More than 90 Faith Leaders Call for Clemency for Timothy Adams

Today more than 90 Christian faith leaders from communities throughout Texas called on the Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry to grant clemency to Timothy Adams.  Adams is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas on February 22, 2011.  His family, who is also the family of the victim, Timothy Jr., has asked for mercy, noting that an execution will do nothing to repair the loss and anguish they have experienced since the time of the crime.

TCADP is deeply grateful to all of the faith leaders who joined this call for mercy.  We also wish to express our appreciation to Bishop Joe Wilson and Sister Elizabeth Riebschlaeger for their participation in today’s press conference to release the letter.

The full text of the press release, which contains excerpts from the sign-on letter, is below.  If you would like to see the letter and list of signatories, please contact Kristin Houlé at khoule@tcadp.org.

Texas Defender Service

For Immediate Release: February 16, 2011
Contact: Laura Burstein at 202-626-6868 or 202-669-3411 or lburstein@ssd.com

More than 90 Christian Faith Leaders Call on Texas Parole Board and Governor Perry to Grant Clemency to Timothy Adams

Religious Leaders from Across Texas Join Victim Family Members at State Capitol to Urge for Clemency, Saying Crime was an Aberration in Veteran’s Life

Three Jurors Also Supporting Clemency for Timothy Adams

(Austin, Texas, Wednesday, February 16, 2011) Today, in the largest outpouring of faith leader support in a  Texas death penalty case in recent years, a group of ninety-one prominent religious leaders from across the state called on the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry to grant clemency to Timothy Adams. Mr. Adams is an army veteran with no criminal history, not even an arrest, prior to the tragedy where he killed his son while planning his own suicide in 2002. His execution is scheduled for Tuesday, February 22.

Faith leaders from eight Christian denominations and from within the Unitarian Universalist community, including Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston; Reverend Raymundo J. Pena, Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville; Bishop Michael Rinehart, TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Reverend Bobbi Kaye Jones, Austin District Superintendent of the United Methodist Church; and Doctor Joe S. Ratliff, Pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church, the largest African-American church in Houston, announced their support for clemency in a letter that was delivered to state officials this morning.

In their letter to the parole board and the Governor, they state: “We join the victim’s family in asking that you spare Mr. Adams from death. You have an extraordinary opportunity to show mercy to a family that has already suffered greatly and to uphold the sacredness of human life. We pray that you grant life to Timothy Adams.”

Several of the faith leaders, including Bishop Joe Wilson of the United Methodist Church and former Bishop to the Central Texas Conference, Sister Elizabeth Riebschlaeger of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, and Reverend Lawrence L. Scott of New Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, where the Adams family worships, attended a press conference at the Capitol Building in Austin to announce their support for clemency along with the victim’s family, including the grandmother, grandfather and aunt who are also related to Mr. Adams.

“Our family lost one child. We can’t bear to lose another. After my grandson’s death, we lived through pain worse than anyone could imagine. Nothing good will come from executing my son Tim and causing us more anguish,” said Columbus Adams, Mr. Adams’ father and a 30-year veteran of the Houston Fire Department. “We pray that God will fill Governor Perry’s heart with compassion. If not for Tim, then at least for our family.”

Three jurors from Mr. Adams’ trial have come forward to request a commutation of Mr. Adams’ death sentence to one of life. They believe they were not presented at trial with a complete picture of Mr. Adams’ character and religious background. They believe that information relating to Mr. Adams’s upbringing, deep devotion to religion, and mental state would have caused them to stick with their initial inclination, which was to spare Mr. Adams and sentence him to life in prison.

Mr. Adams is loved and supported by members of his church, work supervisors, fellow soldiers from the military, and many others.  For example:

  • Mr. Adams was raised in a Christian home and was active member of New Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Houston. His Sunday school teacher, Verlene Edmond, remembers Mr. Adams as “quiet” and “polite” as a teenager and supports a commutation of Mr. Adams’ sentence.
  • When Mr. Adams graduated from high school, he enlisted in the army and served his country.  Mr. Adams’ friend Roger West, a Sergeant First Class in the United States Army, Purple Heart recipient, and about to be deployed on his fifth tour in Iraq, said that he wishes he could have “a whole platoon of guys like Tim.” Mr. Adams was honorably discharged in 1989.
  • Mr. Adams was always a hard worker who wanted to support his young family. He worked as a security guard at Greenway Plaza in Houston. He was such a good worker that he was quickly promoted to supervisor of all security shifts. Tim’s supervisor, Diane Garcia, received “many, many positive comments and feedback on Tim’s performance.”
  • Mr. Adams was a role model to his younger siblings. Chadrick Adams, Mr. Adams’ brother, said his older brother taught him his work ethic and inspired him to earn a scholarship to and graduate from college.

From the beginning, Mr. Adams accepted responsibility for what he did. He pleaded guilty in open court and before the jury, even though he was not offered anything in return for his plea.

Mr. Adams has spent his time on death row reflecting on what he did, seeking forgiveness from his family, friends and God, and deepening his faith in Jesus Christ. He has been a model prisoner without a single disciplinary write-up on his record – not even for a minor infraction – during his eight years in prison.

Mr. Adams is not a danger to anyone and never will be. If the Governor commutes his death sentence, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

In conclusion, the faith leaders stated that “[w]e firmly believe that Mr. Adams must be held accountable for his actions. We simply pray in doing so, we ourselves do not lose sight of the humanity and compassion that Christ calls us to.”

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Mr. Adams’ clemency petition and additional background material about the case is posted at http://www.timothywayneadams.com/.

To speak with Mr. Adams’ attorneys or family members, please contact Laura Burstein at 202-626-6868 or lburstein@ssd.com.