TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The author of "Dead Man Walking" said Saturday a more fitting punishment for Timothy McVeigh than execution would be to keep him locked up for the rest of his life surrounded by pictures of Oklahoma City bombing victims.
Sister Helen Prejean, whose book was made into an Academy Award-winning movie, said before an address to about 90 graduates at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College that it was hypocritical for the government to execute people.
"The key moral question about Timothy McVeigh is if, in the book of justice, anybody deserves to die, it's Timothy McVeigh," Prejean said at a news conference Saturday. "But the key question to us, as a society, is who deserves to kill him?"
McVeigh is scheduled to die by lethal injection May 16 for bombing the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, killing 168 people. The college is located just north of the federal prison where he is scheduled to die.
Also Saturday, Episcopalian prison ministers from across the country said the execution made the time ripe for a moratorium on the death penalty. Sixty prison chaplains were in Indianapolis attending the sixth National Prison Ministry Conference of the Episcopal Church.
Prejean, whose book was made into an Academy Award-winning movie, related anecdotes from her death row experiences during her address to graduates but never mentioned McVeigh.
For years, Prejean has traveled the country, giving as many as 20 speeches a month in opposition to the death penalty. She's watched five death row inmates that she's counseled be executed, including Patrick Sonnier, who was featured in "Dead Man Walking."