I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
September 19, 2006
Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

Upcoming Events

"A Groundbreaking Conference on
Christian Responses to the Death Penalty"

Saturday September 30, 2006 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Knott Auditorium,
Mount St. Mary’s University,
Emmitsburg, MD
"Our Christian Call to Respond to the Death Penalty”
Morning keynote by Dale S. Recinella.

“Organizing Scripture-Based Death Penalty Discussions and Death Row Ministries” afternoon workshop with Dale S. Recinella, Dr. Susan Recinella and others.

The book “The Biblical Truth about America’s Death Penalty” will be available for purchase and signing.

For information, contact:

Dr. Trudy Conway, Dept. of Philosophy
Mount St. Mary’s University
16300 Old Emmitsburg Road
Emmitsburg, MD 21727

Ph: (301) 447-5368.
Fax: (301) 447-5806


Conference Schedule - Word Document

Announcement Flyer - pdf

Touched by the Shadow of Death
By: Dale Recinella

A friend sits at my kitchen table frustrated

with Christians who refuse to rethink the death penalty. “We don’t think anyone we know will be affected,” he shakes his head sadly, “We’re sure it will only happen to people different from us.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. There was a recent Supreme Court hearing in the case of a businessman who has been on death row for thirteen years. He claims he was framed. In arguments before the Florida Supreme Court, the prosecution admitted the state knew that an assistant state attorney went to the man’s jail cell and solicited a $50,000 bribe for the judge. The state also admitted that during the trial the judge in the case was removed from the bench in handcuffs, charged with taking bribes in other cases.

“Why haven’t we heard about this before?” a Supreme Court Justice cried out. “Why wasn’t a mistrial declared?”

One explanation I’ve heard is that all the evidence and memos about the bribe had been “purged” from the state’s records. By the grace of God, one memo was missed and later discovered by accident. It has taken thirteen years for the truth to come out. This could have happened to any businessman in Florida. (1)

Another businessman working in his long-standing family store had led an uneventful life until he spoke up for a friend who was falsely accused of a crime. Six months later the businessman’s store suffered a brutal hit that killed his wife and in-laws. He himself was left for dead. Hours later, while the self-employed proprietor was in emergency surgery to save his life, someone turned the murder weapon into the police and claimed the businessman had done the killing.

That businessman has been on death row for 23 years and is still fighting to obtain DNA testing of the crime scene blood in order to show his innocence. The state has spent untold thousands of taxpayer dollars fighting to prevent DNA testing. It could have happened to any one of us. (2)

The shadow is even longer and darker than that. A murderer facing death has nothing to lose by cutting a deal to implicate innocent people in exchange for his life.

Years ago I met an elderly man imprisoned for alleged complicity in the murder of a relative. The real murderer cut a deal with the state to finger the man and his wife in exchange for a life sentence instead of death. The alleged motive was insurance money.

By the time it was discovered that there was no such insurance, the murder-for-hire story had appeared in worldwide media. The elderly spouses, who had lived as model citizens before retiring to sunny Florida, were isolated from each other in separate cells at the local jail for two years. Finally, the state produced a “jail-house snitch,” a drug addict with a career crime record. The snitch agreed to testify that the elderly woman had “confessed” to her in jail. The state threatened to throw away the key on the wife if the husband didn’t plead guilty to something.

I sat with him in prison, reading the poems written for his wife on their 50th anniversary. I prayed with him and listened to his exploits as a decorated WWII veteran who had landed at Omaha Beach in the 9th wave. I anguished as his mental acuity began to wane before he finally returned home to his loyal, loving wife of fifty-four years. (3)

None of these people had ever been in trouble with the law.

They have hurt no one.

Yet they have lost everything.

They were caught in the long, dark shadow of the Florida death penalty.

It could happen to anyone in any family at anytime.

1. Update: Five years ago, this man received a natural life sentence and is still fighting to clear his name and be set free from prison. A major documentary has actually identified the party probably responsible for the crime, but the state will not agree to a new trial.

2. Update: This man has now been on death row for over thirty years.

3. Update: When this man left prison, he was well into Alzheimer’s. His loving wife, who had also served a prison term based on the jailhouse snitch testimony, cared for him until his death and died herself soon after.

First published: The Florida Catholic, February 3, 2000 © 2000 Dale S. Recinella & The Florida Catholic. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
No further reproduction or republication without prior written permission.

Upcoming Events
“The Death Penalty Up Close”

Two Presentations by Dale S. Recinella,
both including “The Week of an Execution”

Saturday October 7, 2006 2 – 4 p.m.

The book “The Biblical Truth about America’s Death Penalty” will be available for purchase and signing at both events.

Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church
2490 N. Cramer St.(corner of Bradford and Cramer St.)
Milwaukee, WI
Sunday October 8, 2006 2 - 4 p.m. St. Mary’s Visitation Catholic Church
1260 Church St.
Elm Grove, WI

For information, contact:
Ms. Kathy Smith
St. Mary’s Visitation Parish
Ph: (262) 782-9470

Email: ksmith@stmaryeg.org

Presentation Flyer - pdf

Be an informed Voter in Wisconsin’s November referendum on the Death Penalty.
I Was In Prison
News & Updates
This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.

Your name and information will never be used or sha#3333FF with anyone. We promise!

Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

If you Like this Weekly Ezine - You will love Dale's Book!
Sr. Patricia Proctor
Paperback: 433 pages

Excellent book on the topic!,
June 13, 2005 Nathan Eanes
(Review from Amazon.com)

The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty is a must-read. It deals with Biblical standards of Capital Punishment and then compares them to the system used in America today. It is the best-researched, most faithful to scripture, and most evenhanded analysis I have ever read concerning the Death Penalty. Whatever your persuasion on the issue, this book will teach you a great deal. Recinella is a trained lawyer and committed Christian who now volunteers part-time on Florida's death row. He thus understands law, the Bible, and the system of execution in America. I challenge anyone who supports the Death Penalty to read this book.

This ezine edited by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC - Poor Clare Sister
to support the IWasInPrison Outreach