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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Mary Deans RIP

In 1990 Marie Deans and Joe Ingle were honored by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty when she was presented the Abolitionists of the Year Award for their work with the Southern Coalition of Jails and Prisons.

In the late ‘seventies’ Marie Deans realized the need for a group for murder victims family members who were opposed to the Death Penalty after her mother-in-law Penny was killed. Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation emerged as the first organization of its kind, murder victim family members against the Death Penalty.

Marie worked for many years with the Southern Coalition on Jails and Prisons before concentrating on the Virginia Coalition on Jails and Prisons. Marie Deans was one of first abolitionists of the new era movement.

Marie has been a friend to many men on Virginia’s Death Row and has spent countless hours with their families around the times of their execution. 34 of Marie’s habeas clients asked her to stay with them on their deathwatches and until they were killed, and she did. 

The Joe Giarratano case is one of Marie’s success stories.

Joined the following journeys

1993 Indiana
1996 Virginia
2006 Virginia


“As we were about to finish the class this young girl raised her hand and said, ‘You have changed by mind. You have got to get around everywhere, you have got to give everybody this message.’

This is our First, Big, Public: Here we are Folks and we mean it. It is not the end of our Journey, but it is a coming home. It feels that way to me. This Journey of Hope has got to go on until we reach real justice.”