Upcoming Executions
Click for a list of upcoming scheduled executions in Texas.
Innocence
The death penalty puts innocent people at risk of execution.
Todd Willingham
Todd Willingham was wrongfully executed under Governor Rick Perry on February 17, 2004.

Beunka Adams has been granted a stay of execution by a U.S. District Judge:

From the Houston Chronicle:

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A 29-year-old convict set to die this week for a fatal shooting during the robbery and abductions at an East Texas convenience store has won a reprieve from a federal judge.

Beunka Adams was set for lethal injection Thursday evening in Huntsville for the September 2002 slaying of 37-year-old Kenneth Vandever outside Rusk. Vandever and two women were abducted during the robbery, one of the women was raped, and all three were shot. The women survived.

Lawyers for Adams convinced U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider in Texarkana, Texas, that the execution should be delayed until the courts review allegations that Adams had poor legal help in the early stages of his appeals.

It’s unclear if the Texas Attorney General’s office would or could appeal Monday’s ruling.

When we first posted the link to the petition written by Kerry Max Cook, less than 200 people had signed it. Now, there are almost 35,000 signatures.

Here is a personal message from Kerry Max Cook:

“After my story and ongoing legal plight was published on the front-page of the New York Times last week, a National organization called Change.org contacted me and wants to try and collect as many signatures as possible to try and put pressure on Texas to do the right thing and officially recognize my innocence. With this in mind, and with their encouragement, I started a petition on Change.org asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend me for a full pardon based on actual innocence.”

Click here to sign my petition:

 

 

Why This Is Important

In 1978 I was found guilty for the rape and murder of a 21-year-old woman in Texas. I was sentenced to death row. I was innocent.

In 1999 I was proven innocent through DNA testing — after over 20 years on death row.

The case against me was based entirely on circumstantial evidence. Over the years, every piece of evidence used to convict me was revealed to be bogus.The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the prosecution had suppressed evidence that showed I was innocent in order to build their case against me.

Thirteen years after my innocence was proven and I was released from prison, the state of Texas still has not judicially exonerated me.

I was tried for this murder nearly four times. Despite an Appellate ruling throwing out my second conviction with findings that “Police and prosecutorial misconduct has tainted this entire matter from the outset,” the Smith County District Attorney’s Office was more interested in saving face than justice.

Unwilling to drop the charges against me on the eve of my fourth trial, prosecutors offered a plea-bargain: plead no-contest with no admission of guilt, and go free. By this time my only brother had been murdered, my Dad had died of cancer, and my mother had abandoned me. I took the offer and walked out of the courtroom. But I have never been free.

Two months later, DNA evidence proved my innocence.

Because I pleaded no-contest to the murder, I cannot be declared actually innocent unless the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommends to Governor Rick Perry that I be pardoned and Texas Governor Rick Perry agrees and sets me free.

Without being exonerated, I feel I am still in a Texas prison.

Please sign my petition and ask the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend to Texas Governor Rick Perry that I be pardoned and finally set free from my mental prison sentence now in its 35th year.

Kerry Cook

Here is a personal message from Kerry Max Cook:

“After my story and ongoing legal plight was published on the front-page of the New York Times last week, a National organization called Change.org contacted me and wants to try and collect as many signatures as possible to try and put pressure on Texas to do the right thing and officially recognize my innocence. With this in mind, and with their encouragement, I started a petition on Change.org asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend me for a full pardon based on actual innocence.”

Click here to sign my petition:

 

 

Why This Is Important

In 1978 I was found guilty for the rape and murder of a 21-year-old woman in Texas. I was sentenced to death row. I was innocent.

In 1999 I was proven innocent through DNA testing — after over 20 years on death row.

The case against me was based entirely on circumstantial evidence. Over the years, every piece of evidence used to convict me was revealed to be bogus.The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the prosecution had suppressed evidence that showed I was innocent in order to build their case against me.

Thirteen years after my innocence was proven and I was released from prison, the state of Texas still has not judicially exonerated me.

I was tried for this murder nearly four times. Despite an Appellate ruling throwing out my second conviction with findings that “Police and prosecutorial misconduct has tainted this entire matter from the outset,” the Smith County District Attorney’s Office was more interested in saving face than justice.

Unwilling to drop the charges against me on the eve of my fourth trial, prosecutors offered a plea-bargain: plead no-contest with no admission of guilt, and go free. By this time my only brother had been murdered, my Dad had died of cancer, and my mother had abandoned me. I took the offer and walked out of the courtroom. But I have never been free.

Two months later, DNA evidence proved my innocence.

Because I pleaded no-contest to the murder, I cannot be declared actually innocent unless the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommends to Governor Rick Perry that I be pardoned and Texas Governor Rick Perry agrees and sets me free.

Without being exonerated, I feel I am still in a Texas prison.

Please sign my petition and ask the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend to Texas Governor Rick Perry that I be pardoned and finally set free from my mental prison sentence now in its 35th year.

Kerry Cook

Jesse Joe Hernandez received lethal injection tonight in Huntsville for the slaying of Karlos Borja 11 years ago. Today’s execution was the 481st in Texas since 1982 and the 242nd since Rick Perry became Governor. More than 50 percent of all executions in Texas in the modern era have been conducted under Rick Perry. Call the Office of Governor Rick Perry at 512 463 2000 to give him your opinion on the death penalty.

From ABC:

The execution was carried out about two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied last-ditch appeals for the 47-year-old Hernandez.

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