Carol Vance, a former longtime Harris County District Attorney, canceled an an appearance last week at Murder by the Book to promote his biography Boomtown DA.
The store said simply the cancellation was "due to extenuating circumstances," but death-penalty foes are crowing. Groups had been warning for days that they intended to demonstrate at the appearance.
"He obviously felt that he did not want to face those of us who knew Lee Otis Johnson or those who were at TSU during the police riot in 1968 or those that were comrades with Carl Hampton," said Ester King of the Death Penalty Abolition Movement.
All the cases mentioned were controversial ones where Vance, a hardcore conservative, riled the other side of the political spectrum.
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It's been two generations ago for some of the events, but obviously the anger hasn't died down.
"Momentum built for the protest, as hundreds of leaflets, e-mails, Facebook messages and phone calls were made," the group wrote. "Young people who had heard about Jose Campos Torres were planning to walk the picket line with those who remembered the day his body was found in the bayou and the cops who were never prosecuted by Carol Vance."
The bookstore's message indicated the book-signing may be rescheduled, but the group isn't buying it.
"We hope Vance will reschedule, but doubt that will happen," the group said.