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MT Mom of Murdered Daughter Talks “Justice”

April 28, 2008

Billings, MT – Her seven-year-old daughter was kidnapped, sexually abused and murdered, and she wants to talk about what "justice" means to her. Marietta Jaeger Lane meets with Montanans this week, as part of her personal campaign against the death penalty. Her mission, she says, is to remember her daughter in a way that is as sweet and loving as she was, which means she had to forgive the man who killed the little girl.

"However deserving of death we deem that person to be, it doesn't honor her. All it does is make another victim, and another grieving family."

Jaeger Lane wants to be clear that forgiveness doesn't come easy. She felt the same initial response as other victims' families, to lash out with violence. However, although people often cite 'closure' as a reason to support the death penalty, she says she's been close to families who were still waiting for that closure, years after their loved one was murdered. Jaeger Lane calls it a false promise.

"When they think closure's going to happen, with the execution, it doesn't. The closure has to come from within their own hearts."

Jaeger Lane will be joined by a man sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit. She also plans to present information on the taxpayer costs of death penalty cases, which show they are much more expensive than lifelong prison sentences. Montana's legislature was one vote shy last session of banning the death penalty, in favor of life in prison.

Jaeger Lane will speak at several events: In Billings on Tuesday, April 29 at noon, at Montana State University's Petro Theatre, 1500 North University Drive; and at 6:00 PM in the Clocktower Conference Room, 2511 First Avenue North. On Wednesday, April 30, she speaks at noon at the Chief Dull Knife College Library in Lame Deer; and at 6:00 PM at Miles Community College, in the Community Room at 2714 Dickson in Miles City.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MT