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Editors Note;

Offender Newton was granted a 30-day stay of execution by Governor Perry on 12-02-04..... Is it a woman thing? What gives ? I say kill her today! stay tuned for updates...

 

 

Board recommends stay of execution

 

Victim's mom objects to execution

By ANDREW TILGHMAN
 

Carlos Chronicle file
Frances Newton in a court appearance last summer.
Gov. Rick Perry should delay tonight's scheduled execution of a Harris County woman who was condemned for the murders of her husband and two children, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended Tuesday.

In a rare move, the board voted 5-1 to recommend a reprieve for 39-year-old Frances Newton. Perry was still considering the recommendation Tuesday evening, a spokeswoman said. If he does not grant a stay, the execution would be carried out after 6 p.m. today.

Newton's attorneys sought a 120-day delay to further examine her claims that she is innocent of the April 1987 murders of her husband, Adrian Newton, and their children, Alton, 7, and Farrah Elaine, 21 months.

They want to retest the ballistics evidence initially tested by the Houston Police Department crime lab, which has faced criticism in recent years for providing inaccurate scientific information in some criminal trials.

Newton's attorneys also want new tests on a dress she wore the night of the murders. Authorities said tests revealed chemical evidence that Newton had fired a gun. But defense lawyers say the dress was touched by fertilizer, which could cause misleading test results under the technology used at the time.

"I think the (parole) board recognized that the evidence against Frances Newton is thin and some additional steps could be taken to conclusively demonstrate that she is innocent," said David Dow, a law professor at the University of Houston and one of Newton's attorneys.

Prison officials transferred Newton on Tuesday from the Mountain View Unit near Gatesville, where eight other condemned women are housed, to the Goree Unit near Huntsville. Executions are carried out at the Walls Unit in Huntsville.

Perry can grant one 30-day reprieve. Any further action, such as a commutation or pardon, would come only after another recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles.