The Austin Police Association is chartering a bus to take its members and friends to the execution of David Powell on June 15, 2010. The Police Association is out of step with the community that its members serve. As police officers, the members of the Association serve with dignity and honor and provide a critical and much appreciated service to the community. As people who celebrate the death of another person, out of some sense of getting even, they bring dishonor to themselves and Austin. Though they will not string David Powell up in a tree, the revelry they plan conjures up those haunting images.
The Austin Police Association (APA) continues to support David Powell’s execution. On 18 May 2008, the 30th anniversary of Officer Ablanedo’s death, the APA took out a full page advertisement in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper announcing that Powell’s federal appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Court would be heard in New Orleans on 3 June 2008. After the hearing, attended by about 25 Austin police officers, the APA president was quoted in the newspaper as saying “hopefully this last appeal will be done and we can move on with setting an execution date so we can move on and the family of Ralph Ablanedo can finally get closure”. Today, the APA website carries the news of David Powell’s execution date and that the APA has chartered a bus for “friends and fellow police officers wishing to travel to Huntsville” on the day of the execution.11 Not all Austin police officers are in agreement, it would seem, however.12 In an email forwarded to David Powell’s lawyer and included in the clemency petition, an Austin police officer, who says he generally supports the death penalty, states:
“I think David should have paid for his decisions and his crime with his life 25 years ago. I do not think that putting him to death today will serve any good purpose. The death penalty should be a deterrent to horrific crime, a message that such crimes will not be tolerated, and a means to ensure that someone who is capable of such crimes cannot repeat that behaviour ever again. That message loses its potency when 30 years pass before the sentence is carried out.13 If David Powell was the type of man who had been blaming society, or spewing forth anger at the injustice of it all, or had been violent while in prison, then I would have a different opinion, I suppose. The fact is, though,… the man who will be put to death for the killing of Ralph Ablanedo is not the man who committed the crime. This David Powell is an elderly man who has shown what I believe to be true understanding and remorse for his crime. This is a man who, in my feeble view, would not be any type of menace to society today and is not, in even any small way, the guy who killed that cop 32 years ago. Texas missed its opportunity to put that man to death and, in my view, accomplishes absolutely nothing in carrying out that man’s sentence on this man now...”14
UPDATED 05-15-10 Ralph Ablanedo Family Support Project - Journey to Justice: June 15, 2010 TOP
**** APA MEMBERS: CLICK HERE to SIGN UP to ride the chartered bus provided by the Austin Police Association for the Journey to Justice. **** A date has finally been set for the execution of David Lee Powell who was convicted and sentenced to die by three separate juries in the fatal shooting of Austin Police Officer Ralph Ablanedo.Powell, who is one of the state’s longest-serving death row inmates, is scheduled to be executed June 15, 2010 after the hour of 6:00 p.m.Friends and fellow police officers wishing to travel to Huntsville to show support for the Ablanedo family can either be part of the support team traveling by charter bus on June 15th or travel on their own and stay at the host hotel where the Austin Police Association is accommodating the Ablanedo family.
Hotel InformationHoliday Inn Express148 South I-45Huntsville, Texas 77340APA Room Rate: $85.00 per night + 13% sales taxThis special rate is for Monday, June 14th and Tuesday, June 15th, 2010Deadline to book at this special rate is June 1, 2010Reservations can be made by directly calling the hotel 1-936-295-4300Group Code: Austin Police Association
Chartered Bus InformationA bus has been chartered by the Austin Police Association to assist in carrying family, police officers and friends to Huntsville, TX the day of the execution. There will be no cost for this service but attendees will have to provide for their own food & beverages during the bus ride.The pickup and parking location is at the old Home Depot parking lot at7211 North I-35 Road Northbound service road in Austin, TX 78752 (IH-35 at the St. John’s exit).The bus will depart Austin June 15th at 10:00 a.m. and arrive in Huntsville, TX at 1:00 p.m.For more information please contact Val Escobar at the APA Office 512-474-6993 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org