Kristian Oliver, who is scheduled for execution in Texas on Thursday, November 5, was sentenced to death by a jury whose members consulted the Bible during their deliberations of whether Oliver should receive the death penalty.
During deliberations on sentencing, one of the jurors apparently read the following passage aloud to his fellow jurors: “And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.” Another juror, a death penalty supporter, later told the media that “about 80 per cent” of the jurors had “brought scripture into the deliberation”, and that if civil law and biblical law were in conflict, the latter should prevail. And he said that if he had been told he could not consult the Bible, “I would have left the courtroom.”
Lawyers for Oliver argued in their appeals that the jury had been improperly swayed by Bibles that some jurors had brought with them into their deliberations. The case became the subject of a documentary Eye for an Eye and a book by Danish journalist Egon Clausen.
But the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in August 2008 that while the Bibles should not have been allowed into the deliberation room, there was no clear evidence to indicate they had affected the jurors’ decision. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Oliver’s appeal, and on June 29, 145th District Court Judge Campbell Cox set a Nov. 5 execution date.
Please contact the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles by letter or fax and ask them to commute Khristian Oliver’s sentence to life.
Please express your concern that jurors at Khristian Oliver’s trial consulted the Bible during their sentencing deliberations and urge the Board to recommend that the Governor commute Khristian Oliver’s death sentence.
Call Governor Perry at 512 463 1782 or by contacting him through his website to accept a recommendation to commute Oliver’s sentence, or if such a recommendation is not forthcoming, to issue a 30-day stay of execution.
You may further explain that you are not seeking to excuse violent crime or to downplay the suffering caused to its victims.
Rissie L. Owens
Presiding Officer, Board of Pardons and Paroles,
Executive Clemency Section
8610 Shoal Creek Boulevard
Austin, TX 78757
Fax: 1 512 467 0945
Salutation: Dear Ms Owens
Governor Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428
Fax: 1 512 463 1849
Salutation: Dear Governor Perry
The Texas jury didn’t hesitate to find Khristian Oliver guilty of shooting and bludgeoning an elderly man to death. Oliver had stood over his bleeding victim, repeatedly hitting him in the head with a rifle butt before robbing his house.