LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- About 220 religious leaders of multiple faiths from across Arkansas have come together to ask Governor Asa Hutchinson to stop the executions of seven death row inmates that are set to begin in less than a week.
"We call on Governor Asa Hutchinson and Leslie Rutledge, the attorney general, to do everything they can to commute the sentences to life without parole so they will not have blood on their hands and so the world doesn’t have to see Arkansas be the state that kills more people than any state," said Rev. Clint Schnekloth with Evangelical Lutheran Church.
They mention the irony of the time the executions are set to begin, the day after Easter Sunday.
"It’s a Sunday that Christians all over the world celebrate life and here we are in our state about to stare death in the face over the next two weeks," said Rev. Jay Clark with Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church.
The religious leaders walked the halls of the capitol to the governor’s office to hand over the letter in hopes that he may use his power to stop it.
"Let these men be alive and perhaps be reconciled to God, be transformed," said Schnekloth.
To see the full meeting watch the video below.
The letter reads:
We the following faith leaders, call on Governor Asa Hutchinson to stop the eight upcoming scheduled executions of Don Davis, Bruce Earl Ward, Ledelle Lee, Stacey Johnson, Marcel Williams, Jack Jones, and Kenneth Williams and commute their sentences to life without parole.
As faith leaders, we are opposed to the death penalty because we believe that in spite of their actions, they retain the God-given dignity of any human life which must be respected. Aside from this God-given dignity, there are other reasons for not applying the death penalty.
- It is not effective as a deterrent to crime.
- It is applied inconsistently.
- It has a negative impact even on the family of the victim.
- Mistakes are made- since 1973, 139 inmates on death row from 26 states have been exonerated.
- Studies in other states have shown that the death penalty is more costly than alternative sentences.
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