Interfaith Group Holds Anti-Death Penalty Vigil Before Execution

July 27, 2006

Source: WVLT-TV

WVLT-TV reported, "A group promoting alternatives to capital punishment in our state is holding a candlelight vigil Tuesday night in Knoxville. Members of the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killings are demonstrating their opposition to Wednesday morning's execution. Volunteer TV's Gary Loe has more from the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church where folks are holding a prayer service for condemned Tennessee inmate Sedley Alley. Death penalty opponents are taking part in an interfaith vigil leading up to Wednesday morning's inmate execution in Nashville. These folks say meeting violence with violence won't lower our state's murder rate. Efforts begin with sign holding along Kingston Pike by members of the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing. They oppose the death penalty and are trying to create a greater awareness of alternatives to capital punishment here in Tennessee. 'I think a lot of people aren't aware that there was almost a dual execution this evening,' said Louis Presser, who opposes executions. More than a dozen people from different faiths join in an interfaith service of hope, praying for convicted killer Sedley Alley. The coalition welcomes all who oppose executions for moral or other reasons. 'The death penalty is racially biased. It doesn't deter crime. It's used unfairly and capriciously, and we just don't think the death penalty system can work in Tennessee. We're here to support the lives and to honor life and end violence,' said Katie Blackburn, who opposes executions. They're calling for an immediate halt to executions until a thorough and independent study of the system is conducted. Meantime, they'll continue to demonstrate against using violence to end violence."