Death row exonoree Anthony Graves and murder victim survivor Jan Brown to visit College Station

Two individuals with firsthand experience with the Texas death penalty system will visit College Station this week as part of a special event hosted by St. Mary’s Catholic Center.  “Personal encounters with the Texas death penalty: The true stories of death row exonoree Anthony Graves and murder victim survivor Jan Brown” will take place on Thursday, September 25th at 6:30 PM in the Activity Center at St. Mary’s Catholic Center (603 Church Ave, College Station, TX 77840).

 Jan Brown is the mother of Kandy Kirtland, who was kidnapped and murdered in Bryan, Texas in 1987 when she was 9 ½ years old.  The man who killed her was executed 12 years later.  Jan is actively involved with Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation and Bridges to Life, which works to connect communities to prisons in an effort to reduce the recidivism rate, reduce the number of crime victims, and enhance public safety.  September 25th is National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.

On October 27, 2010, Anthony Graves walked out of the Burleson County Jail after spending 18 years in prison, including 12 years on death row, for a crime he did not commit – the brutal murders of six people, four of them children, in Somerville, Texas in 1992.  Prosecutors dropped all charges against Graves and declared him innocent after conducting their own investigation of the case.  He is the 12th person in Texas to be wrongfully convicted and removed from death row and the 146th nationwide.  Since his release, Graves has spoken about his experience with the Texas death penalty system to audiences throughout the United States and around the world.

Together, Brown and Graves present powerful testimonies on the real impact of the death penalty on individuals, families, and the community at large.  They will be visiting College Station at a critical time, as wrongful convictions and botched executions continue to call into question the reliability and fairness of the death penalty.  Earlier this month in North Carolina, Henry McCollum was exonerated after spending 30 years on death row for a crime he did not commit.  In recent years, Brazos County has emerged as one of the highest sentencing counties in Texas, accounting for three new death sentences since 2008.

WHAT: “Personal encounters with the Texas death penalty: The true stories of death row exonoree Anthony Graves and murder victim survivor Jan Brown”

WHEN: Thursday, September 25, 2014, 6:30 to 8:00 PM

WHERE: Activity Center at St. Mary’s Catholic Center (603 Church Ave, College Station, TX 77840). The event is free and open to the public.

WHO: Sponsored by St. Mary’s Aggies Promoting Life (SMAPL), the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP), and the Anthony Graves Foundation.

For more information, please contact Kristin Houlé, TCADP Executive Director, at 512-441-1808 (office), 512-552-5948 (cell), or khoule@tcadp.org, or Clotilde Pichon, Director of Social Ministries at St. Mary’s Catholic Center,979-846-5717 or cpichon@aggiecatholic.org.