Texas is another country...

Texas is another country...I have driven into Texas from all four directions and can affirm that after crossing that imaginary state line you just know you are in Texas . The world becomes wide open space, the sky feels higher, you can stretch out and rest a spell.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Yesterday, I read about a woman named Lisa Coleman, being put to death by lethal injection at Huntsville Prison in Texas.  She was convicted of the slow starvation of a nine year old boy who weighed 35 pounds at the time of his death.  He had bruises and rope burns – tied, I guess, so he couldn’t get to food (or the police) or bother the people who were watching him die.

The article mentioned that Texas made the most use of the death penalty and how rare it was that a woman would receive that maximum sentence.  I didn’t read about protestors outside the prison, but I know there are severe criticisms of Texas being the leader in carrying out capital punishment.  90% of murders are crimes of passion not to ever be repeated.  Sentence for these crimes includes parole.

The people sentenced to die have committed horrors.  And what are their alternatives to the death penalty?  A life sentence to be spent within an 8’ x 12’ cell, most likely in isolation in order to protect other prisoners.  There’s consistent proof that within three month, prisoners in isolation are completely insane (although given the deeds that got them there, they probably didn’t have far to travel). 

In reading the article about Coleman, I was reminded of Kenneth McDuff who, along with an accomplice, kidnapped Colleen Reed at a car wash on West Fifth Street in Austin, and murdered her.  The accomplice was caught first and implicated McDuff who was arrested in Kansas City where he was using a false name. 

Before the Austin kidnapping, McDuff had killed three teenagers, been arrested, imprisoned, and released on parole.  Before kidnapping Colleen Reed, while on parole, McDuff killed several women and evaded arrest until his face was put on America’s Most Wanted and a coworker notified police. 

McDuff was sentenced to die for the killing of a pregnant woman.  His last words before lethal injection were, “release me.”  I wonder if those were the last words of the women that he tortured and murdered?

I feel sure those were among the last words of the little boy that Lisa Coleman murdered.  A nine-year-old boy suffering from intense hunger and physical pain.  A little boy filled with immense sadness and despair, wondering why.  Why would this woman and his mother do this to him?  Yes, I can imagine his words.  “Release me, dear God, release me.”

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