September 2012 Alert: Two Scheduled Executions; Upcoming Events You Won’t Want to Miss, and Opportunities for Involvement

In This Edition:
Scheduled Executions
Recent News
Upcoming Events
Announcements
Calendar

Executions
The State of Texas is scheduled to execute Robert Harris on September 20, 2012, for the 2000 murders of former co-workers Rhoda Wheeler and Augustin Villasenor at the Mi-T-Fine Car Wash in Dallas from which he had been fired three days earlier. Three other people were killed in the assault on the car wash.

Cleve Foster is scheduled to be executed on September 25, 2012 for the 2002 murder of Nyaneur “Mary” Pal in Fort Worth. This is Foster’s fourth execution date since January 2011. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed his execution three separate times in order to consider questions about the constitutional right to the effective assistance of habeas counsel and related claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and innocence.

Respond to scheduled executions by learning about current clemency campaigns or attending vigils being hosted in your community:  https://tcadp.org/get-involved/stop-executions/

Recent News
John Balentine Receives Last-Minute Stay of Execution
On August 22, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay to John Balentine just one hour before his execution was scheduled to take place.  This is the third last-minute reprieve Balentine has received in recent years. He was sentenced to death for the 1998 murders of his ex-girlfriend’s brother, Mark Caylor, Jr., 17, and two other boys, Kai Geyer, 15, and Steven Watson, 15, in Amarillo. Read more.

Bexar County Jury Opts for Life Without Parole
On August 24, 2012, a jury in Bexar County rejected the death penalty for Lorenzo Thompson, who was convicted of the 2010 capital murder of Vanessa Pitts, an Air Force basic training graduate he robbed at a gas station.  According to the San Antonio Express-News, it took the jury less than 30 minutes to determine that Thompson did not pose a future danger to society.  He will serve a sentence of life without parole for the crime. This is the third time this year that a death-qualified jury in Texas has rejected the death penalty and opted for a sentence of life without parole.  Over the past five years, juries have rejected the death penalty in at least 17 capital murder trials. Read more.

Upcoming Events
TCADP Benefit Concert with Texas State Musicians Sara Hickman and Shelley King at
Sara’s House!

Have you ever wanted to sneak a peek into a real musician’s house? Now’s your chance! On Sunday, September 16, 2012, singer-songwriter and TCADP Advisory Board Member Sara Hickman and her family will graciously open their home in south Austin for a concert featuring the music of Sara and Shelley King. There are only 40 seats left for this event, so purchase your tickets today!

Can’t make it to Austin? Consider a special donation to TCADP in support of this event!

Texas Tribune Festival Offers Discounted Registration to TCADP Members
This year’s Texas Tribune Festival, which is taking place on the campus of the University of Texas-Austin from September 21-23, features a Law & Order track for the first time. Speakers include Craig Watkins, District Attorney of Dallas County; Nizam Peerwani, Texas Forensic Science Commissioner; Exonerees Kerry Max Cook and Michael Morton; and Criminal Justice Advocate Anthony Graves. The Tribune is offering a discounted rate of $100 (25% off the regular price) to TCADP supporters. To receive the discount, please email festival@texastribune.org. For more information and a full list of programming, please go to: http://www.texastribune.org/festival/home/.

National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims
September 25, 2012 is the National Day of Remembrance (DOR) for Murder Victims – a day to honor and memorialize the lives of loved ones taken by murder/homicide.  If you are interested in learning about events in your area, please contact Chris Castillo with Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation at ccastillo@mvfr.org or 409-201-7106.

Faithful Considerations: A Discussion with Sr. Helen Prejean and Austin Faith Leaders
Sister Helen Prejean will be joined by Rev. John Elford of University United Methodist Church and Rev. Nestor Menjivar of  Iglesia Bautista Principe de Paz of Austinto discuss the challenges of moving Texas away from a culture of vengeance toward a culture of accountability that does not rely on the death penalty; addressing the issue of the death penalty from the pulpit; and how faith leaders and people of faith can take a more proactive role in educating their congregations about the death penalty.

Friday, October 12 at 7:00pm
St. Edward’s University, Ragsdale Center
3001 S Congress, Austin, TX 78704

Get Free Tickets! – and Download a flier for sharing and posting!

Reserve Your Free Sister Helen Tickets (Limited Seating), and Sign Up for the Month of Faith in Action at the link https://tcadp.org/what-we-do/religious-outreach/ under “Coming Events”!

Announcements

Deadline for Lobby Corps Applications: September 14, 2012
Thanks to everyone who has applied for the 2013 TCADP Lobby Corps – we’ve been so impressed and excited by the applications we’ve received to date! This select group of individuals will work in the next session of the Texas legislature to educate elected officials and their staffs about the death penalty in Texas and TCADP’s legislative priorities. Applications will be accepted until September 14, 2012Learn more!

Call for Annual Award Nominations!
The TCADP Board of Directors is seeking nominations for the annual courage, appreciation, and media awards, which will be presented at the 2013 Annual Conference on February 23, 2013 in Austin.  Please nominate worthy individuals and organizations that have made significant and selfless contributions to abolishing the death penalty in Texas. Nominations will be accepted until October 15, 2012.< Calendar

September

3 TCADP Booth at North East Bexar County Democrats Labor Day Picnic
12 TCADP Booth at Rice University Dinner and Tabling Fair, Houston
15 – Oct 14 Austin Area Month of Faith in Action
15 Workshop at Justice and Charity Conference – Living the Good News, Diocese of Austin
16 TCADP Booth at the Dallas Pride Festival
16 Sam Millsap and Jan Brown addressing the United Methodist Women at St. Paul UMC, Houston 12:30—3:00
16 House Concert w/Sara Hickman, Austin 5:00pm Get Tickets!
17 El Paso Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org
18 TCADP Booth at Helping Hands Fair, University of St. Thomas, Houston
19 Dallas Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org
20 Scheduled Execution: Robert Harris
21-23 Texas Tribune Festival
25 National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims; Scheduled Execution: Cleve Foster
30 Linda White addressing First UMC Austin Austin 9:45am

For more information about these events or to volunteer to staff a table at an outreach event, email info@tcadp.org.

Support all of the programs and initiatives described here with a generous donation to TCADP today!

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