I woke up with a heavy heart knowing that the State of Florida executed Donald Dillbeck last night.
And yet, in times of darkness and frustration, I know that we must always look for the light. Your overwhelming support and mobilization to stop this execution was unlike anything I’ve seen in my 17 years of capital defense work. In less than 30 days, we worked together to stop this execution and send the clear message that Florida does not need the death penalty, and that we should not be killing the sick and the broken.
I want you to know that it matters. Even though it didn’t stop the execution, it matters. It mattered to Donald Dillbeck. I was in contact with his lawyers leading up to the execution, who told me that he knew of all the efforts made on his behalf and was appreciative of all of the strangers, near and far, fighting on his behalf.
Thanks to you:
- FADP in collaboration with Death Penalty Action delivered over 7,000 petition signatures to Governor DeSantis and the Florida Board of Executive Clemency asking for a commutation.
- We delivered a letter, signed by more than 70 faith leaders, urging the same.
- FADP Board Member Agustin Quiles, spearheaded a tremendous effort and gathered more than 30 Latino Evangelical Bishops to tell Governor DeSantis to stop this execution.
- The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops also delivered a powerful letter to Governor DeSantis urging for commutation and a stop to this violence.
You all set up dozens of protests and vigils all over the state. You refused to stay silent.
I had the privilege of standing with over 60 people at Florida State Prison last night for the execution. FADP Board Members Herman Lindsey and Ron Wright and I were joined by Father Phil Egitto and his congregation from Our Lady of Lourdes in Daytona, who traveled to FSP after a prayer service, as well as members of Death Penalty Action, who spent the preceding week tirelessly marching all over our State trying to stop this execution. The vigil was powerful and moving, and I’m told that our incessant bell ringing was heard inside the prison. I read and shared this statement with the press, and I want to share it with you.
This work is not for the faint of heart. It is not for the weak. Today, we grieve. We rage. We lament the injustice. We take care of ourselves. We comfort each other. We rest. And then, we dust ourselves off, and we prepare for the next battle. Together.
FADP Executive Director
P.S. We can’t lose the momentum we have built and we must keep the pressure on our State leaders to dissuade them from setting future execution dates or expanding the use of the death penalty. Donate now.