Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tuesday's Focus: Vicki Schieber

We apologize for being a day late with the latest installment in our Tuesday's Focus series. Today we look at the journey of Vicki Schieber:

Vicki Schieber’s daughter, Shannon, was raped and murdered on May 7, 1998 while finishing her first year of graduate school on a full scholarship at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Shannon’s killer was not arrested until 2002. He is serving several life sentences without parole in Colorado and Pennsylvania not only for Shannon’s rape and murder but for 13 other sexual assaults as well.

Vicki and her husband, Sylvester, both Maryland residents, testified in support of a Maryland bill that would extend that state’s moratorium on executions and create a commission to study the way the death penalty is imposed. She also testified in Pennsylvania for the abolition of the death penalty alongside former Illinois governor George Ryan and exonerated former death row inmates, including Kirk Bloodsworth.

She has taught many high school and university classes on abolition, run workshops at state conferences, and published op-ed pieces in newspapers including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Washington Post. She also has met with and testified before state legislators in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Vicki was vocal in her opposition to the death penalty long before Shannon’s murderer was apprehended. The Schiebers fought the district attorney and the prosecutors to keep the death penalty from being applied to their daughter’s killer.

“The death penalty is against our religion, a belief system in which life is held to be sacred,” she says. “We know that there are many inequities in how the states apply the death penalty. Therefore I believe MVFHR must focus on abolition in the context of its being a human rights issue and work hard to bring the world community of murder victims together to oppose the death penalty in the U.S. I have traveled in many parts of the world and citizens in other countries are appalled at the inequitable application of this sentence in our homeland.”

Vicki, who has spent her career in a variety of financial marketing and management roles, was profiled on “Dateline NBC”, a show which also aired multiple times on Court TV. Her story is part of an NBC film on the death penalty sponsored by the Robert Kennedy Foundation.

She has long been active in leadership positions in non-profits dedicated to literacy and programs for elderly, disabled and low-income residents of Washington, D.C.

Vicki is the recipient of the Fannie Mae Foundation Good Neighbor Award, the Courage in Community Award of the McAuley Institute Board of Trustees and the Exceptional Community Spirit Award from Rebuilding Together of Washington, D.C.

Links to Vicki's journey:

Vickie’s Story: Go to MVFHR Board of Directors for more of Vicki’s story
May Brings Relief for Vicki Schieber: Having suspect in Shannon's killing eases pain this Mother's Day
…Vicki Schieber said: "I have forgiven him
"It would be an insult to our daughter's memory to put another person to death," Vicki Schieber said, "even the murderer of our daughter."
What happened when one state governor declared a moratorium on capital punishment?
Testimony of MVFHR's Vicki Schieber to the U.S. Senate

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