C/O S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, 3815 Live Oak, Houston, TX 77004
July 10, 2006
Contact: Njeri Shakur 713-237-0357 or Gloria Rubac 713-503-2633
WITH NEWSPAPERS REPORTING THREE CASES OF INNOCENCT PERSONS BEING EXECUTED IN TEXAS, WE DEMAND A MORATORIUM NOW!
STOP THE EXECUTION OF DERRICK OBRIEN!
At 6:00 PM on Tuesday, July 11, in Huntsville, Texas, members of the Abolition Movement will be protesting the execution of Derrick Sean OBrien, a convicted participant in one of Houstons most well known murder cases.
O'Brien was one of six youths involved in the rape and murder of Jennifer Ertman, 14, and Elizabeth Pena, 16, on June 24, 1993. The girls were Waltrip High School students who were walking home from a pool party when they took a shortcut through a park and the 6 young men attacked them.
The Abolition Movement is opposed to all executions, regardless if the person is innocent or guilty. The state of Texas does not have the right or the moral authority to kill anyone, said activist Njeri Shakur.
As a mother of six girls, I can only extend my sympathy to the parents of Pena and Ertman. What happened to their daughters was truly a parents nightmare. But as an African in America I know first hand that the criminal justice system is fatally flawed with racism and class bias.
The Abolition Movement also stresses that the death penalty is not reversible. In just the last 19 months, newspaper reporters have uncovered that three innocent people have likely been executed by the state of Texas: Cameron Todd Willingham, Ruben Cantu, and Carlos DeLuna.
Since 1973, 123 people in 25 states have been released from death row for reasons of innocence. Eight of these exonerees were from the state of Texas.
We demand an immediate moratorium on executions in Texas. These three cases of innocence must be fully investigated. And we demand a state agency be formed to not only fully examine these cases, but the application of the death penalty in Texas. If newspaper reporters can uncover innocent people being put to death, we need a total revamping of the criminal justice system. Deluna, Cantu and Willingham were surely not the only innocent people sent to death, Shakur stated.