Update: Kenneth Foster, Jr.

UPDATE August 30:

Perry spares inmate set to die today

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. ~ tina

August 15

I delivered the letter from Kenneth to Michael’s father yesterday. I feel horrible. And now, all I have left right now are doubts, doubts about everything. I don’t doubt what I did was the right thing. I know it was. I just thought it would be easier. Instead everything has become so complex, so complicated. There is no black and white, as I thought there would be, only gray.

Silly me, I imagined when the time came for me to live up to my principles that I would feel different, that I would feel somehow ennobled or better about life or free of the sadness and anguish I feel for this whole situation. I miss Mike. And I am so angry right now that I have to go through this.

Yesterday I sat through an hour long interview for some Italian TV company. A full hour of questions. Nothing but questions: “How long did I know Mike? What would Mike think about what you are doing now? What are his parents like? His brothers? His friends? How do you feel about Kenneth Foster? About the death penalty? Why are you doing this?”

Why am I doing this? Because Kenneth’s execution is wrong in every conceivable way. That’s why. read more after the jump

And now, more media is calling. For them this is the stuff of ratings. Never mind that it will lead to the death of a man who is trying to be better, trying to redeem himself. Nevermind that the ratings come on the back of my friend’s cruel murder. No one in the media will lift a finger to correct this injustice. Ratings gold!

So, here I sit, left with an ache, an empty hole whistling through my gut, whispering nothing but doubts. I’m running on empty and yet consumed with guilt: I must do everything I can to prevent this man’s death otherwise I am a fraud.

Why is it so easy for man to dish out what they like to call down here in Texas hard, rough justice, and yet so hard for humans to show mercy?

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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

40 CommentsLeave a comment

  • … death penalty stays off the table in Europe. As a college student in Germany I was a member of an AI group that was working on convincing people – especially kids – that it was something we don’t want to have back. Material from the states has always been good for this – your interviews will add to this media arsenal. You deserve to feel proud for what you do – it is admirable.

  • Hey S-P,

    Why is it so easy for man to dish out what they like to call down here in Texas hard, rough justice, and yet so hard for humans to show mercy?

    I hate to spout platitudes at a time like this, when you’re having it rough, but maybe it’s because showing mercy is harder work? As I think your post shows.

    If doing the right thing was easier than doing the wrong thing, we’d all do the right thing more often.

    Personally, I think you should be damn proud of your efforts and even prouder that you haven’t gotten “certain” about it. From moral certainty comes moral laziness comes immoral action, as any Utilitarian worth his salt will tell you.

    Regards, C

  • and you get to a fork in the trail, the one going uphill’s usually the harder one.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • …I can tell you taking a stand on principles like this usually changes nobodies mind about anything, except perhaps to convince them that you are mad.

    But at least you can look back on yourself with a good few notches more self-respect.

    That’s worth something.

    That’s worth quite a lot.

    And yip, you have doubts. To steer the Right path through a situation that is already so wrong and so very full of gray that people you respect have fallen off both sides of that Right path, is hard, very hard.

    You’re a Good Man SP!

    There is only ever one enemy, and that is the military. It doesn’t matter which side they purport to be on.

  • Petion Online Foster

    Also, here’s more addresses you can write:

    Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Executive Clemency Section 8610 Shoal Creek Blvd. Austin, Texas 78757

    Gov. Rick Perry Office of the Governor P.O. Box 12428 Austin, Texas 78711

  • but the knowlege that God is love has sustained me.

    Forgiveness is an awesome capacity of the human condition.

    Ever since reading your original Kenneth Foster jr post, I have felt a little less diminished as a human being. Your care helped me. Since 1980, Micahs’ words this then is what Yahweh asks of you ‘to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God’ has been an important maxim in my life.

    You know the truth, but even though it may set you free, you will still feel miserable. Life is complex. Thank you for the stand you have taken. My prayers are with you, Kenneth and the families involved.


  • 2000 people have used this online form to write every member of the Texas Legislature asking them to use their positions to ask Governor Perry and the Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant Foster clemency.

    We know that legislators have no direct power to stop an execution, but if this execution is going to be stopped, it will help if Perry hears from legislators, who are the elected representatives of the people of Texas. The legislators are certainly hearing from people, at least 2000 of them so far and probably more.

