Another Good Reason to Abolish the Death Penalty
There is no form of killing more premeditated than state-sanctioned execution. That’s why I’m against capital punishment in all cases. But even those who would accept the death penalty in principle should oppose it as long as there is even the slightest chance of something like this happening.
Doubts are being cast on the guilt of a Texas man executed more than a dozen years ago after the crime’s lone witness recanted and a co-defendant said he allowed his friend to be falsely accused under police pressure, the Houston Chronicle reported Sunday.
[ . . . ]
The eyewitness, Juan Moreno, told the Chronicle that it wasn’t [Ruben] Cantu who shot [a man during an attempted robbery in San Antonio]. Moreno said he identified Cantu as the killer during his 1985 trial because he felt pressured and was afraid of authorities.
Meanwhile, Cantu’s co-defendant, David Garza, recently signed a sworn affidavit saying he allowed his friend to be accused, even though Cantu wasn’t with him the night of the killing.
Cantu is long gone, so there is no reason to question the motivation of Moreno and Garza, who have nothing to gain by their admissions and in fact may be opening themselves to perjury charges.
The homicide detective who ran the investigation, however, stubbornly refuses to admit he may have gotten the wrong guy.
[Sgt. Bill] Ewell, now retired, told the Chronicle, "I’m confident the right people were prosecuted."
It is the people who cannot admit that they and their process are fallible, like Ewell or countless aggressive prosecutors, who ensure that the death penalty, however just or unjust on its face, will never be an appropriate punishment.