Timothy Adams is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas on Tuesday, February 22, 2011.
Timothy Adams, who goes by Tim, is held in the highest regard by members of his church, by supervisors and fellow soldiers in the military, and by his work colleagues. He had no criminal record—nor had ever been arrested—prior to the tragic mistake for which he was sentenced to death.
Tim was born in Houston, Texas on August 22, 1968 to Columbus and Wilma Adams. Tim grew up in a religious home, and was active in his church and bible study. Tim’s Sunday school teacher, Verlene Edmond, remembers how “quiet” and “polite” Tim was as a sixteen-to-eighteen-year-old boy. For the first two years of Tim’s life, Tim’s 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 thirty-plus year career. At home, Tim was a role model to his younger siblings, one of whom he inspired to graduate college and who currently works as a teacher in Houston.
After graduating high school, Tim enlisted in the army in 1986 and was stationed outside Nuremberg, Germany at Herzo Base. Roger West, a Sergeant in the US 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 ACSS security 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 Texas’s death row 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, Timothy Wayne Adams 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, Mr. Adams “snapped” and decided to take his own life and the life of his youngest son. Mr. Adams 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 an HPD negotiator, who in turn persuaded Mr. Adams to let go of his suicidal thoughts and end the standoff. Ultimately, Mr. Adams left his apartment and surrendered peacefully to police a few hours after the ordeal began.
From the moment that Mr. Adams was taken into police custody, he has taken full responsibility for his actions. Mr. Adams realizes that it is nearly impossible for the Board, as well as any citizen in our society, to comprehend what could lead a father to kill his own son. In no way would Mr. Adams 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.
What Mr. Adams requests is that he have the opportunity to tell his life story, something that the jury did not hear at his trial. Mr. Adams’s defense counsel did not present crucial mitigating evidence to counter the prosecution’s contention that Mr. Adams was a future danger to society or to show that his life was worth saving. Consequently, the jury learned almost no information about Mr. Adams’s life and upbringing, which would have helped them determine that Mr. Adams, 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 Mr. Adams to death. But since learning additional information about Mr. Adams’s character and background, jurors Rebecca Hayes and Ngoc Duong have urged the Board to commute Mr. Adams’s death sentence to a life sentence. They both believe that information relating to Mr. Adams’s upbringing, deep devotion to religion, and mental state would have caused them both to stick with their initial inclination, which was to spare Mr. Adams and sentence him to life in prison.
With this petition, Mr. Adams seeks to show the Board that February 20, 2002 was an aberration in his life. Before that day, Mr. Adams had never been arrested or convicted of a crime. Since that day, he has not had a single disciplinary write-up in prison. Mr. Adams 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, Mr. Adams wants to give his family the opportunity to speak on his behalf, something that defense counsel prevented them from doing at trial. In this case, the defendant’s family is unfortunately also the victim’s family—Mr. Adams’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 up in front of the jury to describe the severe hurt and suffering they had endured as a result of Mr. Adams’s actions. Nor were they able to explain that, despite their pain, they still supported and loved Mr. Adams and did not want to lose their son, brother, and father to this tragedy as well.
Mr. Adam’s will file a clemency petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and ask them to vote to spare his life. Governor Perry 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 Adams is clearly guilty. I do not see what his execution accomplishes, aside from bloodying our hands and perpetuating the cycle of violence.