    Write members of the Texas Legislature to stop the execution of Kenneth Foster

  • compassionate person that cares. It appears the State will take Kenneth Foster’s life and you’ll be left agonizing over his death.

    There is nothing that eases the stark reality of your friend’s absence that helps acceptance of not ever seeing him again. Is capital punishment morally right? I don’t know, all I know is if I were in your place, I too would miss my friend. We are often given burdens in our lifetime that are difficult to accept, but life goes on regardless of what’s moral and what is not. All we can do in this lifetime is do the best with the issues that we support. It pleases me that you’ll work toward righting what you believe is injustice. Sean-Paul, I’m proud to know you. I do know that prayer helps get us through difficult times. God bless, may you be kept close to his bosum, and may he lend you strength at this time.

  • and nowhere in the United States is that current any stronger than in Texas.

    A man fighting for what is right will find himself rejected, even despised.

    Probably late in the game, but Steve Earle champions this cause. And lives in New York City even thought he calls nearby Schertz, Texas home.

    I did inhale.

  • It’s best to understand that mercy and forgiveness are the hard fought part of our better nature. They can’t be ingested in instant gratification morsels, instead they, by their very definition, test our core values. True mercy, true forgiveness must turn you upside down and exhaust your grieving of your loss with no pats of encouragement along the way. The road is not warm and fuzzy. Whether you are instrumental in the best result or not, you will always own your own try. I wish you strength, we should all be so lucky as to have a friend like you and we should all aspire to be the friend that you are.

  • You can’t teach a man anything by killing him.

    repressive governments mix administrative clumsiness & inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies.

  • Are you confusing your path with the destination? You ought to know you’ve no control over outcomes, and can only take solace in the knowledge that your actions match your convictions; a truly worthy outcome.

    Does that mean you do nothing? Of course not. But you can only build your self-worth, and your self esteem on what you’ve got power over. The outcome of this man’s fate is in the hands of the Higher Power of your understanding. This is a fact you know. Yet, with this statement:

    So, here I sit, left with an ache, an empty hole whistling through my gut, whispering nothing but doubts. I’m running on empty and yet consumed with guilt: I must do everything I can to prevent this man’s death otherwise I am a fraud.

    I worry you’ve forgotten who’s will is and who’s will is not.

    Maybe I am miss-interpreting that last sentence. But I get the feeling you believe you actually have to keep Kenneth Foster, Jr. from being executed or you have failed.

    Now, I would never presume to claim to understand where you are at in this situation. Lord knows I’ve never had anyone close to me murdered. That being said, on a daily basis I do a job in a field that, for the most part, has at best a 50% success rate of people completing. If I based my self worth on the outcome of other peoples sobriety, I am doomed to believing 50% of my effort as futile.

    So, I choose to look at just my actions, not the outcomes. I do what I do because I believe what I offer will make a difference. What those whom I give to do with it is their responsibility.

    And you know the kicker in all this? I rarely see the successes. If I am successful, they go live their lives, and I never see them again. I only see those who failed to take what I had to offer and make use of it to better their lives.

    In other words, I have to give without expectation. Are you giving without expectation?

  • that wasn’t my read,

    I’m running on empty and yet consumed with guilt: I must do everything I can to prevent this man’s death otherwise I am a fraud.

    My interpretation is that Sean feels guilty because it appears he’s supporting the alleged killer of his friend. So much easier to accept that this man is guilty when he is not. He’s having to dig deep within himself to continue to fight against the unjust verdict.

    I would think there are people who easily could misinterpret Sean ‘s actions as deserting his dead friend and taken up a cause for what ‘some’ believe is a ‘convicted’ killer and could believe Sean has divided loyalties.

    Only those closest to Sean would know that he fights against the injustice the courts delivered regardless of the scorn that may be heaped on him. For that he needs our support for holding to his principles.

    He is giving with all his heart and soul and should be commended. He’s feeling alone and misunderstood. He loves and misses his friend.

    Must be a feeling like watching someone burn the American flag? It would be agonizing to witness the burning of one’s flag and not strike out, but that’s what standing ‘for’ freedom is about. People deliberately do despicable things to provoke others, but to ban someone or attempt to physically stop them from burning it, is what separates honest, principled patriots from phonies.

  • sean paul did i read right. you said in relation to the media that it is leading to his death. A man who is trying to be a better man and redeem himself. The only thing he is doing is trying to save his butt. He tries to portray himself as the victim here. Are you kidding me? I cant believe i was actually reading correctly when you said he doesnt deserve this. No i didnt know Kenneth. I dont know his personality. But what i do know is his lengthy track record of terrorizing people in San Antonio, and those are just the instances in which he was caught. If you get in your car and 3 of your friends come with you then you should know what they are up to. If your friends are smoking marijuana, carrying guns, using bandanas to cover their faces during holdups then I think he knew what was going on and going to happen. Tell me why he should be given a second chance when the true victim, Mike, never had a chance. I mean he did drive up to the driveway and let Mauriceo get out. He did wait at the bottom of the driveway for Mauriceo to get back. He did know that Mauriceo had a gun and bandana to cover his face. I was in the front row everyday of the trial. I believe it only lasted 5 days. I remember so vividly one day when the trial broke for recess Kenneth turned to us in the front row and winked, then smiled. Well it was more like a cocky grin. And you want me to show remorse for him. I will never waste a breathe to speak up for Kenneth and that he should be kept alive. But I will save that breathe so I can be there for the Lahood family. If your such a good friend as you say then you would do the same.
    Rico Missita

  • condone or excuse Foster’s actions but I don’t think he deserves the death penalty. Life imprisonment without parole would be a more fitting penalty. I also really don’t think that calling for the death of another is any true sign of friendship.

  • Texas defies federal court with plan to execute man who did not kill

    · Controversial state law led to murder conviction
    · Accomplice had sat in car 25 metres from shooting

    Dan Glaister in Los Angeles
    Monday August 20, 2007
    The Guardian

    Texas is poised to execute a man for a crime he did not commit. While the perpetrator of the murder in San Antonio was executed last year, Kenneth Foster, who was sitting in a car 25 metres away at the time of the shooting, was sentenced to death under the “law of parties”.
    The controversial Texas law removes the distinction between the principal actor and accomplice in a crime, and makes a person guilty if they “should have anticipated” the crime.

    While a federal appeals court declared that Foster’s death sentence contained a “fundamental constitutional defect”, a legal anomaly means the state appeals court cannot overturn his conviction, there being no new evidence.

    After the failure this month of Foster’s most recent appeal, the 30-year-old African-American’s final hope of avoiding execution on August 30 rests with an appeal for clemency to the Texas parole board and the Texan governor, Rick Perry.

    “He’s on death row because they screwed up,” said his attorney, Keith Hampson. “There has been a series of mistakes that has had a cascading effect. Now I’m asking the court to step in on their own motion to correct their mistake. Otherwise this guy gets executed.”

    On August 14 1996 Foster and three friends were driving around San Antonio smoking marijuana and robbing people at gunpoint. Foster, who was driving, stayed in the car while two others, Mauriceo Brown and Julius Steen, robbed. As they went to the home of Dwayne Dillard, the fourth person in the car, they found themselves in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. A woman asked why they were following her, and as she left Brown got out of the car and followed her to the home of her boyfriend, Michael LaHood. Brown and Mr LaHood argued, and the three in the car, 25 metres away, heard a “pop”. Brown returned to the car and Foster drove off.

    The four were arrested in connection with Mr LaHood’s murder. Dillard was never tried for the crime, and Steen had a deal with the prosecutors. The prosecutors sought the death sentence only for Brown and Foster, and at the district attorney’s behest the pair were tried together.

    While Brown’s conviction was straightforward, Foster’s depended on Steen’s testimony – who had said he had had “a pretty good idea” of what was going to happen when Brown left the car. In the trial Steen’s testimony was key: it showed there had been a conspiracy to commit the armed robbery. If Steen knew about it, the logic went, then so did Foster.

    The decision to try Brown and Foster together harmed Foster, said his attorney. Foster, the bigger man, appeared the dominant figure. And when Steen testified, his gang friends arrived to watch. The jury allegedly assumed the gang was linked to Foster; they requested and got armed guards for the remainder of the trial.

