Protesters gather outside penitentiary to decry death penalty

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Charles Keith has been protesting the death penalty for more than two decades, after his brother was on death row in Ohio before having his sentence commuted in 2010.

He said he traveled to Terre Haute to send a message that people on death row are still American citizens.

“They’re not hostages. They’re criminals and they may have committed crimes, but they aren’t hostages,” Keith said. “We have no reason to put down a person when we have the ability to incarcerate them.”

Keith joined protesters outside of the Terre Haute federal prison in hopes of sending a message to lawmakers to end the death penalty.

Sister Barbara Battista, Justice Promoter for the Sisters of Providence, said she hopes their protests motivate others to speak out.

“We’re still out here because we don’t ever want a person to be put to death in that death chamber right across the road here without some person standing vigil, standing up and saying ‘not in our name.’ We do not want anyone executed,” she said.

They displayed signs with messages like “Stop State Violence,” and “Don’t Kill For Me.”

WATCH: Group of protesters protest the federal execution of Lisa Montgomery Tuesday evening:

The scheduled execution of Lisa Montgomery, was delayed after a stay of execution was granted on Tuesday on grounds that she was likely mentally ill and couldn’t comprehend she would be put to death.

Protesters plan to hold a vigil and toll the bells, if Montgomery is executed. She would be the first woman to be federally executed in more than 60 years.

Abe Borowitz, director of Death Penalty Action, said he hopes the executions end with President-Elect Joe Biden and newly elected lawmakers.

“We need to step away from the culture of violence, the culture of hate. We need to find common ground and be in community together,” Bonowitz explained. “We can’t do that when we’re worried about killing somebody. We can be safe from dangerous offenders without executions.”

Protesters vowed they won’t stop until the death penalty is abolished.

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