Stop Executions

You have a critical role to play in stopping executions in Texas. On this page, you will find the dates of scheduled executions, information on clemency campaigns, and contact information for the Governor of Texas and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. On the days of scheduled executions, we encourage you to take part in vigils in your areaFollow TCADP on X/Twitter @TCADPdotORG for case updates.

Texas Executions in 2024

Scheduled Executions (1)

February 28, 2024: Ivan Cantu. Sign the petition created by his spiritual advisor, Sister Helen Prejean. You’ll find more information about Cantu’s case and how you can support his application for clemency below.

https://www.tdcj.texas.gov/death_row/dr_scheduled_executions.html

Stays of Execution (1)

March 13, 2024: James Harris, Jr. Stay granted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on February 21. The Court remanded his application to the trial court to make findings of fact on whether the jury selection process in his trial violated the Equal Protection Clause.


Current Campaigns

Stop the execution of Ivan Cantu
The State of Texas is scheduled to execute Ivan Cantu on February 28, 2024. Cantu also faced execution in April 2023 before the date was withdrawn by a district court judge in Collin County, who agreed additional legal proceedings were necessary.

Cantu was convicted of killing his cousin James Mosqueda and James’s fiancé, Amy Kitchen, in north Dallas in 2000. He has maintained his innocence, and in previous appeals he argued his trial attorneys were ineffective for failing to investigate and present evidence that would support his claim. Disturbed by the prospect they heard false and misleading testimony during the trial, some of the jurors who sentenced Cantu to death in 2001 want this evidence to be reviewed. 

In August 2023, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Cantu’s appeal and Collin County set a new execution date. Cantu’s spiritual advisor, Sister Helen Prejean, has created a petition to the Court and to the Collin County District Attorney to demand his execution be delayed. Sign the petition!

On Thursday, February 22, 2024, in McKinney, Texas, Sister Helen Prejean will deliver 84K+ signatures on her petition for Ivan Cantu and demand the Collin County District Attorney delay Cantu’s execution. Join the rally at 11:00 AM at the Collin County Courthouse.

Support clemency for Cantu
Cantu also has filed an application with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in which he asks for the commutation of his death sentence to a lesser penalty.

Email the members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles at bpp_clemency@tdcj.texas.gov to urge them to recommend clemency for Cantu (include his TDCJ #999399 and DOB 06/14/1973 in your appeals). Share your concerns with Governor Greg Abbott. 

Adapt our sample message or use the talking points in this document to craft your own email. You’ll find contact information for the Board and Governor below. Contact the Board by Friday, February 23, 2024. 

 

Past Clemency Campaigns

In this section, you will find examples of clemency campaigns TCADP has supported in recent years. We appreciate everyone who participated in these campaigns and raised their voices in opposition to all executions in Texas.

Brent Ray Brewer

A terrible injustice took place in Texas on November 9, 2023, when the State executed Brent Brewer more than 32 years after he was convicted of killing Robert Laminack in Amarillo. Brewer was 19 at the time of the crime. The robbery and murder of Mr. Laminack in 1990 occurred just weeks after Brewer left a state mental hospital, where he had been involuntarily committed for depression and suicidal thoughts. Like so many on death row, Brewer’s childhood had been marked by neglect and trauma caused by repeated exposure to domestic violence.

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Brewer’s final appeals, his attorney issued this heart wrenching statement:

“Brent Brewer will be executed by Texas tonight. His execution is the farthest thing from justice.  Brent’s story is one of complete redemption. He recognized and repented for the deeds he had done and totally redeemed himself during his thirty-four years in prison. The Brent that Texas wished to execute is long gone. The Brent they are killing tonight is a kind, generous, peaceful and thoughtful man who spent the vast majority of his time repenting and in religious studies. He is profoundly remorseful for his crime, committed when he was just nineteen, and he would have done anything to take back the pain he caused the victim’s family.

“It’s also important to note that Brent’s death sentence was a fraud. Texas used the unscientific, baseless testimony of Dr. Richard Coons to claim Brent would be a future danger, although the state and the courts have admitted for years that this exact doctor’s testimony was unreliable and should not be considered by juries in capital cases. Yet the courts repeatedly refused to step in and stop Brent’s execution.  One juror clearly expressed her belief that Brent deserved a life sentence, but Texas’s misleading jury instructions confused her into thinking her vote would not make a difference. Yet the clemency board ignored our pleas for mercy.

“When those of us who know Brent Brewer reflect back on his life, the first word that will come to mind is redemption. He has worked every day on his religious faith which has been at the center of his life. He has cared for everyone who he came into contact with: guards, counselors, fellow inmates, medical staff and his attorneys. He has cared deeply for his family, particularly his sister and they for him. Brent will rest in peace.”

Watch this video of Brewer speaking about his remorse, growth, and his participation in the death row faith-based program: https://f.io/2QgpYtol.


Will Speer

On October 256, 2023, less than five hours before he was set to be put to death, Will Speer was granted a stay of execution by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (Texas CCA). 

Speer raised five issues in his application before the Texas CCA, alleging that his counsel had been ineffective for failing to investigate and present his history of unfathomable neglect and abuse to the jury; he also claimed multiple grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, including withholding Brady evidence and presenting false testimony. The CCA stayed the execution pending further order of the Court.

TCADP is grateful to everyone who took part in the campaign to #SaveWillSpeer and to the incredible team of lawyers, mitigation specialists, and investigators who worked tirelessly to save his life. We will provide updates on his case as they become available. Learn more about Will Speer.


Andre Thomas

Andre Thomas resides at the Wayne Scott Unit, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s psychiatric facility, where the most mentally ill Texas prisoners are housed. He suffers from schizophrenia and permanently blinded himself by gouging out both of his eyes, on separate occasions. Over the course of his life, Thomas sought treatment for the symptoms of his severe mental illness, but no one responded to his increasingly desperate pleas for help.

Thomas faced execution on April 5, 2023, but the 15th Judicial District Court in Grayson County withdrew that date to allow his legal team reasonable time to investigate and prepare a threshold showing that Thomas is incompetent for execution. The judge has since held that the threshold showing has been made, and a determination of Thomas’s competence will proceed in state courts.

Before the date was withdrawn, dozens of Texas mental health professionals and advocates and over 100 Texas faith leaders, along with national Evangelical leaders and the nation’s leading mental health organizations, filed letters supporting Thomas’s clemency application.

Thanks to everyone who signed and shared the petition to #SaveAndreThomas. We will be in touch with further developments in this case.


Melissa Lucio

Melissa Lucio, one of seven women on death row in Texas, was convicted and sentenced to death in Cameron County in 2008 for causing the death of her two-year-old daughter, Mariah. There is compelling evidence that Mariah’s death was a tragic accident resulting from a head injury she suffered in a fall—not a homicide. 

On April 25, 2022, just two days before her scheduled execution, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay to Melissa Lucio. The Court ordered the 138th Judicial District Court of Cameron County to consider multiple claims related to new evidence of Melissa’s innocence of the accidental death of her daughter, Mariah.

You can find statements from Melissa Lucio and her attorneys in response to the stay here.

The Court’s Stay Order re: Application for Post-Conviction and Habeas Petition: https://tinyurl.com/42h4zb6n

Melissa Lucio’s First Subsequent Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/2paxuabx

We are grateful to everyone who contacted the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott, signed the Innocence Project petition, shared information about Melissa’s case with your networks, or otherwise took action to #SaveMelissaLucio. We also want to express our appreciation to her legal team and everyone who supported them in the effort to stop this execution. We will continue to monitor her case for new developments and share updates with you. 

What is Clemency?

In order for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to consider clemency for a person facing imminent execution, an application for clemency must be filed. The Governor of Texas has the authority to issue a one-time 30-day reprieve but can grant clemency only upon the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Paroles. A recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles is not binding, however.

In this comprehensive and illuminating article, Brant Bingamon of the Austin Chronicle takes a deep dive into the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, “regarded as the most secretive agency in state government.”

Since 1976, the Board of Pardons and Paroles has recommended clemency in only five cases where the inmate faced imminent execution. Then-Governor Rick Perry rejected two of those recommendations and allowed the executions to proceed.

  • Henry Lee Lucas – Governor George W. Bush commuted his sentence in 1998 due to lingering concerns about his guilt. Lucas died of natural causes in prison in 2001 while serving a life sentence.
  • Kelsey Patterson –  The Board voted 5-1 for clemency but Governor Rick Perry rejected the recommendation.  Patterson had a long-standing diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. He was executed on May 18, 2004.
  • Kenneth Foster – Governor Perry commuted Foster’s sentence in 2007 due to concern about a Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously. The Board recommended clemency by a vote of of 6-1. Foster had been convicted under the law of parties for a 1996 murder, even though he was sitting in a car 80 feet away at the time of the crime. He is serving a life sentence.
  • Robert Lee Thompson – Governor Perry rejected the Board’s 5-2 recommendation for clemency even though Thompson was not the triggerman in the murder of Mansoor Rahim. He had been convicted under the law of parties. His co-defendant, Sammy Butler, the actual killer of Mr. Rahim, was tried separately and convicted on a lesser charge. Butler is serving a life sentence and will be eligible for parole. Thompson was executed on November 19, 2009.
  • Thomas “Bart” Whitaker – On February 22, 2018, Governor Greg Abbott accepted the Board’s unanimous recommendation of clemency for Whitaker, who was scheduled to be executed that same day.  It was the first such commutation in Texas since 2007.  Whitaker is now serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. Read the Governor’s statement here.

Write the Governor of Texas and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles

You are welcome to contact the Board and Governor even when there is no specific clemency campaign. Please note that clemency applications typically are filed 21 days before the execution date, so it is best to send a letter of support around that time. Include the TDCJ #, date of birth, and full name of the person on whose behalf you are writing.

The Board usually informs attorneys of its decision two business days before the execution date.

Here are some general talking points for your letters:

  • State your concerns about the inherent flaws and failures of the Texas death penalty system.
  • Express outrage and alarm at the high number of executions that continue to take place in Texas.
  • Urge the Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend clemency.

Contact information for calls, letters, and emails*

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Clemency Section
8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78757
Phone (512) 406-5852
Fax (512) 467-0945
Online Contact: bpp_clemency@tdcj.texas.gov

Current Members:
Chair: David Gutierrez
Elodia Brito
Carmella Jones
Brian Long
Marsha Moberley
Linda Molina
Ed Robertson

*Letters and emails are preferred by the Board.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Information and Referral Hotline: (800) 843-5789 [for Texas callers]
Information and Referral and Opinion Hotline: (512) 463-1782 [for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers]
Office of the Governor Main Switchboard: 512-463-2000

Online Contact: https://gov.texas.gov/contact/

The governor can grant clemency only upon the written recommendation of a majority of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, whose members he appoints.  He has the limited authority to grant a one-time, 30-day stay of execution.

Execution Watch

“Execution Watch” can be heard on KPFT HD-2 and online here from 6:00 PM CT to 7:00 PM CT on any day an execution is scheduled in Texas.