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Breaking News

Sons of Victim of Betty Lou Beets Give Press Conference After Beet's Execution

Aired February 24, 2000 - 7:46 p.m. ET


BILL PRESS, CNN ANCHOR: OK, governor, I have to interrupt because we have to go to breaking news now. Back to Huntsville, Texas, where the sons of Betty Lou Beets are just starting a news conference.

JAMES BEETS, VICTIM'S SON: I really don't know what to say. This has been a long 17 years. This is my dad's granddaughter. She never will see her grandfather. But today, we need the make a statement and stop all of this murder, because putting people, and good people, through things like this. We need to get the Lord back into the United States into the people's hearts and quit this killing of kids, grown-ups, of murder period. Nobody deserves to go through this. And I ask that God be with her family. Now she knows what we feel like.

RODNEY BARKER, VICTIM'S SON: I would like to just thank the state of Texas tonight for the 19 years of misery they have put me through. I saw justice tonight. I can say that I have accepted what Betty has done, and I'd like the thank the people here in Huntsville. I've got -- Dan Gererra (ph) was very good to us. I've got a Karen, she was great to us. Our psychologist, she was great.

We -- these people right here worked for us . We're tired of hearing about Betty Beets. I want people to know that the victims have rights too. I want the world to know that there is always going to be a death penalty in the state of Texas, and they need to use it. Each case warrants different sentences. But the state of Texas did the right thing tonight by putting Betty Lou Beets to death.

Do you all have any questions?

QUESTION: Rodney, how about you and James? Could you finally say for a final time your response to the continuing allegations from Betty Lou Beets family and her supporters that your dad abused her?

BARKER: I can say for one that that was just a last grasp that she had. I have got a lot of friends. My dad had a lot of friends, and they never seen any abuse. If there was any abuse, it would have probably been put on the other shoe. I think Betty could have been the abuser, and my father could have been the abuse. But that's about all I have to say about it, because it never existed on my father's side of it. Her lawyers say they have got proof, but they can't show nothing but a picture. but they can't put a date with it, and they can't put a person that did it, so.

QUESTION: Mr. Barker and Mr. Beets, we know that you all maybe had an opportunity to talk with Miss Beets earlier today. Did she ever say that she was sorry or admit any guilt of any kind?

BARKER: Mrs. Beets did not say one word to us. She turned and looked at us two times tonight in that room, and then she turned and looked at her preacher and talked to him. She would not speak to us in any way.

QUESTION: I know you attended this execution tonight in hopes of a death gurney confession from Betty Lou. You're walking away without that. How does that affect you?

BARKER: Well, I am not terribly satisfied with it, but I can live with it. At least I know justice was done tonight. I know that there's nobody else going to be another victim of this woman, and, you know, like I said, I can forgive Betty.

It's going to take a lot more time to get total forgiveness, but I have accepted it. She's made my life -- I am a strong man from it, I have to tell you these days. And it has not interfered with my life. I have a wonderful wife. I have a wonderful family. This is my second family and they're just as good to me as my family.

QUESTION: What kind of closure or what satisfaction did it give the families to actually see and witness the execution?

J. BEETS: Well, I don't know if it gives us any closure or not. It takes away and ends it all. It don't bring our fathers back, the ones we cherish and we love, and I just hope that my family, which is my dad's grandkids and my wife -- I hope we can go on now and have this leave us alone. And what I mean by that is -- is the pain, the anger, everything that Betty Beets put in us throughout these 17 years will finally be gone.

QUESTION: Did you get the chance to deliver your final message to Betty? You said you wanted to tell her three things. Did you get a chance...

J. BEETS: No, she wouldn't see me, so I can only pray and hope right now that she can hear me. And I forgive her. I ask God to forgive her, and that's just the way I feel in my heart.

QUESTION: Jamie, how do you respond to the accusations that your father abused her?

J. BEETS: My dad was a Dallas fireman for 26 years. He risked his life to save other people. Get this -- he lived to help people, not hurt them. It was wrong for her to say this and tarnish his name, and I just hope now that the people know and that they can see that my dad was a good man. Doyle Wayne (ph) was a good man. And this was wrong to happen to them.

QUESTION: James or Rodney, when one of you emerged from the death house, you threw your hand up in the air. Which one was it and what emotionally were you going through right then?

R. BARKER: That was me, sir, and I was very happy at that time, because I had a few minutes after the execution to really see what I felt inside, and I felt like that the 14 years that she's been down here has done me no justice until today. And I felt like -- to myself that the state of Texas had done something for me finally as a victim.

QUESTION: You know, the protesters down the street who think that the death penalty is wrong. What would you say to them?

R. BARKER: I'd say they need to find a real job. There is -- the death penalty needs to be used. Not every case needs it, as I said, but when you take a life from a family and they have no choice or no say over it, it's not fair to them.

So there has to be something that we can do besides send them down here and let our tax dollars pay for them to stay in this hotel down here. That's exactly what it is. A man serves them their meals to their room. That's not a life that I would want to have to live, and I am sure she had 14 years to figure it out and know what she wanted, but she sure wouldn't come in front of us tonight and tell us in any way that she was ready to confess, and she didn't. That's the only thing I wished I could have got out of it tonight was a confession.

PRESS: Yes, we have been listening to comments by James Beets and Rodney Baker. They're commenting on the death by lethal execution -- by lethal injection tonight of their stepmother Betty Lou Beets, accused and convicted and executed tonight for killing their father tonight.


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