Thursday, August 12, 2010

Today in New Hampshire

Former Florida State Prison warden Ron McAndrew is testifying before the New Hampshire Death Penalty Study Commission today. Ron has become an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, rooted in his own experience overseeing executions in Florida. Less often featured in coverage of his talks is that Ron is also a victim's family member. In his interview with MVFHR's newsletter two years ago, he described the murder of his cousin and then, years later, of his sister-in-law:

[Ron's] cousin, who had lived with his family when he was growing up, was killed by a group of men who held her against the wall of a church and then drove a car straight at her, shattering her body. The men responsible for her death were never caught. Many years later, Ron’s sister-in-law was killed by a drunk driver who received a second-degree life sentence and commit- ted suicide in prison after serving ten years.

“It struck me that not a single person in my family expressed pleasure at his suicide,” Ron recalls. “Every time he had come up for parole, we had all written letters opposing his release. We had all worked together for that, but his death didn’t do anything for us; we didn’t celebrate it.”

That was one of the things that came to mind when Ron started questioning the death penalty. ...

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