Kenneth Foster Jr., the Texan who was condemned to death despite not having killed himself, has been given a last minute reprieve after his case leapt to international prominence.
Gov. Rick Perry, longtime head of the nation's busiest death penalty state, spared an inmate Thursday hours before he was to have been executed for being a killer's getaway driver.I'd written about this case myself - spurred on by the fine example of bloggers I consider friends, like Sean-Paul Kelley ( who was a good friend of the murdered man) and Kyle Moore. Others like Firedoglake and Ann Althouse wrote posts noting the injustice of Foster's sentence too. There's little doubt that blogs catapulted Foster's case into the public eye.
Perry issued the commutation order on a parole board's rare recommendation about seven hours before Kenneth Foster was to have been put to death — the narrowest gap by which he has halted an execution in his more than eight years in office.
Thursday's vote marked only the second time since Texas resumed carrying out executions in 1982 that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles endorsed stopping an execution with so little time remaining. And in that 2004 case, Perry rejected the board's recommendation and the prisoner, who had been diagnosed as mentally ill, was executed.
I'm going to add my agreement to Kyle's post today:
I doubt it likely, but should this ever cross the attention of Mr. Foster, I personally have a message for him.Indeed.
You have been awarded a very valuable gift, please do not waste it. Your freedom may not have been reinstated, nor do I think it should be, but none of this means the end of your story.
It is just beginning.
With this gift comes responsibility, a responsibility to show the way, to illustrate for Texas and America as a whoel that mercy comes with reward. Your debt to society is far from over.
...The point is this. You may very well spend the rest of your life behind bars, and that is probably how it should be, but this does not alleviate you the burden that weighs upon your shoulders. You have been granted a rare second chance and it is now time to prove that you are worthy of it. You may still affect the world for good, and indeed, I think it’s your duty to do so.
Find something, do something, take an issue, make it yours, the greatest thing you can do is guide people away from the lifestyle that put you where you are now. Your true work to repay society begins now.