The state of Idaho prepares to execute a man in hospice.
The crimes of which Gerald Pizzuto, Jr. was convicted are horrible. I grieve for the families of Berta Herndon and her nephew Del Herndon.
But the execution of Pizzuto will not bring the Herndons back. There are many reasons to oppose executions. Executions lower us to the level of those who kill. The violence of an execution feeds violence. Executions negate any possibility of repentance and restoration. Executions do not deter crime. In this case, there is the additional reality that Pizzuto is terminally ill. Killing Pizzuto would be cruel and unnecessary. Sign this petition to Idaho’s governor and the state Pardons and Parole Commission to grant clemency, call off the execution, and allow Pizzuto to die a natural death.
Gerald Pizzuto’s attorney notes: “At 64, Mr. Pizzuto is a frail shell of the man he once was. He has stage 4 cancer and is approaching natural death. The idea that such a sick, feeble man presents enough of a danger to society that he must be executed is far-fetched.” For more than a year, Pizzuto has been in hospice care on Idaho’s death row, suffering from advanced bladder tumors, along with type 2 diabetes, and a variety of heart and lung diseases. According to his defense team, he’s been prescribed 42 different drugs in the last year, and his medical records say he has “begun experiencing memory loss and mild disorientation associated with the death process”.
Pizzuto does not deny his responsibility for the murders of Berta Herndon and Del Herndon. His clemency petition notes that he “is not making excuses for the 1986 deaths of Berta and Delbert Herndon.
He accepts responsibility for his role in their murders and is remorseful for their deaths. He has
carried those regrets for 34 years on death row.” You can read the clemency petition here (including horrific details about abuse he endured in his childhood that left him with brain damage).
Killing Pizzuto would be unnecessary and cruel. That cruelty could extend to the state workers asked to carry out the execution of a prisoner in such a debilitated condition. This might well leave them with lifelong burdens known to exist with other former executioners. Please sign this petition urging that the execution of Pizzuto be cancelled. Please pray for those who love Berta Herndon and Del Herndon.