Monday, September 14, 2009

Prosecutor who helped convict capital murderer would now trust him as next-door neighbor

Michael Eubanks was convicted of capital murder 31 years ago but recently received parole and was profiled in the Houston Chronicle yesterday. Eubanks was convicted before Texas law changed to require life without parole as the only alternative to death in capital cases. "In the past 14 years, nearly 2,000 capital murderers serving life sentences have been eligible for parole in Texas, but only 3 percent made it, records show," reports the Chron's Cindy Horswell. Read her excellent story about Mr. Eubanks, which included this surprising anecdote:

[Eubanks] got word that his name made the list of those to be paroled in July once he became the first capital murderer to complete a pre-release program at a Christian prison in Sugar Land. Founded in 1997, the unit requires inmates who volunteer to go there to attend Bible studies as well as learn about life skills and substance abuse. ...

One of his Christian exit courses was taught by former district Attorney Carol Vance, who was not only the namesake of the Sugar Land unit but also a prosecutor who helped send Eubanks to prison.

“I recognized him the moment he walked in the room,” Eubanks said. “I once hated him with a passion, but now I admire him.”

Although Vance said he's been conned before, he said he would trust Eubanks as his next-door neighbor.

Convicted of capital murder but 31 years later the DA who prosecuted him would trust him as a neighbor. Wow! And Carol Vance was no softie as Harris DA (he also did a stint at TDCJ board charirman). Maybe that whole rehabilitation thing isn't completely bogus, huh? Good thing, I guess, that the state did not succeed in securing the death penalty back in 1978.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, rehabilitation worked on the murderer!!! Now if we could figure out a way to resurrect the victim everything would be great!

For everyone that celbreates this, just remember, someone is missing a son, husband, father, or whoever the victim may be.

Anonymous said...

celebrates!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

11:53, having remembered, what should "everyone" do next?

Boyness said...

Lock em up and throw away the key will never bring the victim back and that is a true shame. Rehabilitation worked and for that, there is reason to celebrate.

Anonymous said...

OK, rehabilitation aside, what should be the consequence? 5 years, 10 years, 30 years, life.
We do agree there should be a consequence, right?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It depends on the person and the situation, 3:42. Until recently (I need to check - may have changed this session) some murderers got probation, often because juries thought the victim was more dangerous than the perpetrator.

Anonymous said...

Ok, well lets just stick with Michael Eubanks. How long should someone who burglarized a house and then beat the owner with a sledgehammer when he awoke spend in prison? 5 years, 10 years, 30 years, life?

Lets say the death penalty was a viable option at the time. Would it have been a miscarrigae of justice if he was sentenced to death?

A few decades ago, a man got the sh*t beat out of him with a sledgehammer because Micahel needed some money and we celebrate his rehabilitation, Yippeee!

He can keep his rehabilitated @ss in prison for all I care. But that is just the view of us mean conservatives I guess.....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:45. Forgiveness is the hardest hurdle. If that happened to my loved one, I would be greatly grieved and I would question the person's ability to rehabilitate. I do believe in rehabilitation. I also know some people suffer from a brain disorder called "Sociopathy". Jeffery Dahmer is the easiest name to point out. So Likable he could pick up people in a bar, bring them home and you know the rest of the story. As far as I know there is no cure for sociopaths. Discerning the sociopaths from the person who made a mistake while drunk, or taking drugs and who has changed their way of thinking, TRULY given their life to God, or a spiritual path, no matter what their crime deserve a second chance including the people we like to label as sex offenders. CAPPS research pointed out that 64%of violent offenders do not repeat their crime / return to prison. It seems that many are able to learn, grow and become better human beings. I have to learn to forgive. I'm very sorry for the life that was taken. As a friend of mine said...in God's eyes death is not something to be feared. LIke you, I would miss my friend and hurt for the violent way they died.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with forgiveness. In fact, the Bible demands that we forgive. However, forgiveness does not negate consequence. So the question remains: How long should someone who beat another with a sledgehammer to the point of death remain in prison? Until someone declares them rehabilitated?

Charlie O said...

Tell you what Anon 6:08. I'll help lobby to put Eubanks back in prison, if you'll agree that Texas can send you the bill every month for keeping him incarcerated. I read recently that it cost Texas $79 per day to keep someone in prison. You got $2370 a month you're not needing?

Anonymous said...

Are you serious!? Did you just advocate releasing a cold blooded murderer because it cost 79 bucks a day to keep him incarcerated? That is the most pathetic argument of all time.

