Attend Monday’s Austin Demonstration; Call DA Rosemary Lehmberg
Monday, June 14, 2010
David Powell is scheduled for execution on Tuesday, June 15, in Texas. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has voted 7-0 against commuting David Powell’s death sentence or granting him a stay. Powell, 59, was convicted and sentenced to death in the May 18, 1978 death of Police Officer Ralph Ablanedo during a traffic stop in Austin.
If you are in Austin, please attend the demonstration against the execution
of David Powell. The demonstration is Monday June 14, at 5:30 at the
Texas Capitol. Meet on the sidewalk at 11th and Congress.
Groups organizing the Monday demonstration include Let David Live, Campaign to End the Death Penalty – Austin, Texas Moratorium Network, Students Against the Death Penalty and others. Join the Facebook page for this event here.
Everyone please call the Travis County District Attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, and leave a message that she should do whatever she can to stop this execution, for example she could ask Governor Perry to issue a 30 day stay of execution or she could ask the trial judge to withdraw the execution date. Call her even if you have signed the petition. We want her to be getting calls all day Monday and Tuesday.
You can call DA Rosemary Lehmberg’s office starting at 8 am Texas time on Monday at:
We know several tv stations that will be covering the Monday demonstration, so please attend if you can or ask your friends in Austin to attend. Help us build the demonstration to show that Austinites do not support this execution!
David Powell has spent 32 years on death row, where he has become an example of how a person sentenced to death can transform his life and make a positive contribution to his community on death row as well as on the society outside prison.
There is less violence and better relationships between people on death row because of David being alive. You can read testimonials from people on death row about how David has affected them positively in his application for clemency.
David Powell was convicted in Austin, which many people believe is the most progressive city in Texas. We are asking the district attorney in Austin to reflect the values of the community and ask the convicting court to withdraw the execution date for David Powell.
Austin’s newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, has written an editorial saying a fairer sentence in Powell’s case would be for him to spend the rest of his life in prison, instead of being executed. The Austin Chronicle has also said the execution should be stopped.
Sign the email petition to urge District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to ask the convicting court to withdraw the execution date for David Powell.
You can also send an email to Governor Perry using his online email form, but the first action we are asking people to take is to contact Rosemary Lehmberg.
David Lee Powell, convicted and sentenced to death in 1978 for the murder of Austin Police Officer Ralph Ablanedo, is scheduled to be executed in Huntsville on June 15, 2010.
There will be a large group of people attending outside the prison walls, including Austin Police Officers. In fact, the Austin Police Association has chartered a bus and booked a block of discounted hotel rooms to bring in as many uniforms as possible in a show of force, or as they call it, “support for the family”.
In other words, they will be celebrating the death of David Lee Powell.
The Austin Police flooded the courtroom with up to 100 uniformed officers every time David Lee Powell was sentenced, showing the jury that they lived for his death. Now, 32 years after the first trial, even though many officers were not even born when this crime occurred, the torch has been passed.
The Police Association is out of step with the community that its members serve. As police officers, the members of the Association serve with dignity and honor and provide a critical and much appreciated service to the community. As people who celebrate the death of another person, out of some sense of getting even, they bring dishonor to themselves and Austin. Though they will not string David Powell up in a tree, the revelry they plan conjures up those haunting images.
There has been a spirited movement to try to halt David’s execution, spearheaded by a group calling themselves Let David Live. The idea that, after 32 years of living in desperate conditions on Death Row, after his case has been reversed twice, the State of Texas still means to execute this man is intolerable to many people in Travis County. Those people have mobilized to flood the DA’s office with letters and calls, asking her to withdraw the death warrant.
David is an extraordinary human being, as the video “Saving David Powell” and his website will attest. See David’s story at
David held all the promise and hope of the gifted college student that he was in the late 60s. He was an idealist who fell into using methamphetamines, became addicted, and lost his way. By 1978, he was struggling inside a deep speed psychosis, and in this state – frightened and paranoid — he killed Ralph Ablanedo after a traffic stop. David has expressed deep remorse, managed to find ways to invest his life with meaning, served innumerable needs of others on Death Row, teaching and mentoring scores of people, and apologized to Officer Ablanedo’s family. Except for the terrible murder of Officer Ablanedo, David has no history of violence, before or after this incident – even during his 32 years on Death Row.
The public needs to know that the man they are killing has moved in the direction of redemption for three decades and is an immensely valuable and productive human being. They should know that, in the waning years of the death penalty in the history of our country, they are putting to death a man who is utterly unworthy of execution and indisputably worthy of life. They should know that putting David Powell to death is as much a testament to the non-viability of the death penalty as is the execution of people who have been wrongfully convicted.
And the people of Travis County, the most progressive county in Texas, need to know that they are supporting a policy of vengeance instead of true justice.
David has expressed remorse for his actions in 1978. Because of the sincerity of his remorse and the compassionate life he has led while on death row, David deserves to have his sentence commuted from death.
Read an article in the Austin American-Statesman about the letter David Powell wrote on December 31, 2009 apologizing to the family of Ralph Ablanedo, the officer he killed in 1978.
If David Powell is executed, he will be the 460th person executed in Texas since 1982 and the 221st person executed since Rick Perry became governor. He will be the 13th person executed in Texas in 2010.
Donations are welcome to help us fight the death penalty in the number one execution state in the U.S. You can send a check made out to:
Texas Moratorium Network
3616 Far West Blvd, Suite 117, Box 251
Austin, Texas 78731
Donations are not tax-deductible, because TMN’s main purpose is to lobby the Texas Legislature to stop executions.
Thank you for helping us stop executions in Texas,
Your friends at Texas Moratorium Network