What Would You Do If Someone You Loved Was Murdered?

Often, when we do presentations on the death penalty, someone in the crowd will respond to us by saying, “You would feel differently if someone murdered your loved one.” And, the point is well taken. I don’t know how I would feel if such a horrible thing happened to my family, but I hope that I could respond like some victims’ family members who have chosen to oppose the death penalty in spite of their pain. One such amazing person is SueZann Bosler.

On December 22, 1986, SueZann and her father, Rev. Billy Bosler, were attacked in the church parsonage by an intruder. Rev. Bosler was stabbed 24 times. SueZann, in an effort to help her dad, was stabbed in the back and the head and left for dead. While lying on the floor pretending to be dead, she heard the intruder ransack the house as she watched her dying father take his last breath.

As a Brethren minister, Rev. Bosler had been an opponent of capital punishment and once told SueZann that if murdered, he did not want the killer to receive the death penalty. On her father’s behalf, SueZann worked for 10 1/2 years to spare the life of the man who killed her father and so brutally attacked her. On June 13, 1993, her efforts were successful, and the man who committed the crime, James Bernard Campbell, received three consecutive life terms.

SueZann travels the country with other victims’ family members on the Journey of Hope as they share their stories of healing and why they oppose the death penalty. TCASK is privileged to be hosting SueZann this week, March 14-17, as she comes to Nashville to share her story. She will be speaking to groups throughout Middle Tennessee like students at MTSU, Vanderbilt, and Volunteer State Community College while also speaking at a few high schools and at a fundraiser for TCASK. If you are interested in hearing SueZann, please email us at TCASK, and we can give you more details about her speaking engagements.

In speaking of the moment when her father’s killer was given those life sentences rather than the death penalty, SueZann says, “Being able to point to him at that moment and express my forgiveness was like having a weight lifted from my shoulders.” Such a response to a violent act, not only spared a another life from a violent end, but also helped a daughter to heal.

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