Rick Perry ignored a panels recommendation to spare the life of Robert Lee Thompson, 34. The Texas Board of Pardons and Parole has only recommended that 3 death sentences be stopped in Perry’s run as governor. The Houston Chronicle reports that only once has Perry listened to His Board. In Thompson’s case, his co-defendant was the one who killed the victim, but it was clear from the article that it was not for lack of trying. Thompson was a brutal participant in the robbery and even shot another man. By all accounts, Thompson had a documented history of violent robberies.
The article does not say what the Board of Pardons based its recommendation. I am curious to know if there were mitigating factors. I am curious to know how much time Rick Perry (or his staff) spent on reviewing the case vs. the Board of Pardons. I want to know how much time was spent discussing this.
Whether a person supports the death penalty is there own position, though usually unthought out and arrived at by superficial reasons. Even the most zealous supporter of the Death penalty would agree that if Texas is going to kill people as punishment, Texas should get it right. That is why these questions are so important.
My imagination pictures the scenario going something like a staff member goes and tells Perry, “hey Boss, we got this execution thing going on. You should let it happen. I think your approval rating would be hurt more by stopping it.
Perry: “O’kay, make it happen. But be sure and have someone write a statement that makes me sound compassionate but protective of the citizens.”
I hope it is not dealt with that lightly, but I have no reason to think otherwise. The portion of the article that described Thompson’s mother watching her son die was gut wrenching. Even if he was a killer who deserved such a fate, any parent can sympathize with how hard that must have been for her to see.
Because of that perspective, I think Perry and other elected officials (judges) who are in a position to make such decisions should have to watch an execution. I am not saying watch every criminal execution. Just experience one.