Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1998-1999 index

Distributed March 8, 1999
Contact: Glenn Hare

Forum on the death penalty

Oklahoma City bombing victim to speak against capital punishment

Bob Welsh, whose daughter was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, will share his feelings about the death of his child, about Timothy McVeigh and about the death penalty on Monday, March 15, at 7 p.m. in MacMillan Hall. Welsh will be the featured speaker at a forum, "Murder: Should We Seek Vengeance or Healing?"

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- It took Bob Welsh, whose daughter was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, a long time to find an outlet for his rage and anger. For several months after the burial of Julie Marie all Welsh could think of was revenge against Timothy McVeigh. Three years later the healing started when he visited Bill McVeigh, Timothy's father. He now travels the country speaking about his experience.

Welsh will share his feelings about the violent loss of his daughter, about Timothy McVeigh and about the death penalty at 7 p.m. Monday, March 15, in Room 117 of MacMillan Hall on the Brown University Campus. He will be the featured speaker during "Murder: Should We Seek Vengeance or Healing?" a forum on the death penalty sponsored by the University Chaplain's Office.

"The forum hopes to generate interest in death penalty issues in New England," said forum organizer Frank Stewart, "and help to explain that capital punishment only seeks retribution and isn't a deterrent against crime."

Other sponsors include the Rhode Island Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Rhode Island Council of Churches and the Catholic Diocese of Providence.

The forum will follow a meeting of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation, a national organization of family members who have lost relatives to murder or to execution by the state. That meeting takes place in Boston's Faneuil Hall on Saturday, March 13.

The University's forum also will feature Pat Clark, whose uncle and cousin were murdered when she was a young girl. Clark has worked against the death penalty for many years and currently directs the Criminal Justice Program of the American Friends Service Committee, an organization committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service.

Providence attorney Mark Denehy will also be speaking. Denehy appealed the death sentence of Louis Truesdale Jr. through the South Carolina Supreme Court, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He was with Truesdale throughout his last days and witnessed his execution.

In addition, a panel discussion moderated by Jasmine Waddell, a Brown senior majoring in political science, will allow for audience participation.

On Friday, April 16, Sister Helen Prejean of the Sisters of St. Joseph Medaille will address the University at noon in the Salomon Center for Teaching. Prejean, a staunch opponent of the death penalty, received international recognition and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her book Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United State. The book was No. 1 on the New York Times best seller list for a number of weeks and has been translated into several languages. Dead Man Walking, the film based on book, was nominated for four Academy Awards. Susan Sarandon, who portrays Prejean, won the award for best actress. Prejean's presentation is open to the public without charge. The Salomon Center is located on The College Green.