3001 South Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102
September 13, 2007
Kenneth Foster to Remain in Solitary Confinement Despite Commuted Sentence
Supporters of former Texas death row inmate Kenneth Foster, Jr. learned today that he will remain in solitary confinement indefinitely at the McConnell Unit in Beeville. He has been placed at the lowest security level, meaning he has the highest amount of restrictions on his daily activities. He will only be allowed two visits per month and will not have contact visits.
Family and supporters of Foster had expected that his commutation would result in looser restrictions on his visitations. Specifically, they had hoped he would be able to have contact visits with his wife, Tasha Narez-Foster, and his daughter, Nydesha Foster. Foster has never had physical contact with his wife and has not touched his daughter since she was an infant.
“This is a very discouraging development,” said Lily Hughes of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, “Obviously, we are happy that Kenneth is no longer on death row, but the fact that he is living under basically the same conditions as death row is unacceptable.” Inmates on Texas’ death row live in 22-hour lockdown and do not have contact visits with family.
Foster was scheduled to be executed on August 30 for the murder of Michael LaHood, Jr. in San Antonio. Foster did not shoot the gun that ended LaHood’s life, but was driving the car carrying the actual triggerman, Mauriceo Brown. Foster was convicted and sentenced to death under the Law of Parties, which allows the state to seek convictions for those present at the scene of a crime as if they committed it. Since Foster’s original trial, the other men in the car that night have testified that Foster had no idea LaHood would be shot.
Foster’s case generated widespread international attention over the summer, mainly due to the Austin-based movement against his execution. Formed in May, the Save Kenneth Foster Campaign held weekly meetings, public rallies, and contacted media in an effort to halt Foster’s impending execution.
Approximately six hours before Foster was to be put to death, Governor Rick Perry approved the Board of Pardons and Paroles’ 6-1 recommendation in favor of clemency. "I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment,” Perry said in a statement following the commutation, “I am concerned about Texas law that allows capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously, and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine."