Sunday, 9 December 2007

Mother of murdered man speaks against death penalty

06:11 PM CST on Friday, December 7, 2007


The mother of a murder victim spoke out Friday morning against the death penalty. Martha Cotera joined a group of death penalty opponents at the capitol.

The group released new numbers about capital punishment in Texas. Cotera lost her son Juan to murder in 1997.

She explained why she never wanted her son's killers to die for what they did.

"Death penalty, I think, is a cheap, it's an evil, an immoral and frankly a very stupid way to confront our social issues," said Cotera.

Cotera was joined by Bishop Gregory Aymond, a state representative, a former legislator and representatives of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Each one took a turn at the podium to argue against capital punishment.

"We live in a culture that encourages death and violent crime," said Bishop Aymond, of the Catholic Diocese of Austin.

According to the coalition, the rate of death sentences handed down in Texas is four times higher than the rate in other states. So far this year in Texas, 26 convicted killers have been put to death.

"They've done something terrible, but they're still human beings," said Frances Farenthood, former Texas legislator.

The panel released the new numbers Friday on the 25th anniversary of the first execution by lethal injection in the country.

"25 years ago today Charles Brooke was strapped to a gurney in Huntsville and Texas initiated the use of lethal injections," said Bob Van Steenburg, vice president of the coalition.

Representatives with the group Justice for All support the death penalty.

"The majority of citizens of America are in favor of capital punishment for capital murder," said Rusty Hubbarth, with Justice for All.

Cotera says it does anything but give closure.

"That is the saddest thing to offer a grieving family,” said Cotera.

Cotera will work with the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. It wants to introduce a bill in the state legislature that it hopes will lead to abolishing capital punishment.

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