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.

Nominee Slate 2016 KCADP Annual Meeting

On Saturday, Oct. 22nd, at 1 p.m. KCADP will hold its Annual Meeting and Abolition Conference at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Olathe.  During the annual meeting, a nominee slate for officers and directors will be offered for KCADP members’ consideration.

 

Officer Nominees:

Vice Chair: Ron Wurtz,

Treasurer:  Jeff Wicks.

 

Director nominees:

Kristi Smith,

Robert Shawn Streepy,

Carolyn Zimmerman,

Celeste Dixon,

Floyd Bledsoe, and

Dianne Schwartz.

 

Following the annual meeting, the abolition conference will begin immediately.  To see a flyer for the conference, click here.

 

 

Register Today for 2016 Annual Abolition Conference!

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Let the Candidates Hear from You!

Spread the abolition message!

 

In these critical weeks when candidates are out and about as they run for the Legislature, it’s a prime opportunity for you, the people in their district, to engage with them about the death penalty.

 

If you do, you are providing them with vital information so they can be informed on this important public policy!

 

KCADP doesn’t endorse any candidates or political parties. What we do endorse is continuing the dialogue and education, one Kansan at a time, so that we can bring Kansas into the abolition arena!

 

What will you do today to help educate a candidate in your area?

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