    Brown and Foster received death sentences in May 1997. Brown was executed by lethal injection last year.

    Since Foster’s conviction evidence has emerged suggesting there was no agreement to rob Mr LaHood. But the basis for Foster’s appeal has been the unconstitutionality of his punishment, a point made by his lawyer in a letter this month to the head of the Texas parole and pardons board. However, the fifth circuit court of appeals concurred with previous rulings that Foster should have known someone might be killed that night in 1996.

    “Foster could not have helped but anticipate the possibility that a human life would be taken [during] one or more of his co-conspirators’ armed robberies,” the court wrote. It said he clearly displayed “reckless disregard for human life”.

    Foster’s lawyer is dismayed. “We’re caught by this procedural glitch. Every court that has looked at this [concludes] his execution would be unconstitutional. It’s maddening,” Mr Hampson said.

    The matter now rests with the Texas parole board, which can recommend the governor commutes the sentence if at least five of the seven board members agree. But Mr Perry has never commuted a death sentence, even on such advice.

    In Texas 398 people have been put to death since capital punishment was reinstated in 1974, more than in any other state.

  • as the day for justice in kenneth fosters case gets near the push is on from his side to fool the public and more importantly cause more anguish for the friends and family of Mike Lahood. At first I thought when I woke up this morning, “Why am I going back to this site to read comments of others that is so frustrating to me because they dont have the true facts of the case.” And then I am reminded of how much the Lahood family is loved and how justice needs to prevail. In response to others and especially Sean Pauls comments which set this whole thing off, it is important that we all have our opinions. I have no problem with that. If you think the death penalty is wrong I understand and respect it. But to get on here and say Kenneth Foster is innocent is so frustrating to people who actually know the facts of the case and who are close to the family. Sean Paul I am still shocked and in disbelief as to why you believe Kenneth is innocent. If you have your opinion about the sentencing then fine that is your voice. But dont sit here and try to fool the readers out there who learn about the trial online and only come to their own conclusions based on readings such as yours. The jury decided because they were actually presented the true facts in court. And anyone who witnessed the trial I believe would come to the same conclusion. Kenneth played the vital role in this tragic death.

  • life in prison for. But he did not murder Mike. Show me where in this post do I say that Kenneth is innocent? Do you think me a fool?

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”

  • sean paul you say in the opening comment you made at the end “I must do everything I can to prevent this death otherwise I am a fraud.” since when did you become a spokesperson for Kenneth. All I can say is you have definately turned your back on Mike even know you may not realize it. Did Kenneth do everything to prevent Mikes death. The evidence and FACTS show he didnt. If you were such a good friend of Mikes then you would know the facts that Kenneth followed them for some 5 miles to Mikes home all the while flashing his brights to flag down the girl. I value anyone opinion. Well if you want mine then I think your using this whole thing for publicity. You make it sound like in your first message that you hand delivered and spoke to Mikes family when you delivered Kenneths letter. When in fact you just walked into the office and dropped it off. Well I know I can sleep well at night knowing I am doing this for all the right reasons. As far as thinking of you as a fool. Well you look in the mirror and answer that question.

  • this case is very clear. there is no grey area. an innocent man died as a result of the actions of 4 gang members. all 4 men in the car that night were high. i know during the trial they claimed to having smoked multiple blunts. I do feel for Kenneths family. they asked for none of this. just a case of a savage in his youth who chose a bad path. we all have our destiny. kenneth chose it. some people get second chances in life. unfortunately Mikes ended too quickly. we will never forget him. i just hope those people out there dont have their own agendas without knowing the facts

  • What does the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly before the Lord thy God.

    Call me what you will. It matters not. Judge me as you wish. I did what I had to do.

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”

  • you did WHAT YOU HAD TO DO. wow i just hope that this wasnt the first and last person you try to have the death penalty overturned. maybe you can become a spokesperson for saving all the people on death row or something. i will watch for that carefully. CALL ME WHAT YOU WILL. mike is watching.

  • when you and I both know who you are. Were I in your shoes I might well feel as you do. Why don’t you just email me: spkelley-at-gmail and we can talk this out between you and I? I’ll happily meet you face to face.

    But let’s make one thing clear: I didn’t seek this out, I don’t claim to speak for anyone but myself and I am certainly no man’s spokesman.

