In August, Pope Francis declared the death penalty wrong. His edict challenged Catholics who have argued that their church accepted capital punishment in some cases. As efforts to overturn capital punishment continue in the United States, people of all faiths are questioning their deepest beliefs about justice.
This debate over the death penalty is the focus of a powerful new documentary, In the Executioner’s Shadow. This profound film premieres in Maryland during the Chesapeake Film Festival at the Avalon Theatre in Easton on Friday, October 12 at 8 p.m. and at Cambridge Premier Cinemas in Easton on October 13 at 1 p.m. For tickets and more information, go to chesapeakefilmfestival.com.
The film, co-produced by American University School of Communication professors Maggie Burnette Stogner and Rick Stack, casts a penetrating look at the consequences of the death penalty through three powerful stories: the rare perspective of a former state executioner who comes within days of executing an innocent person; a Boston Marathon bombing victim who struggles to decide what justice really means; and the parents of a murder victim who choose to fight for the life of their daughter’s killer.
Each screening will be followed by a panel and Q&A with Maggie Burnette Stogner and Rick Stack. They will be accompanied by Jerry Givens, retired Virginia executioner; Vicki Shieber, mother of a murder victim; and Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.