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Exonerated death-row inmates push Pa. to abolish capital punishment

November 16, 2018, Aaron Moselle - WHYY

Witness to Innocence, a national anti-death penalty organization based in Philadelphia, staged an event in the city Thursday calling for Pennsylvania to abolish the death penalty.

Led by exonerated death row inmates, WTI uses the first-hand experiences of the wrongly convicted to push for an end to executions in the U.S. — calling the death penalty the biggest problem in a “fatally flawed” criminal justice system.

(At the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia Thursday, the national anti-death penalty organization Witness to Innocence calls for Pennsylvania to abolish the death penalty. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY))

The nonprofit used the event to highlight its 15 years of activism, which supporters credit with playing a “decisive role” in campaigns that abolished capital punishment in seven states — New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland and Nebraska.

“It’s the power of story that changes hearts. You cannot look into the eyes of someone that’s been sentenced to death and not feel it,” said Kathleen Lucas, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, during the event at the National Constitution Center.

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