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Dominique Green
Dominique Green
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November 9, 2007

"I am not angry, but I am disappointed that I was denied justice. But I am happy that I was afforded you all as family and friends. You all have been there for me; it's a miracle. I love you...I am not as strong as I thought I was going to be. But I guess it only hurts for a little while. You all are my family. Please keep my memory alive."--Dominique Green, Last Statement

At 7:59 PM on October 26, 2004, Dominique Green, 30, was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas.

He was arrested back in 1992, when he was 18, and convicted of fatally shooting Andrew Lastrapes Jr. during a robbery outside a Houston convenience store. Green admitted to taking part in the robbery but insisted he did not pull the trigger. The victim's family too opposed the sentence:

"All of us have forgiven Dominique for what happened and want to give him another chance at life. Everyone deserves another chance," wrote Bernatte Luckett Lastrapes, the victim's wife, to Texas Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Watch Green discuss his mother

Several religious leaders including Desmond Tutu and the Rev. Joseph Fiorenza, the Roman Catholic bishop of Galveston-Houston, opposed Green's sentence. Bishop Tutu visited Green on death row earlier the year he died, afterwards calling him a "good advertisement for God."

More from Bishop Tutu on justice and forgiveness

After meeting with the victim's two sons on the day he died, Green gave them his copy of Tutu's book, NO FUTURE WITHOUT FORGIVENESS, as well as his 101 bead rosary that he wore around his neck during his 11 year sentence and which stretched below his waist. In his essay, "More than just a rosary," published by THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER less than two weeks before his execution, Dominique Green discusses the true meaning of his rosary:

Each bead represents a friend, mentor or spiritual guide of mine who has died and who gave me the chance to use their knowledge and wisdom to touch other lives.

I never expected my rosary to get so long. As messed up as the Texas judicial system is, I expected the courts or the people to eventually put a stop to what was going on down here.

But they haven't. And 11 years after I was sent here, the death toll continues to rise. More than 250 people have been executed since my arrival. I've known almost all of them. I chose to stop adding beads to my rosary at 101, because by then I understood how to use what I had learned to have an impact on the lives of others and to help make a difference.

One of Green's fellow death row inmates, Tony Medina, later wrote:

Dominique Green had more of an impact on my life than anyone else in the last 10 years. Not only because we spent so much time around each other over the years, but because he was one of the first to reach out and really help me.

He was a man who, during his time on death row, inspired countless individuals inside and outside these walls.

Dominique Green's story appealed to Thomas Cahill, author of the noted HINGES OF HISTORY series. "What I'm really interested in is what's good about us. What do we do that's good?" Cahill explains to Bill Moyers.

"I mean, a man who goes up and down death row and gets everybody to forgive and be forgiven is not somebody we have to be afraid of."

Published on November 9, 2007

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References and Reading:
More than just a rosary
by Dominique Jerome Green, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, October 15, 2004
"I really would enjoy it if one of the first things people noticed about me was the radiance of my smile. The conditions under which I live have robbed many here of the smallest traces of happiness that once could have been found at the very core of their being. So heads hanging down, faces plastered by frowns and defeatist attitudes are things you find here en masse. Which is why the simple fact that I can smile, I can laugh, I can allow myself not to take this seriously should be more than enough reason to capture folks' attention, but it's not."

Lethal injection ends Dominique Green's life: victim's family pleads for clemency but officials turn deaf ears
by Dennis Coday, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, Nov. 5, 2004
"Green and his supporters experienced an emotional roller coaster as he was granted a reprieve hours before the scheduled execution and then the reprieve was overturned. The execution went forward despite an 11th-hour appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court."

I'm Ready
THE GUARDIAN presents the last words of the 376 prisoners executed in Texas since 1982.

Texas inmate executed despite pleas from victim's family
By Michael Graczyk, ASSOCIATED PRESS, Oct. 27, 2004
"Green gasped slightly a couple of times as the lethal drugs took effect and was pronounced dead nine minutes later, at 7:59 p.m."

Also This Week:

Bill Moyers interviews best-selling historian Thomas Cahill in a far ranging interview that takes viewers from the Coliseum in Rome to death row in Texas and examines what our attitudes toward cruelty can tell us about who we are as Americans.

Find out more about Dominique Green, arrested at age 18, executed at 30 in Texas in 2004.

Bill Moyers sat down with Archbishop Tutu in 1999 discussing his chairmanship of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Watch Tutu's interview interview in entirety

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