Conference Asks Students To Examine Death Penalty Stance
Tenn. - Ndume Olatushani hopes his story of a wrongful conviction and being
sentenced to die is what students attending the "Tennesseans For
Alternatives to the Death Penalty" conference consider when evaluating
their stance on the issue.
"I spent 28 years in
prison, 20 on death row for a crime I didn't commit," he said. "I'm
here despite the system, not because the system actually worked."
You would expect an exonerated
inmate to be opposed to the death penalty, but what about a victim's family?
"She was abducted in the
Sears parking lot," Charles Strobel said about the murder of his mother
Mary Catherine. "A random act of violence. (She was) driven around in a
car for over three hours before he finally murdered her."
Mary Catherine Strobel left
such a mark in this community, she continues to be remembered.
"She was full of love and
life," son Charles Strobel said. "We didn't need to take on that
power. That's reserved for God alone," he said about his stance on the
Currently, 82 inmates are on
Death Row in Tennessee.
"You commit a crime; there
should be a punishment," Arthur Clemons, a Volunteer State student and
corrections officer said.
Not all of the students at the
Tennesseans For Alternatives to the Death Penalty conference are against it.
"I think it should be cut
and dry. If you're convicted of first degree murder, you should get the death
penalty," Clemons said, adding violent rapes should also qualify.
"I think if the death
penalty were on trial as a person we would find it guilty of not being fair in
every case because it's bias towards the poor and minorities," Strobel
The unfairness of the justice
system claimed most of Olatushani's life.
"28 years...a lot was
taken from me. A lot was really taken from me," he said.
But is that enough to get rid
of the death penalty all together?