LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Critics of capital punishment hope Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson hears their message to stop the scheduled executions of the “Arkansas Eight.” If he is at home, he might.
Members of the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty are staging a daily rally outside the Governor’s Mansion. They held signs, marched up and down the block, and chanted for mercy Wednesday afternoon, for Jason McGehee, and the rest of the Arkansas 8. McGehee became the first of the death row inmates scheduled for execution later this month to earn a recommendation of clemency from the Arkansas Parole Board.
“We support the Parole Board’s decision to recommend clemency for Jason McGehee,” said Furonda Brasfield, Executive Director of the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. “There are so many extenuating circumstances that are in his case. And we hope that the governor will grant clemency to Jason McGehee and to the rest of the eight gentlemen that are on death row.”
They began this daily protest a week and a half ago. Some days 20 people will gather, while other days only one or two will show, depending on the weather. But they believe that even a small presence, so long as it is consistent, will force the governor to notice.
"If I were him, I wouldn't want this to be a legacy that my children and grandchildren would remember me by,” said Caroline Stevenson. “And I hope that he will take that to heart, too."
The protesters said they will continue to show up outside the Governor's Mansion every afternoon until he stops the executions. If he allows them to take place, the group will hold candlelight vigils each night, because the executions are scheduled for nighttime.
The group also plans to hold a large rally on the steps of the State Capitol on Friday, April 14, at 1:30 p.m.