Last night, April 26, 2012, the State of Texas carried out its fifth execution of the year. Beunka Adams was executed for the murder of Kenneth Vandever, 37, outside Rusk in 2002.
Both Adams and his co-defendant Richard Cobb were sentenced to death for the crime. Vandever and two women were abducted from a convenience store. Vandever was fatally shot. The women also were shot, and one of them was raped. Both survived and one of the victims identified Adams. According to the AP, “Adams was tried for capital murder under the Texas law of parties, which makes an accomplice equally culpable as the actual killer. A fellow inmate in the Cherokee County Jail testified Adams bragged to him that he did the shootings,” but evidence from Cobb showed Cobb was the gunman. Cobb does not have an execution date.
Adams received a stay of execution from a federal judge earlier in the week but it was overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals after the Texas Attorney General’s office appealed the ruling. His attorneys appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that Adams received ineffective assistance of counsel during his trial and in the early stages of his appeal, but the Court refused to intervene.
Another Texas execution is scheduled to take place next week on May 2, 2012. Take action now to urge the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Perry to grant a reprieve to Anthony Bartee so that all of the DNA evidence can be tested and Bartee’s attorneys can pursue relief through available legal avenues.