TCADP Hails Decision to Grant Clemency to Kenneth Foster

(Austin, Texas) – This morning, after receiving a rare recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant clemency to Kenneth Foster, Governor Rick Perry commuted Foster’s sentence to life in prison. Foster had been scheduled to be executed this evening – he was convicted under the “Law of Parties” for the murder of Michael LaHood, even though he was sitting in a car 80 feet away at the time of the crime. The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) praised the historic actions of the Board and Governor Perry. This was only the third such recommendation for clemency in the Board’s 25-year history and the first such decision for Perry in a case where the defendant faced imminent execution. The Board’s vote was 6 to 1 in favor of clemency.

“We hail Governor Perry’s decision to heed the recommendation of the Board and are grateful for his recognition that the death penalty had been grossly misapplied in this case,” said David Atwood, the Founder of TCADP.

TCADP and its members look forward to working with the Governor in the next legislative session to address necessary reforms of the criminal justice system, particularly with regard to the “Law of Parties.” Texas is the only state in the country that allows the death penalty for accessory crimes in a capital case.

“Society can be protected with long prison sentences for those defendants who may have been present during the commission of a crime but did not pull the trigger or could not have reasonably anticipated the pulling of the trigger. Pursuing expensive death penalty cases and appeals in this type of case is a waste of Texas monies and resources,” said Atwood.
From Governor’s website!
Aug. 30, 2007
Perry Commutes Death Sentence
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today commuted the death sentence of Kenneth Eugene Foster of San Antonio to life imprisonment after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (TBPP) recommended such action.

On May 6, 1997, Foster was sentenced to death for his role in the 1996 capital murder of Michael LaHood. Foster sought to have his death sentence commuted to a life sentence arguing that he did not shoot the victim, but merely drove the car in which that the actual killer was riding. In addition, Foster was tried along side the actual killer, Maurecio Brown, and the jury that convicted Foster also considered punishment for both him and his co-defendant in the same proceeding.

“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.”

The TBPP voted 6-1 to recommend commutation, and the governor signed the commutation papers Thursday morning.

The governor’s action means Foster’s sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment as soon as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice can process this change.

Contact the Governor by Telephone and Thank him for this decision!
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Board votes to spare Texas man set to die tonight! 30, 2007, 11:03AM
By MICHAEL GRACZYKAssociated PressHUNTSVILLE — The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted today to recommend that Gov. Rick Perry spare condemned prisoner Kenneth Foster from executionand commute his sentence to life.The vote from the seven-member board was 6-1. Foster was facing lethalinjection this evening. Perry does not have to accept the highly unusual recommendation from the boardwhose members he appoints.There was no immediate response from the governor’s office.Foster was the getaway driver and not the actual shooter in the slaying of a 25-year-old man in San Antonio 11 years ago.
Upcoming Events:
Music for Life Tour with Sara Hickman, First United Methodist Church – Austin, October 3
Texas Journey of Hope…From Violence to Healing, October 13 – 27,
8th Annual March to Stop Executions – Houston, October 27