Don't Kill in Our Names

Families of Murder Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty

A book by Rachel King


Subject: Sociology/
Criminology/Public Policy/
Cultural Studies
ISBN 0-8135-3182-9
Cloth: 304 pp.

All book royalties go to:
Murder Victims' Families
for Human Rights
Journey of Hope…
From Violence to Healing

Gripping stories of people who have lost a loved one to murder and oppose the death penalty.


Rutgers University Press Announces the Publication of 'Don’t Kill in Our Names: Families of Murder Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty'

“The main reason I oppose the death penalty is because it dishonors Susie’s life. She had a sweet and gentle spirit. I don’t want that spirit dishonored by having her death avenged with more violence.” —Marietta Jaeger Lane, whose 7-year old daughter, Susie was kidnapped and murdered in 1973.

Would you oppose the death penalty for the murderer of your husband? Your mother? Your son?

Families of murder victims are often ardent and very public supporters of the death penalty. But the people whose stories appear in this book have chosen instead to oppose the death penalty for their loved ones’ murderers. Surviving the murder of their loved one has led them to understand that the death penalty does not serve their needs. For some, their journey has taken them on a path of forgiveness leading them to reach out to the killer and establish a relationship with him or her. Others have formed their own organizations to oppose the death penalty or promote restorative justice. All are members of a nationwide group, Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation (MVFR), whose mission is to end the use of the death penalty.

The people in this book are sometimes discounted as being either saints or lunatics, but they are, in fact, ordinary people who believe the death penalty is a form of social violence that only repeats and perpetuates the violence that claimed their loved ones’ lives.

In Don’t Kill in Our Names: Families of Murder Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty (Publication date: February 14, 2003; 304 pp., 18 b&w illus.; Cloth, $27.00, 0-8135-3182-9) Rachel King weaves third-person narrative with wrenching first-hand accounts, presenting the stories of ten family members. Each is a heartrending tale of grief, soul searching, and of the challenge to oppose the death penalty instead of choosing the more socially acceptable behavior of supporting it. In fact, many people in the book have actually experienced discrimination by the state because of their opposition to the death penalty. Others have faced social ostracism from family and friends.

King sets the stories in the context of the national discussion over the death penalty debate and restorative versus retributive justice. The book will appeal not only to those who oppose the death penalty, but also to those who strive to understand how people can survive the ordeal of homicide.
Rachel King works for the Capital Punishment Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. She is currently working on a book about the families of death row inmates. Royalties from the sale of the book will be donated to victims’ organizations.

Founded in 1936, Rutgers University Press is a non-profit academic publishing house operating under the auspices of Rutgers, the State University. The Press publishes titles in African American studies, anthropology, art, cultural studies, economics, environmental studies, film, gay and lesbian studies, health, history, humor, literature, medicine, New Jersey and regional studies, political science, psychology, religion, sociology, science, and women's studies. Rutgers University Press is a member of the Association of American University Presses.

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See also ACLU News Release


All royalties go to: Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights
and Journey of Hope…From Violence to Healing.
Author Rachel King, at the time of her death, Aug. 25, 2008, was a lawyer on staff of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and former anti-death penalty organizer for American Civil Liberties Union Capital Punishment Project.
Order online her books Don't Kill in Our Names and
Capital Consequences: Families of the Condemned Tell Their Stories
Read Rachel's articles and 2007 novel, Tales of the District free online!
Email RachelKingBooks ~AT~   ©2003-2016

See Rachel King video interview