Thank you very much also to the more than 5,000 people who wrote Governor Perry, the Board of Pardons and Paroles and every member of the Texas Legislature. Thank you to the many members of the Foster family, lawyers and activists around the world in the Save Kenneth Foster Campaign who have worked on this case and saved Kenneth's life. Thank you to the 13 members of the Texas Legislature who wrote clemency letters to Perry and the BPP. You have made a difference! You have made history! Extra thank you to the Campaign to End the Death Penalty in Austin who worked very hard for Kenneth.
By MICHAEL GRACZYK
HUNTSVILLE - Gov. Rick Perry accepted a recommendation from the state parole board and said today he would spare condemned prisoner Kenneth Foster from execution and commute his sentence to life.
Foster had been scheduled to die tonight.
"After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment," Perry said in a statement.
"I am concerned about Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine."
The seven-member parole board had voted 6-1 to recommend the commutation.
Perry did not have to accept the highly unusual recommendation from the board whose members he appoints.
Foster was the getaway driver and not the actual shooter in the slaying of a 25-year-old man in San Antonio 11 years ago.
Foster acknowledged he and his friends were up to no good as he drove them around San Antonio in a rental car and robbed at least four people 11 years ago before the slaying of Michael LaHood Jr.
"It was wrong," Foster, 30, said recently from death row. "I don't want to downplay that. I was wrong for that. I was too much of a follower. I'm straight up about that."
Another execution, the first of five scheduled for September in Texas, is set for next week when South Carolina native Tony Roach faces injection Wednesday for the strangling of an Amarillo woman, Ronnie Dawn Hewitt, 37, during a burglary of her apartment nine years ago.