Counselor seeks end to executionsOn Oct. 9, 1975, Kim Hye-won, a devout Christian, saw a report that police had finally arrested a serial killer named Kim Dae-doo, who allegedly had killed 17 victims.
From that day on, Ms. Kim began to think about how dreadful capital punishment was if such a sinner died unredeemed.
She later wrote a letter to the condemned murderer, begging him to seek God’s mercy. To her surprise, he wrote back after 10 days. Overwhelmed by her letter, the killer wrote he was praying for his victims and asking their forgiveness.
This is how Ms. Kim, a wife and mother of four children, became a religious mentor and counselor, giving condemned prisoners care their families did not want to give. For over 30 years, she has led convicted criminals to “the light” before their final moments.
“When Kim Dae-doo died in the death chamber, it was such a loss that it made me want to give up,” Ms. Kim said, “but a few days later, he came to me in a dream and was smiling. That’s what made me certain that what I was doing was worth such sacrifice.”
Ms. Kim has counseled over 20 people sentenced to death, including notorious serial killers, political offenders, and even those accused unjustly by the military regimes.
“Considering the number of political and innocent death row prisoners, capital punishment should be abolished,” said Ms. Kim. “Even a person committing a heinous crime should be given a second chance rather than the death sentence.”
She recently gathered her experiences with death row prisoners and published a book, “People with a Treasured Day.”
She said, “I wanted to convey the message that executing prisoners is not the best way to give our children a better world to live in. We must change and educate the prisoners to do so.”
by Shin Ye-ri