"Activist discusses work against death penalty," is the conversation with Houston Chronicle reporter Harvey Rice. Here's the beginning of this must-read:
Sister Helen Prejean, 73, anti-death penalty advocate and author of "Dead Man Walking," which was made into a movie in 1995 of the same name, was in Houston for the 10th anniversary of GRACE, the Gulf Region Advocacy Center, which represents low-income death-penalty defendants at no cost. She spoke with Houston Chronicle reporter Harvey Rice about her passion for her cause.
Q. Was it your experience with Patrick Sonnier, whose 1984 execution inspired your book "Dead Man Walking," that led you to be outspoken against the death penalty, or was it something else?
A. When he was killed in the electric chair he looked at my face. I had never seen an execution before with my own eyes. I went outside and vomited. Support for death penalty was 87 percent at the time. I realized the people are never going to see this, but I've witnessed it. I've witnessed the guards who had to do the killing. One who said I have to quit. I met the victims' families. They are given this illusory promise (that the death penalty will bring them closure.) I began speaking out immediately after that execution. I wrote a book, "Dead Man Walking." It was to get the word out to the people, to get them to face the reality of the death sentence, to gradually take them into the horror. That's what I tried to do.