Foster was scheduled to die. Perry's announcement came about an hour later.

Foster acknowledged he and his friends were up to no good as he drove them around San Antonio in a rented car and robbed at least four people before the slaying of LaHood.
"It was wrong," Foster, 30, said recently from death row. "I don't want to downplay that. I was wrong for that. I was too much of a follower. I'm straight up about that."

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Dan Rather to Report New Details on Executions of Innocents Ruben Cantu and Carlos DeLuna

EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK'S DAN RATHER REPORTS
DID TEXAS EXECUTE INNOCENT MEN? DAN RATHER REPORTS INVESTIGATES SIGNIFICANT FLAWS IN TWO TEXAS DEATH PENALTY CASES

Dan Rather Reports Examines the Death Penalty Cases of Ruben Cantu and Carlos De Luna, September 4 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Watch preview clip here.

Next Tuesday’s Dan Rather Reports will reveal new details surrounding two capital murder cases in Texas - leading to the executions of two men that may have occurred as the result of flawed evidence.

In “Did Texas Execute Innocent Men?” Dan Rather speaks with key players in the cases of both Ruben Cantu and Carlos De Luna both of whom died by lethal injection in Texas where more than one-third of the nation’s executions take place.

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Send a Thank you Email to Gov Perry and the Board of Pardons and Paroles for Granting Clemency to Kenneth Foster

Click here to Send an email to Say Thank You to Governor Perry and Members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles for Granting Clemency to Kenneth Foster, Jr.

Thank you very much also to the more than 5,000 people who wrote Governor Perry, the Board of Pardons and Paroles and every member of the Texas Legislature. Thank you to the many members of the Foster family, lawyers and activists around the world in the Save Kenneth Foster Campaign who have worked on this case and saved Kenneth's life. Thank you to the 13 members of the Texas Legislature who wrote clemency letters to Perry and the BPP. You have made a difference! You have made history! Extra thank you to the Campaign to End the Death Penalty in Austin who worked very hard for Kenneth.

By MICHAEL GRACZYK
Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE - Gov. Rick Perry accepted a recommendation from the state parole board and said today he would spare condemned prisoner Kenneth Foster from execution and commute his sentence to life.

Foster had been scheduled to die tonight.

"After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment," Perry said in a statement.

"I am concerned about Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine."

The seven-member parole board had voted 6-1 to recommend the commutation.

Perry did not have to accept the highly unusual recommendation from the board whose members he appoints.

Foster was the getaway driver and not the actual shooter in the slaying of a 25-year-old man in San Antonio 11 years ago.

Foster acknowledged he and his friends were up to no good as he drove them around San Antonio in a rental car and robbed at least four people 11 years ago before the slaying of Michael LaHood Jr.

"It was wrong," Foster, 30, said recently from death row. "I don't want to downplay that. I was wrong for that. I was too much of a follower. I'm straight up about that."

Another execution, the first of five scheduled for September in Texas, is set for next week when South Carolina native Tony Roach faces injection Wednesday for the strangling of an Amarillo woman, Ronnie Dawn Hewitt, 37, during a burglary of her apartment nine years ago.

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Perry Commutes Kenneth's sentence

WE DID IT!!! Gov. Perry commuted Kenneth Foster's sentence.

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6-1 VOTE IN FAVOR OF CLEMENCY FOR KENNETH

6-1 VOTE IN FAVOR OF CLEMENCY FOR KENNETH

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Governor Should Listen to Texans about Kenneth Foster says Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote an editorial today in which they mention the letters by Rep Dutton and other state reps urging clemency for Kenneth Foster.

Print This Article
Thursday, Aug 30, 2007

No needle

http://www.star-telegram.com/225/v-print/story/218157.html

Although his statement could have been phrased a tad more gently, Gov. Rick Perry was on target when he informed the European Union that Texans aren't too concerned about what Europeans think when it comes to his state's use of the death penalty.

Calls from South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President Jimmy Carter to spare the life of Death Row inmate Kenneth Foster Jr. are likely to receive similar dismissals.

But Perry and the state Board of Pardons and Paroles should be listening to what Texans say when it comes to today's scheduled execution by lethal injection of Foster, who did not fire the gun that ended Michael LaHood's life that Aug. 15, 1996, night in San Antonio.

Thirteen members of the Texas House petitioned Perry and the board to commute Foster's sentence to life without parole.

Those voices -- those of legislators who, in the words of their Aug. 23 letter, "are responsible for making the laws of the State of Texas" and "also assume responsibility for protecting our system of justice from mistakes" -- argued that the execution of Foster "is just wrong."

No one who has read the case file can argue that Foster is a complete innocent. He was driving the car that carried the triggerman, Mauriceo Brown, who was executed in 2006 for killing LaHood. Foster was present earlier in the evening when Brown and two other men committed two robberies.

Prosecutors in this case used the state's "law of parties" statutes to hold Foster criminally responsible for the actions of another. Under Section 7.02(b) of the state penal code, if two or more "conspirators" agree to commit a crime and in the process commit another, each conspirator is guilty of the crime committed if the crime was "one that should have been anticipated."

Foster deserves to spend a long, long time -- if not the rest of his life -- behind bars for what he did do that night. But he does not deserve to die -- not today, not at the hands of a state executioner.

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Call Governor Perry to stop the execution of Kenneth Foster.

We will be on the road today to Huntsville to protest the execution of Kenneth Foster.

Huntsville Protest, Thursday, August 30, 3:00 - 7:00 PM

Protest the execution of Kenneth Foster Jr. outside the Huntsville Unit. Groups from all over the state will converge to stand against this injustice and demand until the very end that the State of Texas do the right thing and stop this execution. 815 12th St., Huntsville, Texas.

There will also be protests in cities across Texas on Thursday, if the execution is not halted, at the usual protest locations, including in Austin at the governor's mansion.

Thursday, August 30, 5:00 PM, Governor’s Mansion (Lavaca at 11th)
EXECUTION PROTEST AND VIGIL
Even in the eleventh hour things could turn for Kenneth. If you can’t make it to Huntsville, come out to stand with others at the mansion in Austin against the execution.

Send an email to Governor Perry, which is also being sent to members of the Texas Legislature and th
e Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Use the numbers below to call and leave a voice mail for Governor Perry saying you want him to stop the execution of Kenneth Foster.

Call Governor Perry! If you get a busy signal, just keep trying. Call the main switchboard first (512) 463-2000. They may transfer you to his voice mail, which tends to fill up, so if that is the case, call the main switchboard back and let them know the voice mail is full, and leave your message with an operator.

Call Governor Perry!

Citizen's Opinion Hotline: (800) 252-9600 [for Texas callers]

Citizen's Assistance and Opinion Hotline: (512) 463-1782

[for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers]

Office of the Governor Main Switchboard: (512) 463-2000

[office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST]

Legislators can not directly stop an execution, but they can use their influence and access to Governor Perry to influence his decision and they can write a clemency letter to the Governor. So far, 13 Texas legislators have written clemency letters. We would like to get more of them to write Perry. If you live in Texas, go here and look up your state representative and state senator. Call them on the phone, identify yourself as a constituent, say you do not think that Texas should execute Kenneth Foster, who everyone agrees did not kill anyone or intend anyone to be killed.

Ask them to call the governor and express their support for clemency directly to the governor. You could mention that executing people who haven't actually killed anyone, by using a statute like the "Law of Parties", is a great miscarriage of justice and casts doubt on the entire Texas death penalty system. Also mention your sympathy for the family of the victim, Michael LaHood, whose actual killer, Mauriceo Brown, has already been executed.

If your representative is Howard Dutton, Jessica Farrar, Elliot Naishtat , Mike Villareal, Terri Hodge, Sylvester Turner, Donna Howard, Alma Allen, Eddie Rodriguez, Helen Giddings, Ruth Jones McClendon, Dora Olivo, or Lon Burnam, you do not need to call them. They already have written clemency letters to the governor.


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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Board of Pardons and Paroles Delays Decision on Kenneth Foster till Tomorrow

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles did NOT make a decision today on the case of Kenneth Foster, Jr. There was a crowd of about 75 people who had gathered at the governor's mansion in Austin waiting on the decision, but it never came. Now, we expect a decision tomorrow. We do not know what the reason is for the delay, but it is not really the best way to conduct a decision about an execution when the governor will have much less than 24 hours to consider whatever the board recommends. In fact, the governor should go ahead and issue a 30-day stay because of the BPP's failure to give him 24 hours to make a decision.

In the meantime, everyone should continue to contact the board of pardons and paroles and the governor tonight and tomorrow by phone, fax or email.

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Holding Breath Waiting for Board of Pardons and Paroles to announce Kenneth Foster Decision

Kenneth's father just spoke with Kenneth Foster's lawyer and they are still waiting on a ruling from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. There has been a delay because they are still ruling on John Amador's case, but they should have a decision by the end of today. Amador is scheduled for execution today and Kenneth tomorrow.

We will keep you posted.

Italian authorities have announced that they will light the Coloseum in Rome tomorrow night in support of stopping Kenneth Foster's execution. The lighting will begin around 2 PM Texas time.

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BPP Decision on Kenneth Foster Expected Today by 1 PM; Press Conference at 5 PM at Governor's Mansion

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is expected to announce its decision on Kenneth Foster by 1 PM today, Wednesday, August 29. The Governor of Texas can either accept or reject the board's decision.

The Campaign to Save Kenneth Foster will hold a rally and press conference to respond to the board's decision at 5:00 PM at the Texas Governor's Mansion (Lavaca at 11th).

There will also be a vigil/protest from 5:30 - 6:30 today against the execution of John Amador.

Write Gov Perry to Urge Him to Stop the Execution of John Amador

Artwork by John Amador

TDCJ Info on Amador

Kenneth Foster's Execution is scheduled for Aug 30

Write Gov Perry, the Board of Pardons and Paroles and Texas Legislators to Stop Kenneth Foster's Execution

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

DaRoyce Mosely Executed at 10:57 PM

Aug. 28, 2007, 11:18PM
Inmate executed for death of woman during Kilgore robbery

By MICHAEL GRACZYK Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A former high school honors student was executed late Tuesday evening for the death of a woman who was one of four people gunned down in a holdup at an East Texas bar.

The lethal drugs were not administered to DaRoyce Mosley until the U.S. Supreme Court resolved a late appeal, about five hours after the scheduled time for the execution. He was executed about an hour before his death warrant would have expired.

In a brief final statement, Mosley said he appreciated the love and support he had received over the years.

"I will see you when you get here," he told witnesses, including his mother and sister. "Keep your heads up. To all the fellows on the row, the same thing. Keep your head up and continue to fight."

He expressed love again and as the lethal drugs began flowing, he remarked, "I can taste it." Nine minutes later, at 10:57 p.m. he was pronounced dead.

His mother and sister cried and sobbed as he died.

Mosley, 32, was the 22nd Texas inmate executed this year and the first of three to die on consecutive evenings in the nation's most active death penalty state.

Mosley didn't deny walking into the Kilgore bar intending to rob the place, but insisted his uncle who accompanied him was responsible for the slayings 13 years ago. The uncle, Ray Don Mosley, now 44, took a plea bargain and is serving life in prison.

DaRoyce Mosley said he wrongly confessed to the slayings of Patricia Colter, 54; her husband, Duane, 44; Alvin Waller, 54; and Luva Congleton, 68. Sandra Cash, then 32, who worked at Katie's Lounge in Kilgore, was shot in the spine but was able to call police.

A Gregg County jury condemned Mosley for Patricia Colter's death. He was denied clemency by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and late appeals to the courts argued that threats from Mosley's uncle coerced him into the shooting spree.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his appeals earlier Tuesday and his attorneys went to the Supreme Court late in the day.

Cash, the lone survivor, last weekend told a lawyer working for Mosley that the uncle ordered Mosley to fire the shots. But Cash, according to attorney John Weigel, refused to elaborate on what Mosley did after the threat and cut off her conversation by saying only that Mosley "deserved to die for ruining her life and for being involved in the killings of those people."

Cash's comment "would have either supported a theory of the case that DaRoyce ran or that he acted under duress," said Gary Bledsoe, one of Mosley's trial lawyers. "It clearly is quite significant in terms of whether there is mitigation and whether DaRoyce is likely to commit future acts of dangerousness."

The jury that condemned him had to agree they believed Mosley was a future threat.

Clement Dunn, one of the prosecutors at Mosley's trial, said he was confident the jury's verdict was correct, certain that detectives investigated the case appropriately and agreed with all the appeals that upheld the verdict.

"And I feel good about being able to say that," he said.

Mosley had no previous prison record. He grew up in an impoverished area of Kilgore but succeeded in high school. He won a spot on the student council, played sports, made the honor roll and then attended Kilgore College. But he said peer pressure from others in his neighborhood prompted him to slide, and eventually to accompany his uncle on the robbery.

"It's not so much that I wanted to," he told The Associated Press in a recent interview from death row, saying he fled when the shooting started. "I turned around and ran out, and here I am. It's a messed-up situation all around.

"These people are fixing to execute me. It's hard not to be bitter. ... I know I shouldn't be here. It'd be easier if I did it. If I killed four people, I'd deserve it and I'd prepare for it. But that's not the case with me. How do you prepare yourself to die if you're not ready to die?"

Evidence showed Mosley and his uncle split $308 taken from the bar among themselves, a 16-year-old friend of DaRoyce Mosley's who accompanied them that night, and a friend who was related to the juvenile. The juvenile who authorities determined left before the gunfire was given a two-year jail sentence.

Mosley said he turned down a plea deal for three life terms.

"I figured I'd be found not guilty," he said. "If anything, it'd be armed robbery. It didn't work out."

On Wednesday, John Joe Amador, 32, was set to die for the 1994 shooting death of a San Antonio taxi driver.

Then on Thursday, Kenneth Foster, 30, faced lethal injection for his role as the getaway driver when a San Antonio man, Michael LaHood, was gunned down on his driveway in 1996. Foster's case has attracted attention from death penalty opponents because another man, Mauriceo Brown, fired the fatal shot and Foster was convicted under Texas' law of parties, which makes an accomplice equally culpable. Brown was executed last year.

___

On the Net:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice execution schedule http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/scheduledexecutions.htm

DaRoyce Mosley http://www.daroycemosley.com/

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DaRoyce Mosely Execution Delayed

Texas Execution Delayed While Court Considers Appeal

Aug 28, 2007 10:47 PM

An execution scheduled for Tuesday in Texas has been delayed while the U.S. Supreme Court considers an 11th-hour appeal.

Late Tuesday, both the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to block the execution of DaRoyce Mosley.

Mosley is on death row for a 1994 bar robbery in Kilgore that left four people dead.

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Another stain on justice, Texas style

EDITORIAL

Austin American Statesman

Another stain on justice, Texas style

EDITORIAL BOARD

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gov. Rick Perry can spare a life, uphold justice and bring a semblance of honor to Texas this week, if only he will seize the opportunity.

Perry has the power to stop the execution of death row inmate Kenneth Foster, scheduled to die Thursday for a crime everyone acknowledges that he did not commit. The state's Board of Pardons and Paroles also can halt the execution.

