By Maria Weiring
The Catholic Review, Archdiocese of Baltimore
– February 4, 2013 –
ANNAPOLIS – Vicki Schieber, 68, grins when she talks about her daughter – her intelligence, her beauty, her selflessness.
Her face softens when she talks about her murder.
Shannon Schieber was 24 when she was raped and murdered in her Philadelphia apartment. It was May 7, 1998, three days before Mother’s Day.
It took police four years to find the perpetrator, Tony Graves, who had raped several other women by the time he was apprehended in Colorado. Shannon was the only one he killed.
Graves was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, not the death penalty, although Pennsylvania is one of 33 states that allow capital punishment.
The sentence satisfied Schieber, a vocal death penalty opponent. Even before Graves was caught, she forgave him, she said. She had seen hate and vengeance rip apart other families, and did not want that for herself.
A parishioner of St. Peter the Apostle in Libertytown, Schieber was among dozens of activists who gathered Jan. 28 outside the Maryland State House to rally against Maryland’s death penalty.