Gov. Bush's office ignored murder confession

By Alan Berlow

By Salon Staff

Published October 17, 2000 7:39PM (EDT)

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Gov. Bush's failure to respond to new information in cases such as the murder of Nancy DePriest demonstrates his unfitness for any office with life-and-death powers. He refuses to accept contrary information. He would rather commit judicial murder than admit error. These faults particularly disqualify him from the presidency. I do not want such a dangerous man running the most powerful nation on Earth. If he truly believed in the death penalty, he would be very scrupulous to ensure that it was carefully applied. His every action brings it into further disrepute.

-- David Chaplin

While I am appalled at the information in Alan Berlow's article, it does not surprise me. For someone who calls himself "compassionate," either Gov. Bush does not understand the meaning of the word or he wrongly assumes that the American people do not. Bush is the chief executive of the state with the highest number of state-mandated executions, the worst pollution and the lowest number of children receiving medical benefits. Where is the compassion? All of us who are deeply fearful of the kind of president Bush would make must rely on the honest media to get the message out, relentlessly, that the record of Texas' chief executive is deplorable, and not one we want replicated for our country. I applaud your research and reporting and hope you will keep it up. Thank you.

-- Channy Peters

This article shows once again why the death penalty is something we as a society can do with out. It's one thing to deprive someone of their time unjustly, but the chance is still there to right the wrong if discovered. But you can't bring someone back to life and say, "We're sorry." As the criminal justice system is far from perfect and the debate is still on as to whether the death penalty really is a deterrent, we need to stop the killing. If even one life is taken in error it equates to murder. I used to be for the death penalty but as time has matured me and I hope made me wiser. I now see the wrong in this immoral act by us as a people: we are better than this.

-- Jack Wood

Watching the debate Wednesday, I couldn't help but be chilled by how genuinely enthusiastic the governor is over the notion that three more Texans are going to die at the state's hands.

While I support in principle the death penalty -- although it should only be applied following a finding of guilt by a higher standard than "beyond reasonable doubt" -- I was stunned by the display the governor put on, stunned by its effusiveness and almost childlike delight. It was the most alive and engaged that the governor appeared all evening -- and it came while crowing that three more of his state's citizens were going to die.

-- Daniel J. Sikorski

I can understand a little bad press for Gov. Bush, but why did the Travis County District Attorney's Office and the ACLU not do anything on their watch? It seems to me that rather than having the distraction of running a state, as Gov. Bush did, it was their dedicated task to see that, if an injustice was done, it be corrected. Blame should not be placed on Gov. Bush alone.

-- Lynell D. Zelenka

I'm dismayed by Alan Berlow's story under the tabloid-like headline, "Gov. Bush's office ignored murder confession." Doesn't objective journalism include having a story that actually supports the headline? The article stated that Gov. Bush's office receives 1,400 letters from prisoners each year, and those letters are routinely forwarded to the state's general counsel's office. The article clearly states that Marino's confession is indeed being investigated the Austin Police Department and the Travis County District Attorney, including DNA testing. Did I miss something? Berlow probably receives less junk mail than Gov. Bush gets letters from prisoners. I can see Salon's next Bush-bashing exposi: "Gov. Bush's office ignored Ed McMahon's offer to reduce national debt."

-- Eric Rasmussen

In his article Alan Berlow mentions "Gary Graham, who was convicted on the basis of testimony from a single witness." Maybe I missed something, but I didn't realize there was a minimum number of eyewitnesses required in a trial. Many convictions are rendered without eyewitnesses. Are these convictions any less valid?

Berlow continues with, "and executed even though exculpatory witnesses were never allowed to testify on his behalf." Has Berlow read any of the court documents? Does he realize that from the other two witnesses there have been a total of five different stories (two from one individual and three from another)? Other witnesses who have provided "alibis" were deemed perjurous. Are these the type of witnesses we want to testify in our courts? On the other hand, the one witness who saw Graham perform the murder in question never changed her story, even in the wake of death threats from Graham supporters. Now tell me, who is more believable?

Let's strive for a level of journalism that maintains factual accuracy and leaves behind the sensationalism.

-- Skip Clarke

Good for Gov. Bush and the law enforcement officials of the great state of Texas! The three scumbags involved in this story are right where they belong -- in prison and removed from the good people of that state. Stop wasting your time ranting about these criminals. Gov. Bush WILL be the next president of this nation and there isn't a thing you tree huggin', dope smokin', panty-waist liberals can do to stop it!

-- Robert Berning

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