Category Archives: News

The Kansas Death Penalty: What a Waste, 2017!

 

Join us in McPherson on Saturday Oct 21st for our annual meeting and abolition Conference!

 

Speakers include:

Roger Werholtz, retired Secretary of Kansas Department of Corrections

Celeste Dixon, murder victim family member

Carolyn McGinn, Kansas Senator, Chair of Senate Ways and Means

 

Time is 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Location is McPherson Church of the Brethren,  200 North Carrie.

 

This event is free and open to the public.

 

To register contact KCADP by email at infoatksabolitiondotorg or by calling 785-235-2237 and give us your name and address.  We hope you can join us!

 

2017 Annual Conference: Oct 21st!

 

Mark your calendars today for the 2017 KCADP Annual Conference!

 

It will be Oct. 21st in McPherson from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

 

Speakers are being finalized and will be announced soon along with registration details.

 

This is an event you won’t want to miss!

 

 

Remembering Bob Hessman: Man of Faith and Courage

 

Bob Hessman take 2

 

Over the years, we have been blessed by the witness of Bob Hessman and his family as they dealt with the loss of their beloved Mary Mel Eesa Rains to homicide.

 

Bob and his family talked of the challenges they faced after her murder, and how they drew strength from their faith and family and friends as they went on without their beloved Mel. They spoke out time and again against the death penalty as murder victim family members.

 

Bob recently passed away. We will miss this man of faith and courage.

 

Even though he will no longer be with us in person, we can continue to learn from his personal witness through this video in the KCADP archives.

 

Death Penalty Photo Exhibit

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It’s not often that we have an opportunity to understand the death penalty through
excellent photography.

 

Donnelly College in Kansas City is sponsoring a death penalty photo exhibit featuring
the works of Scott Langley, an accomplished photojournalist.

 

The exhibit can be viewed from now til April 7 in the Meeting Room on the
Donnelly Campus. Exhibit hours are from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Monday through Friday).

 

We urge you to check this out!

 

A Journey Into the U.S. Death Penalty through Photos and Stories

 

 

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“A Journey into the U.S. Death Penalty through Photos and Stories

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Thursday March 23rd, 2017 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.



Matt Ross Community Center, Crown Room,  8101 Marty Street, Overland Park, KS 66204

 

Join us for this informative event.  It is free and open to the public!

 

The presenter is Scott Langley, a photojournalist and sociologist who has covered executions. His presentation details an hour-by-hour walk-through of what happens on an execution night, taking the viewer from the prison deathwatch cell into the actual lethal injection chamber, while outlining the social implications and concerns around the use of executions.

 

This presentation is one you won’t want to miss!  If you have questions or need more information contact KCADP via email at infoatksabolitiondotorg or by phone to 785-235-2237.

 

 

Hearing on Abolition Bill on February 13th!

 

HB 2167, a bill to abolish the death penalty, will be heard by House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee on Monday, February 13th.

 

The hearing is open to the public and will start at 1:15 p.m. and be held in Room 582 North.

 

This bill would abolish the Kansas death penalty for crimes on or after the effective date of the legislation. For the most serious homicides in Kansas, the new maximum sentence would be life in prison without parole.

 

Abolition Bill Introduced!

 

KCADP welcomes the introduction of HB 2167 which would repeal the Kansas death penalty and replace it with life in prison without parole for the most serious murders in Kansas.

 

An eloquent appeal for abolition was just published in the Wichita Eagle by Floyd Bledsoe, who spent over 15 years in Kansas prison even though he was innocent of murder.  You can read that oped by clicking here.

 

Mr. Bledsoe’s case reminds us of the risk of error in our criminal justice system.  It’s one of the many reasons why Kansas should abolish capital punishment!

Remember KCADP on Giving Tuesday!

Dear Friends,

Today is Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to giving.

 

Since its founding in 2012, Giving Tuesday is now an international day devoted to celebrating and encouraging giving. In 2015, people from all over the world made online donations to non-profit organizations which amounted to over $116 million raised. Giving Tuesday is a day for everyone, everywhere to GIVE!

 

Join the movement and support the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty. Help us reach our goal of $1,000 on Giving Tuesday. Click here to make an online donation or send it to KCADP, P.O. Box 2065, Topeka, KS 66601.

 

We thank you for your support to present, and for your support in the days and weeks ahead because your contributions help create the climate for abolition!

