Originally posted Feb. 4, 2011, at Bishop Mike. Republished with permission of the author.
Timothy Adams, who goes by Tim, is scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas on Tuesday, February 22, 2011.
Tim is held in the highest regard by members of his congregation, by supervisors and fellow soldiers in the military and by his work colleagues. He had no criminal record — nor had he ever been arrested — prior to the tragic mistake for which he was sentenced to death.
Tim was born in Houston on August 22, 1968, to Columbus and Wilma Adams. Tim grew up in a religious home and was active in his congregation and Bible study.
Tim’s Sunday school teacher, Verlene Edmond, remembers how “quiet” and “polite” Tim was as a 16- to 18-year-old boy.
For the first two years of Tim’s life, his father served in the Vietnam War with the 23rd Infantry. After his return from the war, Tim’s father worked for the Houston Fire Department, attaining the position of fire marshal over the course of his career, which spanned more than 30 years.
At home, Tim was a role model to his younger siblings, one of whom he inspired to graduate from college and who currently is a teacher in Houston.
After graduating from high school, Tim enlisted in the Army in 1986 and was stationed outside Nuremberg, Germany, at Herzo Base. Roger West, a sergeant in the U.S. Army and Purple Heart recipient, wished he could have “a whole platoon of guys like Tim.”
During his military service in Germany, Tim’s girlfriend, Cynthia, gave birth to his first son, Terell. After three years in the service, Tim was honorably discharged and returned home to his family. Although Cynthia and Tim parted ways, both Cynthia and Terell continue to support Tim.
Tim married Emma Adams in 2000, and his second son, Tim Jr., was born shortly thereafter. To better provide for his family, Tim began working for Advanced Corporate Security Systems as a security guard at Greenway Plaza in Houston.
Because of his reliability and diligence in carrying out his work duties, he quickly became supervisor of all security shifts. Tim’s supervisor, Diane Garcia, received “many, many positive comments and feedback on Tim’s performance.”
Tim has spent his time on the death row in Texas trying to understand what caused his crime; seeking forgiveness from his family, friends and God; and deepening his relationship with Jesus Christ.
He has been a model prisoner, without even a single disciplinary write-up on his record over the eight years he has been in prison.
In 2002, Tim shot and killed his 19-month-old son, Timothy Wayne Adams Jr., during a standoff with Houston police.
After a fight with his wife escalated out-of-hand, he “snapped” and decided to take his own life and the life of his youngest son.
Tim did not take his own life on that horrible day due to the support of his family and friends, who spoke to him over the phone and told him that his life was worth saving.
One of those friends convinced him to speak to a Houston Police Department negotiator, who in turn persuaded Tim to let go of his suicidal thoughts and end the standoff.
Ultimately, Tim left his apartment and surrendered peacefully to police a few hours after the ordeal began.
From the moment that he was taken into police custody, Tim has taken full responsibility for his actions. He realizes that it is nearly impossible for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, as well as any citizen in our society, to comprehend what could lead a father to kill his own son.
In no way would he ever try to justify his actions. What he did was wrong, plain and simple. He would take back his actions that horrible day in an instant if it were possible.
However, Tim will file a clemency petition with the Board of Pardons and Paroles and ask it to vote to spare his life.
Tim requests that he have the opportunity to tell his life story, something that the jury did not hear at his trial.
His attorney did not present crucial mitigating evidence to counter the prosecution’s contention that he was a future danger to society or to show that his life was worth saving.
Consequently, the jury learned almost no information about Tim’s life and upbringing, which would have helped them determine that Tim, a deeply religious, hard-working family man, was not a future danger to society and never will be.
Lacking this mitigating evidence, it is perhaps not surprising that the jury sentenced him to death.
But since learning additional information about Tim’s character and background, jurors Rebecca Hayes and Ngoc Duong have urged the board to commute the death sentence to a life sentence.
They both believe that information relating to the upbringing that Tim received, his deep devotion to religion and his mental state would have caused them both to stick with their initial inclination, which was to spare him and sentence him to life in prison.
With this petition, Tim seeks to show the board that February 20, 2002, was an aberration in his life. Before that day, he had never been arrested or convicted of a crime. Since that day, he has not had a single disciplinary write-up in prison.
Tim wants to share his life story to show the board that, before committing this crime, he was a religious, hard-working individual who suffered from extreme anxiety but who loved and provided for his family just the same.
Since being incarcerated, he has had the opportunity to reflect on his actions, which has brought him closer to God and deepened his devotion to Jesus Christ.
In telling his story, Tim wants to give his family the opportunity to speak on his behalf, something that his defense counsel prevented them from doing at the trial.
In this case, the defendant’s family is unfortunately also the victim’s family — Tim’s parents lost their grandson, his siblings lost their nephew and his oldest son lost his half-brother.
Yet, none of these family members were able to stand before the jury to describe the severe hurt and suffering they had endured as a result of the actions of Tim. Nor were they able to explain that, despite their pain, they still supported and loved him and did not want to lose their son, brother and father to this tragedy as well.
Rick Perry, the Texas governor, will be asked to commute Tim’s death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Nothing good will come from executing Tim and causing his family any more unimaginable pain and anguish. If ever there was a man who deserved clemency, it is Tim Adams.
We’ve talked about the risk in executing a potentially innocent man. Tim is clearly guilty. I do not see what his execution accomplishes, aside from bloodying our hands and perpetuating the cycle of violence.
Find a link to Michael Rinehart’s blog Bishop Mike at Lutheran Blogs.