Kenneth Foster He's no sweetheart, but he did not commit the murder that he is on death row for participating in.

Foster, 30, is not the sweetheart anti-death penalty activists insist he is. He was a thug, armed robber and drug dealer in San Antonio. But he did not commit the murder that put him on death row.

Foster was driving the car with three criminal friends on a robbery spree the night Michael LaHood, 25, was shot and killed in 1996. One of Foster's passengers, Mauriceo Brown, shot LaHood in the face during an attempted robbery. Brown was executed for that crime last year.

Foster was convicted under Texas' Law of Parties statute that considers those who had a major role in a capital crime as guilty as the actual killer. Texas is the only state that applies the Law of Parties to capital crimes, and an estimated 80 death row inmates have been condemned to die under that statute.

Foster and the others in the car with him say Foster had no idea Brown would kill LaHood. But prosecutors and a jury said Foster should have known that Brown intended to shoot LaHood and should have prevented it.

The inescapable problem with the Law of Parties is that a jury has to go back in time and read the defendant's mind, guess at his intention. The sentence is based on what the jury believed Foster was thinking when the crime occurred. No one's life should hinge on guesswork by jurors.

A federal district judge overturned the death sentence in 2005 after determining that Foster didn't play a major role in the conspiracy to rob LaHood. But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court and reinstated the death sentence in 2006. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Foster's appeal.

So now it's up to Perry or the Board of Pardons and Paroles to do the right thing and spare Foster's life by granting him a reprieve. It's the only just thing to do. If the governor or parole board allows this execution, Texas will be further stained by injustice.

Since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, Texas has executed 400 people, far more than any other state. That's more than a third of all the 1,100 executions in the United States in that same period.

Everyone can sympathize with LaHood's family and share their grief at their loss. But granting Foster a reprieve in no way endangers this state's embrace of the death penalty or threatens to turn a cold-blooded killer loose on the streets.

It only assures that one man is not put to death for a crime committed by someone else. It's simple justice.

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DaRoyce Mosely Does Not Deserve Execution

Urge the Governor to Stop the Execution of DaRoyce Mosley set for today.

Inmate to die for Kilgore robbery where 4 slain

The Houston Chronicle

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A former high school honors student convicted of killing a woman in a holdup at an East Texas bar where she was one of four people gunned down was headed to the death chamber Tuesday evening.

DaRoyce Mosley, 32, would be the 22nd Texas inmate executed this year and the first of three to die on consecutive evenings in the nation's most active death penalty state.

Mosley didn't deny walking into the Kilgore bar intending to rob the place, but insisted his uncle who accompanied him was responsible for the slayings 13 years ago. The uncle, Ray Don Mosley, now 44, took a plea bargain and is serving life in prison.

DaRoyce Mosley said he wrongly confessed to the slayings of Patricia Colter, 54; her husband, Duane, 44; Alvin Waller, 54; and Luva Congleton, 68. Sandra Cash, then 32, who worked at Katie's Lounge in Kilgore, was shot in the spine but was able to call police.

A Gregg County jury condemned Mosley for Patricia Colter's death. He was denied clemency by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and late appeals to the courts argued that threats from Mosley's uncle coerced him into the shooting spree.

Cash, the lone survivor, last weekend told a lawyer working for Mosley that the uncle ordered Mosley to fire the shots. But Cash, according to attorney John Weigel, refused to elaborate on what Mosley did after the threat and cut off her conversation by saying only that Mosley "deserved to die for ruining her life and for being involved in the killings of those people."

Cash's comment "would have either supported a theory of the case that DaRoyce ran or that he acted under duress," said Gary Bledsoe, one of Mosley's trial lawyers. "It clearly is quite significant in terms of whether there is mitigation and whether DaRoyce is likely to commit future acts of dangerousness."

The jury that condemned him had to agree they believed Mosley was a future threat.

Clement Dunn, one of the prosecutors at Mosley's trial, said he was confident the jury's verdict was correct, certain that detectives investigated the case appropriately and agreed with all the appeals that upheld the verdict.

"And I feel good about being able to say that," he said.

Mosley had no previous prison record. He grew up in an impoverished area of Kilgore but succeeded in high school. He won a spot on the student council, played sports, made the honor roll and then attended Kilgore College. But he said peer pressure from others in his neighborhood prompted him to slide, and eventually to accompany his uncle on the robbery.

"It's not so much that I wanted to," he told The Associated Press in a recent interview from death row, saying he fled when the shooting started. "I turned around and ran out, and here I am. It's a messed-up situation all around.

"These people are fixing to execute me. It's hard not to be bitter. ... I know I shouldn't be here. It'd be easier if I did it. If I killed four people, I'd deserve it and I'd prepare for it. But that's not the case with me. How do you prepare yourself to die if you're not ready to die?"

Evidence showed Mosley and his uncle split $308 taken from the bar among themselves, a 16-year-old friend of DaRoyce Mosley's who accompanied them that night, and a friend who was related to the juvenile. The juvenile who authorities determined left before the gunfire was given a two-year jail sentence.

Mosley said he turned down a plea deal for three life terms.

"I figured I'd be found not guilty," he said. "If anything, it'd be armed robbery. It didn't work out."

On Wednesday, John Joe Amador, 32, was set to die for the 1994 shooting death of a San Antonio taxi driver.

Then on Thursday, Kenneth Foster, 30, faced lethal injection for his role as the getaway driver when a San Antonio man, Michael LaHood, was gunned down on his driveway in 1996. Foster's case has attracted attention from death penalty opponents because another man, Mauriceo Brown, fired the fatal shot and Foster was convicted under Texas' law of parties, which makes an accomplice equally culpable. Brown was executed last year.

___

On the Net:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice execution schedule http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/scheduledexecutions.htm

DaRoyce Mosley http://www.daroycemosley.com/

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Court TV on Kenneth Foster

Kenneth Foster, driver during fatal robbery, set to be executed a year after shooter

A San Antonio jury sentenced Kenneth Foster Jr. to death in 1997 for driving his friends from the scene of a deadly shooting after what prosecutors said was a botched robbery.

The 20-year-old was convicted under the conspiracy provision of Texas' "law of parties," a legal premise that alleged that Foster was just as responsible for Michael LaHood's death as the man who shot him.

Under the controversial law, Foster was accused of being a co-conspirator in a robbery plot that he should have known was likely to result in LaHood's death.

Bexar County prosecutors claimed that LaHood was the final target in a string of armed robberies that Foster and his three cohorts set out to commit the evening of Aug. 14, 1996. LaHood's girlfriend, Mary Patrick, testified that the foursome followed them in their car to LaHood's home and engaged her in a brief conversation before Foster's co-defendant, Mauriceo Brown, ambushed LaHood in his driveway.

Patrick testified that Brown shot LaHood, the son of a prominent San Antonio attorney, in the head from less than six inches away when he refused to give up his wallet. During the brief altercation, Foster kept the car in gear, a fact that prosecutors said underscored their belief that Foster knew a robbery was in progress.

During the penalty phase, jurors found that two aggravating factors applied to Foster: that he should have been able to anticipate LaHood's death, and that he was a future danger to society. They also found that none of the evidence presented by his lawyers in the penalty phase mitigated his culpability, rendering him eligible for the death penalty.

After the penalty phase, one of the 12 panelists remarked in the press that Foster, a churchgoing college student who was working toward a degree in sociology, had "all the chances in the world" to steer clear of the violent path he went down the night of Aug. 14, 1996.

