Thank you for taking the time to visit this Website and learn about the plight of Kenneth Foster Jr. The following is an extremely intricate and stirring story and we hope that the testament of it can bring awareness to society and ignite some progressive activism.
Kenneth was wrongly sent to death row in 1997 under a draconian Texas legal statute called the Law of Parties. Charged with 3 others (2 getting prison sentences), Kenneth was forced to go to trial with the admitted shooter. Though the admitted shooter plead to acting on his own and with no help or direction from the others they were convicted nonetheless (mainly due to extraneous offenses). Both men were sentenced to death: Kenneth’s death sentence mainly coming down to driving the car. Unfortunately, the shooter was executed on July 19, 2006.
In 2005, Kenneth received a ray of hope when his Federal judge threw out his death sentence, but in October 2006 the 5th circuit vacated that judgment. All appeals from that point on were denied, until in May 2007 Kenneth received a date of execution for August 30, 2007. At this point, an international grassroots campaign – led by the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and Kenneth’s Family and Friends – was launched.
From May 30th – August 30th an intense public outcry was heard. Going down to the wire (Kenneth was taken to the death house at the Walls unit and came within 6 hours of his scheduled murder) Governor Rick Perry commuted Kenneth’s sentence to life after the Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended the same in a 6-1 vote. The ruling was unprecedented and the FIRST ever commutation done by Rick Perry.
It was an amazing victory for the Anti-Death Penalty Movement. This commutation undeniably shows how the death penalty can be abused, and the hard truth is there have been other men under the law of parties who did not make it and perhaps should have. Kenneth was just one who fought day in and day out to be heard, he built a support base and refused to give up. Though Kenneth is now in the general population (he must serve a full 40 years before being eligible for parole) we, his supporters, do not consider the fight done. Kenneth still has legal options pending to challenge his sentence and we plan to pursue all of them. Though we, and many others across the world, feel that Kenneth (through his personal growth and activism for others) has paid his debt to society and should be released, we, at the very least, feel that since Texas felt it Justice to give one of his co-defendants 35 years for TWO capital murder cases then we feel that since Kenneth was only charged with one that he should get HALF of what his co-defendant got. If Texas said that was Justice for his co-defendant then it should apply equally for Kenneth. We won’t stop until that happens.