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Kansas City Religious Leaders Ask Gov. Nixon For Death Penalty Moratorium

Elle Moxley

Kansas City faith leaders are calling on Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to halt an execution scheduled for next week.

A dozen religious leaders met Tuesday to deliver a letter to Nixon's downtown Kansas City office asking for a meeting with the governor to discuss a moratorium on the death penalty in Missouri.

"Each time the state of Missouri executes, whether the person is guilty or innocent, I am made a murderer, just like any other, and my faith convicts me to say no," says retired United Church of Christ minister Jane Fisler Hoffman, the organizer of the event.

Rabbi Doug Alpert of Congregation Kol Ami says the Torah allows for the death penalty in capital murder cases. But he says the burden of proof is much higher under Jewish law and most rabbis condemn courts that prescribe the death penalty.

"I think it's this: I think it's a recognition of our imperfection, the imperfection of government, the imperfection of government, the imperfection of 'we the people,'" says Alpert.

The religious leaders who signed the letter are asking Nixon to stay the execution of Earl Ringo Jr., who  is scheduled to die Sept. 10 for shooting two people to death at a Columbia, Mo., restaurant in 1998.

The state of Missouri has executed seven inmates so far this year even as the drugs used to carry out lethal injections have become harder and harder to obtain.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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