Last updated: 11:05 p.m., November 20, 2020
Orlando Cordia Hall (Shakib Wali), father of 6 and grandfather of 13, was executed at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, IN on Thursday, November 19th, just before midnight. Though a district court judge had granted a stay before the execution, which had been planned for 6:00 p.m., the Supreme Court overruled the stay hours later.
Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagen offered the only dissenting votes. Newly appointed justice Amy Coney Barret voted in favor of the execution. Fr. Jim Martin, SJ noted on social media that “Amy Coney Barrett, in defiance of Catholic pro-life teaching, has voted to execute someone. The death penalty is, as the Catechism says clearly, ‘inadmissable.'”
Prior to the summer of 2020, it had been 17 years since the federal government executed a single person. Since July, Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Ira Purkey, Dustin Lee Honken, Lezmond Charles Mitchell, Keith Dwayne Nelson, William Emmett Lecroy, Jr., and Christopher Andre Vialva have been poisoned to death in Terre Haute. This string of executions is unimaginable apart from the Trump administration and its fervent promotion of capital punishment.
Yesterday, November 20th, Agape held a vigil in Ware to stand for the dignity and sacredness of Orlando’s life and against the desecration wrought by capital punishment. We will be vigiling in solidarity with Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi USA, and other organizations and communities committed to abolishing the death penalty.
Please consider reading:
“‘My Redemption Journey…’ Last Words From the Next Man to be Killed at Terre Haute”
“Everyone in the courtroom with any power was white. There is systemic institutional racism that is designed to subjugate people of color and the poor. The death penalty has always been used as a tool to terrorize the black community. There has never been a period in the United States when a black person wasn’t under the threat of death, be it by legal lynching, burning, shooting, or beating to death. The method may vary as a means to an end, but the result is still the same.”
Pope Francis’s section on the death penalty in Fratelli Tutti:
” Saint John Paul II stated clearly and firmly that the death penalty is inadequate from a moral standpoint and no longer necessary from that of penal justice. There can be no stepping back from this position. Today we state clearly that “the death penalty is inadmissible” and the Church is firmly committed to calling for its abolition worldwide.”
Josh Marcus’s “‘Dead Man Walking’ nun says Trump administration trying to rush through executions in ‘shameful killing spree’”
“Criminal justice advocates argue the Trump administration is trying to “rush through” as many federal executions as possible before Joe Biden, who opposes capital punishment, takes office.
Sister Helen Prejean, a long-time death penalty abolition advocate whose story is the basis for the film Dead Man Walking, said on Monday the Department of Justice is planning new executions for federal inmates soon and called it a ‘shameful killing spree.'”
Shane Claiborne’s “William Barr and the Politics of Death”
“Orlando Hall is set to be executed on Thursday (Nov. 19). An African American man convicted by an all-white jury in a trial riddled with racial bias, he is one of 22 African American inmates on federal death row — out of 54 men in all. That’s about par for death row prisoners nationwide: Though African Americans make up about 12% of the U.S. population, they account for nearly half of our death row population and over a third of our executions.”