Protesters ask for death row clemency petitions to be granted on steps of State Capitol

There have been several failed attempts to eliminate the death penalty in Louisiana through the years.
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 9:55 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2023 at 2:32 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There have been several failed attempts to eliminate the death penalty in Louisiana through the years. But those here at the Capitol Tuesday hope at the very least the 56 inmates on death row will be granted clemency.

It’s been 23 years since Brett Malone’s mother, Mary Ann, was murdered in Bossier parish. On Tuesday he joined a group of advocates and faith leaders on the steps of the state Capitol protesting the death penalty. Saying over the years he’s learned emotions are temporary, but mercy and grace are eternal. His mother’s killer is one of the 56 inmates currently on death row.

“Part of clemency is really about giving the opportunity to the survivors of these crimes to work on reconciliation, to work on the healing of the wounds that were created through those actions,” said Malone.

Part of their argument is over the years, several death row inmates across the country have been exonerated after it was learned they were innocent. One of those, was Shareef Cousin, who at 16, was the youngest person in the state to be sentenced to death.

“At the tender age of 16 when a lot of us were going to our high school proms or worrying about bed not being made, unfortunately I was worrying about whether or not my life would be taken from me for a crime I did not commit in the state of Louisiana,” explained Cousin.

The group called Promise for Justice organized the event. After a few shared remarks the group then made their way up to the governor’s office to hand over their petition of more than 2,000 signatures begging for clemency hearings to be held. District Attorney Hillar Moore says 2,000 signatures are nothing compared to the state’s population who, by a majority favor the death penalty.

“I’m not sure what’s going on. It has no effect, it’s a ploy I guess for them to say these people are against it. And it’s their right to do so,” said Moore.

The district attorney and his attorneys say they’re waiting on their public records request from the board of pardons to see whether or not they will actually go through with these hearings. But says they plan to fight it at every step.

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