The highly acclaimed film At the Death House Door premieres on the Independent Film Channel on May 29, 2008. This documentary provides a unique perspective into the people who participate in executions in Huntsville, Texas. Viewers experience what it means to work on death row through the eyes of Pastor Carroll Pickett, who served 15 years as the death house chaplain and presided over 95 executions (including the world’s first lethal injection). Following each execution, Pastor Pickett recorded an audiotape account of his trip to the death chamber. “I knew I had to talk to somebody and the only thing in my house at that time was a tape recorder,” Pickett explained. At the start of his career at the prison, Pickett agreed with the death penalty because of his own grandfather’s murder and the murders of two of his parishioners. “It was a process,” Pickett said of his change to being against the death penalty. “I began to see the system wasn’t working properly,” citing lack of closure for victims, no deterrence of crime, and that sentences were arbitrary. He also believes that some of the men he helped walk to their death were innocent, especially Carlos De Luna, whose case is highlighted in the film. Viewers may see the film on the IFC television channel starting tonight, May 29th, at 9pm.
(F. Lee, “His life with the deaths that the state carried out,” New York Times, May 27, 2008). See Innocence.