All eyes on Texas governor as calls develop to halt execution

All eyes on Texas governor as calls develop to halt execution - us-canada

All eyes are on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and whether or not he’ll enable the execution of a loss of life row inmate to proceed regardless of stress from lawmakers and celebrities to name it off

In his 5 years as Texas’ governor, Republican Greg Abbott has overseen the execution of almost 50 prisoners whereas solely as soon as sparing a condemned man’s life, after a victims’ household requested him to take action.

However Abbott — who has proudly referred to the loss of life penalty as “Texas justice” — has by no means confronted such intense stress to halt a deadly injection like he’s dealing with within the case of Rodney Reed, who is ready to die this month for a 1996 killing regardless of new proof that even a rising variety of Republican legislators say raises critical questions on his guilt.

On Saturday, supporters of Reed are planning their largest protest but outdoors the governor’s mansion, escalating a public marketing campaign that now counts Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian and Oprah Winfrey among the many celebrities who’ve urged Abbott to name off the Nov. 20 execution. So, too, has the European Union’s ambassador to the U.S.

It is unclear if the general public stress is making any impression on Abbott, who was a legislation and order state legal professional common earlier than he was elected governor. Abbott hasn’t spoken publicly about Reed’s case. Even Republican lawmakers who’re near the governor and have lobbied his workplace in current days and weeks for a reprieve say they’re in the dead of night about his pondering.

“They said the governor has heard about it and is taking a very deliberative and thoughtful analysis,” Republican state Rep. Matt Krause mentioned. “But they didn’t give me an indication one way or the other on which way he’d be.”

Reed, now 51, was convicted of raping and strangling 19-year-old Stacy Stites whereas she made her solution to work at a grocery store in Bastrop, a rural neighborhood about 30 miles southeast of Austin.

Reed has lengthy maintained that Stites was killed by her fiance, former police officer Jimmy Fennell. Reed says Fennell was offended as a result of Stites, who was white, was having an affair with Reed, who’s black. In current weeks, Reed’s attorneys have introduced affidavits that help his claims, together with one by a former jail inmate who claims Fennell bragged about killing Stites and referred to Reed by a racial slur.

Reed’s legal professionals say different current affidavits additionally corroborate the connection between Stites and Reed. Fennell’s legal professional has mentioned his shopper did not kill Stites, and prosecutors keep that they consider Reed is responsible.

Texas stays the loss of life penalty capital of the U.S. whilst executions nationwide hover at historic lows. Final 12 months, about half of the 25 executions nationwide passed off in Texas, which has put to loss of life eight folks to date this 12 months.

Assist for the loss of life penalty has been declining in recent times, however in Texas, Abbott hasn’t relaxed his place. A training Roman Catholic, Abbott breaks with the church on the Vatican’s view that capital punishment can by no means be sanctioned, and efforts to reduce the varieties of crimes that carry the loss of life penalty in Texas have stalled beneath his watch.

Solely as soon as has Abbott spared the lifetime of a convicted killer shortly earlier than the scheduled execution: Final 12 months, he accepted a uncommon suggestion of clemency from Texas’ parole board and commuted the sentence of Thomas “Bart” Whitaker, who fatally shot his mom and brother. Abbott did so after Whitaker’s father, who was additionally shot, requested for mercy.

It is not the primary time Abbott’s decision-making has been within the highlight over a high-profile loss of life penalty case. Whereas serving as Texas legal professional common in 2011, Abbott dominated {that a} state forensic panel couldn’t contemplate outdated proof within the case towards Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed for a fireplace that killed his youngsters however whose guilt remained in query after his loss of life as a result of the arson science used to convict him had since been debunked.

In a letter to Abbott this week, greater than a dozen Republicans mentioned that getting it incorrect with Reed may “erode public trust — not only in capital punishment, but in Texas justice itself.”

“We have a lot of executions, right? We’re Texas,” mentioned Republican state Rep. James White, who has served within the Legislature for almost a decade. “This probably is the first one I’ve directly reached out to the attorney general’s office and the governor’s office on. Not on the prospect that I believe that Mr. Reed is innocent. But I do believe there is a lot of information and evidence that does deserve to be vetted.”

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Comply with Paul J. Weber on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pauljweber

All eyes on Texas governor as calls develop to halt execution - us-canada

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