The December newsletter has been released and includes information about:
  • March for a Moratorium
  • Adopt-A-Legislator Program
  • Execution of Gerald Mitchell for a crime committed when he was only 17
December e-letter: Greeting moratorium supporters! The October 27 Second Annual March for a Moratorium was a success. Over 400 moratorium supporters from around Texas and beyond marched up Congress Ave in downtown Austin and rallied at the Capitol. Speakers at the rally included former death row inmate Kerry Cook, Rena and Ireland Beazley (parents of Napoleon, a juvenile offender on Texas death row), Bishop Gregory Aymand, Jeanette Popp (mother of murder victim Nancy DePriest), as well as Renny Cushing and Linda White of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation (MVFR). The crowd was especially moved to hear murder victims' family members speak out against executions. The presence of these voices of mercy and compassion are sure sign that the movement for a moratorium is growing. We expect the march to be an even bigger success next year. Texas Moratorium Network, along with other march planners, is grateful to everyone who made contributions, who travelled to attend the march, and who helped get the word out. The energy bodes well for the 2003 legislative session. At the moment, one of our chief projects is building the 2002 Adopt a Legislator Program. Last session several legislators became strong moratorium supporters because their constituents contacted them before the session and gradually won them over to the cause. What we need now are a few dedicated individuals around the state to *adopt a legislator* and to make him or her a moratorium supporter. To sign up, or to learn more, contact Brian Evans (bcevans@mail.utexas.edu). In other news: On October 22, Texas went forward with an especially tragic execution. Gerald Mitchell was killed for the 1985 murder of Charles Marino. Mitchell was only 17 at the time of the murder. Most of the world has condemned execution of juvenile offenders as a barbaric practice. This year, Texas' House of Representatives passed a bill that would have banned such executions, but it died in the Senate. We are still hopeful that the execution of Napoleon Beazley, another juvenile offender, can be stopped. If you have not read Amnesty International's report on Napoleon and juvenile's, please do so at: http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/AMR511052001 In better news, Jeanette Popp has succeeded in convincing the Austin District Attorney's office *not* to seek the death penalty in the trial of Joe Achim Marino, her daughter's accused killer. Marino also initially wanted to be eligible for execution, but a visit from Popp convinced everyone that another killing was not the answer. This is a major victory for opponents of the current death penalty system, and for victims' rights. In January, Sister Helen will be making a tour through Texas. She will be appearing at a religious retreat in San Antonio on Jan. 19, at a Defendant's Service at the University of Houston on Jan. 23, at the LBJ Auditorium on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin on Jan. 24, at St. Thomas Church in Amarillo on Jan. 25, and at Holy Spirit Parish in McAllen on Jan. 26. If you live near any of these locations, please try to make it to her appearance. You won't be disappointed. Happy Holidays one and all, and we look forward to building support for a moratorium on executions in 2002! The Texas Moratorium Network
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