"All these appeals, some of them he put through several times. And then we sat in a van for four hours this morning while he did a bunch more appeals," she said. "We just shouldn't have to wait this long."
The resumption of federal executions has been controversial since plans were announced last summer. Prior to this week, the last federal execution was in 2003.
The next scheduled execution is Dustin Lee Honken, who was sentenced to death in 2004 for the murders of five people, including two young girls and their mother. Honken is scheduled to be executed on July 17.
Honken's spiritual advisor, Fr. Mark O'Keefe, OSB, attempted to delay the execution due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. His request was denied.
Among the supporters of Honken's bid for clemency is Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, formerly the Archbishop of Indianapolis. Tobin personally asked President Donald Trump to commute Honken's sentence to life in prison.
In a letter to the president, Tobin explained that he had known Honken for seven years, and had witnessed his spiritual growth. Tobin wrote that Honken's crimes are "heinous," but that his execution "will do nothing to restore justice or heal those still burdened by these crimes."
"Instead, his execution will reduce the government of the United States to the level of a murderer and serve to perpetuate a climate of violence which brutalizes our society in so many ways," Tobin wrote, noting that the use of the death penalty makes the United States an "outlier" in the world.
"If his death sentence is commuted, Mr. Honken expects to spend his remaining days in prison," Tobin wrote.
"By commuting this death sentence, you would help stem the tide of anger and revenge that threatens our country," he told the president.
Other bishops have condemned the renewed use of the death penalty by the federal government after a 17-year moratorium.
On July 7, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Bishop William Medley of Owensboro, Kentucky, Bishop Oscar Solis of Salt Lake City, Bishop Thomas Zinkula of Davenport, Iowa, and Bishop Richard Pates who is the apostolic administrator of Joliet, Illinois, all joined more than 1,000 faith leaders in calling for a stop to scheduled executions of four federal death row inmates.
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"As our country grapples with the COVID 19 pandemic, an economic crisis, and systemic racism in the criminal legal system, we should be focused on protecting and preserving life, not carrying out executions," the faith leaders stated.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2267 on the death penalty was updated in 2018 with a statement from Pope Francis, calling the death penalty "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person."