From yesterday's Montgomery (AL) Advertiser, "Death Penalty Opponents Share Stories":
Shirley Cochran fought back tears as she made her way to the podium.
She was the last of four panelists to speak out against the death penalty, but as she said, certainly not the least.
Before a quiet audience Cochran recalled the day she found out her first husband was murdered. She remembers wanting his killer to die.
But years later she would marry her new husband, James Bo Cochran. Her new husband spent 19 years and four months on death row before being exonerated for the murder that sent him there.
She remembers wanting him to live.
"The death penalty should not be," Cochran said shaking her head. "I know that if it was someone in your family, you wouldn't want it to happen."
Cochran and a group of death penalty opponents spoke out last week at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Alabama. It was an open forum, where members of the panel took questions from the audience. The speakers included Cochran's husband and former Tuskegee Police Chief Leon Frazier, a one-time supporter of the death penalty who now opposes it.
Eliminating the death penalty does not mean criminals should not pay for the crimes they commit, just that they do not have to die for it, Cochran said.
" I can understand how people can feel that way. All I could think of was my husband was murdered and that my children don't have a father," she said. ...