Bill Pelke is the founder of the Journey of Hope. He appeared on Democracy Now, earlier today. Video of, "Sister Helen Prejean & Bill Pelke on Freeing the Death Row Prisoner Who Killed Pelke’s Grandmother," is available at the link.
In a remarkable story on the journey from grief to forgiveness, Bill Pelke joins us along with renowned activist and "Dead Man Walking" author Sister Helen Prejean to discuss the latest victory for the movement against the death penalty.
On Monday, the state of Indiana freed Paula Cooper, the Indiana woman convicted for the 1985 murder of Pelke’s grandmother, elderly bible school teacher Ruth Pelke, in Gary, Indiana. At the time Cooper became the youngest person on death row. She had been the victim of child abuse and had attended 10 different schools by the time of her arrest. Her case galvanized human rights activists and death penalty opponents around the world, including Bill Pelke himself.
Partnering with Sister Helen, he campaigned against the death penalty and plead for Cooper to be granted clemency.
"I became convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that my grandmother would have been appalled by the fact that this girl was on death row," Pelke recalls. "I was convinced she would have had love for Paula Cooper and her family. I felt she wanted some of my family to have that same sort of love and compassion."
Earlier coverage of Paula Cooper's release begins at the link.