Guilty by association, young Texan faces execution

by Fanny Carrier Tue Aug 28, 9:17 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Kenneth Foster has never killed anyone. But the 30-year-old Texan still faces execution this week, despite protests at home and abroad, for his complicity in a drug-fueled murder.
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Foster was arrested in August 1996 with three other young black men, all of whom were said to be high on marijuana, following the deadly shooting of Michael LaHood, 25, in the southern Texan city of San Antonio.

Foster was driving the car being used by his three passengers, including Mauriceo Brown, to rob passers-by. Brown got into an altercation with LaHood, who was white, when he started to follow LaHood's girlfriend.

Shooting LaHood at point-blank range in the face, Brown then returned to the car -- meriting Foster's execution under a Texan law that can impose the death penalty on anybody involved in a crime where a murder occurred.

Foster, who was 19 at the time of the San Antonio crime spree, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 2300 GMT on Thursday, at the state's execution unit in Huntsville, 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of Houston.

Brown himself was executed last year. The two other black men involved in that night's crimes are serving life behind bars.

Foster's capital conviction, following his joint trial with Brown in 1997, was reached under the Law of Parties in Texas, which executes more prisoners than any other US state.

Prosecutors argued that under the 1974 law, Foster showed "reckless disregard for human life" that night. He "should have anticipated" that his friend had a gun, and would use it to commit murder.

Other US states have similar laws, but only Texas applies it to capital crimes.

"In essence, Kenneth Foster has been sentenced to death for leaving his crystal ball at home," argues Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

"There is no concrete evidence demonstrating that he could know a murder would be committed. Allowing his life to be taken is a shocking perversion of the law," he said.

Others arguing against Foster's execution include Sean-Paul Kelley, a close friend of the victim who says he "hated" Brown and his delinquent gang after LaHood's murder.

"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," Kelley wrote in an online blog last month.

But Texas Governor Rick Perry has given no indication of heeding appeals from Foster's supporters and committees of support further afield, including in France, Germany and Italy, to stay the execution or commute his sentence.

Last Wednesday, Texas killed a convicted murderer by lethal injection in its 400th execution since the US Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976.

Since then, Texas has accounted for more than one-third of the total of nearly 1,100 executions carried out nationwide. This year, with other states growing reticent about the death penalty, it will stage nearly two-thirds.

Ahead of the 400th execution, the Republican governor bluntly rejected an appeal from the European Union to bring in a moratorium on capital punishment.

"While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas," Perry's spokesman, Robert Black, said in a statement.

Foster himself, who has an 11-year-old daughter, wrote in a letter to Perry this month that he wanted to "pay for what I did," but that being the driver on the night of the murder was "not a capital crime."

Reflecting on his decade awaiting execution, Foster thanked God "for allowing me to journey through this keeping my sanity and being anointed with a gift to learn, grow, and pass on positivity."
Hmmm. Sounds a bit like what happened to Truscott.
I hate to bring the tone down, but did you notice the name of the author? how unfortunate.

You guys know my feelings on the death penalty. This article makes me think texas is an awful place.
Who is Fanny Carrier and why is that unfortunate?. BTW, Texas is a terrible place, IMO.
The execution- assembly line never stops in Texas, regardless if you are guilty or not.

I think GWB commuted one death sentence while he was governor, I'm sure this guy has a similar track record.
This is not the way to build trust between the African American community and the cops. I donít understand how the guy could be considered complicity since the crime was not premeditated.
Then again I canít know that the article is unbiased.
Quote: Originally Posted by eh1ehView Post

Who is Fanny Carrier and why is that unfortunate?. BTW, Texas is a terrible place, IMO.

fanny, in english, means ******
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