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Author Topic: Governor's move worries victim's family  (Read 2119 times)

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Offline ScoopD (aka: Pam)

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Governor's move worries victim's family
« on: September 11, 2007, 07:30:45 AM »

In their home near Lake Houston, Betty and Lex Baquer keep photos of their daughter, Farah.

She was murdered 13 years ago when Farah’s own husband hired a hit man to kill her.

Today, that hit man, as well as a middleman, and the husband, Robert Fratta, sit on death row.

But the Baquers now have new reason to question when the executions will ever take place.

“So we just have to ride the waves, and hopefully it’ll happen in our lifetimes,” Lex Baquer said.

A couple weeks ago in a rare move, Gov. Rick Perry commuted the death sentence of one convict. In a robbery that turned deadly, Kenneth Foster was the getaway car driver, not the triggerman.

In many states, that might disqualify him from the death penalty.

But not in Texas. The law here allows accomplices or conspirators in murders to be executed as well.

But when the governor blocked Foster’s execution, the Baquers wondered what that might mean to the chances that Fratta and his middleman might be spared.

“The Death Penalty that all three of them got was justified,” Mr. Baquer said. “[Even] only if one pulled the trigger.”

What the governor did raised the possibility that other death sentences will be commuted to life: people who were accomplices, not triggermen, but who nonetheless were sentenced to death.

It’s what happened near the Medical Center on Fannin Sttreet after a murder some 27 years ago.

Willie Williams and Joseph Nichols were a couple of holdup-men who in 1980 hit a deli there on Fannin. Williams would admit to firing the shot that killed the clerk, and he was put to death.

But lawyers for Nichols argued that he’d already run out the door and was therefore not guilty of capital murder since he was only an accomplice.

A case that sounds eerily similar to the Foster case, the one in which the governor spared the inmate’s life.

“We brought exactly the same arguments that I believe were brought in the Foster case,” attorney Cliff Gunter said. He was Nichols’ lawyer.

“He had a bad record; I’m not saying he was an angel,” Gunter said. “He was guilty of murder — he just wasn’t guilty of capital murder.”

Capital murder meaning a sentence of death.

And in fact, Texas did execute Joseph Nichols, on March 7 of this year—just months before fellow death row inmate Foster would have his sentence commuted.

By one estimate, there are some 60 more inmates still on death row whose cases are similar to these.

And it may now be up to the Legislature to clarify how Texas should try these sorts of cases and decide who deserves execution.

In the murder-for-hire of Farah Fratta, her family said there should be no doubt.

“All three are responsible for her death,” Baquer said.

But now the law that sent them to death row is again being challenged in the state that executes more people than any other.

source: By Dave Fehling / 11 News
http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/khou070910_ac_accomplice.be9bd47e.html


If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. -Thomas Paine

My reason for supporting capital punishment: My cousin 16 yr. old Amanda Greenwell was murdered in March of 2004 at the hands of serial killer Jeremy Bryan Jones.

sam

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Re: Governor's move worries victim's family
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2007, 07:43:53 AM »
I hope Perry has no further political aspirations, because what he did was wrong wrong wrong! Remember, his commutation was not based on the law of parties but on the lamer excuse that capital trials should be severed. That is in direct conflict of settled law in every state.  If trying defendants together is prejudicial they will sever them. If it is not prejudicial, the state has the right to co-join.  I don't know what the fuck Perry was thinking.

Offline Granny B

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Re: Governor's move worries victim's family
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2007, 08:29:13 AM »
Stop and think about this.  If law of parties applies in TX and now may not.  How about in Federal law where it does not seem to apply either and should. 

What upsets me is that Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty in the Murrah Building bombing in OKC.  He helped raise the money to do it.  He helped plan it.  He helped build the truck bomb that destroyed it.  HE did not get the death penalty but he was very much a party to the murders of 168 people and injuries to 800 more.

Michael Fortier, who was part of the plot and a party to the planning, only got a few years in prison, a mere slap on the wrist for his part in the murder of those people.  He is now out free as a bird to be a party to and plan more people's murders if he so desires.

Our system of law is not perferct.  But I think it is much better than the EU has.

Grandmother of Brandon
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy

sam

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Re: Governor's move worries victim's family
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2007, 09:17:33 AM »
Again, the reason Perry gave for commutation was that he believed all capital defendants should have their trials severed. Also, though related, there is a difference between the law of parties and conspiracy.

Offline Jeff1857

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Re: Governor's move worries victim's family
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2007, 09:27:32 AM »
Yeah I don't know where all this stuff about the law of parties is coming from. I haven't seen one word from Gov Perry about the law.
I'm curious to know how many codefendants still on the row were tried together. I doubt it's negligible. I tell ya what though. Every opinion poll I have seen posted since he commuted Foster, the governor was getting slammed.

Offline ScoopD (aka: Pam)

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Re: Governor's move worries victim's family
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2007, 12:07:28 PM »
Perry is history...    Commuting Foster's sentence was political suicide for him.


If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. -Thomas Paine

My reason for supporting capital punishment: My cousin 16 yr. old Amanda Greenwell was murdered in March of 2004 at the hands of serial killer Jeremy Bryan Jones.

Offline Mildred

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Re: Governor's move worries victim's family
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2007, 05:27:23 PM »
Wow.  Long time since I heard that Fratta last name.

Offline ScoopD (aka: Pam)

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Re: Governor's move worries victim's family
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2007, 06:20:03 PM »
I'd like to hear his name on the scheduled executions calendar.   :-*  8)  :D


If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. -Thomas Paine

My reason for supporting capital punishment: My cousin 16 yr. old Amanda Greenwell was murdered in March of 2004 at the hands of serial killer Jeremy Bryan Jones.