Governor Perry Invited to Witness Execution of Gary Etheridge, Aug. 20th

                            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                    JULY 18, 2002:   Livingston, TX

          "...if you allow Texas to carry out the execution I will invite you to attend his
            execution together with me because in this case I need your support and guidance.
                I need a shoulder to lean on and someone who explain to me that it was the
                                                right thing to kill my husband. "
                - Gary's wife Claudia, in a letter to Governor Rick Perry - May 17, 2002.

Governor Rick Perry has been formally invited to attend the August 20th execution of
Gary Etheridge as a witness, in the event he fails to intervene to stop the execution pending further investigation.  The invitation was extended by Gary's wife Claudia, along with The Canadian Coalition Against The Death Penalty, on behalf of Gary Etheridge.

The Governor was originally invited to the execution in May, when Gary faced another execution date that was stayed.   Perry at that time did not respond to Mrs. Etheridge's letter and invitation.  On August 17, a registered letter was sent to the office of the Governor again extending the invitation.   "...Itís now time for you to have the courage of your convictions and stand up to your own words. I think it would be important to you to finally witness an execution since you already signed so many death warrants," the letter reads.

The involvement of the Canadian group is  "indicative of the level of concern now rising in the international community over the continued enthusiasm for  'Texecutions,' " Coalition Director Dave Parkinson, in Toronto, says.

The Canadian group is also encouraging its supporters both in Texas and around the world to join Texas activists recent call for an all out boycott of the Lone Star State for its continued application of  the death penalty.

"The Governor has to answer not only to his own constituents in Texas, but to political and economic allies internationally,"   Parkinson says, " Perry's response to the invitation to attend the execution will indicate whether he takes his responsibility on this matter seriously, or if a death warrant is just another piece of paper to be signed from a stack on his desk without any concern for the implications of what his endorsement means."

CCADP's Tracy Lamourie adds, "Etheridge's invitation extends to the governor a unique opportunity to make a public stand, to either have the courage to stand up for his ideals which apparently involve the taking of life; or to show the international community how little concern he has for the gravity of this issue by ignoring the invitation."

The Governor has been asked to recuse himself for the reason of prior involvement with the case.  If Governor Perry recuses himself, this invitation still stands as he is the signatory not only to Gary's warrant on several occasions, but to the warrants of dozens of prisoners on a regular basis since he replaced Governor Bush.

The invitation to the Governor ended with the words : "With this letter I respectfully invite you in the name of Mr. Gary Etheridge, in the name of the Canadian Coalition Against The Death Penalty and in my name, to witness the murder of Mr. Etheridge on August 20, 2002 after 6:00 PM.  Sincerely yours, -Claudia Schweiger-Etheridge."

We await a response from the Governor as to whether he will have the courage of his convictions and attend.

The CCADP and Claudia Etheridge, both maintain websites for Gary Etheridge.
Visit those pages at :
August 17/02 Letter inviting Governor
May17/02 Letter inviting Governor

For more info on whether the Governor will be attending :
Contact the Governor's Office
 Phone:  512-463-2000
Fax:  512-463-1849

For more information on the invitation, Gary Etheridge and his case, or the CCADP;
or to contact Claudia through the CCADP, contact;

Dave Parkinson or Tracy Lamourie
Directors, Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty