For Victim's Families |Death Penalty Websites |Catholics and The Death Penalty

"When my daughter Jamila was killed, our family embarked on the most difficult journey of our lives the slow and tortuous healing process. In order to bear the pain, we had to reconcile to the reality of the murder. We had to accept that nothing we do to the killer will bring Jamila back. We needed her killer to be held responsible, but the notion that we must put that person to death to achieve justice or somehow gain closure is completely at odds with our reality."

Eddie Hicks
resident of Galloway Twp., testifying before the New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee, Janurary 5, 2006

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Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation-New Jersey

Reconciliation means accepting that you cannot undo the murder but you can decide how you want to live afterwards

Founded in 1976, Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation is a national organization of family members of both homicide and state killings who oppose the death penalty in all cases. Our mission is to abolish the death penalty. We advocate for programs and policies that reduce the rate of homicide and promote crime prevention and alternatives to violence. We support programs that address the needs of victims, helping them to rebuild their lives.

MVFR is a non-religious organization that includes people of a wide variety of faiths and belief systems. Because violent crime cuts across a broad spectrum of society, our members are geographically, racially, and economically diverse.

Here are some voices of murder victims' family members who reject capital punishment:

"I don't get the need for revenge.  How does it make it better?"
- Bill Piper

Bill Piper lost his mother, Mrs. Arlene K. Piper, to murder at the hands of a nighttime intruder previously unknown to her in July of 1999.  Bill and his wife, Molly Weigel, as the only family members in opposition to the death penalty, worked in various ways to convince the family and the prosecution to accept a plea bargain sentencing the murderer to life in prison without parole.  Knowing how detrimental the legal process involved in capital conviction is to the healthy grieving of already traumatized family members of victims, Bill and Molly are beginning to find ways to work actively as death penalty abolitionists and as part of support networks for anyone in a similar situation.  The trauma of a loved one’s murder is only compounded by being asked to participate in further killing.  Enough is enough.  “Not  In Our Name!

Text Of  Bill's Statement Regarding A1913

I was a staunch opponent of capital punishment before my daughter’s murder and continue to be so. The death penalty is not justice. It is a barbaric means of revenge that most civilized societies have abandoned.

"I have always been opposed to the death penalty. As much pain and turmoil that my family and I suffered from my daughter’s murder, my feelings concerning the death penalty have not changed. I feel that the death penalty is not administered equally across racial and socio-economic groups. It is not a deterrent and only serves as a vehicle of vengeance."
- Eddie Hicks

Eddie Hicks is 48 and has been married for 30 years to his wife Karen. He had three adult children. His oldest daughter was murdered on May 29, 2000 at the age of 26. He also has 4 grandchildren. He was employed with the Atlantic City New Jersey Fire Department for 25 years. The first 17 of those years as a suppression Firefighter, the last 8 years as a Fire Marshal and the Public Fire Safety Education Officer for the city of Atlantic City. He retired from the Fire Department April 1st 2002. Prior to the Fire Service, He was enlisted in the US Marine Corps during the Viet Nam war era. He now resides in Galloway Township NJ. He is a Volunteer for the Superior Court of New Jersey on the Juvenile Conference Committee, Atlantic County. He has been involved in mentoring programs for troubled youths. He is a past President of the Atlantic City Chapter of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters.

"Lisa was killed by her husband, because she was leaving him.  Before he was given a 20 year sentence for her murder, I couldn't help but think about what I would tell my young grandaughter if the state imposed the death penalty.  How do you explain the death penalty to a child?  I could hear myself: "Daddy killed Mommy and the state killed Daddy, but remember, child, killing is wrong."  What kind of lesson is that?"
- June Post

June Post lost her step-daughter, Lisa, then 29, to a domestic murder in the state of Georgia 14 years ago. For the past five years, she and her husband Lorry, Lisa's father, have devoted all of their time with the expectation of obtaining a comprehensive study of all aspects of use of that penalty before NJ resumes executions.  The Posts are particularly concerned about the hierarchy of victims; how it is that some victims seem to warrant the death penalty for their killers, while others, such as the man who murdered Lisa, warrant only a relatively light penalty. They believe that all lives have equal value and neither individuals nor the state shall take lives.  They wage this struggle to honor the memory of their beloved Lisa.



June and Lorry Post

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