But Foster, now 30, claims the jury was never shown that he was unable to anticipate that his co-defendant, Mauriceo Brown, was going to kill LaHood, because the two had never agreed to rob him.

Also, post-conviction attorneys trying to win Foster's freedom from a death sentence claim the jury might have voted differently had they heard about his troubled upbringing at the hands of two drug addicts who spent most of their son's childhood in custody.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has refused to grant Foster a hearing to consider the merit of his claims, leaving clemency from Gov. Rick Perry his only chance for a reprieve before his Aug. 30 execution date.

Growing up in a drug house

Foster was born Oct. 22, 1976, to a couple who had met one year before at a drug treatment center in Austin, Texas.

Drug abuse remained a focal point of the Fosters' daily existence after their son's birth, according to relatives who spoke to Foster's lawyers for their application to commute his sentence.

Foster's mother, Patsy Pullin, routinely committed theft, burglary and prostitution to maintain her habit. His father, Kenneth Foster Sr., also resorted to crime to support his addiction, using his infant son's baby carriage to conceal stolen goods.

The Fosters' exploits landed them in and out of jail throughout their son's childhood. In between their jail stints, the young Foster frequently saw his parents using heroin, cocaine and crack. On at least one occasion, he watched his mother performing a sexual act on a man for money.

Foster's grandparents raised him from the time he was 8 years old.
Foster's grandparents raised him from the time he was 8 years old.

During this time, Kenneth's older half-brother, Chris Pullin, became his caregiver and also turned to theft to support the family. As the boys grew older, Pullin told Foster's lawyers, his mother came to expect the boys to pickpocket and steal "whatever cost the highest" — from briskets and hams to cartons of cigarettes. Pullin said his mother often sold their clothing for drug money, and the boys once sold their dog to help their mother when she was sick.

When his parents were not around, Foster and his brother witnessed violence and drug use in their home from a revolving cast of family friends and relatives, including a male prostitute uncle who sold drugs from the home.

Through his older brother and his friends, the young Foster was introduced to alcohol when he was 6. By the time he was 8, he was smoking marijuana. By age 11, he had been sexually abused by three older female cousins, according to relatives.

Kenneth Foster spent his summers visiting his father's relatives in San Antonio. His grandfather remembered that he would use this time to "retrain" his rambunctious grandson to behave in a "socially appropriate" manner, only to have to go through the same process the next visit.

When he was 8 years old, Foster permanently moved in with his grandparents. After a period of adjustment, his grandfather, Lawrence Foster, said his grandson grew into a cheerful, energetic child who excelled in school and got along well with others.

"He was a leader as a boy. Everyone tended to be in his arena," Lawrence Foster told CourtTVnews.com.

By his sophomore year of high school, however, Foster admits he became a follower in an effort to "be cool." His grades slipped, he dropped out of school sports and spent more time drinking and doing drugs.

Throughout his teen years, his mother's drug use continued up until her death from AIDS when Foster was 17. He continued to use drugs, which led to the start of his brushes with the law.

As a juvenile, Foster was placed on deferred adjudication twice, once in 1994 for drug possession and again in 1995 for selling a police officer a quarter pound of marijuana for $225.

Kenneth Foster and his daughter, Nydesha Foster.
Kenneth Foster and his daughter, Nydesha Foster.

With the birth of his daughter Dec. 31, 1995, Foster says he made an effort to turn his life around. After graduating from high school, he entered St. Philip's College in San Antonio to pursue studies in social work. There, he met two of the three men in the car with him the night LaHood was killed.

An altercation in a driveway

Outside of school, he and some friends started to build a recording label. On the afternoon of Aug. 14, 1996, Foster set out in a car his grandfather had rented for him so he could interview potential talent for his label.

Late in the afternoon, he picked up school friends Mauriceo Brown, Julius Steen and Dwayne Dillard, and the foursome cruised the streets of San Antonio, drinking and getting high.

When they became bored, Brown pointed out that he had a gun and suggested they search for victims to rob. From two robberies, during which Foster remained the driver, the group netted about $300.

Bexar County prosecutors alleged that the group had chosen Mary Patrick and Michael LaHood as their third robbery targets, but Foster claims the group encountered them purely by chance.

According to Foster, at about 2:30 a.m., they were driving home through a residential area of San Antonio when they passed Mary Patrick on the sidewalk outside of Michael LaHood's home. As Foster tells it, Patrick flagged down his car and demanded to know why they were following her.

In police statements by all four men after their arrest, they described a brief discussion with Patrick that ended with someone commenting about her appearance and her telling them to "take a picture, it would last longer."

As Patrick walked away from the car and up the driveway to where LaHood was standing, Brown left the car.

Foster says he was under the impression that Brown went after Patrick to flirt with her and was unaware that Brown had taken the gun with him.

Brown also testified at his and Foster's joint trial that his intention was to talk to Patrick, but that the confrontation escalated into gunfire after LaHood pulled a gun on him.

Brown and Foster were tried together, despite efforts from defense lawyers to sever the trials.

Steen, who was sitting in the front seat, testified during their trial that he began to doze off, but Foster woke him and urged him to look out for police.

By this time, Steen testified, they were following Patrick's car, for what he understood to be their final "jack" of the night.

Steen testified that, unlike with the night's previous incidents, there was no discussion of whether a robbery was actually going to occur. But, he said, "it was kind of like, I guess, understood what was probably fixing to go down."

The testimony turned out to be a crucial pillar in the prosecution's contention that the three men in the car knew a robbery was likely to occur.

Prosecutors also emphasized Foster's involvement in the robberies earlier in the evening and invited the jury to infer that the encounter in LaHood's driveway was an extension of the initial crime spree.

"The jury could reasonably believe that Brown and Foster planned this 'jack' while Steen slept," the three-judge panel from the Court of Criminal Appeals wrote in their decision upholding the death sentence. "Although there was conflicting testimony as to Brown's intent at the LaHood home, the jury was free to believe Steen, who said he 'had a pretty good idea' what was going to happen when Brown got out of the car."

Since then, Steen has come forward to clarify his trial testimony. In an affidavit provided to Foster's lawyers, Steen said it was only after Brown left the car and began talking to LaHood that he thought a robbery was likely.

"There was no agreement that I am aware of for Brown to commit a robbery at the LaHood residence. I do not believe that Foster and Brown ever agreed to commit a robbery," Steen wrote in his affidavit. "When Brown got back in the car, we were all shocked. Even Brown looked shocked. I don't think that Brown knew why he shot the man and was surprised that he did."

Dillard, who was not called as a witness in Foster and Brown's trial, eventually provided corroborating statements. Dillard also testified that earlier in the evening, before the group came upon Patrick's car, Foster had urged the group to stop committing the robberies.

Steen received a life sentence in exchange for his testimony and a guilty plea to aggravated robbery. Dillard is also serving a life sentence for murder in an unrelated case.

Brown was executed last July.

In applications to the district and federal courts, Foster's post-conviction attorney, Keith Hampton, argued that the newly discovered evidence from Steen and Dillard proved that Foster never agreed to rob LaHood and, therefore, could not have foreseen the tragic consequences of Brown's actions.

"He did not kill, intend to kill, contemplate or possess a state of mind that can be equated with the intent to kill, and if you don't have any those things, you're not supposed to be on death row," Hampton told CourtTVnews.com.

"The death penalty is supposed to be reserved for the worst of the worst, and in this case, we've got a guy who didn't kill anybody," said Hampton, who was part of the legal team who won a reversal for another Texas death row inmate, Scott Panetti, this year, who claimed he suffered from mental retardation.

Foster says he has attempted to turn his incarceration into a positive experience by taking on the role of reformer and activist.