 

Your KCADP Team

 

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Kansans Hear First Hand Testimony of Death Penalty’s Impact

 

 

 

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Celeste Dixon sharing her journey as a murder victim family member who came to oppose the death penalty

“It feels like revenge to me” was how Larned resident Celeste Dixon described her journey with the death penalty system in Texas following the August 18, 1986 murder of her mother Marguerite Dixon. She spoke Saturday at the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty Abolition Conference in Olathe.

 

Ms. Dixon interacted with Harris County Texas prosecutors and attended the trial. At the time of her mom’s death, she “hadn’t given the death penalty much thought….it seemed to make sense that if you take life you deserve to have your life taken”. After a sentence of death was handed down, she went from feeling “vindicated” to having major doubts about the death penalty. Those doubts turned into opposition to the death penalty as the years passed.

 

It took 21 years and a retrial before the murderer, Michael Wayne Richard, was executed. Prior to the retrial, Ms. Dixon informed the prosecutor that she did not support the death penalty. The prosecutor’s voice “changed timber” when told that and the once welcoming attitude of the prosecutor’s office was no longer there toward Celeste.

 

Ms. Dixon traveled the full journey of a death penalty case from trial through to execution.  She summed it up this way “”It’s represented as justice, but it feels like revenge to me.”

 

Participants at the conference also heard from Pastor Darryl Burton, who was wrongfully imprisoned for capital murder for twenty four years in Missouri despite being innocent. A key witness in his case admitted 5 months after the trial to lying, but it took Burton 24 years to be freed.

 

Roger Werholtz, former Ks Secretary of Corrections, spoke on public safety aspects, and Al Terwelp of Overbook documented the increase in property taxes when his county had a death penalty case.

 

Mr. Werholtz shared his misgivings about the death penalty and the risk for error. He also noted his experience while in Colorado with the extra cost associated with death penalty cases.  “You can’t afford to continue going down this same road” he said advocating for an end to the death penalty.

To All Our Supporters

Dear Friends,

 

We are writing because we are at a crossroads.   KCADP is transitioning to an all-volunteer organization as of   May 6th. as the grant funding that provided the resources for paid staff has ended.

 

KCADP staff will go on to other challenges.  We know they will succeed at those ventures.  They are some of the finest people we have had the privilege of working with.  That goes for all the Board members, our consultants, our members, Abolition Endorsing Groups and other allies, and our funders as well.  KCADP staff have commented how they will never forget their staff colleagues, the members, the exonerees, the legislators and all who have been involved in this effort and will always be grateful for the opportunities and challenges this work has provided.  It has been an honor.

 

The info @ksabolition.org email will still be functional and will be answered by a dedicated abolitionist.  To reach someone by phone call 785-235-2237.

 

For the past 6 years, KCADP has been blessed with the resources for a vigorous abolition campaign.  We have grown the abolition community in Kansas to be a truly diverse group that spans the political spectrum, as well as increasing support in our traditional communities.  That diversity was evident in our late January press conference.

 

We have defeated legislation that would have dangerously sped up executions in Kansas.  We have brought new legislators into the abolition community.  And, many more Kansans now know why abolition is the answer.

 

The past two years have been frustrating because despite the efforts of many dedicated legislators and KCADP members and supporters we have not been able to advance abolition as far as we’d hoped.

 

The KCADP board is committed to achieving abolition in Kansas!  In the year ahead, KCADP will work to grow the “big tent” that has been built so far.  We will work to educate candidates this summer and fall.  We will be seeking abolition again next year in a legislature that will undoubtedly have some new members as well as returning ones.

 

The courageous, energetic and visionary volunteers who have led KCADP for more than 25 years will continue to press for abolition.   (The staff have talked about how we, like Moses, have been able to see the promised land, but have not able to go there.  It was our fondest wish and we will celebrate when you get there!)

 

Thank you for all your support for KCADP that you have already shown.  KCADP members have shown time and again their passion and commitment to abolition.  So we ask now that you continue and increase your support of KCADP.  We have no doubt whatsoever that the organization will adapt, grow and prosper in the coming years.

 

Stay with KCADP as the campaign continues….  “Ad astra per aspera”.  It may be difficult, but we will get the death penalty repealed!

 

Best always,

 

Mary Sloan, Executive Director

 

Donna Schneweis, Board Chair