Also, courtesy of Beth, here's the latest post from the Journey of Hope, which has moved from Dallas all the way down to San Antonio:
Today was a travel day. We left our Dallas home in the morning and
traveled to San Antonio. During our Dallas time, there were several groups
traveling around the State. All of the other groups traveled to San Antonio
today as well. It was good to be together again. The San Antonio activists
welcomed us with a delicious Texas dinner.
Yesterday, I drove Walt Everett and his wife Nancy to an event at a Catholic church in McKinney, Texas. Fr. Greg and his team warmly greeted us and were most gracious. Fr. began the evening by boldly reminding the audience that the church opposed the death penalty. Then, Beverly McKay, a parishioner of that Parish, told her story. Her brother was on death row but within 48 hours of his extermination, they received a reprieve. The reprieve led to a life sentence. She is very grateful that her brother is alive. She expressed the loneliness and isolation that her family
felt. We encouraged her to join the Journey!
Our second speaker was Walt Everett. Walt is a retired Methodist minister. His son, Scott, was killed by a man named Mike. He told us that in the beginning, he felt mind-numbing grief and terrible anger about the loss of his son. He repeatly asked God for direction but felt he wasn't receiving an answer. Then, he went to the sentencing and heard Mike apologize for his crime. He felt moved to write Mike a letter outlining the pain Walt had suffered. After he wrote this letter, he felt
able to work for the first time since the day that he learned of his son's murder. Mike wrote back and eventually asked Walt to visit. Walt reluctantly began the process.
He hoped the prison would say no to a visit but they said yes. He reluctantly did visit Mike. Again, as on the day of the letter, he felt a little healed. He and Mike developed a relationship over time. Then, the day for Mike's parole hearing came up. Mike asked Walt if Walt felt that Mike should be freed. Walt felt that Mike was ready to return to society and agreed to share that with the board. Because of Walt's testimony, Mike received an early parole date. Mike holds a job and has become a productive member of society. In fact, Mike and Walt have often spoken together, though not at the Journey. Walt feels that the death penalty erases the hope that a person can be reformed and re-enter society. He knows that reconciliation and forgiveness did not just help Mike but it set Walt free.