FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2010
Contact: Stephen Dear, 919.622.1739 (cell),
New Revelations Call for Repentance & Repeal of NC Death Penalty
In light of today's news that the state of North Carolina executed several men and condemned scores of others to prison based upon evidence that was manufactured by seriously flawed laboratory testing by the SBI, People of Faith Against the Death Penalty asks all North Carolinians, in whose names these men were condemned, to:
First, pray, reflect, and repent this weekend.
Second, to petition the NC General Assembly to repeal the death penalty.
Third, to petition Gov. Bev Perdue to commute the death sentences of every person currently on North Carolina's death row.
Fourth, to petition Attorney General Roy Cooper to create an independent and thorough investigation of all death penalty cases and the SBI's activities and laboratory work in each.
"This is a time of grave moral consequence for our state, a time for conscience and prayer," said People of Faith Against the Death Penalty Executive Director Stephen Dear. "We encourage people of faith and good will to pray and reflect this weekend and repent over the executions and condemnation of men killed in our names."
Three men who were executed were named by investigators as having flawed laboratory work conducted on evidence in their cases. Desmond Carter was executed in 2002, Joseph Timothy Keel in 2003, and John Hardy Rose in 2001.
"Their innocence is not the question for us at this time," Dear said. "The death penalty and our culpability in taking human life is in question for each and every citizen.
"These men and others may or may not have been innocent - we may never know thanks to these grossly flawed investigations - but it is time we stop the killing for good.
"We pray for those killed in our names, for Desmond Carter, for Timothy Keel, for John Rose and all those executed. We pray for the victims in those cases, for Helen Purdy, for John Simmons, for Patricia Stewart, respectively, and the more than 15,000 victims of homicide in North Carolina since the death penalty was reestablished. We pray for the family members of all involved.
"We pray that our political leaders and state administrators will examine their consciences as human beings complicit in a corrupt system of death."
PFADP joins others in calling for Gov. Perdue to commute every death sentence in North Carolina and to create an independent and thorough review of the SBI investigations and evidence in every death penalty case in the modern era.
"The death penalty should be repealed on moral and practical grounds," Dear said. "We cannot have a death penalty applied within a system so deeply flawed every way you view it. We cannot have it both ways. The only solution is to repeal the death penalty and use the money that would save to help murder victims' families and enhance programs aimed at preventing violent crime."
PFADP representatives and members will participate in a press conference involving numerous organizations on Monday, August 23, 2010 at 10 a.m. in Raleigh at a location to be announced.
PFADP is a nonprofit organization based in Carrboro, NC and founded in 1994 whose mission is to educate and mobilize faith communities to act to abolish the death penalty in the United States.
People of Faith Against the Death Penalty
110 W. Main St., Ste. 2G
Carrboro, NC 27510