Death Row Inmates' Pages On MySpace Draws Criticism - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/12/06-Hoston

Death Row Inmates' Pages On MySpace Draws Criticism

Crime victim advocates are upset that at least 30 Texas death row inmates have had pages on the popular Internet site MySpace created for them.

"I think you ought to draw the line somewhere," said Andy Kahan, director of the crime victims office for Houston Mayor Bill White.

Kahan recently sent an e-mail to MySpace, asking the site to reconsider having pages created and maintained for convicted criminals, particularly murderers.

"Is it within your policy to allow the glorification of killers by giving them a platform to influence young minds?" Kahan wrote. "Are there specific guidelines within MySpace that would prohibit giving convicted felons a platform for all the world to see?"

MySpace officials did not respond to Kahan's e-mail and did not immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press on Saturday.

The inmates detail their personalities, likes and dislikes, just as others do on the Web site.

"I think I'm a pretty funny guy. I have a wacked sense of humor," writes Randy Halprin, who was convicted in the 2000 shooting death of an Irving police officer. "I can be a big kid at heart. I'm a hopeless (and I mean HOPELESS) romatic (sic)."

Since no Texas inmate has Internet access, they send letters, journal entries or blog postings to friends and families who create the pages and post their writings for them.

Death row inmates being able to express themselves on the Internet is not new as they've used isolated anti-death penalty Internet pages to publicize their cases.

"The reality is that for many years death row inmates have had family and friends on their case, on the Internet, oftentimes to get pen pals and in some cases raise money for the defense," said Michelle Lyons, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Sites devoted to inmates on MySpace or anywhere else on the Web are out of TDCJ's jurisdiction.

"We cannot police what a person who is not in our custody puts on a Web site on behalf of an inmate," Lyons said.

Danielle Allen, of All Life Is Precious Ministries in Livingston, home to Texas' death row, maintains the pages for four death row inmates.

"The way I look at it, if we can't forgive, we can't be forgiven," she said. "These are my personal friends."

Source: AP

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