Clemency Hearings in Chicago

By: Joe Hamilton
By: Joe Hamilton

As Gov. Ryan prepares to consider granting clemency to Illinois' death row inmates. Wednesday, the victims family's finally had their say.

Nearly 50 family’s faced off with Ryan in what was their opportunity to tell the governor what they think about his handling of death penalty cases.

As the victims families started arriving to talk to Gov. Ryan Wednesday morning they had only one thing in mind, to convince the governor that the person who murdered their loved one should not be granted clemency.

"I want him to take a serious look at my father. What he looked liked and that he didn't deserve to die the way he did, said Bob Peters Jr.", whose father was murdered in 1992.

The meeting lasted about five hours and took an emotional toll on most of the victim's family's. This woman was so overcome by emotion that she collapsed as she spoke to reporters, others say that they were just mad they even had to be there.

"Why do we have to wait so long? My son was killed 10 years ago and I still have to go through this. The system really sucks," said Deloris Bussel, whose son was murdered in 1991.

For the Peters, the meeting proved to be exhausting. They said they were emotionally drained after hearing countless victims describe each of their family's tragedies in detail.

"I was exhausting. Hearing your story for the tenth time is amazing but hearing people who have had to go through this for 20 years makes our ordeal seem like a drop in the bucket," said Becky Peters, whose father was murdered in 1992.

The governor though did assure these families that he would not impose a statewide blanket clemency, reassurance for some. But for others they still have fear about what the governor may do.

"I think the governor won't lift the moratorium like I should. But I really think that the governor won't even make a decision on this before he leaves office," said Bob Peters Jr.

While the impact of these meetings may never be known, what is, is that Rod Blagojevich is expected to review these cases himself once he becomes governor in January, meaning, these family's may have to go through this ordeal again.


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