Mercy Attained

On July 17 the convicted murderer David Paul Hammer succeeded in an appeal against his death penalty sentence. A federal judge in Pennsylvania agreed to commute his sentence to life without parole. In April 1996 at a penitentiary in Allenwood, Pa., Hammer strangled his cellmate, 27-year-old Andrew Hunt Marti. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection in November 1998 after he pleaded guilty to the murder. A group of Sisters of Mercy testified on his behalf, including the long-time anti-death penalty activist Camille D’Arienzo, R.S.M. After the verdict was announced, she commented: “David has been given the gift of time to work out his salvation, to continue helping others in prison and outside its walls. And so very many of us are grateful.” Sister D’Arienzo could not say if the sisters’ testimony influenced the judge’s decision, but, she added, “We are sure, however, that it didn’t hurt. It wouldn’t be the first time Mercy has seasoned Justice.”

 

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