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On being priest to a murderer

On being priest to a murderer

11 Alive, Atlanta television station interviews the Rev. Cathy Zappa who is priest to convicted murderer, Kelly Gissendaner. Gissendaner is scheduled to be executed Monday:

Rev. Cathy Zappa is the first to admit she feels helpless. She said there is little she can do to comfort Kelly Gissendaner, a woman who has become her friend. Gissendaner is schedule to be executed by the state of Georgia Monday for masterminding the murder of her husband, Doug Gissendaner.

“She has changed,” said Rev. Zappa. Rev. Zappa met Kelly four years ago when she was teaching theology to inmates. She says Gissendaner graduated with a certificate and went on to teach a few classes and even preached once at a service in prison.

Zappa believes Gissendaner has changed. The District Attorney says that is beside the point.

The New York Times tells more of Gissendaner and her exchanges of letters with Jürgen Moltmann:

During the hearing and in testimony submitted by her lawyer, Ms. Gissendaner’s supporters asked that her life be spared. The supporters included inmates to whom she is a friend and spiritual adviser; her theology professors from prison courses; and a theologian, Jürgen Moltmann, whose books on hope, suffering and liberation have helped define postwar Protestant thought.

Watch the interview here. What are your thoughts?


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Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

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Mark Hatch

Sorry, Bro David, but my understanding is that first and last names are required for posting here? Has that changed? Thanks for complying as all of us are required to do.

David Streever

Hi Mark:
Please email us if you have concerns or questions about moderation. The contributors are also the comment moderation team, & historically have accepted Brother David’s identity as within our guidelines.

Joan Rasch

Thanks for the info, JC Fisher; I signed.

JC Fisher

This is another petition site, to stop the execution (and commute the sentence to life-in-prison):

Ann Fontaine

If you want to sign on to a petition of faith leaders to stop the execution of Kelly Gissendaner. Go to this site

George Hayhoe

The irony in this particular case is that the man who actually killed Ms. Gissendanner’s husband received a life sentence in exchange for testifying against her, and, I believe, will be eligible for parole in just a few years.

We do not administer the death penalty equitably, the defense provided to most capital case defendants is inadequate at best if not downright incompetent, and reversal or commutation of the capital sentence on appeal is extremely rare.

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