On July 10, Carlton Akee Turner is scheduled to be put to death in Texas for the murder of his adoptive parents when he was 19 years old. But a majority of the victims’ relatives are speaking out against the execution. Victim Tonya Carlton's brother, Kelly Johnson, wrote in a petition to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, “I do not wish to see my sister’s only child executed. I believe in my heart that my sister would only have wanted Akee to receive the help that he needed to restore his mind to a sound state.” Tonya’s first cousin and close friend Krishell Colemen said, “I don’t think Carlton [the defendant] should be executed. I don’t want him to be executed. Now that I know more of the details that led to the murders, I realize that he needs help. Killing him is just another murder. Nothing is going to bring my cousin back. Killing him will just hurt our family again, the way Tonya and Carlton’s murders did.”
The clemency also cited Governor Rick Perry’s statement that Texas can “never forget the impact felt by crime victims” while reminding the Board that the "vast majority" of the victims’ family members don’t want to see the couple’s son executed. “Executions are held out as a talisman that will provide the victim with closure,” said the petition. “This belief serves in part as a rationale for executions. But, in Mr. Turner’s case, an ‘eye for an eye’ truly does leave a family blind, twice robbed of their own.”
The petition also pointed out that Turner was convicted by an all-white jury, with no black citizens even making it to the voir dire phase of selection. The petition argued, “The capital prosecution of an African American man by an all white jury from a jurisdiction [Dallas County] with such an extensive record of discrimination in exactly that arena should cause doubts in the first instance.”
(B. Sanders, "Sanders: Another Troubling Dallas Case," Star Telegram, July 6, 2008). See Victims and Race.