Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Tonight in Texas....

Texas killer nearing execution, despite pleas by victim's parents
Tue May 21, 7:50 PM ET
By MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press Writer

LIVINGSTON, Texas - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to halt Wednesday's scheduled execution of a Texas man whose death sentence is opposed by the parents of his victim.

Martinez is scheduled to receive a lethal injection for killing Corpus Christi convenience store clerk Clay Peterson in 1993.

Martinez confessed to police after surrendering. Peterson's stabbing — four times in the neck and four times in the back after he allowed Martinez to clean out the cash register drawer of dlrs 25.65 — was also videotaped on the store's security camera and shown to the jury.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday narrowly rejected — on a 9-8 vote — a request to commute Martinez's sentence to life.

Peterson's mother, Lana Norris, had written the board asking that Martinez's life be spared. Although not opposed to capital punishment, she said she believed Martinez had repented and she had been called to help save his life. She also said she accepted the outcome.

"We respect the judicial process and the decisions they've reached," she said. "We are very sad for Johnny and his family."

Peterson's father, Paul Peterson of Dallas, also wrote the board, saying, "I do not believe that (Clay) would have demanded the Old Testament punishment of an eye for an eye, but instead would have followed the teachings of Christ to forgive not seven times, but seventy times seven."