Curtis Osborne - Killer of 2 Black People
Execution date: June 4
Georgia has a history of inadequately funding death penalty cases. It also has a history of racism. In the case of Curtis Osborne, those two histories appear to have converged.
Osborne was convicted of the 1990 murder of Arthur Jones, a man to whom he owed $400, and Jones' girlfriend, Linda Seaborne. The couple was sitting in the front seat of their car, and Osborne, seated in the back, shot them both from behind. The killings were senseless. Osborne admitted as much.
"Sometimes things happen out of emotion and not just deliberation," he told the jury during the sentencing phase of his trial. "I want to say I'm sorry, and I just ask you people to have mercy on me."
They didn't. Osborne was sentenced to death.
But evidence unearthed later suggests that Osborne might have been spared the death penalty –had he been made aware of a plea deal offered by the government. Under the alleged deal, Osborne would have received a life without parole sentence. According to Osborne's appeals attorney, however, the man who represented him at trial, Johnny Mostiler, never told Osborne about the offer. The reason? Mostiler, who was Spalding County's only public defender, allegedly was a racist.
At the time leading up to Osborne's trial, Mostiler also represented another murder defendant, Gerald Huey. Huey is white. Osborne was black. Years later, in a sworn affidavit, Huey described how surprised he was at the way Mostiler described Osborne.
"The first time I recall Mr. Mostiler saying anything about Curtis Osborne's case was when he said, 'The little nigger deserves the death penalty,'" Huey said in the affidavit. "I was shocked, because I knew that Mr. Osborne had not gone to trial yet."
That wasn't the only time Mostiler allegedly bad-mouthed the man whose life he was supposed to save. According to Huey: "I recall Mr. Mostiler telling me that I wouldn't believe the amount of money he was going to spend on my case. He said he was going to hire a private investigator and get expert witnesses. He said the money he would spend on me was going to be a lot more than he would spend on Mr. Osborne, because 'that little nigger deserves the chair.'"
Another of Mostiler's clients later claimed that Mostiler had called him "one dumb nigger" after he refused a plea deal in 1992.
"I find it kind of hard, you know, to have an attorney to represent me when he uses those types of words," Derek Middlebrooks testified, after asking the court if he could have a new lawyer.
When the judge later asked Mostiler about Middlebrooks' allegation, he said he couldn't remember whether he said such a thing. He also said that he didn't "use those terms out in public."
Mostiler died in 2000, but not before denying that he withheld a plea offer from Osborne.
In May, Osborne's appeals attorney made one last plea –to the state Board of Pardons and Paroles –to spare his client's life due to Mostiler's allegedly egregious handling of the case. The request was denied, and on June 4, Osborne became the second Georgia inmate to be executed this year.
So let's do a recap and understand the essential points of the argument.
The claim is that the "White racist lawyer" who believed that the BLACK MAN WHO KILLED 2 OTHER BLACK PEOPLE deserved the Death Penalty. In acting upon his bigotry - he did not tell his defendant that there was a plea deal in which he could get "a life sentence" rather than the death penalty. He "racist lawyer" did not tell him about the deal and thus - he was sent to death row and thus was eventually executed.
Oh how the narrative fits so smoothly.
Where is the prosecuting attorney's to VALIDATE this claim? Are their words ever captured in the story or are they content with hearsay?
Why is it that the "White racist" attorney not tell his one "Black client" about a deal that was favorable to him in this case yet this same "White Racist" attorney called another Black client a "Dumb Nigger" when he did not take a deal that was favorable to him?
Take away all of this and consider WHY Curtis Osborne was on trial in the first place.
HE KILLED TWO BLACK PEOPLE, one of whom OWED HIM $400.
In the Black community a "predatory lender" is the center of scorn for "loansharking". I have never heard of a bank "shooting 2 Black people in the back" and killing them but they surely don't receive any "mercy".
I wonder if Curtis Osborne called these two Black people who he shot from behind "DUMB NIGGERS" as he pulled the trigger - IF this would be seen as extenuating circumstances and thus assure his GUILT? Just think if a WHITE KILLER of 2 Black people did the same? Would the same people who are gunning after this Racist White Defense Attorney ALSO be gunning after the White Killer of 2 Black people?
What do we have here folks?
On the surface many would argue that the defense attorney who is a part of THE SYSTEM has a higher standard for his behavior and thus in acting out of line as such - should alter the Black man who killed 2 other Black people's sentence to life in jail.
If only it were that easy I would agree.
Instead we have the undercurrent of RACE and "ANTI-CAPITAL PUNISHMENT" all wrapped into one.
Let's start with the "Anti-Capital Punishment". Normally this group says "We don't like the permanence of capital punishment. Too many innocent people are convicted of murder and sentenced to death". In this particular case we have a CUT AND DRY case of murder. The man's guilt was not in question. Despite this fact - what do we have? OPPOSITION TO THE DEATH SENTENCE, STILL!
In regards to RACE - as I had indicated above - it is the presence of "White Supremacy", present both in White people and Black that promotes the injury of the actions of White defense attorneys, judges, prosecutors AND KILLERS......over the actions of Black people in kind - ESPECIALLY KILLERS.
The concept of "Justice Thurgood Marshall Justice" depicts how a CRIMINAL DEFENDANT is made to be a VICTIM OF THE SYSTEM. In this line of thinking the SYSTEM'S actions are made to trump the criminal actions of the defendant.
Now I do understand the issues at hand. By not applying consequence to the judicial misconduct of the system - those who have the responsibility to maintain the integrity of the system give their tacit approval for others to do the same. I GET IT FOLKS.
But now let us flip it around. Let's go INTO THE BLACK COMMUNITY (Not exclusive to our community but surely we are more impacted). What does this type of "Justice Thurgood Marshall Justice" do to those Black people who begin to see that they can commit crimes against Black people and then get away with it if they can get the certain operatives to get behind them in their claim of victimization by the system.
It is my strong belief that SOME people in the Black community know that ultimately they don't have to bear the global consequences of their positions. "There are already too many Black people in jail", having been convicted by an UNJUST JUDICIAL SYSTEM. Next you have the Dr. Ronald Walters' theory of "Derivative Behavior" which says that all of the criminal actions done by Black folks within our community is caused by the residue of slavery AND the oppressive economic conditions that White folks have crafted for today.
The big void in this scenario is the consideration of what Black people do in aggregate actions and thoughts/policies in contribution to the macro environment that we reside within. As long as Black folks are "passive consumers" in a sea of oppression that is drowning us - all is fine. If someone (like me) dares to make note of the co-conspiratorial impact that our own actions and positions have then there is a problem.
The biggest problem is that such accountability undercuts much of the leverage that certain operatives have in making their case.
Black people die in a disproportional manner all the while.