He was an Army veteran and a Houston security guard who had never been arrested until February 2002, when a fight with his wife sent Timothy Adams into a suicidal spiral. During a stand-off with police, Adams fatally shot his 19-month-old son twice in the chest — landing him a spot on death row.
Adams is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 22. Today, his lawyers, family members and three of the jurors who sentenced him to death sent a clemency petition to the Board of Pardons and Paroles and to Gov. Rick Perry, asking them to commute Adams' sentence to life in prison. Adams and his supporters say that at his original trial, jurors never heard mitigating information about his past that could have changed their sentencing decision.
Jurors Rebecca Hayes, Ngoc Duong and Kathryn Starling said had they known more about Adams' religious background and his hard-working, family-oriented character, they would not have sentenced him to death. "Those deliberations were the most emotional experience of my life, and I have carried the guilt around for years knowing that I sentenced Adams, a man who had done wrong but who was otherwise a good, religious, and hard-working person, to death," Hayes said in a sworn statement.
Columbus Adams, Timothy Adams' father and a veteran Houston firefighter, said the loss of their grandson was tragedy enough for their family. Losing his son, he said in a press statement, would only cause more anguish. "We pray that God will fill Governor Perry’s heart with compassion. If not for Tim, then at least for our family."
The Board of Pardons and Paroles makes recommendations to the governor in clemency cases, and Perry cannot approve a request without a recommendation from the board. Perry, however, is not required to agree with the board and often does not. From 2001 to 2009, the board recommended clemency in more than 530 cases, and Perry granted about 30 percent of them.
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