The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

As he lay dying

From Ohio comes this story of a convicted killer’s final moments — which included praying the rosary with a bishop:

[Michael] Beuke spent an emotional 24 hours at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility where Ohio’s death house is located ahead of his execution. Prisons spokeswoman Julie Walburn said he cried frequently, played music on a portable keyboard and consulted with his spiritual advisers, to whom the prison released his body.

Beuke was convicted Oct. 5, 1983, of aggravated murder for Craig’s death. He also was found guilty of the attempted slayings of Gregory Wahoff of Cincinnati and Bruce Graham, then from West Harrison, Ind.


While on the gurney, Beuke looked directly at Susan Craig and at Wahoff’s children, Dawn and Paul, and apologized for all three shootings. After the apologies, he delivered the longest final statement on record in the state. His hypnotic, occasionally emotional, prayers included pleas to Jesus and the Virgin Mary to protect sinners “now and at the hour of our death.”

One of Beuke’s spiritual advisers, Bishop R. Dann Conlon, sniffled and blew his nose.
Beuke said he had a spiritual conversion while in prison. He said in an unsuccessful request for clemency that he accepted responsibility and prayed “that God will ease the pain I have caused my victims.”

Dawn Wahoff, whose father was shot and paralyzed for life, said she felt she could finally look to the future and felt “a sense of closure” after he was executed.

Read the whole story here.

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posted May 15, 2010 at 12:25 am

What a heart wrenching story.
Joy at the conversion of a sinner and the healing effect of God’s mercy in someone’s life.
Sorrow for the victims and their families.
Understanding for their continued anger and bitterness. How can any of us say we would be able to feel differently?
Hope for their eventual healing of the pain this man’s actions caused them.
Prayers for the repose of the souls of the victims and the converted convicted.
Just a tragedy all around.

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posted May 16, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Yes to all Gary said above, and let’s all work for the end of the death penalty, which John Paul II identified as part of our culture of death. Work for the end of abortion; work for the end of the death penalty; reject the proliferation of guns that is fueled by the gun industry and the NRA. Work to bring about the culture of life and reject the culture of death, including each and every premeditated action, by individuals or lobbying organizations or the state, that stops a beating heart.
May all the people involved in this case find peace in Christ.

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posted May 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Thank you for your well written piece. Many of us unfortunately have read horror stories about the funeral business. Regrettably there are companies selling cremation urns online which are not much more reputable. While they spend lavish amounts of money on web sites dripping with sympathy – many of these companies are nothing more than a site that drop ships product. Beware of sellers that do not have a physical address or the names of the principals of the company on the site – what are they hiding from? I had an issue with a company called Perfect Memorials ( ) and there was no one from the company that would talk to me. While I could call to order an urn – I could not speak to an owner or manager over the phone – they insisted that we only communicate via email. An evasive tactic if I ever saw one! Perfect Memorials is really a company that invested heavily in the web – but puts very little into the human contact part of the funeral/memorial industry. I would be careful of and others like them.

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