Category Archives: Kenneth Foster

Kenneth Foster Jr. Is Scheduled To Die Today

Texas has postponed an 11th hour decision regarding the impending execution of Kenneth Foster Jr. The Texas inmate never killed anyone but that’s the crime that he’s to be executed for.

He’s been moved to Huntsville Prison, the place where the walking dead go to walk that last mile.

There are protests being carried out throughout Texas today. The prisons in Huntsville, Livingston and at the governor’s mansion. The Supreme Court has picketers on it’s front steps.

Mauriceo Brown was executed in 2006 for the murder of Michael LaHood. Foster was driving the car that Brown was in. Driving was his crime. Two others were in the car that night. they were sentenced to prison but not to death. Foster at the time was only nineteen.

Who’s on Foster’s side right now as the hours tick down before his death? Sean-Paul Kelly for one. His name isn’t that famous but who he is important. He’s the best friend of the man who died. Foster did not contact him. Kelly just thinks it’s wrong for an innocent man to die for the murder of someone, even his best friend.

My last words to Mike–two weeks before he was murdered–were a cliché for all clichés: “we’ll do it next weekend, buddy, we’ve got all the time in the world.” I couldn’t hear the clock ticking. I wish I’d listened closer.
And for that I hated Mauriceo and his gang even more, and for a long time. But the execution of a young man who didn’t even kill Mike? That’s not justice. It’s senseless vengeance, a barbarism cloaked in the black robes of justice.

There’s some big names urging Texas to reconsider too. Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu are both asking for the execution to be stopped. The former Bexar County D.A. has written to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

August 27, 2007
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
P. O. Box 13401
Austin, Texas 78711-3401
RE: Kenneth Foster

To the Honorable Members of the Board:

I am writing to urge you to recommend clemency in the Kenneth Foster case.
I am no wild-eyed, pointy-headed liberal. I am the former elected Bexar
County District Attorney (1983-1987); I am responsible for the prosecution of
more than a few death penalty cases, all of which produced convictions and

Because you have been buried with letters from throughout the world, I will
not rehash the facts and legal problems with the case in this letter; they
are obvious. There is nothing I can say about the legal issues or evidence
that you have not already heard ad nauseam.

Fortunately, I was no longer the Bexar County District Attorney when this
horrible crime was committed. Had I been, there is every likelihood that I
would have decided to seek the death penalty against Foster–because I could
have done so–and that would have been a mistake. With the benefit of 20
additional years of life experience, I now believe that no useful purpose is
served and it is morally wrong to execute a person based on nothing more than the
law of parties.

Is there no limit to our lust in this state for retribution? How many people
must we execute for this crime before justice is served? Having already
executed the shooter, what benefit results from the execution of someone who
was simply nearby and had no idea that a murder would be committed? As the
civilized world watches in amazement that a single American state has executed
400 people in the last 25 years, what does it say about us if we are willing
to execute someone who was in the car when this horrible crime was committed?

Surely, there is a limit to what we are capable of in this state.

There are tough cases and there are easy cases. This is an easy case. If we
can’t say no to execution in a case like the Kenneth Foster case, there is
no practical limit to our thirst for vengeance. I urge you to recommend that
the Governor grant clemency in this case.

Sincerely yours,
Sam D. Millsap, Jr.

His eleven year old daughter doesn’t understand this either.

NYDESHA FOSTER: When somebody is a big part of your heart, like my father is — I mean, my father is more than half of my heart. I mean, I love him so much. And if the State of Texas kills him just for driving a car, it’s like you’re killing my heart. It’s like you’re killing half of me. It’s like if you execute him, you might as well execute me, because of the type of things and the could-have-should-have-known stuff, and it’s just how the Texas Law of Parties, they just really need to take the time to listen, and my dad probably would not be in the predicament that he is in, if the Law of Parties would take the time to listen to us.

Today’s planned protests are:

Austin, Thursday, August 30, 5:00 PM, Governor’s Mansion (Lavaca at 11th)?EXECUTION PROTEST AND VIGIL?Even in the eleventh hour things could turn for Kenneth. If you can’t make it to Huntsville, come out to stand with others against the execution.

Thursday, August 30:
3pm-7pm: Protest the execution of Kenneth Foster Jr outside the Ellis Unit in Huntsville Texas. Groups from all over the state will converge to stand against this injustice and demand until the very end that the State of Texas do the right thing and stop this execution.

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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.

It did.

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,

Kenneth Foster”

“I Like Turtles!!”

He’s Going To Die

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Kenneth Foster Jr. is going to die on August 30. The man who was sentenced when he was nineteen will be put to death for a murder that he didn’t commit. And what’s more the state knows it. He was in a car waiting when Mauriceo Brown did kill a man.

Mauriceo Brown was executed in 2006. The state of Texas though contends that Foster knew what was going on and therefore is just as guilty.

It doesn’t matter that everyone involved says that the man hadn’t a clue. In Texas if they want you to die you’re going to die.

See in Texas they have special laws. One of those laws is the Texas Law of Parties that permits a person involved in a crime to be held accountable for the actions committed by someone else.

Texas says that a nineteen year old man “should have anticipated” that Brown was going to kill Michael LaHood in San Antonio. I mean come on, everyone knows that when someone exits your car they are going to go and shot someone, right?

“[Foster] was a victim of a statute that was never intended by its authors to be used this way,” said Foster’s defense attorney, Keith Hampton. “I talked to the authors, and they intended [the statute] to be used in conspiracy cases.”

The night in question Foster, Brown, Julius Steen, and Dewayne Dillard were all riding together in Foster’s car. No one is saying that these were innocent boys, On the contrary they had spent that evening committing two armed robberies. Everyone has always maintained that when Brown left the car no one knew that he was going to kill LaHood. In fact it has been stated repeatedly that Foster, who had borrowed the car from his grandfather, pleaded with the group to go home before they encountered LaHood. They also all maintain that he wanted to drive away when he heard the gunshots. Steen and Dillard made him stop and wait for Brown. So how did the others involved in the case luck out with lesser sentences? Steen received a 35-year-to-life sentence for the crime, and Dillard was given a life sentence.

The answer seems to be a shoddy court-appointed defense attorney. One that didn’t bring up those key points. One who wrote a short 20-page appellate brief on behalf of Foster. One who is safe to say didn’t care if his client lived or died.

At least one of the original jurors has admitted that his verdict would have been different had he known that Foster was unaware of what Brown was planning.

For a while it looked like Foster had a break. His sentence was overturned by Federal District Judge Royal Furgeson of San Antonio .

“There was no evidence before Foster’s sentencing jury which would have supported a finding that Foster either actually killed LaHood or that Foster intended to kill LaHood or another person. Therein lays the fundamental constitutional defect in Foster’s sentence . . . . Therefore, Foster’s death sentence is not supported by the necessary factual finding mandated [by the U.S. Supreme Court] and, for that reason, cannot withstand Eighth Amendment scrutiny.”

That though was short lived. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit overturned that decision.

So right now Foster has until the end of the month to breath.

When Texas wants them dead, they die.