Cover image for Choosing mercy : a mother of murder victims pleads to end the death penalty
Choosing mercy : a mother of murder victims pleads to end the death penalty
Bosco, Antoinette, 1928-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Maryknoll, N.Y. : Orbis Books [2001]

Physical Description:
239 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV8698 .B67 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV8698 .B67 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HV8698 .B67 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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When 18-year-old Shadow Clark shot and killed her son and daughter-in-law Toni Bosco's heart was crushed. In time her grief transformed into something else: forgiveness, and a conviction that to want one more unnatural death would be wrong. "I could say he must be punished for life, but I could not say, kill this killer." Toni chose mercy over vengeance -- and again, her life changed forever.

Author Notes

Antoinette Bosco is an award-winning journalist, columnist and author.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Sometimes the most eloquent opponents of the death penalty are those who have the most obvious personal reasons to demand this ultimate form of retribution: people who have lost loved ones in brutal, senseless crimes. In 1993 Bosco's son and his wife were shot and killed by an 18-year-old Montana neighbor. Bosco, a journalist, had long opposed the death penalty, partly because of family history, but the Montana murders made the issue even more central for her. Like some other family members of crime victims, Bosco found that forgiveness was an essential element of healing. She got involved in victim support groups and then prison visitation, becoming an activist, not simply for elimination of the death penalty, but also for radical reform of the prison system. Choosing Mercy is a highly personal story, describing Bosco's experiences and those of other parents and relatives Bosco has encountered in campaigning for a criminal justice system that would honor victims by blending justice with mercy. A valuable supplement to more academic studies of this issue. --Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

Journalist Bosco (The Pummeled Heart) had her world overturned in 1993 when her son and daughter-in-law were shot to death while they slept. Their murder made no sense, even after the police arrested the 18-year-old son of the home's previous owner. Although the killer did not receive the death penalty (and despite his evident lack of remorse), Bosco, a devout Catholic who had always opposed the death penalty, was troubled by the resolutely pro-capital-punishment stance espoused by many violent-crime survivors and their advocates. In this spiritually charged meditation on violence and punishment, she addresses difficult issues, ranging from a deeply flawed corrections system to whether the worst offenders possess the capacity to atone and be redeemed. Bosco recounts how she became involved in the debate as a journalist and a mother for her own healing unsentimentally describing how her resolute prolife stand was sorely tested by her anger and grief and meeting others in her unfortunate position, including bestselling author Dominick Dunne, who forgave his daughter's murderer. Her advocacy increased when she went public as a writer and speaker willing to uphold the seditious view that "unnatural death is an evil, no matter whose hand stops the breath," and she includes here an appendix of books and organizations that argue against the death penalty. Bosco writes in a clear yet sometimes prolix fashion; much of her contemplation takes the form of wrestling with Christian biblical mandates, which may keep readers of other faiths at a distance. Even so, this is a brave, sustained and timely argument against capital punishment from one who has paid a heavy toll. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 9
Introductionp. 13
1 The Murdersp. 19
2 Beginning the Healing Processp. 36
3 Raising My Voicep. 57
4 Plunging into the Debatep. 74
5 A New Door Opens--and Prisoners Become Kinp. 93
6 Calls Come In--and I Am the Learnerp. 110
7 Behind the Bars, Seriously Flawed Prison Systemp. 130
8 The Other Victimsp. 150
9 Leadership from the Pulpitp. 165
10 Concern about the Death Penalty Growsp. 181
11 So Much Known--So Much to Be Donep. 200
Postscriptp. 221
Sources and Notesp. 229
Recommended Booksp. 237
Resource Groups against Capital Punishmentp. 238