Texas juror admits mistake at trial and asks Governor to spare Mark Stroman’s life on the eve of his execution

July 20, 2011

One of twelve jurors who served in the trial of Mark Stroman in 2002 has made a last-minute appeal to the Governor of Texas to spare his life. With only 24 hours until Mr Stroman’s scheduled execution, juror Jenifer Sheehan has come forward to reveal how she was badly misled by the District Attorney Greg Davis during the 2002 trial. She has also expressed regret at her decision in the case, insisting that she was not given an opportunity to understand the wishes of the victims.In a statement, Ms Sheehan said: “When I walked into that courtroom to serve as a juror I believed in the Death Penalty, but as time has passed I have come to deeply regret my decision to sentence Mark to death. Unfortunately, although I had doubts when we were deliberating, I was not able to stand up to the other bullies on the jury. “I was misled by the prosecution into believing that the murder of Mr. Patel was a capital crime and know now that Mark did not go into the gas station to rob Mr. Patel. I am sure of that and so I should not have taken the decision to give him the death sentence because his crime did not warrant the death penalty. “I also did not know that surviving victim Rais Bhuiyan did not want Mark to be executed, and the other victims supported his efforts. The prosecution presented the evidence in such a way as to give us just the opposite impression. If I had known that they had such a strong belief in forgiveness there is no way that I would have taken the decision for him to be executed. “I know that some of the other jurors feel like I do and I urge them to come forward as I am in this appeal for Mark’s life to be spared. I also urge Rick Perry to listen to my voice as a juror as I say that I made the wrong decision and that Mark Stroman should not be executed.” Mark Stroman was sentenced to death for a series of shootings in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, which left two men dead and one man injured. He is due to be executed in Texas on July 20. Mark’s surviving victim, Rais Bhuiyan, does not want his attacker to be executed and is actively campaigning for Mark’s sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment. During the 2002 trial, Mr. Bhuiyan was not given the opportunity to tell the court that he was strongly against the death penalty.Due to his strong religious belief in forgiveness, Mr. Bhuiyan has requested a meaningful period of mediation with Mr. Stroman. He has had no response to his request from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He is now suing the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, for multiple violations of his rights as a victim of violent crime..ReprievePO Box 52742London EC4P 4WSTel: 020 7353 4640Fax: 020 7353 4641Website: www.reprieve.org.uk Reprieve is a charitable company limited by guarantee; Registered Charity No. 1114900 Registered Company No. 5777831 (England) Registered Office 2-6 Cannon Street London EC4M 6YH; Chair: Ken Macdonald QC; Patrons: Alan Bennett, Julie Christie, Martha Lane Fox, Gordon Roddick, Richard Rogers, Ruth Rogers, Jon Snow, Marina Warner, Vivienne Westwood