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WITNESS TO AN EXECUTION

On Octover 26 2004 I stood outside Huntsville Penitentiary while Dominique Green was put to death. The story of his life is told in Thomas Cahill’s book, A Saint on Death Row. Since that night I’ve felt that the disturbing events  I witnessed don’t belong to me but to a larger audience. Here they are.

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The night they killed Dominique they did it professionally.

The white-walled room was vacuumed; its cement floor scrubbed free of all stains. The gurney had a freshly laundered cover; each belt and strap was lined up with the pad’s top edge. On a clean tray lay three glass vials with the chemicals. Down the hallway a plain coffin of unfinished pine rested on a pair of saw horses, custom made to receive the body of a man who was still alive. Sitting alone in a nearby cell, he listened to his breathing. He didn’t feel dead; he wasn’t even ill. He knew he was about to be ritually sacrificed and he resented it.

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