To my brave and beautiful friend Justin Fuller

By: Lily May Hughes

On August 24, I watched with horror and intense sadness as the state of Texas murdered my good friend Justin Fuller.

Justin and I wrote and visited over the last 8 years, almost from the beginning of his time on Texas death row. When I met Justin, he was a young man of 20, full of hope and of life. He was always smiling whenever we visited; he seemed to never let the reality of his existence on death row get him down.

He believed that he would be let off of death row during his appeals process, because of all the problems in his case. He never gave up that belief until the final moments of his life as he lay on the gurney in the death chamber.

In those final moments, as he turned his eyes toward his family behind the glass, he seemed terrified. He used his last words to tell his family how much he loved them, and then the chemicals began. I felt my legs begin to give way as we all reacted with the shock and grief of those long moments.

The cruel and inhumane act I witnessed that night is something I will never forget, and never forgive.

My friend Justin would have turned 28 years old today, August 29, as I sit writing these words. In the last hours of his life, he asked us to keep fighting for his friends and comrades on death row, and to keep working to end the death penalty.

To fight against this sick system is the best way I know to honor the memory of my brave and beautiful friend Justin Fuller. Happy birthday Justin. I love you.

Lily May Hughes, Austin CEDP