Next week, MVFHR members Bill Jenkins and Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins will play small roles in a staged reading of the play version of Sister Helen Prejean's Dead Man Walking at Dominican University in Illinois. Here's an excerpt from an article about the play:
[Bill] Jenkins brings a unique perspective to his role in the show because he is the father of a murder victim. "My son was shot and killed in 1997," Jenkins said. "I have been an ardent opponent of the death penalty ever since, and working as an activist ever since."
"I had always had a philosophical and faith-based opposition to the death penalty growing up. My parents had always been opposed to it," he said. His beliefs were tested when his son William was killed while working at a fast food restaurant. "There was no question of guilt here," Jenkins said. They knew who committed the crime.
Jenkins learned from the chief prosecutor that it was a capital offense, punishable by death. "I truly felt that the way to respond to this violence in my life was not with violence," he said. He asked the prosecutor not to seek the death penalty. The perpetrator received life in prison without parole.