(Reprinted parts of Courier Journal article)
EDDYVILLE, Ky. -- A dozen death-penalty opponents held a vigil outside the Kentucky State Penitentiary last night as state officials executed confessed child killer Marco Allen Chapman.
Vigils were organized in other communities, including Louisville, Frankfort and Bowling Green. About 40 people gathered in downtown Louisville in Jefferson Square at 7 p.m. for an hourlong vigil and demonstration. Many held candles and signs with messages such as "Execute justice, not people." The opponents at the Kentucky State Penitentiary were directed to a field facing the building where Chapman was executed at 7:34 p.m. CDT.
The group began arriving about an hour before the scheduled 7 p.m. CDT start time. Some held signs, which had sayings such as "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
Two large, heated tents were set up. In a tent about 100 yards from the tent where the opponents gathered, four individuals huddled, saying they were "observers." They would not identify themselves or say whether they supported the death penalty.
Amanda Bragg, a death- penalty opponent from Bowling Green, said she drove to the prison from Lexington, where she is a law student at the University of Kentucky, because she believes the death penalty is unnecessary. "I don't support the execution of anybody," she said. Sister Judy Morris, of Louisville, said she made the long drive to Eddyville because the event "demanded sacrifice." She said she does not believe Chapman's execution will offer the family of the victims closure.
Chapman was convicted of killing two children, Chelbi Sharon, 7, and her brother, Cody Sharon, 6, in 2002 in the Northern Kentucky town of Warsaw. He also sexually assaulted their mother, Carolyn Marksberry, and attacked their sister, Courtney Sharon, who survived and is now 16.
***Chapman asked for a death sentence, and a week ago was permitted to dismiss public defenders who were trying to halt his execution.***
At the Louisville vigil, participants also read the names of prisoners on Kentucky's death row and those of their victims, observed several moments of silence and sang a rendition of "We Shall Overcome."
Cathy Hinko, 56, of Louisville, stood with the circle of people huddled beneath the city's Christmas tree for the demonstration, spearheaded by the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. She said she attended the vigil because she believes capital punishment does not deter crime, is costly and could be used on innocent citizens when the justice system fails."I think the death penalty is an unintelligent response to crime," Hinko said. Dona O'Sullivan, 61, said she opposes the practice even in cases where death- row prisoners abandon their appeals."He wants to die and really it's state-sanctioned suicide," she said.
Below is a pic from the lake of Kentucky State Penitentiary aka The Castle on the Cumberland.