Choking back tears and accompanied by 300 supporters standing outside the gates of the Texas Governor’s Mansion, the sister of Carlos De Luna delivered a letter to Gov Perry on October 28, 2006 asking him to stop executions and investigate the case of her brother to determine if he was wrongfully executed. Mary Arredondo slipped the letter, along with a copy of an article from the Chicago Tribune that concluded that her brother was innocent, through the bars of the front gate of the mansion and left it lying on the walkway leading to the front door of the mansion. A DPS trooper on duty refused to take the letter, so Mary left it on the walkway. The action was part of the 7th Annual March to Stop Executions.
The 300 supporters standing beside Mary Arredondo carried signs saying, “THE DEATH PENALTY SYSTEM IS BROKEN” on the top of the signs and different slogans at the bottom listing various problems with the Texas death penalty system that can lead to innocent people being executed, including “NO STATEWIDE PUBLIC DEFENDER SERVICE”, “PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT”, “NO INDEPENDENT COMMISSION TO REVIEW THE SYSTEM” and other problems.
After delivering the letter, Mary joined the crowd in a march to Austin City Hall for a rally against the death penalty.
The Honorable Rick Perry
Governor of Texas
October 28, 2006
Dear Governor Perry,
My name is Mary Arredondo. Carlos De Luna was my brother. He was an innocent person executed by Texas on December 7, 1989. I have come to the Texas Governor’s Mansion today to personally deliver this letter to you. It is too late to save my brother’s life, but it is not too late to take steps to prevent other innocent people from being executed. I am writing to ask that you provide the leadership to make sure that Texas never executes another innocent person.
My brother claimed his innocence from the time of his arrest until his execution. He named another man as the real killer. The Chicago Tribune has recently published the results of their investigation that concluded that my brother was the victim of a case of mistaken identity and the most likely killer was a man named Carlos Hernandez. Hernandez’s relatives and friends have recounted how he repeatedly bragged that my brother went to Death Row for a murder Hernandez committed. I am enclosing a copy of the Tribune article for you to read.
Please look into my brother’s case and ask the District Attorney in Corpus Christi to reopen the investigation into the crime for which my brother was wrongfully executed.
I also ask you to support a moratorium on executions and to create a special blue ribbon commission to study the administration of the death penalty in Texas in order to prevent other innocent people from being executed and to propose reforms to ensure the fair and accurate administration of the death penalty in Texas. In addition, I ask you to support an Innocence Commission that would be charged with investigating claims of innocence from people before they are executed and cases of people that have been wrongfully executed, as well as cases of innocent people who have been exonerated in order to determine what went wrong in the system that resulted in an innocent person being convicted.
There are other reforms that will help prevent innocent people from being convicted and executed, such as establishing a statewide Office of Public Defenders for Capital Cases and increasing the amount of money paid to attorneys representing indigent defendants and the amount of money available to them to conduct investigations. Of course, the best way to prevent innocent people from being executed is to end the use of the death penalty and instead sentence people convicted of capital crimes to life without the possibility of parole.
Thank you for reading my letter. I hope that you will do whatever is necessary to prevent other innocent people from suffering the fate of my brother.