Letters

Andrea Fowler
via Internet

Brutal Imbalance
I have never written a letter to the editor, but after reading your unbelievably sympathetic portrayal of convicted murderer Erica Sheppard for the appalling murder of Marilyn Sage Meagher, I feel compelled to ask for some balance in the reporting of events. Marilyn was a generous spirit, as witnessed by the hundreds of people attending her funeral on the July 4 holiday weekend five years ago.

She also had a difficult life, as all who knew her will attest, but she worked several jobs to take care of herself and her children as a single mother. She never robbed or murdered anyone. I will never forget looking at her battered body at her funeral. Erica Sheppard did that to her, even as she pleaded for her life. I hope you will find space for this letter in a future issue. Marilyn would appreciate equal representation.

Nan Hall Linke
via Internet

More Disgust
Your cover story made me pause: What are you trying to say? That Erica Sheppard deserves a new trial? That she is somehow innocent of the crime she confessed to? That her upbringing somehow excuses her from being responsible for her part in a senseless murder? She made a stupid decision to participate in a crime and, by her own admission, was at the scene and threatened the woman with a knife, then proceeded to rob her. She admitted to her part and was sentenced to death. That is our system at work. To constantly second-guess it and have the likes of Jesse Jackson weaseling his way into none of his business makes me want to puke.

My dad beat my ass raw more than a few times, and I've been broke a few times. Yet I have never once considered robbing or killing anyone ... or jacking them or whatever.

These people are thugs, and don't deserve to walk around with law abiders. They won't change. She is not worth a front-page story. Otherwise, keep up the good work.

Tom Zane
via Internet

No Mamm Fan
While the article regarding the Ninfa Laurenzo family was interesting ["Mama Ninfa and Her Comeback Kids," by Brad Tyer, August 6], your reference to Ninfa as "Mama" was rather irksome, since no one calls her Mama except her children.

No one in the Hispanic community refers to her as Mama. What your article did not state was that Ninfa and her corporation never did anything for the community. She is not an icon of the community.

The new Ninfa's owners should sue her and her family for violating the non-compete agreement they signed.

Frank Roldan
Houston

History Buff
In a word -- fantastic. After reading your article on the Ninfa Laurenzo family, I felt like I had lived in the environment you described. It's an interesting story, without a doubt, but your writing style made it all the more intriguing because of the details and insights that you included in your article about this piece of Houston history.

Thanks.
Lloyd Dawson
via Internet

Immigration Laws
As an attorney here in Houston who practices immigration law, I applaud your efforts to make Houstonians more aware of the harshness and arbitrariness of our immigration laws ["Deporting Disparities," by Russell Contreras, August 6]. However, parts of your article were misleading or inaccurate.

There should be more coverage of these issues, for the simple reason that immigrants, even illegal ones, contribute enormously to our economy and to our culture. It is appalling how we permit our government to treat both legal and illegal immigrants in the name of upholding the law.

Your article implied that legal permanent residence and temporary residence were guaranteed to certain aliens, which is not the case.

Unfortunately, misinformation in the immigration context is rampant, and the majority of my clients rely on word-of-mouth. Your story will undoubtedly spark a wave of telephone calls to immigration lawyers from people who will want to know why they must file an application for adjustment of status under NACARA since they were "granted" legal permanent residence status.

M. Nicole Morrison
Houston

Editor's note: Morrison's three-page letter detailed legal requirements and application procedures for immigrants. The article focused on legal disparities that allow some Central American immigrants to remain in this country while others are deported immediately. It was not intended as an examination of the laws and did not intend to imply that immigrants do not need to follow the application process or meet eligibility standards.

Derailed Plans
Enjoyed your article on John Kelley ["Going the Distance," by Richard Connelly, August 6].

All this is moot unless Houston gets some rail transit. A letter to the editor in the Chronicle about a year ago was from a person who had been on the site-selection committee for some recent Olympic Games, and said the committee wouldn't even consider a city without rail transit.

Irv Smith
via Internet

Good Behavior
Mr. Earle Lilly represented me for almost three years during the Sarofim case ["Courtship, River Oaks Style," by George Flynn, July 16]. During my case, there were months on end that I spent ten to 30 hours per week in his offices. He never behaved in any way inappropriate toward me, his staff or any of his other clients, who were in and out constantly. His offices are run with the utmost dignity and professionalism and with the precision of a Swiss clock. He is simply an awesome litigator, and a consummate professional.

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