Helen Prejean

How did a Roman Catholic nun wind up befriending a convicted killer on death row?

The answer to that deceptively simple question is found in Sister Helen Prejean’s bestselling 1993 book Dead Man Walking. If you haven’t read the book, you’ve probably seen the movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.

Prejean is an outspoken and powerful voice against capital punishment. Her book has made millions of people reconsider their own positions on the death penalty.

I first met her shortly after her book was published. So here now, from 1993, Sister Helen Prejean.

Sister Helen Prejean celebrated her 84th birthday last week. And she is still working to eliminate the death penalty.

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Polly Nelson

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Polly Nelson

Name a famous serial killer.

There’s a good chance that one of the first names that came to your mind was Ted Bundy.

Over a period of years, mostly in the 1970’s, Ted Bundy killed at least 30 people that we know of, but probably more.

Finally, in 1979, the charismatic 33-year-old was caught, tried, and convicted in Florida.

He spent the next eight years in prison, as appeal after appeal went through the courts. Then, in 1987, he met the woman who would be his last lawyer: Polly Nelson.

A freshly minted lawyer with a big Washington law firm, Nelson was chosen to do some pro bono work – it turned out, it was the Bundy case.

For the next two years, Nelson worked on his case, trying to find some way to keep him off death row.

Bundy was executed in 1989, however, and five years later, I met Polly Nelson, when she wrote a book about the case.

So here now, from 1994, Polly Nelson.

Attorney Poly Nelson is 69 now.

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