Wednesday, August 15, 2007

He didn't kill, but he may be executed

Kenneth Foster Jr. is scheduled to be executed in Texas later this month for the murder of Michael LaHood, even though everybody — even the prosecutors — knows Foster did not kill the man.


Foster, who was tried alongside Brown, rather than given a separate trial, is charged under a Texas "law of parties" statute that disintegrates the distinction between the perpetrator of a crime and an accomplice, allowing Foster to be put to death, even though he did not actually pull the trigger.

Dillard and Steen both cooperated with the government and were given plea deals, Hampton said. Brown had testified that he acted in self-defense, but the jury didn't buy that argument, and both he and Foster were sentenced to death.

Giving Foster the death penalty is technically legally sound, but nonetheless represents a very strict reading of the law, several law professors said. They said the death penalty for Foster represents "extraordinarily severe punitive consequences," with legal precedent normally dictating more lenient consequences.

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