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September 11, 2019 9:56 am

Religious Leaders Call for New Trial of Jewish Death-Row Inmate in Texas Before Oct. 10 Execution

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Huntsville Unit in Huntsville, Texas, where the state’s death-row inmates are executed. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Leaders in the Jewish community have called for a new trial for Randy Halprin, a Jewish man scheduled to be executed on Oct. 10 in Texas who was part of “The Texas Seven” that escaped from prison almost 19 years ago and killed a police officer after they held up a sporting goods store, following allegations that he was sentenced by a judge who made antisemitic remarks and has a history of bigotry.

The judge, Vickers Cunningham, has been accused of privately referring to Halprin, as he sentenced him to death in 2003 for being part of the murder of Irving, Texas, police officer Aubrey Hawkins at an Oshman’s Sporting Goods store on Christmas Eve 2000, with an antisemitic slur and as “that f***in’ Jew.”

Cunningham allegedly also said that Jews “needed to be shut down because they controlled all the money,” according to Halprin’s attorneys.

Two letters of support were recently shared with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Dallas District Attorney John Creuzot, including one from Jewish community leaders and another from more than 75 Texas faith leaders from multiple religions, denominations and organizations, which stated, “As a diverse group of faith leaders, we stand united against any expression of hatred. … Texas must not carry out the scheduled execution of Mr. Halprin without first guaranteeing that his trial was not tainted by an anti-Semitic judge who held a religious bias against him.”

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