AR Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, protesters react to Lee execution

Protesters with Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty gathered outside the governor's mansion Thursday night to hold a candle light vigil for death-row inmate Ledell Lee. (Photo: KATV)

Outside the governor's mansion late Thursday night, some anti-death penalty protesters shed tears and hugged each other as they found out death-row inmate Ledell Lee had been executed.

The protest, organized by the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, started at 6:00 p.m.

Many held out hope that the Supreme Court of the United States would grant a stay for Lee's execution. However, the stay was lifted at 11:23 p.m.

The protest ended shortly after Lee was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m.

Furonda Brasfield, the group's executive director, said there were tears of sadness because most protesters are people of faith, and don't believe that executions are the way.

"We thought that our state and that our governing officials would do better, because we know that we can do better," said Brasfield. "Taking a life is never the answer. Murder is never excusable, especially a premeditated murder in this way."

"Out of whatever blood lust that our officials in the state have, we executed a man today," said Brasfield. "And I say we, because our state did this, like we're all implicit in the murder of this individual."

The group does plan to hold vigils for the remaining death-row inmates on the nights of their scheduled executions.

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