The Most Compelling Cases Against The Death Penalty Are Often The Condemned Inmates Themselves


Obviously, one of the biggest problems with the death penalty is that if you get it wrong – and they do occasionally get it wrong – you can’t take it back. Just ask the family of Cameron Willingham.

But another far less acknowledged problem is that on countless occasions, US states have ended up executing people who, by all any fair measure, are rehabilitated.

In 2001, in the course of a robbery, 25-year-old Jedediah Murphy kidnapped a 79-year-old woman, Bertie Lee Cunningham, before executing her in the trunk of her car. Murphy – a product of Texas’ foster care system – was caught and confessed to his crime.

The video below is part of an ongoing project from Houston MediaSource, which gives voice to prisoners awaiting execution on Texas’ infamous Death Row, a state where they take pride in killing prisoner’s regardless of their rehabilitation status, and sometimes even their guilt or innocence.

Murphy is scheduled for execution in October 2023. His insights in this interview are profound and moving, and should be required viewing for anyone who supports the death penalty.

As Murphy himself says: “Be part of someone else’s redemption, don’t be part of their destruction.”

You can read a ‘petition for a writ of certiorari’ (a request for the US Supreme Copurt to review Murphy’s case) here.

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