Dead Man Talking

A dozen years after Ruben Cantu was executed by the state of Texas for capital murder, the only witness to Cantu’s alleged crime came forward in November to recant his testimony, saying Cantu wasn’t even at the scene. “The reality that Texas may have executed an innocent man should shock us all into action,” said State Sen. Rodney Ellis. “If the facts we now have are accurate, this was a catastrophic failure of the entire Texas criminal justice system and demands investigation.”

Texas, which has the highest execution rate of any state, killed 23 people in 2004 and 19 people in 2005, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. “Followers of Jesus ought to know instinctively that executions serve the status quo of empire,” Eric DeBode, director of California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty, told Sojourners. “We do well to remind ourselves every Sunday that Jesus was an innocent person who was executed by the state using exactly these mechanisms.”

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