You are here: Who we are / Murder Victim Family / Marietta Jaeger-Lane
Saturday, April 04, 2020

Marietta Jaeger -Lane, Three Folks MT

Marietta‘s 7-year-old daughter Susie was kidnapped from the family’s tent during a camping vacation. For a year, the family knew nothing of Susie’s whereabouts. On the first anniversary of Susie’s disappearance, the kidnapper telephoned Marietta and inadvertently revealed sufficient information to enable the FBI to identify and then arrest him.

Marietta asked that the mentally ill man be given the alternative allowed in capital cases: a mandatory life sentence instead of the death penalty. Only then was the kidnapper willing to confess to Susie’s  murder, as well as to the deaths of three other young persons in the same county. He committed suicide just hours later.

Marietta speaks about the death penalty in numerous venues throughout the United States – most recently at a Montana Senate hearing on an abolition bill. She participates in the Journey of Hope‘s annual speaking tour, and has given two interviews to Vatican Radio, testified before the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, and spoken for  Amnesty International’s Worldwide Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty in Japan and South Korea.


  • Journey of Hope Cofounder 1997
  • Journey of Hope Board Member 1997-03
  • California Journey organizer
  • MVFR board member 1993-1996
  • Author


"Loved ones, wrenched from our lives by violent crime, deserve more beautiful, noble and honorable memorials than pre-meditated, state-sanctioned killings. The death penalty only creates more victims and more grieving families. By becoming that which we deplore -- people who kill people -- we insult the sacred memory of all our precious victims."

Concerning the claim of justice for the victim's family, I say there is no amount of retaliatory deaths that would compensate to me the inestimable value of my daughter's life, nor would they restore her to my arms. To say that the death of any other person would be just retribution is to insult the immeasurable worth of our loved ones who are victims. We cannot put a price on their lives. That kind of justice would only dehumanize and degrade us because it legitimates an animal instinct for gut-level bloodthirsty revenge.

In my case, my own daughter was such a gift of joy and sweetness and beauty, that to kill someone in her name would have been to violate and profane the goodness of her life; the idea is offensive and repulsive to me.

Capital punishment degrades, dehumanizes and debilitates us as a human society.