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Lawmakers Told: 'No Need to Kill'

PHOTO:  Personal stories in a booklet, "No Need to Kill," are aimed at showing Kentucky lawmakers that not all family members of murder victims want revenge by execution.
PHOTO: Personal stories in a booklet, "No Need to Kill," are aimed at showing Kentucky lawmakers that not all family members of murder victims want revenge by execution.
November 7, 2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A booklet filled with personal stories, titled "No Need to Kill," will soon be in the mailboxes of Kentucky's 138 lawmakers.

The booklet opposing the death penalty begins with this simple message:

"People tend to think that the family members of a murder victim want revenge. The following stories tell otherwise."

One of those personal accounts is from Eugene Thompson, whose father Charles was murdered in Louisville in 1987.

"I don't think it serves any purpose whatsoever," Thompson says of the death penalty. "I really, I really don't."

Noting some people on death row may be innocent, Thompson wants lawmakers to make life without parole the maximum sentence.

Rev. Patrick Delahanty, executive director of the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, says the booklet makes it clear that while the families of victims want justice, accountability and harsh punishment, they don't always want death.

Thompson says he was opposed to the death penalty before the fatal beating of his father by Sherman Noble. After the murder, Thompson says he wanted revenge, but then he eventually, in his words, let it go.

"An internal 'come to Jesus' situation came to be because it was making me ill," he recalls.

Thompson says the prosecutor sought the death penalty over his objections. Noble was convicted and sentenced to death, but died in prison before the execution.

Thompson says he saw what the nearly two-decade-long legal battle did to his family and the defendant's family, especially the killer's mom.

"And I'd seen his mom, over 17 years, and saw what it had done to her, physically and mentally,” Thompson says. “And it hurt me."

Six states have abolished the death penalty in the past six years, but Kentucky remains one of 32 states where execution remains legal.


Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY