Friday, June 15, 2001

Foes travel to protest execution

By Sarah Buehrle
Enquirer Contributor

        LUCASVILLE, Ohio — A group of Tristaters traveled here Thursday to protest the execution of Jay D. Scott and the death penalty.

        Several in the group of about a dozen had been in Terre Haute, Ind., three days earlier to protest the execution of Timothy McVeigh.

        This is the third trip to the gates of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility for members of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center based in Over-the-Rhine.

        The center is an organization of faith-based groups and individuals who act and educate for social justice issues.

        People drew together from time to time to pray and to share stories about why they were attending the vigil. Berta Lambert of Over-the-Rhine wore a button that said, “The Death Penalty is a Hate Crime.”

        “I'm 59 years young and I'm old enough to know that people change through life. I do believe in punishment, but I also think they need a sense of hope,” Mr. Lambert said.

        Mr. Lambert lost a person close to him through murder.

        He was a friend of Buddy Gray, an advocate for the homeless, and Wilbur Worthen, the man accused of shooting Mr. Gray. “Buddy's gone. I can't do anything about that,” Mr. Lambert said. “I wish Wilbur well and that he goes on to live a productive life.”

        Mr. Worthen was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

        Sister Alice Gerdeman, coordinator of the peace center and vice president of Columbus-based Ohioans to Stop Execution, said she opposes the death penalty.

        “I personally know people who have had relatives murdered and I know people who are murderers. For me, the death penalty is just an evil in our society that hurts other people. I am appalled that society would think that vengeance, retribution, that killing a person would bring us personal happiness, wholeness and healing.”

        In all, there were about 60 people in Lucasville protesting the death penalty, and 15 in favor.


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