death penalty news—-TEXAS

Mar. 3


Killer set to be executed on his 38th birthday—-Kenneth Morris will be
put to death on Wednesday for 1991 home invasion killing

From her hiding place in the closet, Marcene Adams heard it all: the
shattering door; her husband, James, confronting the burglars; the demand
for cash and firearms; the 4 gunshots; and finally, the thump of her
husband's body hitting the floor.

For the rest of her life, the midnight invasion of her Candlelight Estates
home in May 1991 was an evil memory.

Adams died in 2007, but she lived to see gunman Kenneth Morris sentenced
to death and his accomplices, Orlena Ayers and Christopher Montez,
assessed long stints in prison.

Now, after more than 14 years on death row, Morris is scheduled for
execution Wednesday. The day also marks his 38th birthday.

Former state District Judge Caprice Cosper, who set the execution date
before she left office, called the birthday setting "a weird coincidence."

In a last-ditch effort to save Morris life, Texas Defender Service
attorneys Tuesday filed an appeal with the Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals, arguing that he should be spared because prosecutors
unconstitutionally sought the death penalty because of his race. Between
1992 and 1999, the lawsuit contends, Harris County prosecutors were 75 %
more likely to pursue death sentences against blacks than whites.

The victim's son, Jimmy Adams, said he favors putting Morris to death.

"You know nothing will bring your loved one back," he said. "But you feel
obligated as an American and as a Texan not to let anyone else's mother or
father be killed."

Morris, who declined to be interviewed for this story, was a 9th-grade
dropout who, at the time of the murder, was on probation for burglary.

The morning of May 1, 1991, Morris and his accomplices kicked in the
Adams' door in northwest Houston, hoping to pull a burglary that would net
them firearms they might sell to drug dealers.

James Adams, 63, said he had no guns but said he would give them all the
cash he had on hand. They followed him to the bedroom, where he gave them
about $1,800. He then was shot.

Morris later claimed he was intoxicated at the time and the gun
accidentally discharged when an accomplice bumped into him.

(source: Houston Chronicle)


State Legislators Seek Abolition Of Death Penalty

2 Texas Lawmakers have filed legislation to eliminate the death penalty
from the state penal code.

House Bill 682, authored by Houston Rep. Jessica Farrar (D) and
co-authored by Fort Worth Rep. Lon Burnam (D), was filed in late January.

The bill would eliminate any reference to the death penalty on a
line-by-line basis from Section 12.31 of the State Penal Code.

The proposed law, which generally would not get any traction on the house
floor, has gained some support because of the mounting costs of litigation
and court appeals for convicted felons.

Rep. Lon Burnham says he filed the bill "on moral grounds and not solely
because of the cost.

House Bill 682 was referred to a sub-committee last week.

(source: KWTX News)