Cleve Foster speaking with visitor threw death-row phone
Texas executed its ninth prisoner of 2012 today after death row inmate Cleve Foster, 48, failed to obtain a last-minute stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Foster was convicted in 2002 of helping his roommate, Sheldon Ward, kill a Fort Worth, Texas, woman and hide her body in the woods. Ward, however, wrote a death-bed note before he died in prison saying that he’d acted alone, and Foster had nothing to do with the murder.
Foster has maintained his innocence, but didn’t mention that as he was executed. Instead, according to The Associated Press, he expressed love for his family and God before the drugs took effect, he began snoring and then he stopped breathing.
“When I close my eyes, I’ll be with the father,” he said. “God is everything. He’s my life. Tonight I’ll be with him.”
He turned to relatives of his victims and said, “I don’t know what you’re going to be feeling tonight. I pray we’ll all meet in Heaven.”
Foster has been scheduled to die four times over the past year but has received three stays of execution from the Texas Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Foster was hoping the country’s high court would step in and give him one more stay. But instead, it cleared the way for his execution with a brief decision just hours before the lethal injection was administered at 6:43 p.m. CT.
In the following pages, take a closer look at 2012’s death row inmates — and their final statements of innocence, acceptance or praise for their beloved Texas Rangers baseball team. Their statements were recorded by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Pictured; Cleve Foster
Article written and published last year on January 12th, 2011 – One day after Cleve Foster’s last-minute stay:
The former Army recruiter was suppose to be executed January 11th, 2011 but had received a last-minute stay of execution from the Supreme Court. Foster was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death-row for the rape and murder of a 30-year-old Sudanese woman in Fort Worth, TX nine years prior. He had always insisted that his friend and former roommate, Sheldon Ward, who was also condemned for the killing, acting alone in the murder of Nyaneur Pal, who was shot in the head and dumped in a ditch in Tarrant County. Ward died of cancer in prison May, 2010.
Foster’s attorneys had asked the Supreme Court to stop the execution on the grounds that trial attorneys failed to get testimony from a blood spatter expert to counter a detective’s testimony that Ward couldn’t have killed and moved Pal’s body by himself.
“The state of Texas is on the verge of executing an innocent man,” attorney Clint Broden told the court.
In the court’s brief order to halt the execution, two Justices indicated that they would have allowed the punishment to proceed.
More than 60 protesters were gathered at the Texas Capitol last night. They rejoiced when they heard the news of the of the stay of execution by phone call from other protesters gathered outside the prison in Huntsville where Texas does its killing.
Foster would have been the first person to be executed in Texas this year had the stay not been granted.