In memory of Frances Newton

From CEDP National Office:

In memory of Frances Newton, we should remember the last words spoken by Shaka Sankofa who, like Frances, was executed by the state of Texas despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence.

“This is nothing more than pure and simple murder. This is what is happening tonight in America. Nothing more than state sanctioned murders, state sanctioned lynching, right here in America, and right here tonight. This is what is happening my brothers. Nothing less. They know I'm innocent. They've got the facts to prove it. They know I'm innocent. But they cannot acknowledge my innocence, because to do so would be to publicly admit their guilt. This is something these racist people will never do. We must remember brothers, this is what we're faced with. You must take this endeavor forward. You must stay strong. You must continue to hold your heads up, and to be there. And I love you, too, my brother. All of you who are standing with me in solidarity. We will prevail. We will keep marching. Keep marching Black people, Black power. Keep marching Black people, Black power. Keep marching Black people. Keep marching Black people. They are killing me tonight. They are murdering me tonight.”

Newton executed for 1987 slayings
Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE — Frances Newton was executed today for the fatal shootings of her husband and two children 18 years ago, becoming the third woman, and first black woman, to be put to death in the state since executions resumed in 1982.

Strapped to the death chamber gurney and with her parents among the people watching, she declined to make a final statement, quietly saying "no" and shaking her head when the warden asked if she would like to speak.

Newton briefly turned her head to make eye contact with her family as the drugs began flowing. She appeared to attempt to mouth something to her relatives, but the drugs took affect. She coughed once and gasped as her eyes closed and her mouth remained slightly open. Eight minutes later at 6:17 p.m. CDT, she was pronounced dead.

One of her sisters stood flat against a wall at the rear of the death house, her arms raised against the wall and her head buried in her arms, refusing to watch. Her parents held hands and her mother brushed away a tear before they walked to the back of the chamber to console their other daughter.

About three dozen demonstrators chanted outside but the crowd paled in comparison to the group of hundreds that assembled in 1998 to protest the execution of Karla Faye Tucker, who was the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War.