He works with several anti-death-penalty groups to raise awareness about capital punishment legislation, in particular, the law of parties. He also founded an inmate group named DRIVE, or Death Row Inner-communalist Vanguard Engagement, an internal lobby for improvements on Texas' death row.

In June, his girlfriend married him by proxy in a ceremony that was performed in a radio station. As Foster listened to the radio, a family friend stood in for him at the station and read his vows to his wife, Tasha Narez-Foster, a Dutch rapper whose stage name is Jav'lin.

Narez-Foster says she was drawn to her groom-to-be after reading his story online. From there, she says, the relationship grew out of their shared passion for music and poetry and similar life experiences with rape and drug abuse.

"I've learned you don't choose who you fall in love with, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would be my path," Narez-Foster told CourtTVnews.com. "I found home in his story, in his soul and in his heart, and I think that's what matters most."

As Foster sits on death row, he says he accepts responsibility for his part in LaHood's death, but doesn't think he deserves execution.

"I'm not saying that I'm not responsible for any wrongdoing there may have been. I have no problem accepting responsibility or punishment for something I did do. But I don't feel like I need to be punished for something that I did not do," Foster said in an interview from Texas' death row in Livingston a week before his scheduled execution.

"If I get to that gurney, they're going to be killing somebody that did not kill anybody," Foster said, "and I think that that's something that people really need to wake up to and see."

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Tx Legislators Who Support Clemency for Kenneth Foster

Today, we delivered the clemency letter written by Rep. Dutton and signed by other state representatives to Governor Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. The letter was signed by Dutton, Mike Villareal, Eddie Rodriguez, Donna Howard, Alma Allen, Terri Hodge and Ruth Jones McClendon.

Also, Sylvester Turner, Helen Giddings and Dora Olivo are sending their own letter tomorrow.

Also, we know that Elliot Naishtat, Lon Burnam and Jessica Farrar wrote their own letters earlier and sent them to the Governor and the BPP

So, we have 13 confirmed Texas state representatives who have signed letters in support of clemency for Kenneth Foster.

A couple of other state legislators have told us that they may write their own letters tomorrow to the Governor, but they are not confirmed, so we won't mention their names.

We have just heard that the Board of Pardons and Paroles has delayed their decision on Foster until 1 PM on Wednesday. They had planned to announce it by the 28th, but now they are taking one extra day.

That means there is still time for other legislators to write the Board of Pardons and Paroles and ask them to vote in favor of clemency for Kenneth Foster. Clemency could take the form of commuting the sentence from death to life in prison or some other term of imprisonment, or the BPP could recommend a stay of execution, so that Foster can try to find a court to hear the new evidence that supports his factual innocence, which is what three members of the Court of Criminal Appeals would like to see. They would like him to be able to pursue his factual innocence claims.

Please take a moment and call your own elected state representative or senator now and leave a voice mail for them asking them to write their own letter to the Board of Pardons and Paroles and send it to the BPP tomorrow, August 28.

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Write Gov Perry to Protest Execution of DaRoyce Mosley on Aug 28

Contact Governor Perry to Urge Him to Stop the Execution of DaRoyce Mosley on Aug 28.

AP:

Defense attorneys were in the courts trying to keep DaRoyce Mosley from becoming the 22nd condemned inmate executed this year in Texas and the first of three set to die this week on consecutive nights in America's busiest capital punishment state.

DaRoyce Mosley was convicted in the death of Patricia Colter, one of four people gunned down during a robbery on July 21, 1994, in a bar in the east Texas city of Kilgore.

Mosley contended he was involved only in the robbery and not the killings.

Cynthia Orr, one of Mosley's trial lawyers, said the trial was held amid threats and rumors about Ku Klux Klan violence. Mosley is black. All the victims were white. Eleven of the jurors were white and one black. A request to move the trial elsewhere was denied.



Son, brother set for execution

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Link to article

KILGORE — Holding a tissue to her tear-streaked face, Charline Jackson whispered to herself. "That's my baby," she murmured as she gazed at a picture of her son. Soon, pictures are all she will have of him.

Her son, DaRoyce Mosley, is scheduled to be executed Tuesday.

Michael Cavazos/News-Journal Photo
Charles Hollis trys to comfort Charline Jackson on Saturday as Jackson tries to discuss the trial of her son DaRoyce Mosley, who received the death sentence and is scheduled to be executed Tuesday. On Oct. 28, 1995, Mosley was found guilty of the 1994 capital murder of Patricia Colter and was sentenced to death.

Mosley, 32, was sentenced to death for killing a bar patron in 1994. His uncle, Ray Don Mosley, was also convicted in the shootings, and got three life sentences.

Even as Mosley's family members and friends prepare themselves for his execution, they remain positive that he is innocent.

This makes it especially hard to face Mosley's fate, said Reshunda Ross, his sister.

"If we felt like he was guilty and this was happening, it wouldn't hurt as much," she said, trying to choke back tears. Around her, Mosley's mother, two grandmothers and family friends, began to weep as well.

Mosley's mother and sister offered no explanation for his innocence other than to say the act was not part of his character. However, his sister hinted that others at the scene may have had a role in the shooting. Ross said that Christopher "Kaboo" Smith, a cousin of Marcus Smith — also a suspect in the shootings — may have given false testimony against Mosley.

"(Kaboo's testimony) was a shock because him and DaRoyce were best friends," Ross said. "I believe

(Kaboo) turned on his friend to save his cousin."

She dismissed the idea that her brother had committed murder for money, since he had just won a settlement for a traffic incident.

"Money was not the issue," she said, adding that being in the wrong place at the wrong time was his crime.

"If he's guilty of anything, that's what he's guilty of."

Ross and Mosley's mother and grandmothers pointed out that he would never have shot someone because of race, since he was friends with many white people.

"Deep in my heart, I know he did not do it," Jackson said of her son. "I think the system is doing him wrong. They're taking an innocent life when they shouldn't."

Mosley was majoring in engineering at Kilgore College when the shooting happened. He played basketball and football, ran track and maintained good grades, his mom recalled.

"Never got in any trouble (before being arrested for the shooting)," Jackson said, shaking her head. "He didn't even have a parking ticket."

"He was a bright, smart young man," said Edna Powe, one of Mosley's grandmothers. "I'm sorry about the people that got murdered. I do not believe my grandson did that. He wasn't that type of person."

His sister agreed.

"I don't believe my brother could have done this," Ross said.

"My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones that night," she continued. "We also lost two loved ones. Not only did we lose (DaRoyce) then, we have to lose him for a second time on (Tuesday). And for good this time."

Powe and Mosley's other grandmother, Francis Mosley, have talked with him about that night during visits. They are sure he is telling the truth when he says he didn't kill anybody.

"My grandson told me, he said, 'Nanny, they done stacked the cards on me,' " Francis Mosley said. "It's not right."

Once a week for the past 13 years, Jackson has visited her son in prison. She will get four more hours with him Tuesday before watching him be executed.

"It's hard," she said. "It's hard not putting my arms around my baby. It's hard not kissing him. If I could trade my life for him, I would, because he ain't had a life."

Still, Johnson refuses to give up hope that the execution may be called off. Francis Mosley doesn't want to think it will happen, either, but at Mosley's urging she has begun setting up funeral arrangements.

"Tuesday's going to be hard for us," Francis Mosley said. "If (it happens). If. That's a big word."

