The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions

September 27, 2011

From the author of the national bestseller Dead Man Walking comes a brave and fiercely argued new book that tests the moral edge of the debate on capital punishment: What if we’re executing innocent men? Two cases in point are Dobie Gillis Williams, an indigent black man with an IQ of 65, and Joseph Roger O’Dell. Both were convicted of murder on flimsy evidence (O’Dell’s principal accuser was a jailhouse informant who later recanted his testimony). Both were executed in spite of numerous appeals. Sister Helen Prejean watched both of them die. As she recounts these men’s cases and takes us through their terrible last moments, Sister Prejean brilliantly dismantles the legal and religious arguments that have been used to justify the death penalty. Riveting, moving, and ultimately damning, The Death of Innocents is a book we dare not ignore.

Prejean, Helen, CSJ. The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. New York, New York: Random House, 2005.

ISBN 0679440569

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This resource originally was posted on the Catholics Against Capital Punishment (CACP) website, which was turned over to CMN in 2012. For more information on CACP’s history and other resources, click here.