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“Dead Man Walking” Author Says Journey Continues in ID

September 24, 2007

Boise, ID – The woman who wrote the book "Dead Man Walking" says it's time for Idaho to rethink capital punishment. Sister Helen Prejean is in Boise this week continuing her crusade against the death penalty. And she says in Idaho, it's an issue that comes with a multimillion dollar price tag, for special incarceration and cases dragging on in the courts. The last execution in 1994 only happened because the man insisted, and the most recent one before that was in 1957.

"Look how many people you have on death row; look at how many executions that have actually been carried out. I believe you have to ask yourself a question, 'What is really going on here?'"

Sister Prejean has walked with six men to their executions. She says, while some were guilty, she began to suspect some were not. She adds her doubts have been verified by high-tech DNA testing that has cleared so many who have been convicted.

"To top it all, we realize we're making a lot of mistakes. 123 wrongfully convicted people have come out of the faulty system."

Sister Prejean says the cost of death penalty cases is the biggest reason so many states are reconsidering death sentences. The debate comes at a sensitive time in Idaho; Joseph Duncan faces the death penalty when he goes on trial in January for the murder of nine-year-old Dylan Groene, and other crimes against the boy and his sister, Shasta.

Sister Helen Prejean is speaking in Boise at two events on Friday. One is a private reception and fundraiser for the ACLU of Idaho, the other is a free lecture at Boise State University, in the Student Union Building, Jordan Ballroom, at 7:30 PM.

Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Public News Service - ID