Friday, January 28, 2011

I've looked at both sides

From today's Oklahoma news site, KJRH, "Death penalty documentary features woman from Tulsa":

"I don't hate him anymore after 17 years."

Edith Shoals understands a mother's need for justice.

In 1992, her teenage daughter Lordette was gunned down as she talked with Edith on a pay phone because the shooter, Eric Berry, wanted Lordette's car.

In the wake of her daughter's death, Edith wanted Berry to pay with his life.

At the time, she says she thought, "this guy has to die."

But with time, and working with both victim's and suspect's families through her organization "Families of Murdered Children," Edith's stance on the death penalty softened.

Berry was convicted. The death penalty was taken off the table by prosecutors at her request.

"I've looked at both sides. I've talked with both sides. So it's not who -- itt's what they did, and the motive behind what they did."

It was that change of heart that landed Edith in the national spotlight.

She is featured in a new documentary by the English language channel of Aljazeera called "Fault Lines: Behind the Walls of Oklahoma's Death Row."

It features those opposed to the death penalty.

"I don't, for the love of God, know how someone who calls themselves a Christian could support killing someone else!"

And those who support it, such as former Governor Frank Keating.

"It's stepping in those shoes saying and saying you've done it once. We're not going to let you do it again."

Shoals found sharing her story therapeutic.

She hopes it will bring comfort to other victim's families who are facing the same difficult decisions she struggled with.

According to the department of corrections, there are currently no executions scheduled in Oklahoma in the immediate future.

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