Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.


24-Year-Old Toronto Patterson Is Set to Die Today at the Hands of the State of Texas for a Crime He Is Accused of Committing When He Was 17: We'll Hear His Story, in His Own Words

StoryAugust 28, 2002
Watch iconWatch Full Show

24-year-old Toronto Patterson is scheduled to die today at the hands of the State of Texas. The young African-American man faces execution for a crime he is accused of committing when he was 17 years old.

Toronto Patterson was convicted of shooting and killing his two cousins, ages 3 and 6, and their mother. Prosecutors say he killed them so he could steal the custom chrome wheels from a BMW parked in their garage.

Patterson admits participation in the burglary leading up to the murders, but has maintained for years he was not the killer. The jury never heard evidence that the incriminating statement attributed to Toronto was taken by the same detective who extracted a false confession from another youthful capital murder suspect, just a month later.

It is the third time in four months that a Texas prisoner who was 17 when he committed capital murder is scheduled for execution.

The United States and Iran are the only countries in the world that actually continue to execute juvenile offenders. Since 1942, the US has executed an estimated 364 juvenile offenders. In the last 25 years, 20 juvenile offenders have been executed in the United States, over half of them in Texas.

17 states say the children who commit crimes when they’re at least 16 years old can be executed; five more states set the minimum age of 17. All young people under 18 years old in this country don’t have the right to vote, sit on a jury, or drink.

Today we’re joined by two young people from Children’s Press Line, a New York-based organization devoted to training young people in journalism. A few weeks ago, Trent and Nina’s group went on a national book tour to interview young people about their views on faith.

They decided they wanted to interview Toronto Patterson. So they wrote a set of questions and gave them to their group leader, Dax Devlon Ross. Ross interviewed Toronto Patterson earlier this month.

Here is Tornoto Patterson’s story, in his own words.


  • Toronto Patterson, 24-year old death row inmate set to die today in Texas.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation