Texas executes Robert Thompson despite Parole And Pardons Recommendation
In 1996 Robert Thompson told detectives that he had gone on a two month crime spree because "God told him to do something about Middle Eastern and Asian store clerks that discriminated against blacks."
Robert Thompson, was black. He was also the accomplice of Sammy Butler, the shooter, in the murder of 29 year old Mansoor Bhai Rahim Mohammed, a clerk in a convience store. Under the Texas Law of Parties, an accomplice conspiring with another to commit one felony such as robbery, can also be held responsible for another crime that occurs during the commission of the conspired crime. In this case Thompson was held responsible for the murder of the clerk even though he was not the shooter.
Sammy Butler was tried in a separate trial from Thompsom and received life in prison, which in Texas makes him eligible for parole after 40 years. Robert thompson was tried, convicted and given the death sentence. Thompson's lawyers told the Board of Pardons and Parole ths Thompson's sentence was unjust since he was only an accomplice and the actual shooter, Sammy Butler was only given life. The Board of Pardons and Parole agreed and recommended that Thompson's sentence be commuted to life.
The recommendation was rare for the Board and left the final decision up to Governor Rick Perry . Perry does not have to follow the Boards recommendation and rejected it. Thompson was executed 45 minutes after Perry's rejection. The Board had granted the recommendation based on a 5-2 vote. Perry who is still under fire for the "Cameron Todd Willingham " execution rejected another appeal on Tuesday.
Thompson's case was said by his lawyer, Patrick McCann to be similar to that of Kennth Foster who was also convicted and had his sentence commuted to life by Perry. The weak reasoning of Perry regarding the rejection was that Foster and his co-defendant were tried together for captial murder for a slaying in San Antonio. In Thompson's case he and Butler were tried separately. I don't understand his reasoning and do not see why that would make a difference. Many co-defendants' are tried separate, referred to as a severance of trials, usually when a conflict of interest evolves.
Thompson seemed to be serene in the moments before his execution. He addressed his family and friends, thanking them for their love and support. He spoke to his mother who was sobbing watching through the window, "smile, be happy, don't cry. He also said he had not meant any harm to his victim or the family, none of whom were present. He said Allah would forgive him, he is the great forgiver.
Thompson had lost an appeal Thursday to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution.
Thompson was the 23rd inmate that Texas has executed this year an the second this week.