Monday, August 31, 2009

Hear the Words of Texas Families of the Executed

Our colleagues at the Texas After Violence Project, whom we interviewed for the MVFHR newsletter last year, have posted excerpts from a couple of the interviews they have done with family members of the executed in Texas.

One is from their interview with Tina Duroy, whose brother James Colburn was executed in 2003. The Texas After Violence Project conducted this particular interview specifically for MVFHR's "Prevention, Not Execution" project, and we're grateful for that collaborative help.

As TAVP summarizes it, in this interview Tina "recalls her brother as a child, the mental and social changes he began to manifest as a teenager, and the severe mental illness he began to display after he was raped at the age of 17. She also describes her family's ongoing but futile struggle to find effective mental health services for James. Mr. Colburn acknowledged that he killed Peggy Murphy; the State of Texas acknowledged that Mr. Colburn was seriously mentally ill. Nevertheless, the Montgomery County jury sentenced Mr. Colburn to death. The case attracted national and international criticism."

Other excerpts are from interviews with Ireland and Jamaal Beazley, father and brother, respectively, of Napoleon Beazley, who was executed in Texas in 2002. TAVP's summary explains: "Napoleon Beazley was 17 years old on April 19, 1994, when he fatally shot Mr. John Luttig in Tyler, Smith County, Texas. The death sentence and execution of Napoleon Beazley sparked international protest because many nations, and states within the U.S. had banned the death penalty for people who were juveniles at the time of their crimes. Within three years of the execution of Napoleon Beazley, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 vote in Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005) banned the practice. "

1 comment:

kit said...

No system is perfect by any means. We all know that the amount of justice you enjoy is directly related to your pocket book.
I do feel that it is sad when crimes are committed fro the relatives of the accused and the victim, but there is a real expense on taxpayers to keep the violently mentally ill for long peroids and society must protect itself.
If my family member was killed by some mentally ill person, i am sorry , but they are no different than a rabid dog. Society must protect the innocent, let god give them eternal forgiveness