Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Creating more victims: Part Three

Today we bring you part three of a ten-part series. Based on the groundbreaking report Creating More Victims: How Executions Hurt the Families Left Behind, this series was prepared with the assistance of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights and is running in conjunction with the holiday season.

When Pam Crawford’s brother Ed Horsley was executed in Alabama in 1995, Pam was working as a housekeeper in the dormitories of the University of North Carolina. Pam had been close to the students and often invited them to her home for meals, but when she came to work after her brother’s execution, she was confronted by a note on the closet door in one of the dorm rooms: “You’re a murderer,” the note said.
Pam was devastated to be treated as though she too had committed a crime.
“It wasn’t just the students, it was my co-workers too,” she recalls. “After
three weeks, it was too much. I had to leave. There were times when I felt real
guilty, like I had actually done something – but the only thing I was guilty of
was loving my brother.”

Meanwhile, Pam’s granddaughter Callie was suffering as well. Callie was 8 at the time of the execution and had been very close to her great-uncle even though she was born well after he had been sentenced to death. Today, as a young woman of 19, she is struggling with depression. When Pam spoke with Callie’s doctor, she was amazed that one of his first questions was about who had been executed in the family. “He asked me how long it had been, and I told him it’s been over ten years,” Pam remembers. “He said, ‘Did you know that she’s still affected by it?’”

Pam says that Callie has recurring nightmares and asks questions to try to make sense of what happened. “She asks, if it’s wrong to kill somebody, which it is, then how can it be right for the state to kill?”

To read the report, go here, scroll down and click on Creating More Victims: How Executions Hurt the Families Left Behind.

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