|Mid-Missouri Fellowship of
The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) is a group composed of people from many faiths, and no particular faith --
all coming together to support nonviolence and justice.
Offering people of conscience an action response to a morally-impaired U.S. foreign policy.
A Report on the Injustice in the Application of the Death Penalty in Missouri (1978-1996)(Microsoft Word document)
Iraq Crisis Issue Guide by Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies
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FOR News July 2008Help Halt Missouri’s Planned Execution
of Dennis Skillicorn on Aug. 27
The Missouri Supreme Court on 26 July “authorized” state officials to execute Dennis Skillicorn on 27 August—despite having just days earlier stayed then rescheduled the execution of John Middleton. Both executions could also indefinitely be delayed, depending on the outcome of a lawsuit (explained below in the next entry on the FOR website). We hope for the best, but urge concerned citizens to prepare for the worst-- Missouri continuing with its serial murdering, after nearly three years of no executions. Please keep free the evening of 26 Aug. The Mid-MO FOR will convene a Vigil for Life that evening (see below for details and for other actions) unless we learn by 12 noon that day the execution has definitely been stayed. Call 573-449-4585, check this website and Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty www.moabolition.org <http://www.moabolition.org> for further updates, calls to action and sites around the state of other gatherings affirming life/opposing state murder.
There’s no doubt both that Dennis Skillicorn joined two other men in a cross-country crime spree in 1994 and that he did not kill Richard Drummond. Still he was sentenced to death, as was Allen Nicklasson, the admitted triggerman. Drummond had stopped his car near Kingdom City to give a ride to the two men and Tim DeGraffenreid who were stranded with their broken-down car. Nicklasson pulled a gun on Drummond, forcing him to drive west, Skillicorn remained in the car when the gunman walked Drummond 1/4 mile away and shot him. DeGraffenreid received a life sentence for 2nd degree murder, more in line with what Skillicorn should have gotten. We deplore the violence the men committed and mourn with Drummond’s loved ones, his violent death. We also urge the violence to end without cycling into a state killing.
Besides his human right to life, Skillicorn has been sincerely remorseful for his part in the crimes while contributing to better our world from prison. The past five years he’s been editor of Compassion (log on at www.compassionondeathrow.org), a national magazine featuring writings by “death row” prisoners, which has raised tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships for people who have had loved ones murdered. He also has worked for several years in the Potosi prison’s hospice program caring for terminally-ill inmates.
Skillicorn, in a letter to Christians about the death penalty, writes, “Under the law of Grace, we are clearly to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. The revenge cycle is like a boomerang that cannot be thrown without cost to the thrower. The cycle can only be broken by forgiveness. We must rise above revenge and examine our motives. Are we trying to please men, or God?” Let us serve humanity and the Creation and help spare the life of Dennis Skillicorn.
* Attend a Vigil for Life
5:00-600 pm, Tuesday, 26 August, Boone County Courthouse, Walnut St. Columbia
(unless we learn by 12 noon that day the execution has definitely been stayed). For future updates, check out this website periodically and www.moabolition.org, the website of Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty (vigils would also take place in a least a half dozen other Missouri communities);
* Contact the Board of Probation and Parole
In a letter, urge the Board members to recommend Gov. Matt Blunt grant clemency, at least commuting his death sentence to life. Please note that Mr. Skillicorn was not the triggerman by all accounts; that he has been genuinely remorseful for his role in the crimes and rehabilitated; has been an effective facilitator for restorative justice and contributing member of society even while incarcerated.
Mail to: MO Dept. of Corrections/Board of Probation and Parole; 1511 Christy Dr., Jefferson City MO 65101
or fax 573-751-8501
* Contact Gov. Matt Blunt
Urge him to commute Mr. Skillicorn’s death sentence to “life” for reasons similar to those noted above.
Write: Gov. Blunt, Room 216, Capitol Building, Jefferson City MO 65101.
