FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 11, 2008
CONTACT: Scott Cobb, President, Texas Moratorium Network
Two Mothers of Travis County Murder Victims to Speak at Press Conference Saturday January 12
Jeanette Popp and Martha Cotera Will Urge All Four Travis County District Attorney Candidates to Support a Moratorium on the Death Penalty
A press conference with Jeanette Popp and Martha Cotera will be held on the plaza at the Blackwell/Thurman Criminal Justice Center at 509 West 11th Street in Austin on Saturday, January 12, at 12:15 pm. Popp and Cotera will urge the candidates for Travis County District Attorney to impose a moratorium on the death penalty in Travis County by not seeking the death penalty in any capital trials and instead using life without parole as an alternative to the death penalty.
Martha Cotera's 25-year-old son Juan Javier was murdered in a carjacking and drowning in Austin in 1997. Martha opposed the death penalty for her son's killers.
Jeanette Popp's daughter Nancy DePriest was murdered in Austin in 1988. Jeanette became intimately familiar with the many flaws of the Texas criminal justice system after two innocent men, Chris Ochoa and Richard Danziger, were wrongfully convicted of her daughter's murder and spent 12 years in prison. They were exonerated and released in 2001. The City of Austin settled separate lawsuits with Danziger and Ochoa for $9 million and $5.3 million respectively in 2003. Danziger also settled with Travis County for $950,000. The actual killer, Achim Marino, was convicted in October 2002.
"The death penalty system in Texas is broken. The next DA in Travis County should reflect how the Travis County community's views on the death penalty have evolved in recent years and pledge that for now the death penalty is off the table within Travis County", said Scott Cobb of Texas Moratorium Network. "If we want to slow down the number of executions in Texas and reduce the risk of executing an innocent person, we need to elect a district attorney who will pledge to impose a moratorium on seeking new death sentences and a moratorium on setting execution dates for cases with existing death sentences. Certainly a DA candidate in Travis County who makes such a pledge will find a rich reward of votes in the Democratic primary", said Cobb.
What: Press conference with Jeanette Popp and Martha Cotera
Where: Plaza at Blackwell/Thurman Criminal Justice Center
Address: 509 West 11th Street, Austin.
Date: Saturday, January 12, 2008
Time: 12:15 pm