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”

  • Man faces execution for being in car with killer
    By Leonard Doyle in Washington
    Published: 30 August 2007

    A 30-year old man, Kenneth Foster, is set to be executed today for a murder which he not only did not commit, but which the authorities in Texas accept was carried out by another man in 1996.

    The trial judge, the prosecutor, and the jury that sentenced Mr Foster to die admit that he did not murder the victim Michael LaHood. But, under a controversial “law of parties”, in Texas an associate of a perpetrator can be found co-responsible in a capital case. The law imposes the death penalty on anybody involved in a crime where a murder occurred.

    This is how Foster, a black man out on a crime spree with some friends, came to be convicted of murdering Mr LaHood, a white man and the son of a prominent lawyer . The killer, Mauriceo Brown, was executed last year.

    Foster has been politically active on death row. He has organised fellow prisoners, becoming a leader in the anti-death penalty movement in Texas and starting a non-violent movement called Drive, to campaign over conditions on death row. Unlike most other inmates he had several years of college education before jail.

    On the night of the murder, Foster and several friends had been driving around drinking and committing robberies. On the way home, Brown left the car to talk to a woman. He then got into an altercation with Mr LaHood and shot him dead in the driveway of his house in San Antonio.

    The murder occurred as Foster was sitting in a car some 30 metres away with three other passengers – but prosecutors said there was a conspiracy to commit the crime and therefore he deserved a death sentence. Since Foster’s original trial, the other passengers – none of whom was tried under the law of parties – have testified that Foster had no idea a shooting was going to take place.

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Foster’s final appeal on Tuesday and his last recourse is a pardon from Texas Governor Rick Perry. This seems unlikely, as five of the seven Board of Pardons members must recommend clemency first. Last week Texas executed its 400th prisoner since it resumed capital punishment in 1982.

    Recently a friend of the victim has described the pending execution as vengeance and called for it to be halted. The LaHood family has so far not offered support to Foster’s case. LaHood’s mother said she supported the execution of the actual killer.


  • New York Times, By Ralph Blumenthal, August 30

    HOUSTON, Aug. 29 — Kenneth Foster has a date on Thursday with the executioner’s needle. Not for killing anyone himself, but for what he was doing — and might have been thinking — the night in 1996 when he was 19 and a sidekick gunned down a San Antonio law student.

    Ensnared in a Texas law that makes accomplices subject to the death penalty, Mr. Foster, 30, is to become the third death row inmate this week, and the 403rd since capital punishment resumed in Texas in 1982, to give his life for a life taken.

    But unlike most others condemned to death in this state, Mr. Foster, a former gang member and aspiring musician and now a prison poet from San Antonio, is not a murderer in the usual sense. He was convicted and sentenced to die for abetting a killing — 80 feet away — that he might, or might not, have had reason to anticipate.

    The gunman is dead, executed last year. Two accomplices are serving life terms.

    “Vanity, Vanity, all is Vanity.”

  • This man knew full well what the intention of the evening was and that was to rob at gun point, he knew that there was a great possiblity someone could and would be hurt or killed. He provided the means of transportation willingly and particpated fully in the selection of victims. It was not an accident that they drove by the LaHood residence for the route shows it all too well. He had choices to make and his choices led to people getting hurt and getting killed that night. He is not as innocent as he claims. The facts proved that at the trail. The law is being carried out according to our judical system whether you agree or not. He had already been before the Texas courts for shooting two other people who thankfully did not die, he was no stranger to this criminal activity. Thanks to our judical system he will no longer be able to hurt or kill any more.

  • Correction please: Foster was not going home and just happened to drive by the LaHood residence for the route to the residence proves that. His appeal was surely denied due to his previous criminal activity at which he had alreday shot two other people and other serious criminal activity. His trigger that night was willingly providing the transportation to the victims they were robbing at gun point. Brown just did not get off the car to talk to the girl he got off with a gun in his hand and a bandana over his face. Foster needs to own up to his active participation and responsibility in this murder. Whether he dies or gets life without parole he will not hurt innocent people anymore thanks to our judicial system. He should have been an activist against murder that night.

