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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

US Executions - one person's story

Anonymous left this message to my earlier post about the death penalty (with Statue of Liberty skirt photo). It's a very compelling story and I want to honour it with those of you who visit here.


I stood behind thick glass filled with chicken wire and watched while Texas murdered my grandson and I held my daughter tightly with both arms wrapped around her to prevent her from trying to claw through the glass to get to her first born son lying on the guerney. The day before they killed him we were allowed to visit him (no contact, ofcourse) and on the execution day he was allowed to phone us at the sanctuary for families.

After over a decade on death row he had matured into a strapping young man and was no longer the brash youngster he had been. And he still professed love for his wife, who had gone off with another man right after his arrest, and asked us to give her his love message. Families never believe that their loved one is guilty but I strongly suspect that his wife was the guilty party and he covered for her, because he spent the entire weekend at my home during the time the crime was committed. But authorities always think families are lying so us providing an alibi was discounted, especially after he accepted the guilt.

As he lay strapped to the gurney he was allowed some last words. He expressed his love for all of us and ended his statement with "tell her I love her and I forgive her ." Forgive her? For what? He never bore her any animosity for taking a lover so soon after the tragedy. He had said, "she's young, it's only natural and right for her to go on with her life, because I'll never be free." His death bed declaration of forgiveness made us even more suspicious of her guilt, but if he was covering for her he took it to his grave. Years later she visited us and was babbling on, started saying something and sudddenly caught herself, looked around like a deer caught in headlights, stammered and said, "I mean..." and quickly ended her visit. Her incomplete statement indicated guilty knowledge of some sort. We will never know if Texas executed the wrong person or not.

PS: you're right about poor legal ounsel. $50,000.00 retainer, for starters. No way we could afford that. The court appointed lawyer had never defended a capital case before and during summation stammered, fumbled wildly through a sheaf of papers in his hand, ran back to the table and pawed through more papers, all the while babbling and stammering like a crazed thing. He was a nice and earnest young man but was unqualified and inexperienced and everyone was embarrassed for him, even my grandson; even though it was his life on the line he felt sorry for the attorney!!


I have to say that all the death row guards that knew him during the decade-plus time he was there liked him and told us he didn't belong there, he was not a killer. And those guards are very savvy about the criminals they interact with every day. They are not easily fooled.

Comments:
I hope one day my country will look back at this time in our history with shame.
 
I do support capital punishment, but in very few cases. The death penalty is waaay overused in the US. I always understood the purpose of it to be that the crime was so absolutely heinous that it demanded the most severe punishment possible. It seems like in almost every crime, the death penalty is sought, no matter how iffy the evidence may be or how badly the accused has been represented in the legal system. Utterly frightening.
 
Hi Gary

Good idea to publish that comment!! I don’t believe in the death penalty, but apart from my personal view it must be acknowledged there will always be innocent people put to death, especially when the defence is inadequate. In those cases it’s clearly murder by the state!!
 
who am I to judge?

who is anyone to judge the value of the life of another?

when you judge it reflects only yourself, no one else.

when I hear this stories I get home sick for Canada.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Very sad and touching story. I, too, am concerned about innocent people being put to death under our system. I think that it's mostly applied to the poor and minorities. I would support it if I knew it were applied fairly and no innocent person EVER died. It's not worth it if one innocent person does die.
 

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