Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I had to rethink the death penalty

We've added two more pages to our online Gallery of Victims' Stories: sisters Bess Klassen-Landisand Suzy Klassen, whose mother, Helen Bohn Klassen, was murdered in Indiana in 1969. Bess was 13 and Suzy was 11 at time of the murder, which to this day remains unsolved.

Last year, we posted excerpts from Bess's testimony before the New Hampshire Senate, and featured an essay by Suzy in an MVFHR newsletter that focused on how people are affected by murder and the death penalty.

In Suzy's Gallery page, she says, “I had only anger towards the man who murdered my mother, and thought about what his punishment should be if he were ever caught. It seemed to me that he should suffer and die in the same horrible way he forced my mother to. I had to rethink the death penalty when I became a mother myself. I realized that if I had a child who grew up to be a murderer, I would never stop loving him. The degree of love I felt would be the same as the first day I held him. With this realization I found complete forgiveness. I also knew my mother would never want someone killed in her name, as I don’t want anyone murdered in mine. The insanity of the death penalty has to end and I oppose it under any circumstance.”

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