…because there is a good chance that by the time many of you read this, he will be dead. He is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas on Thursday evening. He will be executed for having committed the crime of murder. He will also be executed despite the fact that the executing state admits that he did not commit the crime of murder. How is this possible, you ask? Let’s back up.
Eleven years ago, Foster was driving a car with three passengers. One of the passengers left the car, got into an altercation and shot a man dead. The shooter was executed for this crime last year. At the time of the shooting, Kenneth Foster was 80 feet away in his car.
But Foster was sentenced to die as well under what’s known as the law of parties. The law imposes the death penalty on anybody involved in a crime where a murder occurred. 1
As Amnesty International says:
This law abolishes the distinction between principal actor and accomplice in a crime and allows both to be held equally culpable. 2
Now think about this. A young man is in a car with three other friends. Without any prior discussion warning the others, one of them gets out of the car, walks 80 feet away, chases a man, then shoots him dead. His girlfriend claims it was a robbery. The young man in the car is aghast. WTF?
Unfortunately, even though he had no advance knowledge of not only the murder, but probably the robbery too (though he and his buddies were on an admitted robbery spree that night) and had no way of preventing it from happening, he is going to pay the ultimate price of his life for the sin of another man (shades of jesus). His two friends who were in the car with him were not even charged. The shooter was executed last year (this is Texas, remember).
Did I mention that he was black? Did I mention that there are four others scheduled to die in Texas this month? No? Well, there are: three more black men and a Latino. Two of them are already dead.
The victim’s childhood friend, who you would think would be bitter towards Foster, had this to say about the execution:
“the execution of a young man who didn’t even kill Mike [the victim, Michael LaHood]? That’s not justice… It’s senseless vengeance, a barbarism cloaked in the black robes of justice.” 3
Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, and even the European Union has asked the State for clemency for Foster. (Governor Perry’s response to the European Union? That the US fought a war to be free of European influence, and “Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.” Such compassion, it makes you want to kick a kitten doesn’t it?)
If he is executed, he will be the 403rd person executed in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated in 1982.
What can you do? Most likely, nothing, although you could trying calling and asking for clemency for Mr. Foster. However, if they won’t listen to Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu and the entire European Union, don’t hold your breath that your voice will count. Especially if you’re not from Texas.
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles:
Gov. Rick Perry
Or go here.
H/T Black Sun
“Dear Governor Perry, Chairwoman Owens and Members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and Members of the Texas Legislature:
Viewing the barbarism of the death penalty from a few states away, I have to tell you that Texas reminds me a lot of South Africa 25 years ago – a pariah, an aberration of humanity, a national and international laughing stock, and a shame.
I do hope that you have the sense to show some compassion for a fellow human being. I don’t disagree that Foster should be punished, for the fact that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and chose to be there. Life imprisonment is certainly adequate to punish him for what he did. Probably more so.
But now you have the opportunity to show the world that Texas is just not a cartoon caricature of a buffoon society, that it can enforce the rule of law, mete out punishment, and show mercy and minimize human suffering all at the same time.
The death of Kenneth Foster will serve no purpose other than blood lust, but his clemency at your hands will certainly advance the ideals of western civilization and America forward, not backward.
Wouldn’t you rather have that as your legacy, Governor?”
[EDIT 2] Yay! It worked.