BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Faith leaders took to the steps of the attorney general’s office Tuesday as they continue to push for clemency hearings for the dozens of people on Louisiana’s death row.
“Our time is so short. So short. And it’s been so long,” said Emily Rossi, the daughter of a murder victim.
Emily Rossi’s father Victor was killed in the late 90’s. She believes the man accused of killing him is innocent and there needs to be more evidence processed to prove it.
“Let me finally remember my dad as he lived. Decent, fair, good. Not just a murder victim,” Rossi said.
Following the settlement reached in the clemency hearing debate, only five inmates were eligible for the appeal as of now. The pardon board ultimately denied all five clemency hearings. Over 100 faith leaders signed a letter for Attorney General Jeff Landry asking for commutation of the sentences.
“Clemency is a time-honored system that gives an opportunity to those condemned to die, to make the case that their lives have value and indeed, through their efforts, they should be considered as deserving of mercy,” said Rev. Alexis Anderson, executive director of PREACH.
One family member of a man who was exonerated said the risk of an innocent person being put to death is too high based on the state’s history.
“Ryan’s case is a perfect example of what happens when people get it wrong, when humans are in charge. Fortunately, our family remains intact. We are still surviving death row,” said Monique Coleman, sister of Ryan Matthews.
There are no plans as of now to hear the other 50 cases of the death row inmates. Gov. John Bel Edwards’ term is nearing its end in just a couple of months. While governor-elect Landry has voiced his desire to begin executions again.