The Death of Innocents
An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions
By Helen Prejean
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679759485, 336pp.)
Publication Date: January 24, 2006
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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From the author of the national bestseller Dead Man Walking comes a brave and fiercely argued new book that tests the moral edge of the debate on capital punishment: What if we’re executing innocent men? Two cases in point are Dobie Gillis Williams, an indigent black man with an IQ of 65, and Joseph Roger O’Dell. Both were convicted of murder on flimsy evidence (O’Dell’s principal accuser was a jailhouse informant who later recanted his testimony). Both were executed in spite of numerous appeals. Sister Helen Prejean watched both of them die.As she recounts these men’s cases and takes us through their terrible last moments, Prejean brilliantly dismantles the legal and religious arguments that have been used to justify the death penalty. Riveting, moving, and ultimately damning, The Death of Innocents is a book we dare not ignore.
Sister Helen Prejean travels extensively, giving, on average, 140 lectures a year, seeking to ignite public discourse on the death penalty. She has appeared on ABC’s World News Tonight, 60 Minutes, Oprah, NPR, and an NBC special series on capital punishment. She is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille and lives in Louisiana.
“Luminous, undecorated, angry and very moving. . . . [It] tests our conception of human decency.” –The New York Times Book Review“A work of great persuasive power. It will also, I hope, become a source of outrage.” –Christopher Hitchens, Los Angeles Times Book Review“Impassioned yet thoughtful. . . . Certain to promote reflection. . . . Prejean commands respect.” –The Christian Science Monitor“A stunning work of conscience, told with restrained outrage, a sharp eye for the absurd, and an unshakeable belief in the dignity of all humans.” –The San Diego Union-Tribune