Jeff is innocent, a victim of the Law of Parties and there are a few things you can do to help.
- If anyone is in contact with any Texas House members about writing a clemency letter, you can let any House member know that they can contact Elliott Naishtat's office and sign on to the clemency letter that he is drafting and planning to send next week. This must be done on Thursday as on Friday the family will take all letters to the Board of Pardons and Paroles which will decide clemency. Of course, if any state rep wants to write their own letter, they can do that instead of signing on to Naishtat's.
- Senator Ellis has not signed a letter for Jeff yet, so it is unlikely other Senators will write one, but you could ask.
- If you know anyprominent people, ask them to contact the Board and governor. We already have letters from Sister Helen Prejean, Susan Sarandon and Ramsey Clark.
- Come with us to Austin Saturday. We will leave from SHAPE at 8 AM.
- Make your own calls to the Board and the governor.
- Write letters to the editor about Jeff.
Also, we will go to Huntsville on today, Thursday. Please join us. If you cannot go to Hutnsville, listen to the kPFT News at 5:00 PM and them on the Internet listen from 6:00-7:00 to KPFT's HD2 station for Ray Hill's Execution Watch, produced by Elizabeth Stein and Otis Maclay.
EXECUTION WATCH will air 6-7 p.m. tomorrow, Aug. 14, when the state is scheduled to kill Michael Rodriguez.
The program, which will provide commentary on and live coverage of this latest state-sponsored homicide on KPFT HD-2 90.1 FM Houston, or on the internet, where streaming will start promptly at 6 p.m. CDT at http://www.kpft.org and http://executionwatch.org.
Rodriguez will be the eighth prisoner put to death this year and the second of two this week in the most active death penalty state in the U.S. On Tuesday, Leon Dorsey was executed. Two more are to die next week
Rodriguez will also be the first surviving member of the so-called Texas 7 -- all of them now on death row -- to be executed. He and six others were involved in the slaying of a police officer following a prison escape that prompted a nationwide manhunt.
They were captured in Colorado in January 2001 after some six weeks as fugitives. One killed himself as authorities closed in.
Ray Hill will host, Gloria Rubac will provide live coverage from outside the death chamber in Huntsville, and attorney Jim Sinclair will provide legal commentary.
Special guests will be Billy Wayne Sinclair, who spent seven years on Louisiana's death row, J.C. Mosier, administrative chief of the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office and a former Houston Police officer, and Brian Olsen, executive director of the correctional officers' union, which has blamed a host of recent prison problems, including escapes, on under staffing.
Rodriguez was condemned because he was a party to the slaying, regardless of who pulled the trigger. Another law-of-parties defendant, Jeffery Wood, is scheduled for execution Aug. 21. That means the state of Texas is set to execute two people in one week's time who did not kill but, rather, were condemned under its controversial law-of-parties statute.
One reason Rodriguez's execution comes relatively soon after the crime for which he was condemned is that he is a death-penalty volunteer.
At the time of his escape, Rodriguez was serving life for arranging the murder of his wife. He worked for more than a year to convince the courts he was competent to drop his appeals and volunteer for execution. A judge signed off in September on his decision to die.
Rodriguez will be the 413th prisoner to be executed since Texas resumed capital punishment in 1982 and the 174th since Rick Perry became governor in 2001. His will be the 20th execution in the United States this year and the 1119th overall since the nation resumed executions Jan. 17, 1977.