Back off, blood-lusters: The most murderous state in the union will have to wait a bit longer for its 403rd state-sanctioned prison killing. Kenneth Foster, slated to be executed for his role as the getaway driver for a 1996 robbery that resulted in a fatal shooting, had his sentence reduced to life behind bars scant hours before he was slated to receive a lethal injection.
“After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendations from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster’s sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment,” [Gov. Rick] Perry said in a statement.
The Republican governor did not address the Texas law that allows an accomplice to be given the death penalty, but said: “I am concerned about Texas law that allows capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously, and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine.” Foster was tried alongside Mauriceo Brown, the man who actually murdered 25-year-old law student Michael LaHood Jr. and was executed last year.
Unsurprisingly, LaHood’s family and pro-death penalty advocates are upset with the governor’s decision, charging that Perry folded under political pressure.
Foster, now 30, maintains that while he did drive the car for what was intended to be a robbery, he had nothing to do with the actual killing of LaHood.