While media eyes were focused on the disputed Troy Davis execution in Georgia, Texas was executing a brutal and completely unrepentant murderer.
Last night, Texas executed white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer for the murder of James Byrd Jr. One accomplice, John William King, remains on death row, and another, Shawn Allen Berry, was sentenced to life in prison after the government failed to convince a jury to execute him as well.
In 2000, the NAACP National Voter Fund ran graphic and truly over-the-top advertisements on television and radio attacking then-Governor Bush for refusing to sign hate crime legislation. Among their outrageous claims, Renee Mullins, Byrd’s daughter, declared:
So when Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate-crime legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again.
These men were prosecuted and sentenced under George W. Bush. Brewer was executed under the auspices of Rick Perry. Republicans, especially Texas Republicans, take heinous crimes very seriously. Whatever problems Texas might have, being too soft on murderers is not among them, and the hate crime legislation the NAACP used to attack Bush would have had no impact on this case. In fact, I’d imagine that many NAACP activists and most liberals who supported their actions are anti-death penalty, and as such believe that the hate crime committed against James Byrd Jr. was punished too harshly.
I won’t hold my breath for an apology from the NAACP to President Bush and the Republican Party.