Texas death row inmate Jose Briseno was issued a stay of execution by a Texas judge so his pen-pal from England could fly to the state to meet him before he was executed by lethal injection. Briseno’s attorney, Richard Burr, said the stay “had to do with Jose’s extraordinary ability to reach out to people all over the US and the world—as a pen-friend—to offer support and kindness.”

In late November, Burr filed a motion with the trial court in South Texas asking that the execution date of January 15, 2009, be withdrawn and re-set to allow a person in England who had been corresponding with Briseno to visit him before his death. The woman wanted to meet and thank Jose for the good he had done in her life and had planned long before the execution date was set to visit on January 28. She was unable to visit before January 15 due to serious health problems and a regimen of treatment. Despite opposition from the prosecution, the judge withdrew the January 15 date and reset the execution for April 7.

(Source: communication from R. Burr, attorney for Jose Briseno, Jan. 16, 2009). See Executions.