That may be a valid argument with many offenses, but not capital murder. Gimme a break!!

Anonymous said...

Your Bible also says, “Vengeance is mine,” sayeth the Lord. I don't think anybody can give you an answer that you would accept. Because the only one that seems to be acceptable to you is until death.

How long does a person need to stay in prison for a drug crime or bulgury or theft? How long would you think was long enough. It is just not so cut and dry.

Forgiveness doesn't mean approval, but it does mean acceptance. That usually implies that ALL the ones left among the living find a way to move on.

Anonymous said...

I am not advocating vengeance, but justice!

Charlie O said...

Anon. 7:16. Like most conservatives you see everything in black and white. No room for nuance in the tiny little head of yours. No shades of gray in your life.

The point is, if someone has been rehabilitated and they have served an adequate amount of time(again, another shade of gray), regardless of their crime, what purpose does it serve to keep them incarcerated at taxpayer's expense.

To me, there would be no other reason but vengeance. It's not going to bring back the dead, it's not going to change history.

Anonymous said...

And yet a 20 year old that got freaky with his 16 year old girlfriend will be forever watched by the law. This guy can be a DA's next door neighbor, Are there any schools close by? I certainly hope for the good DA's safety that Mr Eubanks finds a job and doesn't need money anytime soon.

So tell me this. Why will people advocate for the 'forgiveness' and 'understanding' for one that viciously takes a human life, yet some dude that picks up a kid in a bar with a fake ID is instantly considered a 'monster' never capable of rehabilitation...

Charlie O said...

Anon. 9:19, I certainly agree with you there. The sex offender registries have been discussed greatly on this blog. Especially the subject of sex between consenting teens (although one is eight-TEEN) and ending up on a sex offender registry. It's wrong, it's reprehensible and completely denigrates the purpose and effectiveness of the registries. (which I don't think are all that effective in the first place.)

I don't consider the kid in your example a 'monster' or incapable of rehabilitation. It's another symptom of the lunacy of the current system.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Charlie O about the inherent lunacy of the current system. I've never been convicted of a crime, best I can remember I didn’t break any laws. However, there have been periods in my life when I don’t remember much. Of course, those were in my younger, wilder days and I’ve since gotten a little more careful and wiser with my life. Some might even say that I’m a productive member of society. But I know that I could have never had some of the jobs I’ve had with any kind of record or been given an opportunity at an education because of the laws prohibiting felony drug offenders from qualifying for school grant money.

It's a sad thing to me that by the unfortunate circumstance of getting caught - even for simple possession - a life is unalterable, irrevocable, and for so many unforgivably changed. I was shocked to discover a new trend that exists in a handful of states – Meth Registry. Wow! So much for second chances.

sunray's wench said...

@anon 9.19 ~ hang on, so you think that the murderer will just be able to walk away from 20 years of incarceration and no one will be taking any notice of what they do?

The Romeo and Juliet cases are an over reaction by a state who does things big, but for those who have been incarcerated for any length of time beyond a couple of years for any crime, being released is just the start of a whole load of other restictions and difficulties. The mental impact of being incarcerated is not one that many who advocate long sentences really appreciate or even try to understand.

kelley said...

What an awesome story!! I know there are many more men in the prison system like Michael. I have a friend in one of the Texas prisons for something he did when he was 17 and on drugs - 21 years ago. It was a horrendous crime and deserved punishment but I think there needs to be some recognition toward some of these offenders that rehabilitation is not only possible but probable and that to keep them in jail doesn't undo their crime or bring back the victim. Only creates yet another victim and life lost. A life that could be a productive member of society instead of one using up tax money that could be going toward helping the poor, educating our children, etc.

Texas prisons have a point system to help weed out those that are more likely to re-offend and be a danger to society if released but from my experience, they don't seem to use it. I'm not that well versed in the justice system but am I right?

As a previous commenter pointed out - letting these men/women out doesn't necessarily meant they are free from consequences. They will never be able to get away from the title, the experience of long term imprisonment and most of all their guilt. But if they have shown remorse and rehabilition, there has to be a point where their time in prison is no longer justice or punishment but pure vengeance.

Lovely said...

Sounds like another great chance in life. Since we dont personally know him then we really cant judge him. Everyone does make mistakes and we as human beings are not programmed to be "PERFECT", I agree with giving everyone a second chance depending on their persona of coarse. There are some people out there that cant change but that why these type of people always end up back in jail and no more chances are given to continuos offenders.