“I think as long as we keep on seeing the vicious killers and the type of heinous acts that are committed, I believe the death penalty will stay around and will be used for those type of criminals.”
Listen to the full interview I had with Rod Edwards here
“I had 105 years, I wasn’t going anywhere.”
Listen to the full interview I had with Nick Yarris here
This is the letter that Aba Gayle wrote to her daughter – Catherine – murderer, Douglas Mickey, it is featured on her website.
(She has kindly allowed me the permission to use this letter – please see full interview for this permission.)
Dear Mr. Mickey,
Twelve years ago, I had a beautiful daughter named Catherine. She was a young woman of unusual talents and intelligence. She was slender and her skin glowed with health and vitality. She had long naturally wavy hair that framed her sparkling eyes and warm bright smile. She radiated love and joy!
Catherine was living with her friend, Eric, on a fifteen-acre pear ranch. Catherine’s greatest love was her animals. She was raising two milk goats, her German shepherd with a new litter of ten puppies and an Arabian mare. She had tried to live with her father and his wife on their property (where there would be room for all her animals) but her stepmother’s emotional illness made that impossible and she had just recently moved back with her friend Eric.
Two months after her 19th birthday Catherine left her earthly body and her spirit transitioned to her next stage of life. I know that Catherine is in a better place than we can ever know here on earth. I did not know that when Catherine died. I knew that I had been robbed of my precious child and that she had been robbed of growing into womanhood and achieving all of her potential. The violent way she left this earth was impossible for me to understand. I was saddened beyond belief and felt that I would never be completely happy again. And indeed my loss of Catherine became the point of reference for my entire family. All family history was prefaced as happening either before or after Catherine’s death.
I was very angry with you and wanted to see you punished to the limit of the law. You had done irreparable damage to my family and my dreams for the future.
After eight long years of grief and anger I started my journey of life. I met wonderful teachers and slowly began to learn about my God-self. In the midst of a class studying A Course in Miracles I was surprised to find that I could forgive you. This does not mean that I think you are innocent or that you are blameless for what happened. What I learned is this: You are a divine child of God. You carry the Christ consciousness within you. You are surrounded by God’s love even as you sit in your cell. There is no devil; there is only the goodness of God. The Christ in me sends blessings to the Christ in you.
Do not look to me to be a political or social advocate in your behalf. The law of the land will determine your fate. Do not waste your last days on earth with remorse and fear. Death as we know it is really a new beginning. Hell does not exist except in our conscious minds.
I hope that this letter will help you to face your future. There is only love and good in the world regardless of how thing may appear to you now. I am willing to write to you or visit you if you wish. I send blessings to you and to your children.
Gayle, Mother of Catherine
“It took four years of really intense reading and study to learn how to forgive the man that murdered my daughter.”
Listen to the full interview I had with Aba Gayle here
Rod Edwards is the State Director for the pro-death penalty organisation ‘Nebraskan’s for the Death Penalty‘ and last week in the US elections, the people of Nebraska spoke; they have brought the death penalty back from the dead.
In 2015 Nebraska became the first conservative state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty, voting to eliminate the death penalty by passing the Legislative Bill 268 (LB 268) and defying their Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, a staunch supporter of capital punishment who had lobbied vigorously against banning it.
Soon after Nebraskans for the Death Penalty launched a petition drive aimed at both blocking the enactment of LB 268 and putting the future of the death penalty to a vote of the people.
The petition drive in the summer of 2015 was a tremendous success – more than 166,000 signatures were gathered from Nebraskans in all 93 counties in 86 days using hundreds of volunteer circulators.
The Secretary of State’s office and county election officials determined that more than enough valid signatures were gathered to block the law and allow a public vote at the 2016 general election.
So fast forward 16th months and it brings us to last weeks presidential elections, where there was an incredible pivotal turning point Nebraska with a 61% vote to bring back the death penalty and legalise it once more.
With 10 inmates currently facing execution on the death penalty, Nebraska hasn’t executed anyone in 20 years – and the last time they did they used the method of the electric chair.
“By all definitions I am a victim, I am the mother of a beautiful young daughter who was brutally murdered.”
My Story began on early fall day in 1980 with a phone call. The voice at the other end of the line said “Well what do you think about Catherine being shot?”
I said, “What do you mean? What are you talking about?”
“Well haven’t you heard? Catherine was shot!”
I got off the phone and called the sheriff’s department. “This is Gayle, mother of Catherine Blount. I hear she has been shot. Where is she? how is she? I must go to her!
The voice at the other end of the line said, “No, ma’am your daughter hasn’t been shot. Your daughter is dead.”
Aba Gayle’s life changed forever. Her 19 year old daughter Catherine Blount was murdered.
“I’m sorry, but your daughter, Catherine, is dead. Your daughter was murdered. She was stabbed to death.”
Aba spent 8 long years in anger and rage and lusting for revenge against her daughters murderer. She was assured by the district attorney that the execution of the man responsible for Catherine’s murder would make everything alright and she would be healed.
But after 12 long years Aba Gayle had an epiphany. She heard a voice that told her to forgive the man who murdered Catherine, and to let him know. She later wrote a letter to her daughters murderer – Douglas Mickey who was convicted and sent to death row in San Quentin State Prison in California.
Luke Templeman is the public relations spokesmen for Human Writes – a long established British non -profit humanitarian organisation founded for the purpose of befriending prisoners on Death Row in the USA.
Although based in the UK, they have members from many countries and our organisation is well known and internationally respected.
The organisation does not campaign against the death penalty, they are neutral on this debate, as its main remit is friendship through letter writing.
Human Writes is not linked to any particular political or religious groups, and because of this they have been accepted by the US prison authorities as a reputable organisation, working within the parameters of their systems, to help those in need, facing the death penalty.
Living conditions on Death Row in many states are harsh and dehumanising. It is not unusual for people to be locked up for 23 hours a day or to suffer sensory deprivation. Many of the prisoners are abandoned by their families and friends and some have no contact whatsoever with the outside world. Receiving letters can make a huge difference to their quality of life; prisoners speak of us as their sunshine or their window on the world. Above all, they value being able to have a normal conversation with someone and the feeling that someone cares.