Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Impending Execution of Timothy Wayne Adams

Timothy Wayne Adams is scheduled to be executed by the people of Texas on 22 Feb 2011 for the murder of his  19-month-old son, Timothy Wayne Adams, Jr., No one disputes Adams committed the murder. Those who argue against his execution ask for clemency based on the entirety of his life. From Timothy Adams: A Case for Clemency:
In 2002, Timothy Wayne Adams shot and killed his 19-month-old son, Timothy Wayne Adams, Jr. during a standoff with Houston police. After a fight with his wife escalated out-of-hand, Mr. Adams “snapped” and decided to take his own life and the life of his youngest son. Mr. Adams did not take his own life on that horrible day due to the support of his family and friends, who spoke to him over the phone and told him that his life was worth saving. One of those friends convinced him to speak to an HPD negotiator, who in turn persuaded Mr. Adams to let go of his suicidal thoughts and end the standoff. Ultimately, Mr. Adams left his apartment and surrendered peacefully to police a few hours after the ordeal began.

From the moment that Mr. Adams was taken into police custody, he has taken full responsibility for his actions. Mr. Adams realizes that it is nearly impossible for the Board, as well as any citizen in our society, to comprehend what could lead a father to kill his own son. In no way would Mr. Adams ever try to justify his actions; what he did was wrong, plain and simple.  He would take back his actions that horrible day in an instant if it were possible.

What Mr. Adams requests is that he have the opportunity to tell his life story, something that the jury did not hear at his trial. Mr. Adams’s defense counsel did not present crucial mitigating evidence to counter the prosecution’s contention that Mr. Adams was a future danger to society or to show that his life was worth saving. Consequently, the jury learned almost no information about Mr. Adams’s life and upbringing, which would have helped them determine that Mr. Adams, a deeply religious, hard-working family man, was not a future danger to society and never will be.
Lacking this mitigating evidence, it is perhaps not surprising that the jury sentenced Mr. Adams to death. But since learning additional information about Mr. Adams’s character and background, jurors Rebecca Hayes, Ngoc Duong, and Kathryn Starling have urged the Board to commute Mr. Adams’s death sentence to a life sentence. They believe that information relating to Mr. Adams’s upbringing, deep devotion to religion, and mental state would have caused them to stick with their initial inclination, which was to spare Mr. Adams and sentence him to life in prison.

With this petition, Mr. Adams seeks to show the Board that February 20, 2002 was an aberration in his life.  Before that day, Mr. Adams had never been arrested or convicted of a crime.  Since that day, he has not had a single disciplinary write-up in prison.  Mr. Adams wants to share his life story to show the Board that, before committing this crime, he was a religious, hard-working individual who suffered from extreme anxiety but who loved and provided for his family just the same. Since being incarcerated, he has had the opportunity to reflect on his actions, which has brought him closer to God and deepened his devotion to Jesus Christ. 

In telling his story, Mr. Adams wants to give his family the opportunity to speak on his behalf, something that defense counsel prevented them from doing at trial.  In this case, the defendant’s family is unfortunately also the victim’s family—Mr. Adams’s father lost his grandson, his siblings lost their nephew, and his oldest son lost his half-brother. Yet, none of these family members were able to stand up in front of the jury to describe the severe hurt and suffering they had endured as a result of Mr. Adams’s actions. Nor were they able to explain that, despite their pain, they still supported and loved Mr. Adams and did not want to lose their son, brother, and father to this tragedy as well.

Mr. Adams has filed a clemency petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, asking them to vote to spare his life.  Nothing good will come from executing Tim and causing his family any more unimaginable pain and anguish. If ever there was a man who deserved clemency, it is Tim Adams.
I oppose the execution of people who might be factually innocent of the crime for which they are to die. I suspect that to prevent the execution of the factually innocent, we might have to ban the death penalty entirely.

With respect specifically to the execution of Timothy Wayne Adams, I stand mute.

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