'Here is a man that's life is being snuffed out..in my name..in our name...' demonstrators were at the federal prison as Keith Nelson drew his last breath

The 5th execution this summer happened in Terre Haute. Demonstrators for and against the death penalty were out expressing their viewpoints.

Posted: Aug 28, 2020 6:56 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- Keith Nelson was pronounced dead by lethal injection 4:32 pm. 

Many demonstrators were not too far near the federal prison in opposition to the death penalty.

Protesters met at the Dollar General around 2:30 pm. They first had a vigil. 

We spoke with a member of the group Death Penalty Action Abraham Bonowitz. 

He said these executions are a political stunt by the president.

"The timing of these executions, during the week of the Republican National Convention, is not happenstance.. This was scripted," said Bonowitz. "Wednesday, Donald Trump became the most executing president since the 1950s."

As we were out there, people have been driving by yelling from their cars in favor of the death penalty. 

One person actually stopped and talked with the other demonstrators.

Brad Colglazier shared his thoughts on why he stands for the death penalty.

"I believe if somebody does something heinous enough to deserve that we should follow through. I'm a Christian man and I believe that we all have the ability and the right to speak our side and I think we can disagree agreeably, " said Colglazier.

Inside the prison with Nelson was Sister Barbara Batista, who acted as his spiritual advisor. 

She said she was filled with sadness and an empty feeling after watching Nelson die.

Nelson had asked her to be his spiritual advisor. 

Batista relived those moments leading up to his death with us. She was with him after he was strapped into the gurney.

She said she recited an execution prayer numerous times. 

We asked her what was one of the things she'll always remember from this execution. Batista said the government worked hard to cover up the majority of his body, taking out any chance for human emotion.

Nelson didn't give have any final words. After he was pronounced dead she was able to bless his body with anointing oil.

"The primary emotion for me was sadness. here is a man that's life is being snuffed out.. in my name.. in our name," said Batista. 

We asked her would she ever be another inmate's spiritual advisor. She said if, given the opportunity, she'll be there for execution set next month. 

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