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Breaking News

Prison Spokesman Discusses Impending Execution of Gary Graham

Aired June 21, 2000 - 3:40 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: In Huntsville, Texas, they are planning for the execution tomorrow of Gary Graham in Texas. And right now, prison spokesman Larry Fitzgerald is briefing reporters on what the plan is for tomorrow.

LARRY FITZGERALD, PRISON SPOKESMAN: He is currently meeting with a Muslim minister, with his stepmother, with his stepdaughter, and an attorney. I do not know the name of the attorney. I do not believe him to be, though, his attorney of record. But he is meeting with an attorney.

Gary Graham has not requested a final meal for tomorrow. And we don't have any indication that he will request a final meal.

The witness list of who will be attending the execution, like all other executions, will be made available tomorrow. It'll be released at some time when we have one of our news conferences here.

As Glen said, there's a possibility that we might follow on the heels of the Board of Pardons and Paroles with their announcement of their decision on Gary Graham.

Do we have any questions?

QUESTION: Do you have an itinerary you can give us? Just walk us through the last 24 -- or the next 24 (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

FITZGERALD: Well, yesterday and today he has been meeting with family and friends. That will continue again tomorrow. As in all of our executions, the inmate will be transported to the wall's unit on the day of the execution. I will not tell you anymore than that. And I'm not giving you an exact time for obvious -- for security reasons.

I will supply you tomorrow with a chronology of the events that has gone -- taken place in the last 36 hours of Gary Graham's life.

QUESTION: How about security concerns? There are a lot of people in Huntsville worried about what might or could happen here. What are you doing about that? What measures are you taking to beef up your security?

FITZGERALD: Well, I think it'll be pretty evident tomorrow when everybody arrives. But we are certainly aware of the crowd that we are going to have. And we have taken appropriate action. We have the necessary police agencies involved in assuring public safety.

QUESTION: But beyond that, Larry. I mean, any of these people who live around here going to be moved or anything like that?

FITZGERALD: At the warden's request of the unit, there are some prison housing around the unit which our personnel stay in. And they're complying with his wish to vacate the premises tomorrow.

QUESTION: How many people is that? How many houses?

FITZGERALD: Charles, I don't really know. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of about 30 houses.

QUESTION: What about (OFF-MIKE) officers? Are they being told to stay like the staff members being told to stay home tomorrow? Or is it a normal work day? How's that going to go?

FITZGERALD: I have no idea about that.

QUESTION: What about the (OFF-MIKE) that the Board of Pardons and Paroles have...

QUESTION: What about the moving, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Larry, are moving out. Is that extreme? I mean, are you anticipating some kind of violent outburst when this happens?

FITZGERALD: Well, as I said before, we're prepared for any eventuality on that. The proper authorities are all involved in this and we're certainly aware that some of the groups have made threats and I think that we'll react accordingly.

QUESTION: What state offices are you shutting down?

FITZGERALD: I am not aware of any state offices being shut down. We -- the people in this building will not be here tomorrow. We'll only have a skeleton crew here tomorrow. They just don't need to be here.

QUESTION: Where will they be and how many people is that?

FITZGERALD: I don't have any idea.

QUESTION: But they're not working...

QUESTION: The options the Board of Pardons and Paroles have. Run the by us for us, would you?

FITZGERALD: I would really rather Mr. Garrett do that to what their options are. I know they'll be voting tomorrow and he'll have the announcement sometime around noon.

QUESTION: You know, you said we've had some of the panthers showing up with guns, which prison (OFF-MIKE) people are used to. What's the rules, deals, regarding people bringing weapons, even though it's legal in Texas in terms of your area?

FITZGERALD: They will not -- people bearing weapons will not be allowed in this immediate area. I can say that.

QUESTION: ...the protester zone?

FITZGERALD: Right.

QUESTION: How strict are you going to be? Because it's used and it seems the thing turns into a roving band...

WATERS: That's Larry Fitzgerald, spokesman for the Huntsville prison down there where plans are under way for tomorrow's execution of Gary Graham. It's about 20 -- a little more than 27 hours away now. And because of world-wide attention, much care is being taken to brief reporters who are extremely interesting in what's going to happen tomorrow.

Part of what's going to happen are massive demonstrations on both sides at opposite ends of the prison. So part of the housekeeping of those prison officials today would be informing reporters of what is to transpire and how they would get from one group of demonstrators to another.

The still unknown factor here is the decision to be issued by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles at noon tomorrow -- that's Texas time, 1:00 p.m. Eastern -- as to the recommendation if Gary Graham should be executed or not. That recommendation passed on to Governor George W. Bush who will make the final decision if that should be the case. A recommendation that some reprieve or some sort of holding action be taken in the Graham case.

We will continue following this story, of course.

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