Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I was surprised to find

Some weeks ago the New York bureau of The Mainichi Newspapers, Japan's oldest news organization, contacted us at MVFHR about a series of articles they were doing (in connection with their Tokyo office) about the death penalty. In particular, they were interested to know if we could refer them to an MVFHR member who had been in contact with the inmate on death row who was responsible for the murder of their loved one. We referred them to Oregon member Aba Gayle. The result was this article, published in the Mainichi Daily News on February 24th:

Dear Mr. Mickey, 12 years ago, I had a beautiful daughter named Catherine. She was a young woman of unusual talents and intelligence. She was slender and her skin glowed with health and vitality. She had long naturally wavy hair that framed her sparkling eyes and warm bright smile. She radiated love and joy!

(When you took her life,) I knew that I had been robbed of my precious child and that she had been robbed of growing into womanhood and achieving all of her potential. I was very angry with you and wanted to see you punished to the limit of the law. You had done irreparable damage to my family and my dreams for the future. (But) after eight long years of grief and anger...I was surprised to find that I could forgive you.

In April 1992, Aba Gayle, 72, of Silverton, Oregon, wrote these words in a letter to Douglas Mickey, 60, the man sitting on death row at San Quentin California State Prison for the murder of her daughter. A few weeks later she received a thankful reply from Mickey, and in August of the same year Gayle went to visit Mickey.

Read the rest of the article.

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