By: Randi Jones
Reginald Blanton, a Texas death row prisoner, is facing an execution date of October 27, despite the fact that he very likely is an innocent man.
Reginald was convicted of killing Carlos Garza during a robbery. However, much of the case against Reginald is worse than shoddy. Reginald, who is African American, did not have an impartial jury — there was a jury shuffle that resulted in all African Americans being deliberately excluded.
At his trial, the prosecution used a jailhouse snitch, who received a reduced sentence to testify that Reginald had bragged about the killing. The only two witnesses to testify against Reginald were his twin brother and his then-pregnant girlfriend.
Both were told that they would be convicted of the crime unless they testified against Reginald. Even so, Reginald’s twin testified that he signed the police’s statement because he was scared of what would happen if he didn’t.
“If you have deep pockets, you can buy justice. But it’s not like that for the rest of us,” said Anna Terrell, mother of Reginald Blanton, “They are trying to kill my son for a crime he didn’t commit.”
Because of a recent cell phone scandal on Texas death row, Reginald’s mother has been denied visitation with her son. Faced with his impending execution, this denial only adds insult to injury and shows the callous nature of the Texas criminal justice system.
“My justice will only come from media exposure and public outcry,” Reginald says. “Otherwise, my blood will be poisoned with lethal chemicals they can’t even use on dogs. But one thing is for certain, I will never give up, nor will I stop being a voice for my brothers and sisters on death row. I know who I am and my value to my community and will fight this to the end.”
Reginald is part of a group of prisoners, calling themselves DRIVE, who fight for better conditions on death row. They use nonviolent forms of protest to bring awareness of the horrible conditions that Texas prisoners are forced to endure. Former death row prisoner Kenneth Foster Jr. was also a member of this group before his sentence was commuted, due to a vibrant grassroots movement to save his life.
The Texas death penalty is certainly in the spotlight these days because of the bad behavior of Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Sharon “Killer” Keller and the New Yorker‘s coverage of the execution of an innocent Texas man, Cameron Todd Willingham.
Enough is enough, Texas! You must not execute another innocent person!