Reflections of the death penalty

This is an interview with Mrs. Preston, Frances’ childhood friend on the day of Frances Newton’s execution, September 14, 2005

On Wednesday 14th September 2005, Frances Newton became the third woman to die in a Texas death chamber since executions resumed in the state in 1982, and she was the first black woman to be executed in the state since the Civil War.

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She was executed despite considerable evidence of prosecutorial negligence, inadequate defence, and recent documentation of evidence lost or suppressed during the original prosecution. On Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Newton’s final appeal (unanimously and without comment).

On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 7-0 to deny clemency to Newton, who was convicted of the 1987 murder of her husband and two young children. The board’s refusal was echoed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the federal district court for the Southern District of Texas, and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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