I have been writing about the fate of Kenneth Foster Jr. He’s innocent of murder and yet tonight he will die unless Texas changes the course it is on.
Just in. Gov. Rick Perry spared the life of Foster at the last minute.
He is a number. #999232. He lives on death row. Today. Tomorrow he would have been dead.
“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.
I am putting the letter Kenneth Foster, Jr. sent to the governor of Texas in full. His case had to be heard. The case highlights why capital punishment is opposed by so many nations. Innocent people die. In this case a man the state knows is innocent was waiting to walk the long green mile until the last second. On the day that would have been his last the Governor came through and commuted his sentence to life.
A lot of people backed the young Foster in the end. The world saw an injustice about to be done and screamed out that it was wrong.
Foster wasn’t an innocent. He committed crimes. He made bad choices. He did not however murder someone. In the end that is what spared him.
And now for the letter he wrote.
Kenneth E. Foster, Jr.
Polunsky Unit (Death Row)
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351
Texas Governor Rick Perry
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711
Dear Governor Perry,
Unaware of what I could possibly say that could make a difference, I decided to grasp this opportunity to write to you from my heart, because I believe that God declares for us to live each day to the fullest. While I know that you will be bombarded with letters from people, spoken to by legal representatives and addressed by the media, this is written on a personal basis.
I know that you will have detailed information about my case and the Law of Parties. However, please never forget that although I did not protest when Mauriceo Brown wanted to commit robberies, later I recognized that this was wrong to go along with, and out of respect for my grandfather, I said I had to stop. After I said I wanted to go home, Mauriceo Brown got out of the car to talk to Mary Patrick, and got into an argument with Michael LaHood, which ended with Mauriceo Brown shooting him, of which I had no foreknowledge and would never have permitted, had I known it were going to happen.
I would like to talk from another perspective. What can I say about this death row journey? It has been a curse and a blessing, because as ironic as it may be most humans fear the only thing they are promised at birth and that is death. And as the irony continues, one (here) learns to live by facing death. It’s a stunning process. Yet, for each man he experiences something different. I’ve observed some of the most complex and intricate human behavior probably on this earth – enough experience to more than likely surpass the credentials of any anthropologist or psychologist. I’ve watched the dreams and nightmares, the hope and despair. I could write a book on it and speak volumes to it. But, I will only say that I thank God for allowing me to journey through this keeping my sanity and being anointed with a gift to learn, grow, and pass on positivity.
There’s so much that the world doesn’t see – so much that politics will bar, but regardless of it all, a man still has the opportunity to tap into the beauty of humanity and experience that regardless of his outside circumstances. I just wish that you all could see it. I do realize that you feel you have a certain Justice to serve. I’ve come so far in my journey that I no longer hold spite, because I’ve been granted an Understanding that is keeping me. It was a quote that I read once that said – “To maim and destroy the body of man is no deed of recognition for valor, whether in war or in mortal conflict. But, to save a body, which is the temple of the soul, is an act and deed of the God-like.” Those words changed me, because it was just as much about me as anyone else.
Governor Perry, I don’t think that I have to detail why I feel my situation is unjust – either personally or politically. I believe that all the evidence and letters will speak so loud to you. However, I think it’s important to tell you that I have tried to use this situation as a transformation process. Everyday I have tried to be an exception to the stigmas and stereotypes. I wanted to show that a man here could be more than his error or labels. And so, as I submitted myself, I found the heart to pray for you and your family, the victim and his family, my co-defendants and their family. I’ve discovered (and hopefully others will, too,) that the pain, sorrow and compensation is not taken care of through simply saying I’m sorry or through hundreds of executions, rather giving love everyday, helping someone, speaking truth to power – showing that one man with courage can be a majority. The only Joy I have is in educating, reforming and revitalizing; and if you believe it or not I do this because of you all, not myself. Because if I did anything for me I’d be a wretch, but through you all (those that love me or not,) I’ve found humanity embracing me. I’m thankful, regardless.
You’re a history maker, Governor Perry, and I am a part of your history and I think what happens to me will be a relevant part of history. I wish I could appeal not only to your morale and conscience, but to your soul. I wish we could talk about the last 10 years and everything between. I wish we could view the way each life through this process has been touched. Often the Divine is revealed through the hardest trials and tribulations.
My only plea is that I wish I could live for the sake of my little daughter who will be so deeply wounded to not have her daddy. I do not want to be set free. I want to pay for what I did. I drove a car and let a man rob other people. That is not a capital crime. I allowed Mauriceo Brown to get back in the car. Because of my own blatant shock and disbelief at what had just occurred, I helped him leave a crime scene. That is not a capital crime. I never sought nor desired that Michael LaHood, Jr. be killed.
I wrote this letter from the heart, just trying to show you how one can transform, how beauty does persist, how change can come. I prayed different Psalms and Proverbs over this letter. I’ve passionately spoken all of my request for Forgiveness, Peace, Life, Justice, Freedom, Love, Understanding to The Creator and His Creation. I stand on the Faith knowing that all of the roles we have played in this walk of life will have a greater purpose. I’m glad to have had this opportunity to speak with you.
With God’s Love,
“I Like Turtles!!”