TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — As time inched closer to the moment that the 13th and final execution under the Trump Administration would be enacted, protesters who had appeared at the Terre Haute Penitentiary for previous executions gathered once again to object to the impending lethal injection for Dustin Higgs.
Reverend Jack Sullivan’s sister, Jennifer, was killed in Cleveland, Ohio, but her murderer was never revealed, he said. He understands the pain that victims’ families feel, but he doesn’t agree with the death penalty.
“We committed ourselves to life and ending the cycle of violence that claimed my sister,” he said. “I learned from people like me who have lost loved ones to murder, whose murderers were convicted, that executions gave them no relief. No healing. No wholeness or restoration.”
Demonstrators said it’s their hope that the Biden-Harris Administration will establish a moratorium on the death penalty early in their term, and they will continue to lobby Congress to that end.
Abe Bonowitz, director of Death Penalty Action, said he’s working to make it a priority of the incoming administration’s first 100 days.
“Send a message to your Congressional representatives, that’s what we’re offering up to everybody in the whole country,” Bonowitz said. “It’s time for people to speak up and if you don’t agree with us, fine, write to your Congress member if you care that much about it. But we know that we can be safe from dangerous offenders and hold them accountable without executions. It’s what we do the vast majority of the time and we just want to enshrine that.”
Another protester, Katie Auer added, “We’re really hoping with the next administration that comes, that these executions are stopping and that we give new life to these people who are on death row or possibly being put on death row, that they can live their lives with some kind of purpose.”