Foster: No clemency
Jan. 5, 2003
Ron Chris Foster used his bicycle as a getaway vehicle after he gunned down a convenience store clerk during a robbery in Lowndes County in 1989. He was convicted in Lauderdale County Circuit Court after a change of venue moved his trial here. Since his conviction on a murder charge, and subsequent death penalty, he has sat on Parchman Penitentiary's death row awaiting the outcome of various appeals.
Foster, 17 years old at the time of the incident, is now said to have the mental maturity of a 13-year-old. He is scheduled to die on Wednesday under a system that says he should lose his life as punishment for the life he took.
Last week, in an emotional appeal, members of the clergy, legislators and former state Supreme Court justice Fred Banks called on Gov. Ronnie Musgrove to grant clemency. The Mississippi Coalition for Clemency cited Foster's age, mental condition and lack of prior criminal history as reasons the governor should grant clemency, or at least commute his sentence to life in prison. With all due respect to the clemency advocates, Mississippi's criminal statutes, including imposition of the death penalty, are not cold, heartless words without a purpose. They are the legal means through which society attempts to impose some measure of accountability on offenders and some measure of respect for the freedom we should enjoy to live peacefully in our own communities.
Life imprisonment was a possibility as Foster's case wound through the courts. Juries and judges heard all of the available evidence and a decision was made based on that evidence.
Now, it's time for the sentence to be carried out.