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06-24 The Record

Members of the group Murder Victims Families for reconciliation brought banners and signs to Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville last Thursday, June 17, to call for an end to the death penalty. The Louisville visit was part of a two-week “Journey of Hope” to spread compassion and to protest capital punishment throughout the Midwest.

‘Journey of Hope’ Victims’ Families Protest Death Penalty

By John R. Karman III
The Record, Louisville, Ky., June 24, 1993


On Feb. 27, 1985, George White was an eye-witness to the murder of his wife, Charlene. v White was shot three times during the attack, but for him, the nightmare was just beginning. He would be wrongly charged with the murder of his wife, indicted and convicted. He would spend two years, 103 days in prison before his sentence was overturned.
The whole scenario filled him with hate.
“My life was totally out of control,’ recalled White, 43. “When you’re filled with hate, there, there isn’t any room for anything else.”
It took the love of his two children and the intercession of a “higher power” for White to let go of the hate and begin the healing process.
Letting go of feelings of hate also meant letting go of feelings of revenge. If Charlene White’s murderer is ever apprehended, White said, he will not seek the death penalty.
White, a native of Montgomery, Ala., came to Louisville last Thursday, June 17, with a group called Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation. The group, which as on a two-week tour of Midwestern cities as part of its “Journey of Hope,” held a rally in Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville to call for an end to capital punishment.
But White said that he and other members of victims’ families on the “Journey of Hope” have realized that an execution will not bring back their loved ones.
“Killing another human being isn’t going to heal our pain,” White said. “It’s just going to make it in some way part of what we hate.”
“We’re giving in to this lynch-mob mentality,” he added. “This death penalty stuff is about retribution. Let’s call it what it is. It’s about perpetuating the hate.
Marietta Jaeger of Detroit shares the same feelings as White when it comes to capital punishment. Her seven-year-old daughter, Susie, was kidnapped, raped and murdered in Montana in 1974. When the killer was apprehended one year later, Mrs. Jaeger and her family agreed not to pursue the death penalty.
Mrs. Jaeger, who spoke at the rally and later to a group at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 443 S. Fifth ST., said that use of the death penalty does not compensate for the loss of a family member.