We just returned from the governor’s mansion where a group of us celebrated saving the life of Kenneth Foster.

Here is the first news report from the mansion.

Death Penalty Opponents Celebrate Perry’s Decision

Commutation Of Kenneth Foster Is Rare Victory For Anti-Death-Penalty Forces

Video: Watch Our Latest News


Gregg Watson

(CBS 42) AUSTIN A planned protest for death row inmate Kenneth Foster is now a victory party. Earlier Thursday afternoon Governor Rick Perry spared the prisoner from execution.

Friends of Foster and death penalty protesters gathered in Downtown Austin to celebrate.

It’s unusual for the parole board to recommend the governor commute a sentence, so they’re saying thanks to those who supported their struggle.

The background in this case goes back 11 years.

Foster was the wheelman, driving the get-away car on the night he and four buddies went on a crime spree in San Antonio.

They botched the robbery of Michael LaHood, who was shot and killed by Foster’s friend Mauriceo Brown.

Brown was convicted and executed in 2006.

Death penalty opponents say Foster was only the driver, so he shouldn’t die. They protested and used the Internet to save his life. But state law allows accomplices to be executed.

Opponents see this as a victory.

Perry issued a statement earlier Thursday.

“After carefully considering the facts of this case,” he said, “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.”

Foster’s date with death would have been the third this week and 24th of 2007.

But now he’ll spend life behind bars.

Before the governor’s decision to spare Foster, the LaHood family said they were looking forward to putting this day behind them.

Family members say they’re disappointed with the governor’s decision.

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