Anti-death penalty advocate visits Nebraska

Posted By: Nicole Cousins

ncousins@klkntv.com

With Nebraska’s decision on whether to reinstate the death penalty right around the corner, the group Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty brought in a worldwide advocate to show us why voters should choose to keep the death penalty out of Nebraska.

On Tuesday, supporters who want to keep death row out of Nebraska brought in an international advocate who believes in forgiveness.

Bill Pelke started the group Journey of Hope after he forgave the teenager who violently killed his grandmother in Indiana in 1985.

The girl responsible, Paula Cooper pled guilty and was sent to death row.

Pelke says at first, he believed cooper deserved to die for the crime she committed.

He later changed his mind, and gained more than two million signatures to take Cooper off the row.

Her sentence was reduced to 60 years in prison in 1989.

Nebraska legislators voted to replace the death penalty with life without parole in 2015.

But now that bill is being challenged.

For Nebraskans like Mariam Thimm Kelle who’s brother was violently tortured and killed near the village of Rulo in 1985.

Voting to retain the law that eliminates the death penalty is the best way for her family to cope.

Both Kelle and Pelke say getting rid of the death penalty in the United States is the first step in ending punishment killings across the world.

To clarify, the death penalty is currently outlawed in Nebraska.

On November 8th, you can either vote to retain LB268 that makes the maximum penalty of murder life in prison, or repeal it to bring back the death penalty.

Pelke will be touring various cities in Nebraska through July 24.