Tuesday, April 21, 2020
The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) reports on the COVID-19 related death of Jerry Givens, who performed 62 executions during his time as a Virginia Corrections Officer, but later became an outspoken critic of the death penalty.
According to Michael Stone, executive director of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Givens "was one of the very few executioners who was willing to speak publicly about his experience, and how that experience changed him over time so that he became a passionate critic and opponent of the death penalty.”
More background on Givens' journey to anti-death penalty advocate is here.
According to the DPIC news release, just weeks before his death, Givens sent a message to DPIC: “With this Coronavirus that has taken control over our Country,” he wrote, “executions should be the last thing on the list. Let us join together and pray that things will get better.”
In fact, news reports indicate that some states are refusing to turn over sedatives, painkillers and other drugs that could help COVID-19 patients, instead preferring to save those drugs for the day when executions resume and the drugs can be used to kill rather than to heal.