Two executions may take place in Texas before the month ends.
On February 28, 2012, Anthony Bartee may be put to death by the State of Texas. Execution Watch reports that Bartee insists that two others committed the 1996 robbery-murder of David Cook, his San Antonio neighbor. They note that “at the time of the killing, Bartee was on parole for two aggravated rape convictions.”
The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty raises a number of concerns:
even though the Bexar County Criminal Investigation Laboratory still has not tested pieces of DNA evidence that were collected from the crime scene. Even after being ordered to test this evidence by Trial Judge Mary Román, neither the Bexar County crime lab nor the DPS lab in Austin have performed the ordered tests on all available evidence. Bartee was convicted of the 1996 murder of his friend David Cook in San Antonio. He has consistently maintained that although he was present at the house, he did not kill Cook.
They provide background and talking points for letters to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry.
The following day, February 29, 2012, the execution of George Rivas is scheduled. Again from Execution Watch:
Described by police as the mastermind of a seven-man escape in 2000 from a state prison in South Texas, Rivas was condemned after claiming sole responsibility for the shooting death of a police officer in suburban Dallas during a robbery the group pulled.
The Texas Seven as they are known, escaped in December 2000. They stole the workers’ clothes, broke into the prison armory to get guns and drove away in a prison truck. They robbed two Houston-area stores. On Christmas Eve, 2000, police officer Aubrey Hawkins responded to a call about a robbery. The group ambushed Officer Hawkins as he did his duty.
One of the group, Larry James Harper committed suicide when authorities captured the group. The state of Texas executed Michael Anthony Rodriguez in 2008. The Supreme Court stayed the execution of a second group member in January of this year.
I have not been able to find a place to do advocacy on his behalf. I assume the addresses of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry would work for letters. Rivas’ number appears to be #999394.
Different cases. Each raises issues about our criminal justice system. But in neither case is execution the answer.
See you along the Trail.