Phone: 573-751-3222; or e-mail email@example.com.
John Middleton’s 30 July Execution Halted;
Lawsuit Challenges Lethal Injection
The Missouri Supreme Court stayed the execution of John Middleton, a week before he was set to be killed during the opening minutes of 30 July-- reissuing a warrant for his execution, instead for 17 September. And in a separate development, prisoners and their advocates filed a lawsuit, Thursday in Cole County Court challenging Missouri’s lethal injection protocol, hopefully delaying for months, if not years, his and all state killings in Missouri.
The suit was filed on behalf of 13 of the 14 condemned prisoners for whom the Attorney General has requested execution dates. Families of those men, clergy and legislators—Sen. Joan Bray and Rep. Connie Johnson (both of St. Louis)—all joined the civil action, contending the Department of Corrections (DOC) has been violating the state’s Administrative Procedure Act. The act requires agencies to provide notice and invite public comments about state proceedings. To date no public meetings have been convened by the DOC regarding lethal injections.
John Middleton would be the first person in the state to be executed since October 2005, when Marlin Gray was lethally poisoned in the Bonne Terre prison. Middleton was convicted of murdering Alfred Pinegar, Stacy Hodge and Randy Hamilton in 1995 in northern Missouri. We with the Mid-MO FOR condemn the horrible violence Middleton committed, in connection with a methamphetamine business he ran. We mourn those deaths and the anguish felt by their loved ones. We also realize the wrongs wouldn’t be erased by his state murder—the suffering, the immorality would only be expanded, devastating the lives of others who care about him.
Missouri officials have executed 66 people, 4th most of any US state; 47 men dwell under a death sentence in Missouri, at least a couple of them having strong claims of being wrongly convicted. On 28 July 2003, Joe Amrine was set free. He’s one of three men in Missouri (among 129 people nationwide) exonerated after being found wrongly convicted and sentenced to die. Earlier this month, Amrine graced Columbia, joining FOR for a news conference with state legislative candidates. Let the 5th anniversary of his freedom remind us, mistakes can and do occur. It’s a prime reason our state needs a death-penalty study with a concurrent execution moratorium NOW. To join the local effort of the Missouri moratorium campaign call 573-449-4585.
------ End of Forwarded Message
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FOR Candidate Survey
2008 Columbia-Area State Legislative Candidate Survey
The Mid-MO FOR is a non-partisan group endorsing no particular candidate, encouraging all eligible citizens to vote on Aug. 5. As a pacifist group, we see it as our civic duty to inform voters of various social justice, peace and environmental perspectives of the candidates.
Those of all political parties vying for the Missouri House Districts covering the Columbia area were asked to respond to five questions, choosing:
Many of these issues are difficult to answer in a single word, but we wanted to provide voters with an easy to measure comparative tool.
Missouri House Candidates
Candidates for the Missouri House 24th District and the Senate 19th District did not respond to the survey.
We are grateful many candidates made their views known publicly, especially given the short notice they were given in which to reply.
Other Comments by Missouri state legislative candidates
Question 3-Missouri National Guard
Question 5-Second Nuclear Power Plant
Question 2-Death Penalty Abolition
Questions 3-Missouri National Guard
2008 Missouri Federal Candidate Survey
The Mid-MO FOR asked candidates of all political parties seeking election to the open seat of Missouri's U.S. 9th Congressional district (covering 23-plus counties including Boone County and Columbia) to answer 12 questions, responding either: S- Support; O-Oppose or NP- No Position. Many of these issues are difficult to answer in a single word or phrase, but we wanted to provide voters a comparative tool with which to measure the candidates on various peace and justice issues. The questions:
We are grateful that two individuals took the time to respond and wish all would have replied to these critical questions of our time.Surveys were mailed to all candidates. We made at least two follow-up calls to each candidate.
The Mid-MO FOR is a non-partisan group, not affiliated with any political party nor endorsing any candidate.
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