Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Donate to the 2007 Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break

Help us put on the 2007 Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break in Texas March 12-16, 2007. There will be five days of activism, training and education against the death penalty. It is aimed at high school and college students, but the workshops and activities are open to the general public. There will be a Death Penalty Issues Lobby Day on March 13, when we will be at the Texas capitol urging legislators to stop executions.

There is also a Direct Action Day.

This is a great project that will have a large impact on young people as well as policy-makers, both of whom will learn about how problematic the death penalty is.

Your financial contribution will help us in many ways, including bringing workshop presenters to the event, including people exonerated from death row and family members of murder victims and paying for housing for the students participating in the program.

Texas leads the nation by far in number of executions. Texas performed 45 percent of all the executions in the United States in 2006. Twenty-four people were executed in Texas 2006. There were 53 executions in the U.S. in 2006. Since the U.S Supreme Court ruling in 1976 that allowed executions to resume after a four-year period during which they were considered unconstitutional, there have been 1062 executions in the United States. Texas has performed 383 of those executions, which amounts to about 35 percent of the national total. According to the 2000 census, Texas has only 7.4 percent of the nation's entire population.

As of Feb 14, there have been five executions in the United States in 2007 and four of those executions have taken place in Texas. While many other states have put executions on hold, Texas continues at its usual torrid pace.

Help us stop executions in Texas!

Go to to donate online.


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S.A. eatery killer will be executed

A Bexar County jury deliberated less than 2 hours Wednesday before
deciding convicted capital murderer Kevin Watts should die for last
year's Sam Won Garden massacre that left 2 cooks and a manager dead.

As 226th District Judge Sid Harle pronounced the death sentence, Watts,
22, showed little emotion.

His girlfriend and mother of his 2-year-old daughter wept, and a member
of Watts' family helped her out of the courtroom.

"I love my family, and I want them to know that I'll be all right to the
end," Watts said in a brief statement before being led away in cuffs. He
also apologized to the family of the victims, tempering his apology with:
"If they hate me, they hate me."

Insik Kim, the restaurant's former owner and father of one of Watts'
victims, said afterward, "His apology, right now I cannot accept it.

"I hope nothing happens again like this in San Antonio," he said.

Watts was convicted last week of capital murder, which made him eligible
for death row or a life sentence. A life sentence would have made him
eligible for parole in 40 years.

"He would have been a danger during that 40 years in prison," said
Assistant District Attorney Bill Pennington, the lead prosecutor in the
case. "This was the right punishment."

The city's tight-knit Korean community has grieved over the murders.

Throughout the trial, jurors wept openly and showed their shock over
evidence presented by the prosecution.

After the death sentence was announced, several jurors hugged members of
the victims' families and gave their condolences.

On March 1, 2002, Watts entered the Northeast Side restaurant at 4527
Goldfield Road. The restaurant wasn't yet open when Watts entered and
fired a gunshot into the ceiling as four workers prepared for business.

He rounded up the 4 workers into the kitchen and shot three of them in
the back of the head: Hak Po Kim, 30, the restaurant owner's son; and
cooks Yuan Tzu Banks, 52, and Chae Sun Shook, 59.

He allowed the fourth worker, Kim's new bride, to live but testimony
showed he abducted her and sexually assaulted her before police caught up
with him at a North Side apartment complex.

In closing arguments Wednesday, defense attorney Tina Tussay argued to
the jury that although the evidence against her client was damning,
sentencing Watts in retaliation would be wrong.

She argued that Watts had gone on a narcotic and alcohol consumption
binge prior to the homicides and that he "suffered a drug-induced
psychosis" that led to his actions.

Besides the Sam Won restaurant killings, Watts' criminal history only
includes a string of misdemeanors that wouldn't mark him as a threat to
society, Tussay said.

"2 wrongs don't make a right," Tussay told jurors. "Don't go back and
retaliate because of the anger you feel."

But prosecutors countered that Watts is a continuing threat, noting he's
a member of a street gang and has aspirations of joining a prison gang.

After the punishment was announced, Tussay said the jury's decision only
claimed another life.

"What a waste of 4 lives," she said.

Kim's wife, who testified twice during the trial that Watts was the
killer and a rapist, was allowed to address Watts before he was taken away.

However, an employee with the district attorney's office had to read her
note aloud because the young woman began sobbing uncontrollably as she
stood within 10 feet of Watts.

"My husband and I were very happy," she wrote. Watts "took everything
that I have."

(source: San Antonio Express-News)