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

More News Coverage of Protest at Gov Perry's Church

Protestors March Outside Governor Perry's Church (KXAN)
http://www.kxan.com/global/story.asp?s=6985071

KVUE: (With Video)
http://www.kvue.com/video/local-index.html?nvid=169631

Fox 7 Austin:
http://www.myfoxaustin.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=4178653&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=1.1.1

Protestors Demonstrate Outside Gov Perry's Church

Governor Rick Perry

AUSTIN --

On Sunday several death penalty opponents protested outside Tarrytown United Presbyterian Church to send a message to Governor Rick Perry. The protestors want Perry, who is a member of the congregation but did not attend services Sunday, to pardon Kenneth Foster.

Foster was driving the getaway car during a series of robberies in San Antonio on August 14, 1996. One of his passengers, Mauriceo Brown, shot and killed 25-year-old Michael LaHood.

Brown was executed for the murder, but a jury also sentenced Foster to death under the law of parties. That law criminalizes presence and failure of foresight about the crime of another. The law states that Foster should have known LaHood would wind up dead.

The protestors say they are asking for Governor Perry so mercy and pardon Foster rather than executing him for a crime he did not commit. Foster is scheduled to be executed on Thursday.

A spokesman for Perry says he will not be swayed by any protest. Instead, he'll base his decision on the laws of the state. The board of pardons and paroles could also weigh in on this case August 28th.

More save Kenneth Foster video petitions:
http://www.youtube.com/group/kennethfoster

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Photos by Statesman of yesterday's Kenneth Foster protest at governor's mansion



The Austin American-Statesman ran a photo in today's paper of the protest yesterday of Kenneth Foster's scheduled execution on August 30. The Statesman also put more photos online, which you can see here.

Several protesters came out in support of the Save Kenneth Foster campaign as they gather at the Governor's Mansion along Lavaca Street, complete with petitions and clemency letters. Foster, whom some say is innocent, is scheduled to be executed August 30. Department of Public Safety troopers left them alone as long as they did not block the driveway.

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Governor Perry Greeted By Kenneth Foster Execution Protestors At Church Today

8/26/2007

KLBJ Newsroom

A group hoping to change Governor Rick Perry's mind about an execution, met him at his Tarrytown church today. Ariel Kay with 'We The People' says Kenneth Foster should not be executed for driving a car during a botched robbery in 1997. Kay says Foster was sentenced to death under the Law of Parties - because he was present during a crime, he was just as guilty as the person who actually committed the crime. Fosters' family is participating in today's protest. He is scheduled for execution by lethal injection August 30th.

last modified: 8/26/2007 10:40:56 AM

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Does DaRoyce Mosley Deserve to Die on Aug 28?

You don't run into too many magazine articles where the "N" word is used as much as in the Texas Monthly article below. Kilgore sounds like a town that never got over the Civil War. Still, there are some people in Kilgore that don't believe that Daroyce Mosley should die on August 28. He claims he did not kill anyone and that his uncle was the real killer.

"Goddam, I hate to sound liberal, I really do. But, there are too many questions about this case for it to end with the death penalty. This kid participated in a robbery in which four people were killed-and that should definitely involve a jail term. But putting this kid to death? Oh, man, no."


Raised in Kilgore's poorest black neighborhood, he was an honors graduate with a bright future until he was convicted of killing four whites. But the case is still hotly disputed, and the question remains...,


by Skip Hollandsworth

Texas Monthly

February 1996

PDF Version of full article


IN THE EAST TEXAS TOWN OF KILGORE, KATIE'S WAS JUST ANOTHER beer joint perched next to Texas Highway 135. Inside, there were a few tables the size of hubcaps, a small pool table, a jukebox, and some Dallas Cowboys posters tacked to the plywood walls. The customers were white working-class people. Most of the men who stopped in for the 81 bottled beer were oil-field workers still trying to make a living from the dregs of what was once the
largest oil field in the world. They arrived in unwashed pickup trucks. They wore shirts that had their first names sewn above their pockets. Their wives or girlfriends often came along, sitting at separate tables, smoking cigarettes and calling each other "honey." The owner, a rusty-voiced woman named Katie Moore who had been operating East Texas honky-tonks for more than thirtv vears. liked to call Katie's a "quiet little family place."

But on the night of July 21. 1994. Sandra Cash, the 32-year-old barmaid who was paid S30 a night to serve the beer, crawled to the phone and made a 911 call. "Please help me." she rasped. "I am choking."

A young Kilgore police officer, one of the first to arrive at Katie's was young horrified by what he saw that for months afterward he needed counseling. Behind the bar. Cash was barely alive. her spinal cord severed by as many as six shots that had been fired into her. The four customers who had been at Katie's that night were crumpled on the floor, each one shot in the head. Patricia Colter, a 54-year-old Wal-Mart employee, and her 44-year-old husband. Duane, who worked at a Kilgore company that built ceramic toilet fixtures, were closest to the front door; face down, blood from their heads seeping into the carpet. Alvin "Buddy" Waller, a 54 year-old oil-well worker; was lying a few feet away with a pool cue in his hand. He had been shot once in the leg, once in the back of the head. and once through the left eye. Because of the gunpowder on his face, investigators knew that the killer had stuck the gun right up to Waller's eye and pulled the trigger. Luva Congleton, a 68-year-old retiree, had crawled under the pool table to lude. The killer had walked to the pool table, leaned down, and shot her. The only item missing from Katie's was a gray fishing tackle box that Cash used to keep the bar receipts. It held $308.

Continue to read the full article. (PDF)

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Dallas Morning News Says Don't Execute Kenneth Foster

Not a Killer

Kenneth Foster does not deserve execution
Link to article
12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, August 26, 2007
Dallas Morning News Editorial Board

Kenneth Foster was a robber. He was a drug user. He was a teenager making very bad decisions.

He is not an innocent man.

But Mr. Foster is not a killer.

Still, the State of Texas plans to put him to death Thursday.

Ours is the only state in the country to apply the "law of parties" to capital cases, allowing accomplices to pay the ultimate penalty for a murder committed by another. Mr. Foster was driving his grandfather's rental car when one of his partners in crime killed Michael LaHood.

That night in 1996, Mr. Foster and three of his buddies appeared to be looking for trouble. They robbed a few folks, chugged some beers and smoked marijuana. But, as all four have testified, murder was never part of the plan. Mr. Foster and two others sat in the car nearly 90 feet away when the fatal shot was fired.

They had followed an attractive woman into an unfamiliar neighborhood, where they encountered her boyfriend, Mr. LaHood. The other passengers have testified that they had no designs on robbing – let alone shooting – him. And the admitted triggerman said that his friends did not know what he was doing when he approached the victim.

But using the law of parties, prosecutors argued that Mr. Foster, who was 19 at the time, either intended to kill or "should have anticipated" a murder. For this lack of foresight, he has been sentenced to death.

The death penalty, proponents argue, is the appropriate punishment for the worst of the worst criminals. They express confidence that death row inmates are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

But the case against Mr. Foster falls far short on both counts.

A 19-year-old robber/getaway driver cannot be classified as one of Texas' most dangerous, murderous criminals. On this point, even prosecutors agree: Mr. Foster did not kill anyone.

By applying the law of parties to this capital case, prosecutors are asking jurors to speculate on whether he should have anticipated the murder. Conjecture isn't nearly good enough when a defendant's life is on the line.

And relying on a mind-reading jury leaves plenty of room for reasonable doubt.

Several other states have imposed or are considering a moratorium on executions, relying instead on life without parole as a tough alternative. Even though Texas juries now have the option of life without parole, our state continues to broadly impose capital punishment.

The unfair application of the death penalty and the possibility that an innocent man could be executed compelled this newspaper to voice opposition to capital punishment. This case only reinforces our belief that state-sanctioned death is often arbitrary.

While Mr. Foster's execution date approaches, the two passengers from his car sit in prison with life sentences. His only hope for a reprieve lies with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and the governor.

