Not Painful Enough
I have just read Steve McVicker's "Crime & Punishment" article [March 24]. I am in full support of Anthony Ray Westley's receiving the death penalty. I'm just sad that his accomplice, John Dale Henry, didn't receive the same. I am sick and tired of the court system's granting these criminals appeal after appeal. I just don't see how anyone could have any sympathy for people like Mr. Westley. Regardless of who fired the shot that killed Frank Hall, both of those bastards (Westley and Henry) deserve to die. I'm just sorry that our state's means of execution isn't cruel or painful enough.
Michael C. Dawson
Yes, Anthony Ray Westley deserves to die for his animal-like (uncivilized) criminal activities. So should John Henry. Being young, black and poor does not excuse their actions. All prisoners outright lie, or extensively soften their culpability, when relating their involvement in crimes they are arrested for. Think how many crimes Westley perpetrated without being caught or successfully prosecuted for.
As for that ridiculous judge who now supports Westley -- Norman "Technicality" Lanford -- the voters emphatically kicked him off the appeals bench in the recent elections.
And in reference to Lanford's comment at the end of your article: thousands of Texans would rather say, "When we execute somebody in this state, we ought to be able to look at each other and say we have gotten rid of something really bad."
Insult to Injury
Thank you for your story on high-speed police chases ["Deadly Pursuit," by Brian Wallstin, March 10]. The subject is an important one.
Two years ago, I received a telephone call informing me that my husband, Greg, had been in an automobile accident. The accident occurred on a weekday during rush hour. Greg was making a left turn onto Fairview from Shepherd when his truck was hit by a speeding police car running without a siren. The police car did not have top lights. The officer was in pursuit of a vehicle that had run a red light. Greg's truck was overturned and so badly damaged that it was a total loss.
Greg was given a ticket in the hospital emergency room for failure to yield right of way. He chose to contest the ticket and requested a jury trial. After five hours of testimony, the jury deliberated for ten minutes and found Greg not guilty. The accident and trial exacted a substantial emotional toll. We lost money in replacing our vehicle and we lost time to injuries and to dealing with the insurance company and the trial. We both feel extremely abused by the incident. I cannot fathom how the family members of individuals who lost their lives in similar accidents must feel.
Our attorney advised us that an attempt to recover expenses or damages from the city would be futile. A few weeks ago, more than one year after Greg was found not guilty in the matter of responsibility for the accident, he received notification from the city attorney's office that they were seeking damages from our insurance company for the officer's medical expenses and time off work.
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Elisa Phelps Gray
It has been my intention for some time now to write and tell you how much I enjoy Susie Kalil's astute, gutsy and knowledgeable criticism. She is the only art critic in town I take seriously. Good for you, Houston Press!
W. Lee Robbins