They Killed Nick Sutton In Tennessee the Other Night…

I woke up Thursday morning in Ohio feeling very troubled that even when prison guards are advocating for mercy, none would come. We had to do something different. And so, we did.

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Death Penalty Action Co-Director Abe Bonwitz with Rev. Kevin Riggs. With help from Molly Williams on-site and Susan Hudson McBride in support, we stood on the shoulder of the road just before the main entrance to the prison grounds. Our goal was to send a message to prison workers arriving in advance of the shift change. We actually received thumbs up and applause from drivers heading into the prison, including from several uniformed officers! We *must* continue this work.

“Nick Sutton has been a positive influence in prison, and his guards wanted him alive because he made them safer,” said Abraham Bonowitz of Death Penalty Action [in news coverage on]. “What is happening tonight is immoral and counterproductive.”

Check out the tweets from Sr. Helen Prejean and Shane Claiborne. The tweets tell the story!

There were some expenses involved (see below). Will you click here now help us pay for this work?

Our prayers and healing thoughts go to the families of the victims and of Nick Sutton, which in this case were many of the same people. We also wish for healing for the staff of the Tennessee Department of Corrections, whose job it is to unnecessarily kill a defenseless human being. In this case it was a person many of them knew, respected, and even advocated for. No state worker should have to assume that life-long burden, and I suspect some of them are more ready now then ever before to wash their hands of this system. We must keep reaching out to them!

Your protest was not unheard.

Death Penalty Action petitions and the #March4Mercy letter were hand delivered to Governor Lee. Normally, the Governor dodges us. This time Dan Mann and Rev. Kevin Riggs happened upon him in the state capitol on their way to his office. He stopped, took their materials, spoke with them and even prayed with them. A television station caught the action but sadly that particular coverage aired once but has not been posted.

What’s next?

When you have been doing this for a long time, as we have, it’s easy to just keep going about your business. But really, this is traumatizing, and it is important to take the time to contemplate, breathe, and recommit to the struggle. I hope you do so, and then jump right back in with both feet!

So what can we do?

Keep standing up in opposition to executions.

I mentioned expenses above. Here’s a breakdown just for the past week of action related to Tennessee:

  • Two round trip drives from Columbus, Ohio to Nashville, TN: Fuel, wear & tear on vehicle, food, coffee, not to mention time — 380 miles/six hours each way. Chip in a tank of gas, a meal, a coffee — chip in whatever that amount is in your experience
  • Special “Refuse to participate” sign printed on rush order: $152
  • The costs we incur include presence and capacity to lead on these actions, as well as the basics, like telephone and internet costs each month. What is having Death Penalty Action present worth to you?
  • Here is our Paypal link.

Let us know how we can support your efforts where you live by replying to this message.

Together we are making a difference.

Thank you.

— abe

Abraham J. Bonowitz, Co-Director

PS: Like what we do? Help make it happen with your donation today, here!

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Death Penalty Action provides high visibility resources, leadership and support in order to stop executions.

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