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NCJ Number: 166074 Find in a Library
Title: Power of Forgiveness (From Young Blood: Juvenile Justice and the Death Penalty, P 235-251, 1995, Shirley Dicks, ed. - See NCJ-166057)
Author(s): B Pelke
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Prometheus Books
Amherst, NY 14228-2197
Sale Source: Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive
Amherst, NY 14228-2197
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The grandson of a 78-year-old woman murdered by Paula Cooper and two other 9th grade students in Gary, Indiana in 1985 describes the crime and the process that led to his forgiveness of the offender.
Abstract: Cooper and three other students decided to skip school during their lunch hour. They drank some wine and smoked marijuana. One suggested that they rob Ruth Pelke. One hit Pelke on the head with a vase; Cooper and Karen Lorders stabbed her. Three defendants received sentences ranging from 25 to 60 years. The prosecution and the victim's son argued strongly for capital punishment, and Cooper received a death sentence. A few months later the author began thinking about Cooper and his grandmother during a period of self-pity following the breakup of a relationship with a women. He began crying and praying. He thought about his grandmother's faith in Jesus and Jesus's views on forgiveness. He realized that he should try to generate some love and compassion. He began to exchange letters with Paula. An Italian journalist became interested in the story and wrote articles for Italian newspapers. He spoke at events sponsored by opponents of capital punishment. He appeared on the Oprah Winfrey program. Later he learned that the Indiana Supreme Court had overturned Cooper's death sentence; she would now serve a 60-year sentence.
Main Term(s): Juvenile Corrections/Detention
Index Term(s): Families of crime victims; Homicide Co-Survivors; Indiana; Juvenile capital punishment; Juvenile justice policies; Juvenile murderers; Juvenile sentencing
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