Victim’s son speaks out against death penalty

Via the Great Falls Tribune:

Most people will never have to confront the death penalty head on. Unless an individual, their family member or friend is accused of committing a capital offense — or is the victim of one — the legal, social and ethical arguments for and against the death penalty remain abstract.

Today, people in the Great Falls area will have the opportunity to listen to the stories of two individuals whose lives were directly impacted by the death penalty. The Montana Abolition Coalition, an umbrella group that supports the abolition of Montana’s death penalty, is hosting an event entitled “Family, Victims’ Voices, and Wrongful Conviction.” It will feature speakers Renny Cushing and Sabrina Butler-Porter.

Renny Cushing is a national advocate for homicide victims’ families. In the spring of 1988, a stranger aimed a shotgun through the screen door of Cushing’s parents’ home in Hampton, N.H. and shot twice. The blasts killed Cushing’s father in full view of his mother. Despite the emotional trauma to himself and his family, Cushing remained an opponent of the death penalty, even after his father’s murderers were arrested.

In 2004, Cushing helped found “Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights.” He now serves as that organization’s executive director, and travels across the country speaking to people about the role murder victims’ families can play in abolishing the death penalty.

Butler-Porter is the only female death-row inmate to have been exonerated in the United States. The Mississippi woman was convicted of capital murder in her baby’s death in 1990 and awaited execution until she was retried and found innocent five years later.