A “Texas Seven” escapee on death row has filed an appeal claiming a former Dallas County judge referred to him with obscenity-laced anti-Semitic language, part of an alleged pattern of racism and bias so serious that he says the jurist should have recused himself before the man’s 2003 trial.
Shortly after losing a long-shot bid for clemency, Houston-area death row prisoner Dexter Johnson won a stay some 48 hours before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection in the Huntsville execution chamber.
A day after a Houston state senator penned a letter demanding changes to the execution-day protocols, the Texas prison system announced it will no longer share death row prisoners' written final statements with the media.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, viewed historically as little more than a speedbump on condemned inmates' road to the death chamber, in recent weeks has halted the lethal injection of four inmates with execution dates approaching.
Four years after Alfred Dewayne Brown was freed from prison and 16 years after the crime that sent him there, a Harris County judge on Friday signed the order declaring the former death row inmate actually innocent.
Death row inmate Joseph Garcia — one of the Texas Seven prison escapees — is scheduled for execution on 4th December 2018.
RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE ARTICLE
Dear Ms Blakinger,
We refer to your recent article in the Houston Chronicle, “'Texas Seven' escapee fights death sentence as Dec. 4 execution nears,” and we have some very particular concerns about the piece which we would like to address.
You say in your article that in a “chaotic scene, five of the men started firing...” but you fail to name the five shooters. If you state there were five shooters, you should be able to name them, and cite where you found the proof of this in your research, before you publish such a statement. You also fail to cite established fact that Randy Halprin's gun was never fired, which is a key and irrefutable fact in this whole case.
Directly following the robbery, during which George Rivas and Randy Halprin were both shot, Randy's co-defendants checked his gun, and it was documented in court that Randy's gun had not been fired. In view of this fact, and your article states that Joseph Garcia was still inside the store at the time of the shooting, and that Patrick Murphy was the look-out man, this leaves only 4 men who could possibly be the alleged shooters.
According to legal documentation on Randy Halprin's website, “The state's forensic evaluation could only conclusively determine that five guns were fired....” This proves that there is no established fact that there were five shooters, only that there were five guns fired. Michael Rodriguez's own testimony states that unlike the other members of the group who carried two guns to the robbery, both he and Randy Halprin carried only one gun each. We are therefore surprised and concerned that you have chosen to state in your article that “five of the men started firing” when even the state's own forensics cannot unequivocally determine this. Your statement is therefore, factually incorrect, and misleading.
Whilst we appreciate your article has its basis in an interview with Joseph Garcia, who unfortunately has since been executed, it's disappointing that you chose to write the piece in such a way that manipulates the facts and potentially casts a shadow on someone from whom you have not even requested any comment. We realise that at the time of writing, when Joseph Garcia's execution date was nearing, you produced a piece of journalism that would hopefully assist in securing his clemency. However, we cannot hide our disappointment and concern that you have ignored certain facts in the case that are fundamental truths, and counter what you report in relation to Randy Halprin's role in the Oshman's robbery, which to readers who are not familiar with the case of the Texas 7, could be interpreted as fact. As we are sure you will appreciate, Randy Halprin's appeals are also ongoing at present, and articles that are factually incorrect and misleading are not helpful.
We ask that you please withdraw your statement that “five of the men started firing,” and further your research by checking the court record, making the necessary clarifications and amendments to what you have said in your article. There are documents on Randy Halprin's website – randy-halprin.net – which set out Randy's role in the robbery, and cite reference to court Exhibits and other documentation presented and admitted to court. The truth does not change, Ms Blakinger, and Randy Halprin's story has not changed in all of these years - he wasNOTone of the shooters on the night of the Oshman's robbery. Period. It may further interest you to read the following section on Randy's websitehttp://randy-halprin.net/randy-s-relationship-with-his-co-defendants.html
We are mindful that as friends and supporters of Randy Halprin, it may seem that we are biased in favour of him. However, the fact remains that the record reflects the truth that Randy Halprin wasNOTone of the shooters. This is not a case of "he said, she said." The truth remains the truth, and some examination of the court record on your part, will support that.
We appreciate the urgency in publishing your article in the hope that it might have saved Joseph Garcia's life – the death penalty and law of parties have no place in the justice system of a civilised country. However, the fight for one person shouldneverinvolve inaccurate reporting and falsehoods in the case of another.
We trust you will amend and update the article.
The Friends and Supporters of Randy E. Halprin
C. Newstead (UK)
E J Harrison (UK)
C. Janus (UK)
J Griffiths (UK)
Mr P and Mrs R Harrison (UK)
T S Latimer-Saunders (UK)
S. Patel (UK)
Mr C and Mrs L Cartwright (UK)
Mr J and Mrs A Wheelan (UK)
Mr S and Mrs U Latimer-Saunders (UK)
Mr H and Mrs A Pederson (MA, USA)
D Pederson (NY, USA)
Mr I and Mrs G de Souza (NY, USA)
S. Urquhart (UK)
In this section you will find links to external sites where you can find out more about the death penalty (some of which focus particularly on Texas) and links to other valuable resources.
An independent body of politically influential people with international standing, supported by a diverse group of 18 governments from all world regions, working for a world free from the death penalty.
Founded in 1988, Death Penalty Focus is committed to the abolition of the death penalty through public education, grassroots organizing and political advocacy, media outreach, and domestic and international coalition building.
A truly amazing organisation, led by the family members of murder victims. They conduct public education speaking tours, and explore and promote alternatives to the death penalty...Their motto is "The answer is love and compassion for all of humanity".
One of the most remarkable voices we have in the fight against the death penalty! This lady campaigns tirelessly, and invites everyone to consider the death penalty on a much deeper level, and its consequences and effects on society.
People powered community radio, broadcasting from Houston. The station hosts The Prison Show, every Friday night from 9pm to 11pm, focusing solely on the Texas Prison System. There is also a dedicated Death Row news section every week, as well as many and varied guests. Calls from friends and family members of incarcerated loved ones, are taken from 10pm (Texas time). Call 713-526-5738 to shout out, or listen to the show via the link below...