Families of the Condemned Tell Their Stories
Review by Jason Cherkis from
Nobody gives a shit about defendants in murder cases, and if you’re kin to the alleged beast, you’re just an extension of that scum.
Being a member of the family of a defendant or convicted murderer means having conversations through glass or taking collect calls that drain your wallet in a month’s time. No one cares what they go through, but we should, just as we should understand what the inside of a supermax feels like and what lethal injections do to a body.
And we should care about what it takes to identify and rectify injustice, as Rachel King illustrates in her mesmerizing new book, Capital Consequences: Families of the Condemned Tell Their Stories.
After her son was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, Carolyn Krone remarked: “Looking back, I see that we were very ignorant and naive. We knew Ray was innocent, and we really thought that everything would work out okay. Ray has always been the kind of person who says, ‘I can handle this...Don’t let it change your life.’”
Fat chance. It took the family a decade and their life savings to free Ray. It took only seconds for Shakeerah Hameen to watch her by all accounts rehabilitated husband die by lethal injection: “I felt stupid that I was standing there letting them kill my husband. It was unreal.
Then they brought in the victim...Hameen looked at us and we locked eyes and he smiled. I started praying...His body lifted up off the table, he gasped.”
King reads at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919.
royalties go to:
Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights