Feddon added that Barwick also made it clear that he knew he wasn’t in the position to ask Wendt’s family for forgiveness. The priest says he felt “proud” of Barwick at that moment.
“Though he was already sedated, though he was in this space where he could feel, I would imagine, the hatred of so many around him, and what they saw in him as somehow not a human person, that he could still speak freely and speak his conscience, and that those were his last words.”
Barwick did not have any family members present at his execution. (Nor were any members of his victim's family present.) However, Feddon had told him that he would be there for him in case “he needed someone to look at that he knew saw him as a child of God and as someone beloved and cared for.”
“We had conversations about how I would be there for him to be able to see me and know that I am praying for him, that I’m loving him in that moment,” Feddon said.
The injection process began at 6:02 p.m. and Barwick was pronounced dead at 6:14 p.m.
“It’s like watching a horror film, you want to look away, you don’t want to see and I’m already thinking, ‘What I’m seeing, I will never unsee again,’” he recalled. “And yet, I’m wanting to make sure that I’m able to make eye contact with him if he happens to look my way.”
Over the weeks Feddon spent with Barwick, he got to know him not as a murderer but as a “child of God.”
Feddon emphasized the word “child” when describing Barwick because “there was a felt sense of innocence in this man on death row.”
“And by innocence, an openness, a generosity, a capacity to wonder,” he continued. “He would ask me questions, the eye contact, he would look at me and have this kind of childlike smile and a sense of like, ‘Wow, that’s so fascinating, that’s interesting, ‘I love how you said that.’”
“So I say a child of God because of the simplicity of Darryl,” he said.
Feddon called Barwick a “faithful Catholic.” He prayed the rosary and read Scripture every morning. Each day at 3 p.m. he prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
(Story continues below)
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He was also a “man of community,” as he loved his brothers on death row. The facility even made Barwick the caretaker of another prisoner who was blind. He dedicated much of his time to writing letters to several pen pals, one of whom was a nun in Philadelphia who formed a friendship with Barwick.
“I told him, I said, ‘Darryl, there’s going to be a legacy of Darryl Barwick. There’s going to be a legacy of these letters you’ve written,’” Feddon recalled. “‘These people of the lives you’ve touched, they’re going to have your letters and I have no doubt they’re going to share some of your stories and some of your insights with their friends, and that’s going to build up the world.’”
Feddon continued: “He told me that it meant a lot to know that there is something that he’s given to the world, even though he’s been thrown away and, kind of, passed, so to speak, outside of the world, or kept apart from the world.”
“So, Darryl, to me, was a devout, faithful, Catholic man who had a sense of innocence and simplicity, and no doubt, also most importantly to me, was a man of community.”
Feddon explained that he has personally always been against the death penalty. However, accompanying Barwick only amplified that.
“I was already opposed to the death penalty prior to Darryl’s execution,” he said. “However, being present with him in those last moments only deepened my conviction that the death penalty is a grave moral evil and an affront to the reality of redemption God offers everyone in this life.”