This damned state of Texas that thinks it is above international law. It is 12:30 in the morning and a car of us with the Abolition Movement just returned from Huntsville. Oh my god, what a horrible night.
It was raining on and off because of the tropical storm that hit Texas this morning. People started protesting before 5:00 PM. At 6:00 PM we got our hopes up because no witnesses were crossing the street from the prison system's administration building into the death house. That's how we know an execution is going to happen. First 5 media people go across the street, which is blocked off at each corner with yellow crime scene tape. Then the prisoner's family, friends or spiritual adviser or even lawyer, walk across the street, again five people.
So when no one went across at 6:00, we started trying to find out what was happening. Finally a woman with CNN told us the Supremes were considering an appeal and were holding it up.
There were 30-40 people there protesting the execution. In the rain! The Mexican consulate was there and lots of lawyers and their friends as well as Robert Reyna, a well-known investigator. People from Houston, Spring, Michigan, New Jersey, Norway, 2 from Illinois, El Paso and people from right in Huntsville had gathered.
There were about 6-7 TV satellite trucks in the parking lot by where we protest.There were many other reporters from radio and TV and newspapers. CNN is almost never in Huntsville. But besides CNN, there was Houston's NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CW, TV Azteca, Univision, and a TV station from Honduras.
We thank KPF's Prison Program staff Ray Hill and Elizabeth Stein, and Otis for doing the Execution Watch radio show from 6:00 to 7:00 PM on the HD2 Channel. Too bad that it is so hard to find out how to listen. I wish they could put it on their web page all day on the day of an execution.
So tonight Texas had lots of opportunity to show the world just how damn stupid they are. Instead of grabbing the spotlight though, they shared it with the Supreme Court. How nice that both Texas the SCOTUS failed to understand the significance of international law.
Jose's family stayed in Houston. His five witnesses included 4 attorneys and one friend. Outside with us were about a dozen family members of Heliberto Chi who will be the next foreign national to be executed this week. His brother said there were still appeals pending in his case.
When the witnesses came back out of the death house, I think around 10:00, we knew that Jose had been murdered. One of his friends collapsed and was shrieking. Heliberto's family was in tears. It was awful. Certainly none of us condone what Jose and the others did--it was horrific and unconscionable. But what Texas did was just as unconscionable.
Jose's body was being taken back to Houston and to his family. Unfortunately for the family of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena, this murder will never ease their pain or bring back their loved ones. Perhaps they will be able to heal one day--I hope so.
It is now hard to think about being back in Huntsville the day after tomorrow. Well, it is now early Wednesday morning, so I guess I should say tomorrow. DAMN TEXAS!
for the Abolition Movement