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Protestors march to abolish death penalty

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Texas has the highest number of executions of any state in the country. With that in mind, hundreds of protestors took the streets of Austin to make a change, but not everyone is happy to see them there.

Hundreds marched through downtown Saturday, protesting the death penalty and the governor they say supports it.

Marchers chanted, "Rick Perry you can't hide! We charge you with homicide!"

"We just saw the 250th execution under Governor Perry and that includes some controversial executions," said organizer, Lily Hughes.

Protestors allege that innocent people have been executed in Texas during recent years and brought up controversial executions like that of Cameron Todd Willingham. Willingham has already been executed, but family is trying to exonerate him from charges that he murdered his three young children. Protesters are also hoping to stop future executions like that of Darlie Routier, the Rowlett, TX mother convicted of murdering her two children in 1996. Her family is reportedly working to retest forensic evidence that they say will prove Routier's innocence.

I'm telling you this could happen to you. If your children or anybody dies in your home, your grand kids die in your home, do not for a minute think they're not going to accuse you," said Sarilda Routier, Darlie Routier's former mother-in-law.

While the protestors march on, some feel they aren't getting the entire picture.

"He took my brother's life and for really no reason at all," said Irene Ablanedo. Ablanedo's brother, former Austin police officer, Ralph Ablanedo was shot and killed in 1978 during a traffic stop. In 2010 the man convicted of killing Ablanedo, David lee Powell, was executed in Huntsville.

"I watched the execution and that was a very happy moment for me to see him take his last breath," said Ablanedo. She feels those who protest the death penalty don't understand the pain her family has faced.

"I don't see where it's unjust. We forget about the victims all the time and what they went through. There was nobody there to help the victim and they want these people to continue living these murderers. No," she said.

Polls show support for the death penalty is declining nationwide, and those opposed say they will fight until it is abolished.

"The opinions on the death penalty are changing. The public opinion has shifted quite a bit," said Hughes.

More than 1300 people have been executed in the United States since 1976, when the Supreme Court allowed for executions to resume.

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