Friday, December 19, 2008

Introducing the Journey of Hope - Family:

"No matter how mad I could be at James Bernard Campbell, I still don't believe in the death penalty for this man."

On December 22, 1986, SueZann Bosler and her father, Rev. Billy Bosler, were attacked in the church parsonage by an intruder. Rev. Bosler was stabbed 24 times. SueZann, in an effort to help him, was herself stabbed in the back and head and left for dead. While lying on the floor pretending to be dead, she heard the intruder ransack the house as she watched her father take his last breath.

As a Brethren minister, Rev. Bosler had been an opponent of capital punishment, and had once told SueZann that if he was ever murdered he would not want his killer to receive the death penalty. On her father's behalf, SueZann worked for 10 1/2 years to spare the life of his murderer, James Bernard Campbell. She voiced her opposition to the death penalty throughout three trials and two sentencings. Her efforts put her at stark odds with Florida prosecutors and judges, who at one point threatened her with contempt of court if she revealed her views to the jury considering Campbell's fate.

SueZann devoted many years to seeking commutation of Campbell's death sentence. On June 13, 1996, her efforts were successful and his sentence was commuted to three consecutive life terms. "Being able to point to him at that moment, and express my forgiveness, was like having a weight lifted from my shoulders," she recalls.

In 1988 while appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show SueZann met Bill Pelke. They were reunited on the 1993 Indiana Journey of Hope through the efforts of Bob Gross, where she also met Marietta Jaeger. In 1994 SueZann joined with Bill and Marietta for the Discovery Channels' documentary "From Fury to Forgiveness." In 1997 SueZann, Bill, Marietta, George White and Sam Reese Sheppard founded Journey of Hope...from Violence to Healing. She has been a board member ever since.

SueZann has traveled internationally on behalf of the Journey and is often a guest speaker for the Church of the Brethren's program "On Earth Peace."

SueZann's fight to save her father's killer from the death penalty is very well described here. Unfortunately this text is way too long to copy into this blog but it's absolutely worth reading!

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