Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tim Cole's place in Texas history

Bob Ray Sanders at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a column about effort by the family of Timothy Cole - who earlier this year was posthumously pardoned after he died in prison serving a sentence for a rape he did not commit - to have
a Texas historical marker placed near Cole's gravesite. The Texas Historical Commission has shown some interest in the application. In addition, support has come from several state legislators, including Sens. Wendy Davis, Royce West and Rodney Ellis and Reps. Marc Veasey, Rafael Anchia, Ruth Jones McClendon and Senfronia Thompson.

The formal marker application points out that "Mr. Cole's name is attached to two pieces of legislation that passed in 2009, including the Tim Cole Act, which greatly increased compensation for people who are wrongfully convicted in Texas."

Cole's brother, Cory Session, said the process was moving along just fine until the family hit a roadblock with the cemetery, which has strict rules about what kind of markers are acceptable and where they can be placed. The only historical marker at Mount Olivet honors the cemetery itself, although its affiliate cemetery, Greenwood, has several, including one for the composer of the Texas state song, William J. Marsh.
Session has written letters to cemetery board members saying a place for a marker for Cole should be found if the historical commission approves the application.

Jon Stephenson, president of Greenwood-Mount Olivet, said markers are generally placed near a roadway in the cemetery, not at the gravesite itself. However, he said in the area of the cemetery where Cole's family plots are, there's no way to place it near the road without infringing on other gravesites.

Stephenson suggested that the historical narrative might be included in a more traditional cemetery monument and that he's willing to work with the family to see if he can accommodate them.


Prison Doc said...

I think it is indeed fine to commemorate Cole, but I am not at all sure that a state historical marker is the appropriate medium to use.

Christine Richardson said...

I am just saddened by Mr. Coles story. I think that it is a cowardly shame how our judicial actors do their jobs. Tim is looking down from heaven on them all and pleading for God to have mercy on their souls. May he RIP.