Brigham Young University Prelaw Review


capital punishment, death penalty, eighth amendment, evolving standards of decency


In July 1997, Kenneth Foster was indicted on capital murder charges

and sentenced to death even though he had only committed robbery.

3 On August 14, 1996, Kenneth Foster and his friends, Mauriceo

Brown, DeWayne Dillard, and Julius Steen, rented a car and

drove to downtown San Antonio, Texas. Later that night, Brown

suggested that the men rob a few people in order to make up for the

money they had lost while partying. After their second robbery that

evening, Foster did not want to continue breaking the law, according

to Dillard’s courtroom testimony four years later. Dismissing

his request, the four persisted in their crime and began to follow a

car they believed was headed towards a party. When a woman–later

identified as Mary Patrick–stepped out of her car, Brown approached

her, asking for her number. Shortly after Brown exited the car, Foster

heard gunshots. Confused and scared, he drove away quickly. Foster

soon learned that Brown had shot and killed Patrick’s boyfriend,

Michael LaHood Jr. Within the hour, police arrested Foster, Dillard,

Steen, and Brown.