On August 26, Texas is scheduled to execute James Allridge III for the 1985 murder of Brian Clendennen, 21, who died from two gunshots fired in the course of the botched robbery of a Fort Worth-area convenience store. At trial, prosecutors argued that Allridge, then 21, killed Clendennen while on a “crime spree” with his 23-year-old brother, Ronald. (Ronald, convicted for a murder committed after Clendennen’s death, was executed in 1995.) James Allridge, with no prior criminal record, was sentenced to death.
The Austin Chronicle reports that, as his execution date approaches, Allridge and his supporters – including four of the original jurors, his family, attorneys, two former death row prison guards, a retired prison system administrator, a Fort Worth city councilman and one of Allridge’s former employers – are asking that the state Board of Pardons and Paroles and Gov. Rick Perry commute Allridge’s death sentence to life behind bars. Allridge’s bid for a life sentence is based on his apparent rehabilitation while in prison and his quest for redemption. The issue hinges on on one question: Can there be mercy for the condemned in Texas?