Latest News and Blog Posts
- An Extravagant Waste
- Justice for Victims?
- Golden Death Penalty?
- Reflection on Arizona Shootings
- Police Officials: The Death Penalty Doesn't Make us Safer
- Schenectady Daily Gazette on NYADP
- Reflection on Connecticut Death Penalty Sentence Today
- On the Journey--David Kaczynski
- Turning Ideas into Action
- The Power of Community
Read Our Annual Report
From the Journey of Hope Webpage:
Journey of Hope...from Violence to Healing is an organization led by murder victim family members joined by death row family members, family members of the executed, the exonerated, and others with stories to tell, that conducts public education speaking tours and addresses alternatives to the death penalty. Journey Storytellers come from all walks of life and represent the full spectrum and diversity of faith, color and economic situation. They are Real People who know first hand the aftermath of the insanity and horror of murder. They have Real Stories that recount their tragedies, and their struggles to heal as a way of opening dialogue on the death penalty in schools, colleges, churches and other venues. The Journey spotlights Real People with Real Stories. Some choose not to seek revenge, and instead select the path of love and compassion for all of humanity. Some see forgiveness as strength and as a way of healing. Others come by different paths.
From the Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation Webpage:
Founded in 1976 by Marie Deans of Charlottesville, Virginia, MVFR is a national organization of family members of both homicide and state killings who oppose the death penalty in all cases.
- Organize murder victims’ families and families of the executed to become an effective voices opposing the death penalty.
- Educate the victims’ community and the larger public about the issues surrounding the death penalty.
Activate communities to work for abolition of the death penalty.
From the MVFHR webpage:
Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights is an international, non-governmental organization of family members of victims of criminal murder, terrorist killings, state executions, extrajudicial assassinations, and “disappearances” working to oppose the death penalty from a human rights perspective.
Founded by NYADP's Victim/Homicide Advocate Marie Verzulli, FFHV provides a forum for victims' families/friends to share stories, regain a sense of being safe, and work together in restorative justice practices and advocacy programs. Opposition to the death penalty is not "required" of its members. FFHV meet the first Tuesday of every month from 6-8PM at the Pastoral Center in Albany. For more information, contact Marie Verzulli.
Statements by Family Members of Homicide Victims
Victims’ family members hold differing views of the death penalty. Some who support it philosophically have spoken about the effect of the death penalty process on families like theirs.
In 1998, when the District Attorney asked me how I felt about him seeking the death penalty for my sister’s and seven other women’s killer, I told him I had never thought much about the death penalty. At that time I couldn’t imagine what, if anything, could bring me comfort or lessen my pain and despair, but I knew it wasn’t that.I have come to realize that the justice system is centered around the offender, and in death penalty cases, results in handcuffing the victim’s family to that same system which promises us “justice and closure.” The death penalty creates more victims. Life without parole is definitely a better alternative.
Marie Verzulli, sister of a murder victim, New York
Nearly eight years since the jury delivered the verdict of death, I am still forced to focus on my mother’s killer. If the killer were given life without parole, and I mean a true life sentence, I would not be here. I would not be forced to discuss the killer and the verdict and the ways in which my life has been affected. Each court date, each appeal, each write-up in the newspaper, revisiting and revisiting the pain, each event keeping me that much further from the curative process I and my family so greatly deserve. If I were asked to speculate what the difference would be in my life, I would say I would be eight years further in my healing process.
A man come up to me after my father was murdered and said, “I hope they fry those people. I hope they fry them so you and your family can get some peace.” I know that man meant to comfort me, but it was the most horrible thing he could possibly have said.
Renny Cushing, Executive Director of Murder Victim Families for Human Rights
I close my eyes and imagine I am back in the courtroom. If a death penalty verdict had been pronounced how would I feel? Kendra was dead and that made me feel sick. Would I have felt better if Andrew Goldstein had been sentenced to die also? No. I would feel even sicker. What would we have gained? . . .There is something disturbing about the idea of doing to the offender the very same thing he or she is being punished for. Is it possible another mentally ill person would be inhibited from engaging in similar behavior because Andrew Goldstein was arrested, tried, convicted and was on death row? That idea was a proven contradiction.
Pat Webdale, whose daughter’s murder led to the passage of Kendra’s Law
Some may even realize that it brings more grief, grief for the innocent surviving family members of the one who is executed. Executing the man who killed my father would not have brought me peace or closure. I'll always miss my father; an execution would never change that.It was my father who nurtured the gift of faith in me, raising me as a Catholic and taking me to church on Sundays. Those teachings and my faith have stayed with me. Jesus' message was so much about forgiveness, mercy, and compassion.
Kathy Dillon, father murdered in New York City
From my personal experience struggling for good mental health care for my son, who suffered tremendously following my husband’s murder, I believe family survivors of murder victims would be much better served if the resources wasted on the death penalty were used to provide quality mental health care for the victims and survivors of violence.
Bonnita Spikes, wife of a murder victim
The emotions that family members experience in losing loved ones to violent crime ran the gamut in my family. I had aunts and uncles who wanted to personally wreak havoc and vengeance on the perpetrators. But my grandmother’s response to the anger and outrage of other family members was that no human being had a right to determine who should live or die. My grandmother was a strong, quiet, deeply religious Black matriarch. Her ultimate belief in people was memorably displayed when the son of the woman who killed my uncle came to her house to play with my cousins. To the shock and horror of other family members, my grandmother welcomed him in. Her loving example helped lay the foundation of my opposition to capital punishment.
Pat Clark, New York
In my 15 years as a victims rights lawyer, I have represented many murder victim families in death penalty cases, and the additional anguish caused by the justice process is overwhelming. When I first see a client, I silently pray the prosecutor will decide against pursuing the death penalty, but not because I am against that form of punishment. My prayers are for the victims and the hope they will be spared the pain, isolation and despair the death penalty process inevitably will bring.
Richard Pompelio ,Exec. Cir. New Jersey Crime Victims' Law Center; his son was murdered.
The nonfinality -- this drags on for years, and how it hurts the victims’ family members. It drains resources that we could be using for victims. It creates a false sense of justice.
Lorry Post, whose daughter was murdered
I was opposed to the death penalty. I am now, but it was something I really had to readdress when this happened . . . Because someone murdered my child. I knew that Nicole was opposed to it. And I also knew that Nicole was very -- felt very strong about our youths at risk, and having better prevention that would help them. . . . I think life in prison without parole would be appropriate.
Linda DuFresne, whose daughter Nicole was murdered
So if it’s not a deterrent, if it’s not cost effective, if it begets more violence, if it releases a murderer from his earthly punishment, if it puts the victim’s family through years and years of reliving the event, if it does not change our life without our loved one and if it makes us no better than the murderer, what possible reasons could you have, could we have, to have a death penalty?
Bruce Greishaber, whose daughter’s murder led to the passage of Jenna’s Law in New York