Opponents of the death penalty are kicking off their campaign to convince voters that Nebraska is better off without executions. Retain a Just Nebraska is organizing the effort to prevent bringing back the death penalty, which the legislature repealed in 2015.
Mimi Kelle of Beatrice, whose brother was tortured and murdered, says she wished the convicted killer was not sentenced to death.
“My brother’s killer sat on death row for almost 30 years until he died of natural causes last spring,” Kelle told reporters at a news conference. “It breaks my heart to think how much easier my family’s healing process would have been if it had just been sentenced to life with no chance of parole.”
Tricia Moore of Omaha did not want her son’s killer to receive the death penalty, saying it does not help a victim’s family heal.
“You put them on death row, but then you all don’t execute them,” Moore tells Nebraska Radio Network, “and you’re wasting a lot of money when that money can go towards helping the victims recover from their loss. We can’t bring them back. We can’t change what happened, but we can change how we react to it.”
Dan Parsons, Retain a Just Nebraska spokesperson, says the group will use similar victims’ stories and facts about how the death penalty is flawed when making its case to citizens.
“We understand that this is going to be a grassroots campaign,” Parsons told reporters. “We have to have a discussion with the Nebraska voters.”
Parsons says this vote likely will gain national attention and they expect support from across the country. He says they will use various means to get the word out about the referendum, including commercials.