Last night about 150 people protested Kenneth Foster’s pending execution on August 30. Some of the protesters risked arrest by sitting in front of the gate to the governor’s mansion and refusing to move, while others stood in a line across Lavaca Street blocking traffic for about 45 minutes. The police came early on in the protest, then they left for about thirty minutes. They came back after protesters blocked the street and the police then blocked off Lavaca at the intersection before the governor’s mansion. After about an hour of blocking off the street, the protesters decided to end the action and to return on another day. Below is a story by News 8 Austin and here is some amateur video that someone posted on YouTube. The protest had begun at the Capitol and ended at the mansion. It included speeches by Kenneth Foster’s grandfather and 11-year-old daughter.
Death penalty opponents rally outside Governor’s Mansion
8/22/2007 1:56 PM
By: News 8 Austin Staff
Death penalty protesters were out in force near the Governor’s Mansion on Tuesday evening. DPS troopers shut down Lavaca Street and detoured traffic around the block as a precaution.
Several dozen people stood on Lavaca to oppose the execution of Kenneth Foster, who’s been on death row for 10 years for driving a car used in a deadly shooting. His execution date is scheduled for Aug. 30.
Foster did not shoot the gun that killed Michael LaHood in San Antonio in 1996. He was convicted and sentenced to death under the Law of Parties, which allows the state to seek convictions for those present at the scene of a crime as if they committed it.
Texas is the only state that uses the Law of Parties in capital cases.
His supporters say since the original trial, the other men in the car that night testified that Foster had no idea LaHood would be shot.
Mauriceo Brown was found guilty of capital murder for shooting LaHood. He was executed last July. Two others, including one who testified against Brown, received long prison terms.
Prosecutors said the attack on LaHood Jr. capped a crime spree by the four alleged gang members in which at least four other people were robbed.
Foster’s supporters are petitioning the governor and Board of Pardons and Paroles for clemency.