Susan Sarandon visits death row inmate

July 15, 2004 at 1:34 PM

LIVINGSTON, Texas, July 15 (UPI) -- Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon was in Texas visiting a death row inmate, a convicted murderer with whom the star has been corresponding for several years.

Sarandon showed up at a Livingston, Texas, prison Wednesday for an unannounced meeting with James Vernon Allridge III, who is scheduled for execution Aug. 26, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.

The two became pen pals after Sarandon purchased detailed drawings of flowers and animals Allridge creates with colored pencils.

"I'm trying to be as low profile as possible. It fits the strategy at this time," Sarandon said about her visit.

"Susan is just here for a visit. ... She just told him to stay strong, that she would pray for him and was thinking of him," said David Atwood, founder of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, who took Sarandon to the prison.

Whether Sarandon will work to have Allridge's execution stayed will be left to the attorneys, Atwood said.

Allridge, 41, has spent the past 17 years on death row for murdering a convenience store clerk while robbing the store of $300 in 1985.

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