Friday, June 01, 2007

The case of Kenneth Foster jr

The state of Texas has recently given Kenneth Foster an execution date of August 30, 2007. Please contact governor Rick Perry and ask him to grant clemency to Kenneth Foster, Jr..

The Case in brief:

  • On the evening of August 14, 1996, Mauriceo Brown shot and killed Michael T. LaHood, Jr.
  • Kenneth was the driver of a car in which three passengers Brown, Julius Steen, and Dewayne Dillard committed multiple robberies.
  • Kenneth was only the driver. He did not participate in the robberies.
  • Kenneth tried to persuade them men to desist and return home.
  • Later in the evening, the men found themselves behind another car. The car parked and one of its occupants, Mary Patrick, waved them to the side of the road.
  • Brown exited the car to speak to Patrick. During the exchange, he shot and killed the woman’s boyfriend, Mr. LaHood.
  • Kenneth, along with Steen and Dillard had no prior knowledge of Brown’s intentions nor did they assist.

The Trial:

  • Kenneth faced trial with the shooter, Mauriceo Brown.
  • Brown admitted to the shooting, but clearly and freely stated that he acted on his own.
  • No evidence exists that proves Kenneth participated in or knew a murder would be committed

Other Circumstances:

  • Kenneth is legally and factually innocent of Capital Murder.
  • Kenneth did not know that Brown had the gun when he left the car or that he was about to commit murder.
  • Dewayne Dillard testified in an evidentiary hearing of Kenneth’s ignorance of Brown’s intent. Dillard said that Kenneth looked surprised and panicked after hearing the gunshot. Kenneth also started to drive away, but did not at the request of Dillard. Dillard’s testimony was not presented at trial.
  • The judge told the jury that it could "find the defendant Kenneth Foster guilty of the offense of capital murder, though he may have had no intent to commit the offense." These instructions contradict both the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Enmund v. Florida and the standards of conviction under the Texas “Law of Parties.”

o Enmund v. Florida: the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment and is a disproportionate punishment when the defendant was not present at the killing, did not kill, and did not intend that the victims be killed or did not anticipate lethal force might be used in the course of a robbery or to effect a safe escape.

o The standards of Texas’ “Law of Parties” require the prosecution to prove intent to conspire to commit murder.

The death of Michael T. Lahood, Jr. is undoubtedly a tragedy. However, the worst thing Texas could do in this case is create more innocent victims.

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