Neb. Quakers Want Stay of Execution
Jan. 12, 1999
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Audrey Lamm was 2 years old the night her pregnant mother and Janet Mesner were stabbed to death in a Quaker meeting house. She would now like to save the killer's life.
Ms. Lamm, now 20, and Quakers across the country have joined in a bid to save convicted killer Randolph Reeves from being executed in Nebraska's electric chair Thursday.
``We deserve a hearing!'' shouted Audrey Lamm, weeping and holding pictures of the victims during during a break in Monday's Board of Pardons hearing on the case.
The three-member board rejected the pleas and unanimously voted against commuting the death sentence. Reeves still has an appeal pending before the Nebraska Supreme Court.
Reeves, an American Indian adopted by a white Quaker family, was convicted in 1981 of killing Janet Mesner. Prosecutors say he killed witness Victoria Lamm, a friend of Mesner's, to conceal his identity.
Reeves, who was drunk and had taken drugs on the night of the murders, has said he does not remember the crimes.
The case is of particular interest to Quakers, who are fundamentally opposed to the death penalty. Reeves and Mesner were both raised in the faith, known as the Religious Society of Friends, and Reeves and Mesner were also friends, with common relatives in their families.
``This case hits much closer to home than perhaps others have,'' said Steve Gulick, a Quaker in Philadelphia who pushed his meeting house and others nationwide to pass resolutions opposing Reeves' electrocution.
The Mesner and Reeves families have attended the same Quaker meeting house in Central City for decades, and Mesner's mother, Mildred, was Reeves' Sunday school teacher.
She quietly held hands with her husband, Kenneth, as they stood before the parole board Monday.
``We just never did have a feeling of vengeance,'' Kenneth Mesner said. ``It didn't occur to us. They grieve with us and we are grieving with them now.''