  • Sean Paul, Jesus also said “Your sins are forgiven (and added) Go and Sin NO MORE. Foster choose to continue his life of crime even after he was giving probation for shooting two other people. I guess Foster thought Jesus said “Go and Sin Some More” Yes we are called to Mercy and Forgiveness but we are also called to Repentence and To Sin No More. I once heard someone say Jesus is always found by those in jail, too bad they did not know Him before. No I can not cast a stone but I try to have good intentions in my Heart. I am not trying to promote the death penalty but rather viewing the harm done to the vicitims, their families and friends, their wounds will last a lifetime. May God have Mercy on us all.

  • shoots Pak, an Austin Buddhist.

    I’m not interested in reasoning that applies to Christians, not citizens.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • How ironic I just finished watching the news where Govenor Perry agreed to commute Foster’s sentence to life. This was followed by another report with a very similar murder commited last night in San Antonio where a man was killed in his front yard when thugs got off a car demanded money and then shot him dead in the front yard. Probably the driver will claim he had no idea what was going to happen. I guess they had good role models in Brown and Foster. Now Foster’s family is going to work on his life sentence (per K. Foster Sr) that way he can go out again and continue with his crimnal lifestyle.

  • as MargaretM noted:

    Gov. Perry commutes death row inmate’s sentence

    12:08 PM CDT on Thursday, August 30, 2007

    By EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News

    AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday commuted death row inmate Kenneth Foster’s sentence to life, following a 6-1 recommendation by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

    “After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendations 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,” Gov. Perry said. “I am concerned about Texas law that allows capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously, and it is an issue I think the legislature should examine.”

    Mr. Foster was the getaway driver in a 1996 armed robbery spree that ended in the murder of a 25-year-old San Antonio man. He contends he had no knowledge a murder was going to occur, and he was not the trigger man. But he was convicted, in the same courtroom as the shooter, under the state’s “law of parties,” which authorizes capital punishment for accomplices who either intended to kill or “should have anticipated” a murder

    Mr. Foster is one of an estimated 80 Texas death row inmates convicted under the law; about 20 have already been put to death. Most states have such laws for many types of crimes, but Texas is the only state to apply it broadly to capital cases. While death penalty opponents decry its use, prosecutors argue all those responsible for heinous crimes must be held accountable.

    Mr. Foster acknowledges he was up for getting high and robbing a few people on that night 11 years ago. But he was in a car with two other men nearly 90 feet away when one of his partners shot and killed Michael LaHood in what jurors determined was a botched robbery.

    The men in the car, including Mr. Foster, have testified that they thought they were done robbing for the night and that there was no plan to stick up – and certainly not to murder – Mr. LaHood. The shooter, Mauriceo Brown, was executed last year.
    Mr. Foster’s attorney believes his client’s fate was sealed during his joint trial with Mr. Brown, when one of his robbing partners testified that “it was kind of like, I guess, understood, what was probably fixing to go down” when Mr. Brown got out of the car.
    It was enough for jurors – and later, the appeals court – to support a capital murder charge for Mr. Foster on the basis of conspiracy: They believed Mr. Foster, as the getaway driver on two previous robberies, either knew what was about to occur or should have anticipated it.
    But Mr. Foster’s attorney never got the chance to cross-examine the two other partners, who both received life sentences. One has since given a sworn statement to Mr. Hampton saying he didn’t understand Mr. Brown’s intent was to rob Mr. LaHood until Mr. Brown had already made his way up the driveway. The other has testified that Mr. Foster asked the men all night to quit and worried about returning the car to his grandfather.

    In recent weeks, Mr. Foster’s case has brought waves of attention, from rallies across the state to public statements from former President Jimmy Carter, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and actress Susan Sarandon.

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court, upheld Mr. Foster’s sentence for a final time this month.

  • I am not saying how this is how Foster’s case went down because I know nothing but what I have read.

    Consider this food for thought.

    A friend of mine, Dick Graham, and I planned to smuggle a load of marijuana into the US from Santa Helena, Chuihuahua. We waded the Rio Grande one night, made a deal and waded back to US soil, planning to come back the following night to smuggle the load.

    Dick started driving North. It was late at night. A park ranger pulled us over. Dick stuffed a pistol into his pants and pulled his shirt tail out and over it.

