Sunday, August 21, 2005
and she may be innocent. Frances Newton was convicted of fatally shooting her husband and two young children in April 1987. The state claims she wanted $100,000 from insurance on them.
According to her supporters, Newton’s court appointed trial attorney, Ron Mock, did nothing to prepare for her trial. He interviewed no one and investigated nothing. He has been sanctioned by the State Bar of Texas at least three times and is no longer allowed to try death penalty cases.
A cousin who was with her when she walked in to find the bodies of the victims reported: "I know in my heart that after watching the reaction of Frances upon discovering her husband and children, there is absolutely no way she had any involvement in their deaths."
If the execution goes forward, Newton will be the third woman -- and the first black woman -- to be executed in the state since the Civil War. Her execution would be the 349th since Texas executions resumed in 1982, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Now I don't claim to know whether this woman is innocent, but I don't care. I don't believe the state should be in the "eye for an eye" business -- plenty of killing goes on without "duly constituted authorities" getting into it.
If you want to contact officials on behalf of Frances, you can use the form at Free Frances Newton homepage.
UPDATE: This possibly innocent woman was killed by the state of Texas on Thursday, September 15, 2005.