US jurors urge clemency for death row inmate

Three jurors who voted for the death penalty in the murder trial of an American army veteran on Monday asked that his life be spared, two weeks before his scheduled execution in southern Texas.

The three have now urged that Timothy Adams’s sentence should instead be commuted to life in prison.

Adams, 42, is an Army veteran who flew into a rage in 2002 during a fight with his wife. He fatally shot his 19-month-old son and planned to kill himself, but friends persuaded him not to. He was arrested by Houston Police.

Adams is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection February 22.

But jurors — Rebecca Hayes, Ngoc Duong, and Kathryn Starling — on Monday filed a petition for clemency, along with Adams’s lawyers and family, with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and governor Rick Perry.

The three said they were not given during the trial a complete picture of Adams’s character and religious background.

“Those deliberations were the most emotional experience of my life, and I have carried the guilt around for years knowing that I sentenced Adams, a man who had done wrong but who was otherwise a good, religious, and hard-working person to death,” Hayes in support of the petition.

The jurors asked that Adams’s sentence be reduced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Adams, who is black, never denied killing his son and pleaded guilty to murder. Typically, an admission of guilt is enough to ward off a death penalty.

“From the moment Mr. Adams was taken into police custody  he accepted responsibility for his actions,” his lawyers wrote in the clemency bid.

“Mr. Adams realizes that it is nearly impossible for the members of this board to understand what could lead a father to kill his own son, his namesake,” his lawyers wrote.

“Mr. Adams has never tried to justify his actions. What he did was wrong, plain and simple.”

Columbus Adams, the killer’s father, also appealed for clemency.

“Our family lost one child. We can’t bear to lose another. After my grandson’s death, we lived through pain worse than anyone could imagine,” he wrote.

“Nothing good will come from executing my son, Tim, and causing us more anguish. We pray that God will fill Governor Perry?s heart with compassion. If not for Tim, then at least for our family.”

Many other people, including Adams’s former Army boss, testified in his favor.

Texas is the most active death penalty state, with 24 inmates put to death in 2010.

US jurors urge clemency for death row inmate

The “death chamber” at a Texan penitentiary.

Washington AFP

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