Locals advocate against the death penalty

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Vigils and protests were held across the Commonwealth Thursday night opposing the death penalty and the execution of William Morva.

Dozens of people wrote letters to Governor Terry McAuliffe asking him to commute Morva’s sentence. The most shocking came from the daughter of the deputy Morva killed.

8News spoke to the father of a murder victim about why he also opposes the death penalty.

David Knight’s son was murdered 20 years ago, and he said since the trial of his son’s murders and their sentences to life in prison, he has come around to being an advocate against the death penalty.

“Vengeance of the death penalty does not solve the problem,” David Knight said.

Knight attended the vigil at the Richmond Friends Meeting on Kensington Avenue.

He said he opposes the punishment even though he knows personally how a violent crime, like in the case of William Morva, can impact your life.

“I can identify with the daughter,” Knight said. “It is really tough to live with the death of someone you love through violence, but holding the resentment is just like drinking the poison and hoping they will die.”

“It is really tough to live with the death of someone you love through violence, but holding the resentment is just like drinking the poison and hoping they will die.”

He said he understands how even the victims’ families can say they are against killing their loved ones’ murderer.

“I realized that it will bring no peace to us,” Knight said. “Killing someone because they had killed is only vengeance; it serves no purpose.”

Knight was one of 21 people at Thursday’s prayer vigil.

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