Related topics

O’Dell to be buried in Sicily

July 29, 1997

PALERMO, Sicily (AP) _ Executed convict Joseph O’Dell, whose case prompted a media campaign in Italy against the death penalty, will be buried Thursday in Palermo, city officials said.

His body was to arrive in Sicily on Wednesday, accompanied by Lori Urs, the woman O’Dell married eight hours before the execution, and by Sister Helen Prejean, who wrote the book on which the movie ``Dead Man Walking″ was based.

O’Dell will be buried in the city’s oldest cemetery, Santa Maria del Gesu, the resting place of victims of the Sicilian Mafia as well as of assassinated mobsters.

Joseph O’Dell was executed last week for the rape, torture and murder of Helen Schartner in Virginia Beach, Va., in 1985.

Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando, who was among those who met with Gov. George Allen for a last-minute appeal, and who will attend the ceremony, said a monument would be erected in O’Dell’s memory.

Orlando’s initiative prompted some criticism among Italian politicians, who urged the government to bar the burial.

``Italy should not become a criminals’ cemetery,″ said Sen. Paolo Danieli, member of the rightist National Alliance party.

Update hourly