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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Maria Hines

On Feb. 20, 1989, Maria’s brother, Jerry Hines, a Virginia State Trooper, was making a routine vehicle stop. He was shot to death by Dennis Eaton. Eaton was charged with the murders of four individuals, found guilty and was sentenced to death.

Despite her grave personal loss, Hines started a crusade in December 1996 against the death penalty. After watching the movie “Dead Man Walking,” Hines was inspired to take action.

“The person who had changed my life so profoundly, I did not even know,” Hines said. “When I found out that [Eaton] was sentenced to death, I searched my soul for other answers.”

As part of the healing process, Hines began writing letters to the killer of her brother. She began corresponding with him regularly, and arranged visits to see him at the Virginia correctional facility where he was being housed.

On June 18, 1998, at 9:09 pm, Eaton was executed. Hines held a prayer vigil outside Mecklenburg Prison where Eaton was held and executed. She attended the memorial service of Eaton, which was held the following day.


  • Past Board Member Murder Victim’s Families for Reconciliation
  • Member of the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
  • Director Kentucky MVFF
  • Retired School Teacher and Psychotherapist
  • Graduate of Spalding University: Louisville, Kentucky

Joined the following journeys

2003 Ohio


“I realized that forgiveness is not in the abstract. It is person to person.”

"This started in tragedy and is ending in tragedy"