[Ppnews] Support Zolo Azania

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jun 5 16:17:19 EDT 2006



Zolo Agona Azania has been fighting for his life from
Indiana's death row, for more than 24 years. He is
one of the many persons of African descent who await
execution as a victim of a racially biased criminal
justice system.

Twice Zolo has been sentenced to die and twice the
death sentence has been reversed due to suppression of
favorable evidence by the prosecution and systematic
exclusion of Blacks from the jury pool.

Now Zolo's legal team must argue to the Indiana
Supreme Court that it uphold a May 2005 ruling
preventing the State of Indiana from seeking the death
penalty for the third time.

The oral arguments scheduled for June 9 before the
Indiana Supreme Court have been postponed to June 27th
at 10:30am.

The No Death Penalty for Zolo Committee is organizing
a car caravan from Chicago. We urge people to show
your support for Zolo--and against the death
penalty--and help us pack the courtroom to show the
Justices that we will not allow the state to impose
the death penalty for the third time upon Zolo Azania.
If you plan to join us, or if you need a ride, please
call 773-435-6716. If you want to travel to the court
house on your own, the address is: Indiana Supreme
Court, 200 W. Washington, Room 317, Indianapolis, IN.

The forces who want to Zolo Azania dead, including the
Gary Indiana Police, are well organized and are
already mobilizing their friendly press contacts.
There have been a few editorials in the Gary
Post-Tribune (see below) calling for Zolo to be
killed.

We need to respond with letters to the editor
supporting Zolo and against the death penalty.
(contact info and sample letter below).

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Death-penalty effort renewed against killer

June 1, 2006

by Danielle Braff
Post-Tribune staff writer

He killed an elderly Gary man in 1972 during a home
invasion and murdered a Gary police officer in 1981,
but with good behavior, Zolo Azania will be eligible
for parole in five years if the latest appeal is
unsuccessful.

Azania, formerly known as Rufus Averhart, was
sentenced to the death penalty twice only to have it
overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court because of
legal technicalities.

While Allen County Superior Court Judge Steve David
barred further death penalty motions because the court
decided too much time had passed since the crimes were
committed, the state is making another attempt to give
Azania a lethal injection.

Tim Yaros, son of slain Gary police Lt. George Yaros,
said the June 27 appeal will be critical because if
it's rejected, Azania could be back on the streets.

"With good behavior, he could get out in 2011," Yaros
said. "Everything has gone his way. It's going to be
25 years since he killed my dad, and he's still
living. He killed him in cold blood."

Azania was convicted of killing George Yaros, 57,
during a bank robbery at the Gary National Bank. Yaros
responded to a bank alarm on 3680 Broadway, and was
wounded in a hail of bullets fired at him. Azania
stood over the Yaros' body and fired a final shot,
killing him. Yaros had been an officer for 30 years
and was six months short of retiring.

Nine years before the bank killing, Azania murdered
Leonard Wick, 69, during a burglary at Wick's home on
2131 W. 9th Ave. in Gary. Azania was sentenced to
prison for Wick's murder but he was released July 8,
1980. He killed Yaros Aug. 11, 1981.

Azania was sentenced to 60 years in prison following
Yaros' death, which was the equivalent of life in
prison at that time, Tim Yaros said. But he will be
eligible for parol in five years if the death penalty
appeal is not granted, Yaros said.

"I won't give up because my dad was my best friend,"
Yaros said. "He would do anything for everyone."

Contact Danielle Braff:
(219) 648-3079
dbraff at post-trib.com

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Gary Post-Tribune
1433 E. 83rd Ave.
Merrillville, IN 46410-6307
1-800-753-5533

Dear Editor,

The article on Zolo Azania that appeared in your paper
on June 1 was inaccurate and one sided.

Far from "legal technicalities," or the mere passage
of time, Indiana courts have reversed Zolo Agona
Azania's death sentence because, in his case, the
constitutional rights designed to protect all of us
from being falsely convicted and sentenced were
violated.

As Indiana Circuit Court Judge Steve David wrote in
May, 2005, "fundamental principles of fairness, due
process, and speedy justice" were violated in Azania's
case. Judge David also pointed out that "the State
bears most of the responsibility for the delay between
the defendant's 1982 conviction and the currently
pending penalty proceeding." In 1993, the Indiana
Supreme Court overturned Azania's original death
sentence because the prosecution had failed to turned
over a gunshot residue test. In 2002, the Indiana
Supreme Court overturned Azania's second death
sentence because "the jury pool selection process was
fundamentally flawed," including the unconstitutional
exclusion of Blacks.

The State of Indiana should not continue to seek the
death penalty against a defendant after decades of
obstruction and obfuscation by police, prosecutors and
court officials. Both the Indiana Constitution and the
U.S. Constitution guarantee all of us a right to a
fair trial. This is not a "legal technicality," as
Danielle Braff described it in the Post Tribune, but
the basis of our justice system.

Sincerely,

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Zolo would appreciate letters from supporters. He can
currently be reached at:
Zolo Agona Azania
#4969
P.O. Box 41
Indiana State Prison
Michigan City, IN 46361

For more info, contact:
No Death Penalty for Zolo Committee
PO Box 478314
Chicago, Il 60647
http://www.zoloazania.org
http://www.prairiefire.org/freezoloazania.html



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