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Executed September 3, 2003
- Click Here to read victim’s family letter to Governor Bush.
- Click Here to see statements released at FADP’s August 25th press conference, as well as a transcript of that press conference.
- Click Here to read recent news articles on this case.
- Click Here to see FADP’s Paul Hill related press releases.
- Click Here to see the list of other prominent anti-abortion murders.
- Click Here to read selected statements by other organizations.
The State of Florida is going to grant “Martyrdom” via State-Assisted Suicide to Paul Hill at 6pm on September 3, 2003 in revenge for his murder of Dr. John B. Britton, 79, of Fernandina Beach, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. James H. Barrett, 74, of Pensacola. Hill used a shotgun to kill the two men on July 29, 1994 outside what then was known as the Ladies Center. They were killed after pulling into the parking lot in Barrett’s pickup. Barrett’s wife, June, was wounded.
Paul Hill, an anti-abortion extremist, murdered Dr. Britton because he worked at a facility that provides abortions. Hill readily admits that he committed this act of terror with the full knowledge that he could receive the death penalty. Hill wanted to put the abortion issue on trial by using the “necessity” defence (which is like being justified in breaking into a locked house that is on fire in order to save the people in the house from burning). However, Hill was not allowed to use that defence, nor was he allowed to use the attorney that he wanted, and thus he reportedly remained mostly silent during his trial. From the time he was sentenced to death, Hill has sought to drop his appeals and be executed.
Paul Hill wants to die for his cause and has repeatedly said that he is willing to sacrifice his life to save unborn babies. According to his spiritual advisor, Hill believes Jesus told him to kill the abortion doctor. According to others who champion Hill’s action, “20 or 30 babies were saved that day.” Extremist anti-abortion activists have several web pages in which they discuss their perspective about Paul Hill, suggesting that what he did was “justifiable homicide.” One such page includes a list of the types of people for whom similar treatment (“justifiable homicide”) is warranted. Just about anyone who does not agree with these extremists would fit into one of the categories on that list, which is a thinly veiled invitation to any person for whom “Jesus speaks to me” to go out and take similar actions.
WARNING – the following link takes you to one such extremist web page. If you click on this link, you will be immediately subjected to gruesome photographs of dead people and chopped up fetuses. Once on that site, you can hear an interview with Paul Hill’s spiritual advisor which provides a window into the thinking of this crowd. (http://www.christiangallery.com/)
Florida’s “Pro-Life” governor Jeb Bush is acting in a particularly irresponsible way by once again allowing “the tail to wag the dog” when he signs a death warrant for a prisoner who wants to be executed. By helping Paul Hill martyr himself, Jeb Bush is giving Hill and his followers a platform to encourage others to copy the crime. Rather than the deterrent that death penalty advocates suggest is provided by executions, the martyrdom of Paul Hill is a prime example of how the death penalty can actually encourage more murder and violence.
No person other than the Governor himself can stop the martyrdom of Paul Hill. Please write to Governor Bush and ask him to commute Paul Hill’s death sentence to life in prison with no possibility of parole, because killing Hill will actually encourage more murders.
Write to the Governor of Florida:
If you are writing from outside of Florida, please send a copy of your letter to:
The Tallahassee Democrat
Letters to the Editor
P.O. Box 990
Tallahassee, FL 32302
Fax: (850) 599-2295
email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are writing from within Florida, please send a copy of your letter to your local news paper(s), along with a letter to the editor marked “for publication.” You might also try simply marking your letter to Jeb! “for publication,” and perhaps they’ll run that! As always, FADP requests that if your letter is printed, please send us an original of the full page on which the letter appears, to the address shown below.
Dr. Britton’s step-daughter wrote to Governor Bush. It took more than a week for the Governor, who says “executions are for the victim’s families” to have an assistant call Ms. Fairbanks to acknowledge her letter. See below….
Dear Governor Bush:
stepdaughter of John B. Britton, M.D. who was murdered by Paul Jennings Hill on July 29, 1994, I am asking that you commute Hill’s death sentence to life without the possibility of parole. Killing people is against the law in any circumstance, and by the execution of Paul Hill, you are enabling the killing to keep perpetuating in the circle of violence. I do not want to witness murder, killing by gun, lethal injection, electric chair, or any other mode of violence. The violence must stop. Killing must stop. Even though Paul Hill claims he wants to be killed, that will do nothing except allow him to be a martyr – it will not stop the right of women to have abortions, nor solve any other problem in this world. It will cause more pain in the name of the spirit of life. Please stop the killing.
