At this very moment down in Huntsville, folks are marking the 25th anniversary of lethal injection in the U.S. at the Texas Prison Museum, which is hosting a panel discussion titled, fittingly, “25 Years of Lethal Injection: What Have We Learned?” Good question -- same one the Supreme Court's scheduled to ask in June, matter of fact.
Among the panelists is museum director and former warden Jim Willett, recently featured in the paper version of Unfair Park. Also participating is Associated Press reporter Michael Gracyzk, who has observed more than 300 executions during his career, as well as Larry Fitzgerald, former public information manager for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and witness to some 200 executions. All three men were featured in the 2000 Peabody-Award-winning National Public Radio broadcast Witness to an Execution.
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Rounding out Friday’s panel is Paula Kurland, whose 21-year-old daughter was stabbed 28 times by a stalker in 1986. Kurland ultimately forgave the man convicted of murdering her daughter and met with him face to face before he was put to death. "You forgive because it frees you," she told the Baptist Standard. "Hopefully, one day, it will free the offender, but that's not the reason you do it. You do it because it frees you." --Megan Feldman