This case raises serious questions about whether state leaders are comfortable with this degree of ambiguity in death cases. We aren't.

Mr. Foster is a criminal. But he should not be put to death for a murder committed by someone else.WHAT YOU CAN DO

Texas is the only state that applies the "law of parties" to capital cases, allowing accomplices who "should have anticipated" a murder to receive the death penalty. Kenneth Foster is scheduled to die Thursday under this provision. You can urge the governor to stop the execution.

Write the governor:

Office of the Governor

P.O. Box 12428

Austin, Texas 78711-2428

E-mail the governor through his Web site:

www.governor.state.tx.us/contact

Call the governor's opinion hotline:

1-800-252-9600


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Rick Perry's Pastor on Justice and the Death Penalty

Hooman Hedayati found this sermon given at Governor Rick Perry's church on July 15 just about a month ago in which Pastor Hellen Almanza talks about the death penalty. Was Rick Perry present that day in church!? If he was, then he might want to apply this sermon's lessons to the case of Kenneth Foster.

http://www.tarrytownumc.org/sermons/sr20070715.html

Our justice system

How many people were there who were awaiting execution in Illinois when the group of law students investigated their cases and found enough evidence that they were exonerated and given pardons? Last I heard it was 26. They were going to be executed. They were poor people who could not afford a lawyer. And they were innocent.

We just need to face it. Certainly we have many guilty people in our prisons, but we obviously have innocent ones too if the Illinois situation is any indication. Our system requires good lawyers who have to be paid to earn a living. That is only fair. But what do you do is you don't have the money?

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Waco Trib Guest Column on Kenneth Foster: "bloodlust, not justice"

There is a compelling article in today's Waco Herald-Tribune written by Lamar Hankins, a San Marcos attorney. He writes, "It should surprise no one who keeps up with such cases that Foster is a black man accused of killing a white man, a factor in many capital murder cases. Michael LaHood was the son of a well-known attorney in San Antonio. The LaHood family, through the media, made it known it wanted the guilty parties executed."

One reason that Foster may end up being executed, instead of being granted clemency and having his sentence commuted to life in prison, is that the victim in the case comes from a prominent and powerful family. Note that I did not say the victim of Foster, because Foster did not kill anyone, so he did not have a victim in this case. The real murderer who created a victim by killing someone has already been executed.

We recently made the rounds of the Texas Legislature and one of the people who told us she would not speak out for clemency for Foster is Senator Leticia Van De Putte, whose aide told us that she is somehow related to the LaHood family, so she is unwilling to speak out, even though the case involves an unjust application of the "Law of Parties". That is how justice works in Texas. The powerful stick together and a poor, innocent African-American family faces execution. We can only hope that in the next few days more people have the courage to raise their voices and say that this execution should be stopped, including Sen Van De Putte, and most importantly, the members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.


guest column: Executing this man is bloodlust, not justice

Sunday, August 26, 2007
Waco Tribune-Herald

You might have missed the story. After all, the football season is starting, and we had all the excitement of a tax-free weekend.

But Texas is about to execute an innocent man, that is, a man who killed no one, who did not want to kill anyone, who did not help kill anyone.

On these points, there is unanimous agreement between all the parties involved. How could this happen in Texas?

Kenneth Foster is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection Thursday for a murder committed by Mauriceo Brown, a friend of Foster who was executed for murder last year.

The incident in question is the murder of Michael LaHood. In an altercation, Brown pulled a gun and shot LaHood. Brown testified that LaHood had drawn a gun on him first. Whatever happened, it is undisputed that Foster sat in the car 80 feet away from the shooting.

There is no evidence that Foster had felonious intent. When he heard the shot, he started to drive off before Brown got back in the car, a fact kept from the jury.

Part of what got Foster charged with capital murder is a legal concept known as “the law of parties.”

In Texas, a person is responsible for the criminal conduct of another if he intentionally assists the other in committing a crime. If a second crime is committed, and it can be anticipated, he can be held criminally responsible for that crime, as well.

Problematic law

Nearly thirty years ago, I was appointed to represent a capital murder defendant in Brazos County where the “law of parties” was involved.

In that case, my client agreed with another person to do physical harm to the victim and the victim died as a result.

Even though there was no direct evidence that my client intended the death of the victim, his conduct fit clearly within the “law of parties.”

This is not the case with Kenneth Foster. Foster was merely present in the vicinity of the murder, not a participant in it in any way except that he was driving the car in which the killer, Brown, left the scene.

It should surprise no one who keeps up with such cases that Foster is a black man accused of killing a white man, a factor in many capital murder cases. Michael LaHood was the son of a well-known attorney in San Antonio. The LaHood family, through the media, made it known it wanted the guilty parties executed.

The prosecuting attorney withheld evidence that would have supported Brown’s testimony that LaHood was armed and that Brown shot him in self-defense.

Foster was tried with Brown, a decision by the judge and prosecutor that prejudiced Foster’s chance to receive a fair trial. Foster’s court-appointed attorney made no inquiries into Foster’s background. Had he done so, he would have found many factors that would have mitigated against sentencing him to death by lethal injection.

Proponents of capital punishment argue that we need this punishment for those who are the worst of the worse; for those who commit murder under the most cold and heinous circumstances; for the irretrievably lost among us. None of these conditions comes close to describing Kenneth Foster.

This case is not about revenge against Kenneth Foster because Foster didn’t kill Michael LaHood, nor did he even want to kill him. It is about blood lust.

Whether the proponents of capital punishment take refuge in Scripture or their general outrage at crime, their hands will be covered with the blood of Kenneth Foster if this travesty of justice is not stopped.

Lamar Hankins is a San Marcos attorney.

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Report from Today's Houston Event w/ Kenneth Foster's Family

Below is a report sent by Gloria Rubac of the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement and the 8th Annual March to Stop Executions Organizing Committee:

We had a wonderful, inspiring, moving and productive event in Houston with the Foster family today!

And it was the lead story on the NBC local news! I had just gotten out of the shower and turned on the news at 10:00 and I heard Tasha's strong voice speaking about Kenneth.
Kenneth's wife, father and grandfather spoke and I can't say who was more compelling as they all spoke from the heart and added to the total picture of who Kenneth is and why he should not be executed. Their love for Kenneth and their passion for justice filled the room.

Two mothers also spoke and added so much to the picture of injustice that permeates Texas and the criminal injustice system.

Barbara Acuna spoke about her son, Robert, the last juvenile Harris Co sent to death row despite the fact they knew that the US Supreme Court was going to hear the juvenile issue weeks later. Through tears she told the Foster family that she shared her love and prayers with them. She also motivated everyone there that the people need to retake our power in this country.

Joyce Guidry, mother of Howard Guidry, who was recently re-tried in Harris Co and returned to death row, told the crowd at St. Saviour's Church that Howard held Kenneth in such high esteem so she knew what a special person he was. Joyce said she knew that Howard was considered a political activist by the system, and that "this mama is going to stand by him no matter what!" She told the Foster family that "we are going to continue to fight for Kenneth and continue till we end the whole system of capital punishment."

It was a successful afternoon for all who attended because everyone left filled with love for the
Foster family and determined to be more involved in the struggle to stop Kenneth's execution.

Tasha ended the event by performing the beautiful words to the song she has done for Kenneth called "Walk with Me." www.freekenneth.com and click on Jav'lin and then click on the link under her picture.

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Foster, Kenneth, Sr. and Tasha for spending a few hours with a crowd of Houstonians who will never forget meeting you all and hearing your words about a young man that you all not only love but are fighting for with every bit of energy you have.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Kenneth Foster Events in Austin and Houston on Saturday Aug 25

SURROUND THE MANSION WITH CLEMENCY LETTERS SATURDAY!

