Though he did not pull the trigger of the gun that killed Michael LaHood in August 1997, Kenneth Foster Jr. is scheduled to be executed in Texas at the end of the month. Foster and Mauriceo Brown, who is the actual shooter in LaHood’s murder, were both sentenced to death. Brown was executed last year.

The incident took place on August 14, 1997. Foster, Brown, DeWayne Dillard, and Julius Steen were drinking and smoking marijuana when they decided to commit armed robbery at two different locations. On their way home, LaHood’s girlfriend, Mary Patrick, flagged down their car. Brown got out of the car and shot LaHood. Foster had tried to leave the scene once Brown shot LaHood, but his friends made him wait for Brown to get back into the car. In a fateful decision, Foster agreed, and they were arrested shortly after fleeing the scene. Foster and Brown were tried together, and Foster was charged under a Texas “law of parties” that disintegrates the distinction between the person who actually committed the crime and the accomplice, making Foster just as guilty of the murder as Brown. Brown had tried to plead self-defense, but instead he received the death penalty.

The basis of the case for sentencing Foster shows that Foster knew what was going to happen when Brown left the car. The sentence is permissible by Texas law, but it is the most extreme sentence that could be given. The acting chair of the 7-person pardons and parole committee that will review Fosters case has received Foster’s petition and will issue a decision on August 28. Meanwhile, Foster got married to one of the leaders of a small organization trying to free Foster. Should his execution go through, Foster will also leave behind an 11-year-old daughter who lives with her mother.

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