Former Bexar County D.A. Sam Millsap to Gov. Perry: I’m glad I didn’t oversee this case because I would have made a grave mistake

August 27, 2007

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
P. O. Box 13401
Austin, Texas 78711-3401

RE: Kenneth Foster

To the Honorable Members of the Board:

I am writing to urge you to recommend clemency in the Kenneth Foster case.
I am no wild-eyed, pointy-headed liberal. I am the former elected Bexar
County District Attorney (1983-1987); I am responsible for the prosecution of
more than a few death penalty cases all of which produced convictions and
executions.

Because you have been buried with letters from throughout the world, I will
not rehash the facts and legal problems with the case in this letter; they
are obvious. There is nothing I can say about the legal issues or evidence
that you have not already heard ad nauseam.

Fortunately, I was no longer the Bexar County District Attorney when this
horrible crime was committed. Had I been, there is every likelihood that I
would have decided to seek the death penalty against
Foster because I could have done so–and that would have been a mistake. With the
benefit of 20  additional years of life experience, I now believe
that no useful purpose is served and it is morally wrong to execute a person based on
nothing more than the law of parties.

Is there no limit to our lust in this state for retribution? How many people
must we execute for this crime before justice is served? Having already
executed the shooter, what benefit results from the execution of someone who was
simply nearby and had no idea that a murder would be committed? As the
civilized world watches in amazement that a single American state has executed
400 people in the last 25 years, what does it say about us? if we’re willing to
execute someone who was in the car when this horrible
crime was committed?
Surely, there is a limit to what we are capable of in this state.

There are tough cases and there are easy cases. This is an easy case. If we
can’t say no to execution in a case like the Kenneth Foster case, there is
no practical limit to our thirst for vengeance. I urge you to recommend that
the Governor grant clemency in this case.

Sincerely yours,

Sam D. Millsap, Jr.

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