Timothy Adams begged his father for forgiveness in his first call from death row in 2003.
Without hesitation, Columbus Adams said yes. He forgave Timothy Adams for fatally shooting his 19-month-old son — Columbus Adams' grandson — in the chest. Today, a week before his son is scheduled to die for the crime, Columbus Adams and a host of religious leaders asked the state to forgive Timothy Adams, too. Timothy Adams was a hard-working Christian and an Army veteran, he said, who never committed a crime before the day he lost control during an argument with his wife and killed their son.
Columbus Adams, the Texas Defender Service and more than 90 religious leaders from across Texas urged Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Timothy Adams' death sentence to life in prison. Three jurors from Timothy Adams' trial also signed a clemency petition submitted to the board last week.
"The truth is that Timothy snapped and did something wrong, but the crime is an aberration in his life," said Kate Black, Texas Defender Service staff attorney.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.
Adams was convicted of killing his 19-month-old during a police-standoff in 2002. Adams threatened to take his own life too, but friends and family convinced him not to. Adams instead turned himself over to police and was sentenced to death. He is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 22.
Religious leaders spoke of Timothy Adams' deep faith and his character, and they said that if jurors at his trial had known that, they wouldn't have handed down the death penalty.
"At the end of our lives, which of us wants to 'get what we deserve' for the single worst act of our lives, with complete disregard for all the good things we may also have done?" asked Sister Elizabeth Riebschlaeger with the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.