death penalty news—-N.J./TEXAS

March 31


Ex-con rapper walks from Trenton to Texas to protest capital punishment

How far would you go to protest against the death penalty? For Andre
Latallade, he'll walk 1,700 miles to advocate abolishing capital

Latallade, a Newark native who raps under the stage name Capital-"X," will
start his "Walk 4 Life" journey about 5:30 this morning at the statehouse.

Over 54 days, Latallade will head south toward the nation's capital then
cut westward until he ends up at the governor's mansion in Austin, Texas
the highest executing state in America.

"Being an ex-prisoner and being an ex-prisoner that changed," Latallade
said last week, "I just believe that prisoners can change. I think that we
are incredible beings, and I think we should focus more on trying to
preserve life instead of taking it away."

Latallade served 2 stints in the slammer, the 1st time on drug charges and
the 2nd for resisting arrest. He said being in prison "is no joke" and
that life imprisonment without parole is a sufficient replacement for the
death penalty.

"Just being taken away from your existence, from your family, it's just
really tough," Latallade said. "When you walk by and you see the prisoners
playing checkers it looks like, 'Oh, that's nothing. They're coddling the
prisoners.' But it's an inner torment that these guys ain't gonna show you
out in the open."

As Capital-"X," Latallade kicks rhymes advocating changes to the American
criminal justice system. He'll be joined by an entourage that includes a
diverse group of people. "I have families of murder victims walking with
me also," he said.

Latallade has researched capital punishment extensively over the years,
even visiting several of the 27 European Union nations the EU bloc has
long prohibited capital punishment.

"I made numerous trips to Italy, Germany, Austria," he said. "I went into
the prisons there. They value life so much over there, and their
communities are so much closer."

Latallade said it's unacceptable for the United States to have capital
punishment on the books when most advanced democracies have already
abolished it.

"All of these other countries have abolished the death penalty, and they
do just fine," Latallade said. Latallade will travel through roadways in
10 states during his 54-day walking journey. There could be some delays,
he admitted, but he said he hopes to make it to Austin, Texas, before the
U.S. Supreme Court makes its ruling on the constitutionality of lethal

"I just want to kind of do my part to stop the killing," the prison rights
activist said. "I want to let people know that these are human beings in

Go to for updates on Latallade's
anti-death-penalty walking tour and to listen to his music.

(source: The Trentonian)