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Author of Dead Man Walking to Speak on Death Penalty

For Release: September 27, 2006

Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, will discuss her work with death row inmates during a luncheon on Sunday, October 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Marylhurst University in Clark Commons, Hawthorne room. Sponsored by Steve and Barbara Spence. To reserve a seat, call 503.699.6241. Admission is $75 for the general public; $40 for Marylhurst alumni.

Sister Prejean was instrumental in starting a national dialogue on the issue of the death penalty. She is known for her role as spiritual advisor to death row inmate Patrick Sonnier. Their story, told in Dead Man Walking, remained at number one on the New York Times Best Seller list for 31 weeks. In 1996 it was developed into a major motion picture.

"Sister Helen is recognized for deepening the discourse around the death penalty and calling for its termination," said David Dickson, Marylhurst's vice president for development. "Her experience in a prison execution chamber adds intensity to the death penalty debate."

Sister Prejean has witnessed five executions. She educates the public about the death penalty by lecturing, organizing and writing. She continues her work with inmates and recently expanded her counseling efforts by founding an advocacy group that works with the families of murder victims.

Marylhurst is located 10 minutes south of Portland on Highway 43. Marylhurst University, #1 in the Pacific Northwest for small class size according to U.S. News & World Report, offers professional certificates and degrees for undergraduate and graduate studies.

More about Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Prejean began her prison ministry in 1981 when she dedicated her life to the poor of New Orleans. She became pen pals with Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers, who was sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana's Angola State Prison. Upon Sonnier's request, Sister Helen repeatedly visited him as his spiritual advisor. In doing so, her eyes were opened to the Louisiana execution process.

Sister Helen served on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty from 1985 to 1995 and was chairperson of the board from 1993 to 1995. She is a member of Amnesty International and an honorary member of Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation. She presently is the honorary chairperson of Moratorium Campaign, a group gathering signatures for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty.

Her broadcast appearances include 60 Minutes on CBS, Today on NBC, World News Tonight on ABC, Tom Snyder Show on CNBC, Larry King Live on radio and Weekend Edition on NPR.

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