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Former Inmate and Victim's Father Team Up Against the Death Penalty

One Terre Haute congregation hosted two speakers who know firsthand how the executions can affect those involved. Randy Steidl and Bud Welch have very different stories, but they do share one thing in common, and that's their feelings on capital punishment.
Earlier this week marked the 11th annual World Day Against the Death Penalty, and on Sunday, one Terre Haute congregation hosted two speakers who know firsthand how the executions can affect those involved.

Randy Steidl and Bud Welch have very different stories, but they do share one thing in common - their feelings on capital punishment.

"There is no closure when it comes to execution," said Steidl.

Exonerated after spending 12 years on death row, Randy Steidl has now become an advocate for putting an end to the death penalty.
   
In 2004, while awaiting execution, he was the 18th person in Illinois alone found not guilty of the crimes he was sentenced to die for.
   
Steidl says this proves the death penalty puts too much at stake.

"You can release an innocent man from prison, but you can't released him from the grave," said Steidl.  "If Illinois can have an eight and a half percent error rate, how many other states have innocent men and women sitting on death row?"
   
And it's not just affecting those sitting behind bars. Steidl says victim's families and loved ones have a tough time healing.

"Continually re-victimized by having to attend court hearings, and with the peels and it's just like ripping a wound open time and time again," said Steidl.

And Bud Welch agrees.
   
His daughter Julie Marie was among the 168 killed in Oklahoma City bombing, and he says coming to terre haute to watch Timothy McVeigh executed... caused him more pain than it did give him closure.
   
"I wanted that very thing for the first year after Julie's death. Then I recognize after about a year that the day that we would take Timothy McVeigh or Terry Nichols from their cages to kill them was not part of my healing process," said Welch.

Welch has spent more than 15 years speaking about his daughter, even taking the time to meet McVeigh's father and sister.
   
"Bill McVeigh I have one thing in common, we have both buried our children. They died in very different ways, but we both buried our children," said Welch.

And for Welch, peace did not come after McVeigh's death.
   
It comes in remembering and honoring the 23 years that he got to spend with his daughter.

"When your parents die you go to the hilltop and you bury them, when your children die you bury them in your heart and it's forever, it never goes away," said Welch.

The death penalty was re-instated in Indiana in 1977.
   
Since then, 23 people have been executed.
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