NEW VOICES: Former Texas DA Millsap Now Opposes Death Penalty

Former San Antonio District Attorney Sam Millsap, who once proclaimed himself a "lifelong supporter of the death penalty," now opposes capital punishment. Millsap says his decision to oppose the death penalty was recently affirmed as evidence surfaced that Texas may have killed an innocent man when it executed Ruben Cantu, a San Antonio man who was sentenced to die while Millsap was DA.

"It is troubling to me personally. No decision is more frightening than seeking the death penalty. We owe ourselves certainty on it," Millsap stated in an interview during which he used words like "painful," "horrible," and "haunting" to categorize Cantu's case. Millsap said that he used to have confidence in the death penalty "when I was in my 30s and knew everything." Now, he says the revelations about Cantu's case are painful to him because the case happened on his watch. He said that if Cantu was innocent, that means the person who committed the murder remains free and that "the misconduct by police officers could be addressed today."

"It's horrible when you find out you participated in what ended up being a bad result, especially when a death is involved," Millsap noted.

(San Antonio Express News, December 9, 2005) See Innocence and New Voices.