    The park ranger stopped behind our vehicle, trained his spot-light at the back of Dick’s truck and ordered us to get out with hands up.

    We stepped into the beam of light directed at the back of Dick’s truck. The park ranger approached, weapon drawn. He asked a couple of questions, holstered his weapon and then searched Dick’s vehicle while we waited in place. He asked, “Do you have any weapons in the vehicle?”

    I said no. Dick said no. After searching the cab of the truck, the park ranger returned to the back of the truck. “Do you have any weapons on you?” he asked.

    “I don’t,” I replied. Dick just smiled with his hands on his hips, and squared off like a gunfighter ready to draw.

    The ranger repeated the question. “Do you have a gun on you?”

    Dick’s grin grew. I looked into the eyes of that ranger and saw recogniton and fear. The blood drained from his face. He began to shake.

    After an awkward silent moment, the park ranger said, “Well, then you can go.” and handed us our drivers licenses.

    As we drove away, Dick told me that if he took out his pistol he was going to shoot the man. I couldn’t understand the mentality. We hadn’t even broken the law (at that time, it was not illegal to cross the river, as long as you brought nothing back with you.)

    There’s no way in hell I would ever have considered taking the life of another to keep from being arrested or going to jail, and certainly not because a law enforcement official wanted to question me.

    I’ve spent many days and nights wondering what would have happened had Dick Graham shot that park ranger. I am reasonably certain that I would not be alive today, and I know well that there wasn’t a thing I could have done to stop it had Dick decided to draw on the man.

    No way.

    Two weeks later Dick Graham killed a Texas highway patrolman.

    After an extended moving shoot-out, Dick got away from the hardware store where he shot the highway patrolman. His eighteen year-old-son Tom drove the getaway vehicle (which just happened to be the same truck that Dick and I were in the night we were stopped.)

    A couple of days later, Dick was shot and killed near Sheffield, Texas. Tom was shot in the face and upper torso with a shotgun and came near dying, but survived. He was left blind in both eyes and received a thirty-five year sentence for driving the getaway vehicle.

    There go I but for the grace of God.

    Mr. Perry. I don’t like you, but I suspect you did the right thing. No one knows for sure what went through Foster’s head that night but you don’t execute a man on maybes. May Kenneth Foster spend the rest of his life in prison for the crime he committed.

    My condolences to the Lahood family and to his friends. And also to the family of the cop Dick Graham shot (and to Dick’s family as well).

    There are no winners in a situation like this.

    I did inhale.

  • A life sentence in a federal prison. That’s practically a reward. Why don’t they just send him to Barbados and be done with it?

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • I, for one, believe that by sticking to your values and beliefs in the face of a painful personal lose, you’ve saved a man’s life. You are to be congratulated.

  • He will now have the rest of his life to think about what happened that fateful night and how it could have changed had he done the right thing. Moral principals apply to all- Christian or not.

  • So mine – Christian and not – apply to you as well then?

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • Even in the face of a 6-1 request from the Board of Pardons, Gov. Perry didn’t have to commute the sentence if no one noticed or cared.

    The protests about this execution had to have made a difference, certainly to a politician like Perry. And the protests by people who knew the individuals involved in the crime carry extra weight.

    You have to accept some satisfaction for your role here. Given Perry’s recommendation that the legislature revise the law that requires all participants of a crime to be tried together, and that there are 60 felons currently in prison under this law, you might very well have saved many lives by your concern and actions.

  • sp i hope you know who i am. rico missita. you know one of mikes best friends. i dont know why you think im giving a fake name. im not hiding. i have posted my name since the beginning. check the emails. and i dont live in s.a. anymore so you must really not know who this is. ask d day. and by the way i will never visit this site again. i only did because numerous friends back in s.a. called me and couldnt believe you turned on mike like this. if i were you i wouldnt even try to talk to any of mikes friends. your not welcome in that capacity. you got what you wanted. you proved to all the killers out there that they can get away with most crimes. you have not made the world a safer place. so as i go dont bother replying cause i will never visit this again. i have a candle lit this evening for all the friends and family of mike. as you know that is most of san antonio.

  • I honestly don’t remember you, Rico. I recall the name, but I can’t put a face to it.

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”

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