Clemency for Steve Henley

The state of Tennessee plans to execute Steve Henley at 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 4th. The citizen response to this planned execution has been incredible.

-6 total phone banks in Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville
-Over 2000 phone calls made to ask citizens to call Governor Bredesen and ask him to grant Steve clemency
-Hundreds of phone calls made to the Governor
-Nearly 1000 clemency cards delivered to the Governor
-2 opinion editorials
-2 letters to the editor

The grassroots response has been strong because Tennesseans are troubled by the circumstances of this execution. The two opinion editorials, Rea Frey in the Tennessean, and Rev. Jodi McCullah in the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, highlight these problems. Read Rea’s by CLICKING HERE. Read Jodi’s by CLICKING HERE. Read Amy Sayward’s letter to the editor by CLICKING HERE. Read Phil Michal Thomas’ letter to the editor by CLICKING HERE.

“Steve Henley, a Jackson County native, is scheduled to be executed early tomorrow morning for a crime he says he did not commit. At his trial, 24 years ago, the prosecution presented no solid evidence. He was accused of arson, yet there was no proof. He was accused of robbing and shooting his neighbors, yet the autopsy never recovered any bullets, and robbery was never proven. The only “evidence” in the case came from a known drug user, Terry Flatt, who made a plea bargain with the state in order to be released in just five years.”

“How can we move to take a man’s life based on nothing more than the testimony of a drug addict who made a deal? How can we allow this in kind of thing to happen in our criminal system?”

“The Tennessee Death Penalty Study Committee, created by the Legislature in 2007, found multiple examples of Tennessee death row inmates who received grossly inadequate representation at their trials, which led to their death sentences. Steve Henley’s case is an example of such inadequate representation. If our own state legislative committee found such dire problems, how can we move forward with taking this man’s life? If we make a mistake by executing Steve Henley, we cannot take it back. And why is it that no one seems to care that the state is poised to kill one of its citizens — at great cost to the taxpayers? Certainly we deserve more thorough coverage of this impending execution.”

In Nashville, a Service of Remembrance and Resistance will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 3rd, at Brookmeade Congregational Church, 700 Bresslyn Road, Nashville, TN 37205. TCASK and its members will later gather at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution at 12:00 a.m. to hold a candlelight vigil unless the execution has been stayed. Riverbend Maximum Security Institution is located at 7475 Cockrill Bend Blvd, Nashville, TN 37209.

When heading to Riverbend, drive past the main entrance and officers will direct you to the parking. There have been instances when car and person have been searched so be sure to remove any items that might be misconstrued (knives, tools, etc.). Please dress very warmly as we are expecting very cold weather and high winds. Also, consider wearing water proof items as the moisture level is high at Riverbend.

Call TCASK if you have any questions before 5pm, (615) 256-3906, after 5pm, (615) 521-9985.

In Memphis, there will be a vigil at Immaculate Conception Cathedral located at 1695 Central Avenue. The vigil will start at 7:00 p.m. and last until the execution has been stayed or carried out. Call Rev. Amy Howe at (901) 482-1213 if you have any questions.

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