Bonita Spikes’ husband was murdered 12 years ago. She now works to end the death penalty in Maryland. She recently wrote about her perspective on capital punishment in the Baltimore Sun. She stated, in part:

I know that my late husband, Michael, who was an innocent bystander in a 1994 convenience store shooting in New York City, would be proud of me because he, too, opposed the death penalty.

… [M]ost relatives of murder victims drop their guard when I tell them that I experienced the grief-driven impulse for revenge when the hospital curtain was pulled aside, revealing my husband’s body with a bullet wound in the chest.

But Michael’s killers were never found, and I eventually realized that my desire to see the murderers brought to justice was prolonging my pain. I know I was a basket case until I decided to “let go and let God,” as they say. I also know that it is wrong to kill and, therefore, punishing a murderer with death is as wrong as the original crime.

As an African-American woman, my opposition to capital punishment deepened when I learned how race infects who gets sentenced to life and who gets sentenced to death… . The murders of white Marylanders are more than twice as likely to bring death sentences, a disparity that only increases when the defendant is black. The vast majority of murder victims in our state are black, but all the men currently sitting on our death row were convicted of killing white people.

We may be moving toward ending the death penalty. We will all be better for it.

(Baltimore Sun, Nov. 7, 2006). Read the article. See Victims.