Monday, February 26, 2007


There is a story at Catholic Online that presents an argument for abolishing the death penalty. It is the story of Kirk Bloodsworth who was convicted of the brutal rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl, spent many years in prison, two of them on death row, and was subsequently DNA tested and found innocent. He describes his experiences in prison, including his decision to join the Catholic Church and his confirmation and first Eucharist administered by Bishop John Ricard through prison bars. The real killer of the girl was finally identified by DNA, and Bloodsworth was freed and granted a pardon.

His argument for abolishing the death penalty is persuasive as very few other arguments have been. Most persuasive of all is this: "since 1973, more than 150 people have been wrongfully convicted and later freed from prison based on DNA evidence." If it can happen to 150 people, it can happen to anyone. Our legal system is not infallible.

Most haunting of all about this story is his account of the "angel" in his holding facility who told him it would be alright. Was he visited by a supernatural being?

I have not been a supporter of the push to end the death penalty, but Bloodsworth's story makes me pause to consider.

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