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The Proposed Extermination of Amos King by Jeb Bush (english)
by Rev. Kobutsu Malone
Email: kobutsu (nospam) engaged-zen.org
10 Feb 2003
An urgent call to action to stop the execution of Amos Lee King.
Amos King - ACTION!
Amos Lee King
Extermination date is set for Amos King
6pm, February 26, 2003
URGENT ACTION #1 -
Contact Your Florida Legislators!
URGENT ACTION #2 -
Protest Upcoming Executions
Current Florida Execution HOMICIDE Warrant:
Amos King - 6pm, February 26, 2003
US SUPREME COURT CASE SHOULD STAY EXECUTIONS:
Click here to read FADP's press release!
Amos King was scheduled to be poisoned to death in the name of the people of Florida on December 2, 2002 in revenge for his alleged murder of Natalie Brady. Mr. King has always maintained his innocence, and in a stunning development, he was given a last-minute stay by Governor Bush so that he could receive more advanced DNA testing of forensic evidence -- testing which might have established doubt about Amos King's guilt. Unfortunately, test results came back as "inconclusive," meaning that Amos King's guilt is still uncertain.
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) is concerned about King's assertion that important evidence was never properly developed or brought to light during his trial. Get more information at http://www.amosking.com.
The state of Florida is scheduled to execute Amos King for the 1976 murder of Natalie Brady. In the 26 years since the murder, King's death sentence has been argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, vacated, retried, and reinstated. In 2002, King received two stays - one from the U.S. Supreme Court in February and another from the Florida Supreme Court in July. King's pending execution represents the worst nightmare of the death penalty process: this is a possible innocence case, tried against a defendant with ineffective counsel.
On November 18, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to reconsider the guidelines for ineffective counsel claims in the case of Kevin Wiggins, a Maryland death row inmate. The threshold for such claims is currently based on Strickland v. Washington - the landmark 1984 decision that determined what constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel.
King, a man forced to wage his life on state-appointed lawyers, has been challenging the effectiveness of his trial counsel for over two decades. In 1983, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated his death sentence, claiming he received ineffective assistance during the penalty phase of his trial. The court found that his lead attorney, Thomas Cole, entered the trial fatigued and unprepared. Cole, although an experienced criminal defense lawyer, had been concentrating primarily on another case at the time, and met with his client only twice before the trial. His support attorney, Anthony Rondolino, joined the defense less than a week before the trial began.
In vacating the initial death sentence, Judge Paul H. Roney of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote: "King was convicted on circumstantial evidence which however strong leaves room for doubt that a skilled attorney might raise to a sufficient level that, though not enough to defeat conviction, might convince a jury that the ultimate penalty should not be exacted."
During the trial, Cole stated on the record: "Judge, I am beat, I have got to go home and get some sleep." On another occasion he said: "I can't think anymore." Of course, Cole represented King during the guilt phase of the trial as well, and little evidence indicates that he provided effective counsel at any point in the trial.
According to the state, King murdered Natalie Brady in the early hours of March 18, 1977. An inmate at Tarpon Springs Community Correctional Center, a minimum-security work release facility, King allegedly escaped in the middle of the night, ran over to Brady's house, and proceeded to rob, sexually assault, and stab her before lighting the house on fire.
Cole made several obvious errors while defending King, which several appellate judges noted in their opinions. He offered minimal challenges to critical pieces of evidence, including a kitchen knife a witness identified despite not having seen it in over a decade. He also failed to present a piece of potentially exculpatory evidence concerning hair samples found on the victim's nightgown and sheets.
Several judges have argued in favor of reversing King's death sentence again, citing "lingering doubt" about his guilt and the effectiveness of his defense attorneys.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush has again signed a death warrant for an inmate who has not had all of his issues heard in court. Please write a brief and courteous letter to Governor Bush asking that he consider the circumstances with an open mind - from the possibility of innocence to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to review ineffective counsel standards - and that he stay the execution until the high court rules on Wiggins. Please send a copy of your letter to your local newspaper.
Write to the Governor of Florida:
Governor Jeb Bush
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Telephone: (850) 488-4441 or
FAX (850) 487-0801
E-mail:fl_governor (at) eog.state.fl.us
Alternate e-mail: Jebbush (at) jeb.org
If you are writing from outside of Florida, please send a copy of your letter to:
The Tallahassee Democrat
Letters to the Editor
P.O. Box 990
Tallahassee, FL 32302
Fax: (850) 599-2295
email to: tdedit (at) taldem.com
If you are writing from within Florida, please send a copy of your letter to your local news paper(s), along with a letter to the editor marked "for publication." You might also try simply marking your letter to Jeb! "for publication," and perhaps they'll run that! As always, FADP requests that if your letter is printed, please send us an original of the full page on which the letter appears, to the address shown below.
Write a note of support to Amos King at:
Amos King #036275
Florida State Prison
7819 NW 228th Street
Raiford, FL 32026-1160
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
The Engaged Zen Foundation