Don't Kill in Our Names

Families of Murder Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty

A book by Rachel King

Ron Carlson focused on his religious faith, not his rage, after his sister was axed to death.
Photo byRachel King


Subject: Sociology/
Criminology/Public Policy/
Cultural Studies
ISBN 0-8135-3182-9
Cloth: 304 pp.

All book royalties go to:
Murder Victims' Families
for Human Rights
Journey of Hope…
From Violence to Healing

Gripping stories of people who have lost a loved one to murder and oppose the death penalty.


Review in
Publishers Weekly

Rachel King, a lawyer with the ACLU and an anti-death-penalty activist, tells the haunting stories of families touched by murder. Instead these family members forcefully and poignantly oppose it: they "reject the concept of retribution and believe that no one is beyond redemption," says King. The gruesome murders vary widely, but a number of threads to understand the forces that might lead a person to commit murder. And in just about every case, grisly details emerge about the murderer's background—such as abandonment and abuse. Instead of focusing on their rage, the survivors strive to feel compassion for the murderers—and their families—and to communicate this compassion to them. Many of the survivors evoke God as a reason for their opposition to the death penalty. Says Marietta Jaeger, about her rapport with the man who savagely murdered her 7-year-old daughter: “I believe that God was loving him through me...desperately needed the love and compassion I felt for him." Says Ron Carlson, whose sister was axed to death, "I don't think the Son of God would destroy his own father's creation." Particularly disturbing are stories that involve the sentencing to death of retarded convicts and juveniles, as well as one man who was ultimately proven innocent. The testimony of families of murder victims is key to anti-death penalty campaigners, and these moving accounts might touch readers who are wavering on the issue.


All royalties go to: Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights
and Journey of Hope…From Violence to Healing.
Author Rachel King, at the time of her death, Aug. 25, 2008, was a lawyer on staff of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and former anti-death penalty organizer for American Civil Liberties Union Capital Punishment Project.
Order online her books Don't Kill in Our Names and
Capital Consequences: Families of the Condemned Tell Their Stories
Read Rachel's articles and 2007 novel, Tales of the District free online!
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See Rachel King video interview