Pickett, Carroll — To Kill or Not To Kill, No Man Should Die Alone

To Kill or Not To Kill: That is the question still presented to juries in capital cases in the United States, one of the few countries remaining in the world to employ the death penalty. In this edition of Radio Curious, we visit with Pastor Carroll Pickett, who served as chaplain for the Texas Department of Corrections from 1982 to 1995 and counseled 95 inmates on their way to death by lethal injection. “At the Death House Door: No Man Should Die Alone,” is a independent film documentary, directed and produced by Steve James and Peter Gilbert, that presents a personal and intimate look at the death penalty in Texas through the eyes of Pastor Pickett, a Presbyterian minister. Over the years, after each of the 95 executions, Pickett would record his experiences with that person on the tape he used to practice his sermons. Although he never listened to those tapes, they became the thread and primary source for the movie. I spoke with Pastor Carroll Pickett on May 23, 2008 from his home in Texas, after hearing him speak at a special hearing on capital punishment in San Francisco, CA, while he was on a break from a national publicity tour. We began when I asked him to explain what brought him to work with condemned men and be with them in their last hours. This program was originally broadcast on June 25, 2009.

The book Carroll Pickett recommends is “Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist,” by Mike Farrell and Martin Sheen.

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