Monday, March 9, 2009

More Connecticut testimony

As a continuation of Friday's post, here's more MVFHR member testimony from last week's Connecticut hearings. First, an excerpt from Antoinette Bosco's testimony:

In the Fall of 2005, I was greatly honored when I received an invitation from the Catholic Bishops to come to Washington, D.C. to participate in the work they called the “Catholic Campaign to end the Use of the Death Penalty. At their meeting in Washington, D.C. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn , set the tone, asking: “What does the death penalty do to us? What kind of society do we want to be?” He noted that this is “not a liberal issue, but a life issue.” And he underscored, “In the matter of life and death, no mistake is acceptable. Death is irreversible.”

The Bishops had invited me because I am the mother of murder victims. My son John and his wife Nancy were killed back in August 1993 as they slept in their newly purchased home in Montana, blown away by the 18-year old son of the people from whom they had just bought the house.

The Bishops wanted me to speak out and say why I and my family had become outspoken opponents of the death penalty. We gave our heart-deep, honest answer—that unnatural death is an evil, no matter whose hand stops the breath. We can punish killers by taking away their freedom, nor their breath.

I well remember when the Catholic Bishops first called for an end to the death penalty some thirty years ago. I was proud of my Church then, and ever since for its never wavering stand on how we must be people who always affirm life.

Now they are “renewing this call to seize a new moment and a new momentum…to bring about an end to the use of the death penalty in our land.” ...

And from Walt Everett's testimony:

I come today to urge you to abolish the death penalty, for the many reasons that others have given, but also for the benefit of victims’ family members.

My son was murdered in Bridgeport, CT, in 1987, and I lived for a year with intense rage – a rage that was destroying me emotionally and spiritually. I met other murder victims’ family members who had been struggling with this same debilitating anger for 15, 20 or more years, waiting for promised “closure”. Of course, when an execution takes place, the families do not find that “closure” that they had sought. Consequently, they have wasted many years of their lives waiting and then, when the relief doesn’t come, they must finally begin to seek a way to find some measure of healing.

In my own case, I ultimately forgave the offender, and thus began the path to my personal healing.

I realize that many people are unable to consider forgiveness. Yet another option, that of life without parole, would give murder victims’ family members the opportunity to begin healing at a much earlier date, shortly after hearing this sentence meted out.

Moreover, studies have shown that the initial cost of trying a capital case is far more expensive than the trying of any other case. Additionally, the cost mounts up when we consider the many necessary appeals.

The money saved by abolishing the death penalty could be well used for programs to meet the needs of victims’ families. In fact, New Mexico’s House recently passed a bill to abolish the death penalty, with the understanding that the money saved would be used for programs for victims’ family members. One of the deciding factors was a recent poll indicating not only decreasing support for the death penalty, but also the fact that fully 68% of those polled favor abolition of the death penalty if the alternative is life without parole plus restitution of some kind for victims’ family members. ...

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