The Deacon's Bench

With those words, a Catholic bishop has called for mercy for a convicted killer sentenced to die:

As Virginia prepared to execute convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad, Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington called for mercy and urged that Muhammad’s sentence be commuted to life in prison without possibility of parole. 

In the needles of lethal injection, we see the manifestation of despair,” the bishop wrote in his column for the Nov. 5 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald, his diocesan newspaper. 

“And in this despair, in advocating the use of the death penalty, our society has moved beyond the legitimate judgment of crimes. 

Brothers and sisters, we are better than this,” he added. “We are called to be more than slaves to despair; we are called to be heralds of hope.” 

Muhammad, 48, was scheduled to die by lethal injection in a Virginia prison Nov. 10 for the Oct. 9, 2002, murder of Dean Harold Meyers, 53, one of 10 victims killed during a three-week spree police said was carried out by Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo in the Washington area. Three other people were wounded. 

Malvo, 17 at the time of the shootings, is serving a life sentence in a Virginia prison.

You can read the bishop’s full column right here.

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