The only way to ensure that the state does not execute an innocent person is to stop using the death penalty altogether

When I was a young mother of my beautiful baby girl Shannon many years ago, I could never have imagined I would lose her to violent crime. I never suspected that her death would propel our family into the debate on Pennsylvania’s system of capital punishment, or that I would later be asked to serve on a government committee studying it. I never knew I would learn that Pennsylvania’s death penalty is too broken to fix and does not serve victims like me.

However, all of those things did happen. Now I want to add my voice to the many asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to abolish Pennsylvania’s capital punishment system, as other states have done.

Shannon was a beautiful and brilliant student at Philadelphia’s Wharton School when she was murdered by a serial rapist in 1998. Prior to her loss, I had not given the death penalty much thought — similar to most Americans, I would guess.

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