Friday, 17 August 2007

Texas Executions Reach Grim Milestone, 400th Prisoner Scheduled to Die

Texas Executions Reach Grim Milestone, 400th Prisoner Scheduled to Die

Posted by Liliana Segura at 2:00 PM on August 15, 2007.

Liliana Segura: The state of Texas is about to execute the first of five death row prisoners by lethal injection over the next 15 days. Enough is enough.

Starting tonight, the state of Texas will execute the first of five death row prisoners scheduled to die by lethal injection over the next 15 days. If all goes according to plan, the number of people killed in the Texas death chamber since the return of the death penalty will surpass 400 by the end of the month.
Kenneth Parr is #399. He is 27 years old. He was convicted of a rape/murder committed a few days after his 18th birthday. The crime was grisly, no doubt. Yet the details of his short life are also disturbing, if depressingly familiar.
According to the International Herald Tribune:
"Records show Parr was removed from his mother's custody because he and his siblings were unsupervised, abused by his mother's boyfriends, had no stable parenting, and were exposed to criminal activity and substance abuse."
But mitigating factors don't mean much in the Lone Star State. Barring divine intervention, in a few hours Parr will become the 20th person executed in Texas this year.
Like so many of his fellow prisoners, Parr is Black. Of the five upcoming executions, in fact, only one prisoner, John Amador, is not. (He is Hispanic.) Like Parr, three of the five men awaiting death this month were 19 or younger at the time of the crime. One of them, Kenneth Foster, is acknowledged not to have killed anyone.
This is Southern justice, Texas-style. And it's getting worse. Despite a general decline in executions across the country, Governor Rick Perry has signed off on a whopping 159 executions during his term--more than any other governor, including George W. Bush, who was so notorious for his smirking callousness when it came to signing death warrants. Now, it appears none other than Alberto Gonzales--Bush'
s main enabler back in Texas--is being granted more power than ever to continue the legacy.
With people's energy (arguably) focused on protesting the war, many people have turned their attention away from the death penalty, even as injustices are carried out every day. Recently, there was outrage over the case of the Jena Six in Lousiana. The story may be different but its roots are the same. Texas's death penalty is a barbaric relic; Jim Crow justice at its worst. Enough is enough.

Tagged as: capital punishment, crime, texas, foster, death penalty, criminal justice
Liliana Segura is a writer and activist living in New York.

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