Catherine Britton Fairbanks
Catherine Fairbanks reports on 8/29/03
“Jeb Bush’s office just called – someone by the name of Wendy. She stated that the Governor wanted to let me know that he received my email, but was firm in his stand of “upholding the law.” By that, he feels obliged to go ahead with the murder. I told her that the murder would not accomplish anything, and that I felt this was a pre-planned murder, the same as Paul Hill had done. She said that was my opinion. She seemed very cold and very firm in her support of Jeb Bush….”
Is the martyrdom of Paul Hill an irresponsible invitation to unstable extremists to commit similar actions?
RADICAL REACTIONS TO FLORIDA MURDER
(source: compiled from Reuters reports, August, 1994)
Catholic Priest Rev. David Trosch has led the way encouraging anti-choice activists to kill abortion providers. Since Paul Hill murdered Dr. John Britton and James Barrett last month, Trosch has become a media celebrity. His many television appearances have included the Today Show, CNBC and dozens of local news broadcasts. Among his many quotes excusing these gruesome murders were these gems: “God smiles on those who take a life to save the lives of the ‘unborn.'” and “Defending innocent human life is not murder.”
Advocates for Life released a statement saying that “While Paul Hill may have been genuinely concerned to protect children and justified in shooting abortionist John Britton, he may have been wrong in the shooting death of the bodyguard.”
Donald Spitz [Paul Hill’s spiritual advisor], spokesman for Operation Rescue Chesapeake, reacted to the murders with this statement, “If there was a sniper in the school yard sniping off children one by one and the only way you could stop him was by stopping that sniper … you would stop that sniper.”
Michael Bray, a Bowie, Md., pastor who served four years in prison for bombing clinics in the Washington area and has just written a book called “A Time to Kill,” said, “There is no prohibition in the Bible against killing.” The ancient Hebrew word translated as “kill” in the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” does not refer to self-defense, Bray argues.
All of these activists say they would not themselves kill a doctor. They say they are either too important to the cause, too committed to their families or too smart to publicly proclaim their intentions. Before the recent murders in Pensacola, Paul Hill assured several friends that he would not himself resort to violence.
www.christiangallery.com/hill.html to see a letter from the above-mentioned Michael Bray, in which he suggests to the Florida clemency board that one of the benefits of commuting Paul Hill’s sentence would be: “You prevent reactionary violence from radicals.”
www.christiangallery.com/biblicaljustice.htm to read “Biblical Justice for Baby Murderer’s”
www.christiangallery.com/InvitationtoMurder.htm to see if YOU fit into one of the categories making your murder a “justifiable homicide.”
Here is information recently compiled for FADP regarding the sentences received by other anti-abortion terrorists
- Paul Hill is the first anti-abortion protester sentenced to death.
- Michael Griffin was the first anti-abortion protester to kill a doctor (inspiring Paul Hill), but he was sentenced to life for the first Pensacola murder (of Dr. David Gunn).
- John Salvi killed receptionists at two clinics in Massachusetts, but was found to be insane. He committed suicide in jail.
- James Kopp used a sniper rifle to kill Dr. Slepian in upstate New York, but was extradited from France only on the condition that he not face the death penalty. Kopp recently was sentenced to 25 years to life for that murder.
- Eric Rudolph will eventually go to trial on a death-penalty charge for killing an off-duty police officer who was guarding a clinic that was bombed in Alabama. (He is also charged with the Atlanta Olympics bombing.)
- There have been other clinic/provider shootings and bombings, but not that resulted in death.
According to the Associated Press:
“After Hill was condemned in December 1994, he said he welcomed execution because he believed it would prevent abortions by inciting more violence against abortion providers.
“He also said he had been inspired to kill Britton and Barrett by the actions of Michael Griffin, an anti-abortionist who fatally shot another doctor in Pensacola in 1993.”
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
2603 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy
Gainesville, FL 32609