Saturday, August 25 at 3:00 PM
Governor's Mansion, 11th and Lavaca.

Join family and supporters of Kenneth as we make a chain of clemency letters
around the Governor's mansion. Bring your own personal letter to Governor
Perry to read and add to the chain!


FAMILY MEMBER'S FORUM IN HOUSTON ON SATURDAY!

You are invited to meet Kenneth's father, grandfather, and wife on Saturday, August 25, from 2-4 PM at St. Saviour Baptist Church at 5202 Tronewood in Northeast Houston. Hear how someone who shot no one, who killed no one, can be executed in Texas. Here about a young man who became educated and politicized on death row and became a leader and an organizer. And find out how you can help stop his execution.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

John Amador Audio Interview w/ Dave Maass; Execution Date 8-29-07



In this recording, Texas inmate John "Ash" Amador, who is scheduled for execution on August 29, 2007, discusses his dreams and visions. This interview was recorded by journalist Dave Maass on July 25, 2007 at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas.

Amador is scheduled for execution on August 29, 2007. He was one of the artists in TMN's death penalty art show last year in Austin and this past February in Houston.

TDCJ Info on Amador

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Help Find Texas House Members to Co-Sign Clemency Letter for Kenneth Foster

If you would like to help us stop the execution of Kenneth Foster, here is something you can do from home on Friday Aug 24. The execution is scheduled for Aug 30 and the Board of Pardons and Paroles is expected to announce their clemency decision by Aug 28.

Call your Texas state representative Friday Aug 24 (or just call any and all Texas state representatives) and urge them to sign on to the clemency letter that has been drafted by Rep Dutton. The letter asks Governor Perry and the Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Foster's sentence to life in prison. Tell members to contact Dutton's Houston office, if they would like to co-sign the letter.

Here is a webpage where you can click on names of members of the Texas House and go to their webpages to find their phone numbers.

TMN's Scott Cobb will be in the Capitol building Friday Aug 24 visiting legislative offices and asking members to co-sign the letter. Anyone can call Scott at 512-689-1544, if they have questions or if they find a state representative who would like to co-sign the letter. Also, call him if you talk to a member who does not have a copy of the letter and would like one taken to their office. All House members should have received a faxed copy of the letter, but some might not have received it.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

EJUSA Chooses Texas for Special Anti-Death Penalty Retreat in Texas

As many of you know, a group of Texas organizations working against the death penalty recently put together a team to apply for a retreat sponsored by Equal Justice USA in order to strategize about a way forward to stop executions in Texas. Today, we received some good news from EJUSA. An excerpt from their email follows:

Dear friends in Texas,

After looking through the application from Texas and seeing your unique situation, EJUSA wants to give you all some special attention and offer your team a different opportunity than this year's Training and Strategy retreat. We'd like to tailor a special strategy, skill-building, and planning meeting/retreat specifically for the movement in Texas. This will allow more people than just the five of you to be involved and will also give us the opportunity to adapt an agenda specifically for your needs.

We hope that this will be 'more bang for your buck' so to speak and will really allow us all to make progress in building both capacity and support in Texas.

I'm really looking forward to working with you all and learning more about the movement and possibilities in Texas!

on behalf of the entire EJUSA staff,
Sarah Craft

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Pictures from Kenneth Foster Protest at Governor's Mansion on Aug 21

The following is reposted from The Austin Independent Media Center. The original posting is here.

Report and pictures from Tuesday's emergency rally for Kenneth Foster Jr.
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Nydesha Foster, Kenneth's 11-year-old daughter.

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August 21, 2007

Governor Perry Unwilling to Face Family of Death Row Inmate Kenneth Foster

About 200 members of Kenneth Foster’s family, friends, and supporters rallied today in Austin to demand that Governor Rick Perry hear the Foster family’s pleas for clemency. At the south Capitol gate at 5 p.m., Bryan McCann, a leader in the Austin-based Save Kenneth Foster Campaign, reminded the gathered crowd, “Every judge in Texas, every prosecutor, every politician, and even Governor Perry all agree on one thing: Kenneth Foster killed no one.”

Then McCann read from a letter from Kenneth Foster. In the letter, Foster vowed that he and Joe Amador (whose execution is scheduled for August 29) would engage in “passive non-participation” in the preparations for his execution, including a hunger strike to begin August 22.

Foster wrote, “Texas will surpass 400 murders this year. If we are to be unjustly taken then we do not want to go silently. We will not walk to our executions and we will not eat last meals. We will not give this process a humane face.”

It was in this spirit that Foster’s supporters marched from the Capitol to the Governor’s Mansion, where Nydesha Foster (Kenneth’s daughter), Tasha Foster (Kenneth’s wife), and Lawrence Foster (Kenneth’s grandfather) presented the assembly with three personal letters they had written to the Governor.

In her remarks, Nydesha Foster said she was asking the Governor to spare her father “because I love him very much.” She also called attention to the injustice of the Law of Parties and called on the Governor to give the family justice.

In a dramatic turn, six activists sat down to block the gates of the Governor’s mansion in a physical demonstration of solidarity with Foster’s non-cooperation with the criminal justice system. In June 2000, a dozen activists were arrested during a similar protest of the execution of Gary Graham (a.k.a. Shaka Sankofa).

On Tuesday, however, the police held back as protesters chanted, “Governor Perry, take these letters!” Repeated ringing of the doorbell on the gates went unheeded. Demonstrators chanted, “Save Kenneth Foster!” and “It’s Not Justice, It’s a Lie! Kenneth Foster Must Not Die!”

In the face of the State’s unwillingness to engage the Foster family and other supporters, the crowd spread out across the street, blocking traffic for forty-five minutes. Tasha Foster, Nydesha Foster, and other activists took turns on the bullhorn, calling on Perry and his representatives to respond.

They did not. Then the activists sitting across the Governor’s mansion’s driveway addressed the crowd. “It is clear that the Governor has no interest in being accountable to the people and that he does not care that an innocent man awaits his execution,” said Katie Feyh, who had been among those sitting in.

McCann, who also had been obstructing the driveway, stood and called on those present to continue to make themselves heard all the way up to the time of Foster’s scheduled execution. Noting the growing public pressure and extensive media coverage of the case, McCann said, “We’ve given Perry every reason to do the right thing. We will not be silent until he does.”

Kenneth Foster, Jr. has been on Texas’ death row since 1997 for the shooting death of Michael LaHood, Jr. Foster did not shoot the gun that ended LaHood’s life, but was driving the car carrying the actual triggerman, Mauriceo Brown. Foster was convicted and sentenced to death under the Law of Parties, which allows the state to seek convictions for those present at the scene of a crime as if they committed it. Since Foster’s original trial, the other men in the car that night have testified that Foster had no idea LaHood would be shot. Since Foster received his August 30 execution date, a coalition of family, friends, and other supporters have organized to save his life. The August 21 event follows news that the Court of Criminal Appeals denied Foster relief. At present, the Save Kenneth Foster Campaign, along with Foster’s legal team and thousands of people around the world, are petitioning the Governor and Board of Pardons and Paroles for clemency. The case has received considerable local, regional, and national media attention and public support for Foster has been pronounced.

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The Save Kenneth Foster Campaign was established on May 30, 2007 to organize a campaign to halt the execution of Kenneth Foster, Jr. It meets weekly in Austin, Texas, next on August 22 at 7 p.m. at the Carver Library.

Online: www.savekenneth.blogspot.com
More information on the Kenneth Foster case is available at www.freekenneth.com

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