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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Murder victim speak out against death penalty

The Montgomery-Tuskegee Times
October 13-19, 1994

    Members of a national organization for families of murder victims will speak at a public forum to be held at the Bradshaw Library in Valley (AL) at 7:30 p.m. EST Thursday, October 13.  A local area organizer for the event, Chambers County resident Judy Cumbee, says the forum is part of an annual two-week educational Journey of Hope tour conducted by the group, which this year focuses on major Georgia cities and surrounding towns.  Members of the group speak to high school and college classes, church gatherings, and on radio and television talk shows, as well as in open public meetings.
    The group, called Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation (MVFR), includes people from various parts of the country who have suffered the loss of a family member to murder and also have resolved to oppose capital punishment.  During the forum, says Ms. Cumbee, they will tell their stories and explain why they believe the death penalty is not only morally wrong but fails as a deterrent, only adding to an increasingly violent social climate.  MVFR members do not advocate release of murder offenders to the streets, but instead favor realistic prison sentences that will prevent future violent crimes.  The Thursday event at Bradshaw Library is open free of charge to all interested persons.  Journey of Hope sponsors, however, especially urge anyone who has lost family members or friends to murder to attend the forum.
    The theme of the Journey of Hope tour, says Ms. Cumbee, is “from violence to healing,” citing the testimony of a Michigan woman whose 7-year-old daughter was kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered: “I readily admit that at the time I would have been happy to kill the man with my bare hands.  Victim families have every right to the normal initial response of rage and hatred.  However, my Christian upbringing and my knowledge of good psychological health taught me the oly health and holy response was to forgive.  To kill another person, however malfunctioning, in a cold-blooded, premediated way could not possibly compensate for the unmeasurable value of my daughter’s life.  Our laws should call us to higher moral principles than to resolve problems of violence with more acts of violence.”
    Georgia sponsoring organization for the Journey of Hope include various churches and religious groups, and individuals such as Millard Fuller, of a Habitat for Humanity, Earl P. Shinholster, of the NAACP, and Vicky Partin, of Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry.