Spiritual advisor says Keith Nelson is resigned to fact he will be executed Friday

The spiritual advisor to death row inmate Keith Nelson says the prisoner is resigned to his fate. Nelson is scheduled to be executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute Friday.

Posted: Aug 27, 2020 8:09 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – The spiritual advisor to death row inmate Keith Nelson says the prisoner is resigned to his fate. Nelson is scheduled to be executed at the federal prison in Terre Haute Friday.

Nelson asked Sister Barbara Battista to be his minister of record. Battista serves with the Sisters of Providence and has been outspoken at anti-death penalty protests.

LINK | JUDGE HALTS PLANNED FRIDAY FEDERAL EXECUTION OF KANSAS GIRL’S KILLER

Battista says Nelson asked her to be his spiritual advisor with the help of Dustin Honken. Honken was executed by lethal injection in July.

LINK | WAITING TO DIE: DUSTIN LEE HONKEN EXECUTION

As a minister of record, Sister Battista has been communicating with Nelson the past several months. She will be in the execution chamber with Nelson strapped to the gurney.

“He asked me if I would be willing to do this a couple months ago, to companion him and to bear witness. His primary request of me was to bear witness so that persons will know what happens in that room so that somehow, through me with God's grace, you know, that I might be able to share that experience."

Sister Battista says her time with Nelson on the day of his execution will be brief. She says Nelson told her he may chose not to give a final statement.

"I have the impression that he's pretty well resigned to the fact that the government will take his life. He's not claiming innocence. He's not like, ‘oh, poor pitiful me.’"

She will be prepared to anoint him if he asks and Sister Battista says she will say a quite prayer written by Sister Helen Prejean as she watches Nelson draw his final breaths.

God of Compassion

You let your rain fall on the just and the unjust.
Expand and deepen our hearts
so that we may love as You love,
even those among us
who have caused the greatest pain by taking life.
For there is in our land a great cry for vengeance
as we fill up death row and kill the killers
in the name of justice, in the name of peace.
Jesus, our brother,
you suffered execution at the hands of the state
but you did not let hatred overcome you
Help us to reach out to victims of violence
so that our enduring love may help them heal.
Holy Spirit of God,
You strengthen us in the struggle for justice,
Help us to work tirelessly
for the abolition of state-sanctioned death
and to renew our society in its very heart
so that violence will be no more.

Amen.

- Sister Helen Prejean

"Part of my preparation is to not, as best I can, not anticipate that. Let the event happen, don't push it aside, be reflective, and I don't know how I'll feel."

Sister Battista says she is not preparing Nelson for execution rather offering him companionship in his final moments.

"How does anyone really prepare to be executed? I don't know and I don't think I'll ever really know."

Terre Haute
Mostly Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 67°
Robinson
Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 66°
Indianapolis
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 64°
Rockville
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Casey
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 64°
Brazil
Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 67°
Marshall
Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 67°
Scattered Showers and Thundershowers
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1367126

Reported Deaths: 24801
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook54734510147
DuPage908351288
Will75828993
Lake67459991
Kane58579778
Winnebago33393477
Madison30589520
McHenry28705288
St. Clair27915514
Peoria23202317
Champaign20710145
Sangamon18831234
McLean18236181
Tazewell16999291
Rock Island15041318
Kankakee14232210
Kendall1310594
LaSalle12589244
Macon10784200
DeKalb9912119
Vermilion9702132
Adams8476123
Williamson7446130
Whiteside7166172
Boone672074
Ogle612081
Grundy590176
Clinton576590
Coles569196
Knox5573150
Jackson503364
Henry501167
Livingston483385
Stephenson477183
Woodford476277
Effingham472972
Macoupin471583
Marion4472115
Franklin446375
Monroe435793
Jefferson4304120
Lee417453
Randolph413484
Fulton395557
Morgan390282
Logan389159
Montgomery373474
Bureau372782
Christian368673
Perry317960
Fayette317855
Iroquois302966
McDonough286747
Jersey269350
Douglas259035
Saline256654
Lawrence240625
Shelby229937
Union226240
Crawford212326
Bond205524
Cass199525
Jo Daviess181924
Clark180633
Warren180246
Pike179352
Ford179147
Wayne178053
Hancock176231
Carroll175636
Richland175240
Edgar170840
White169826
Washington164425
Moultrie161128
De Witt151725
Mason151645
Piatt150014
Clay148143
Mercer147533
Johnson144615
Greene144033
Massac134640
Wabash134612
Cumberland129019
Menard123712
Jasper115118
Marshall107418
Hamilton83615
Schuyler7607
Brown7106
Pulaski6867
Stark63824
Edwards56912
Henderson52414
Calhoun5182
Putnam4833
Scott4791
Alexander46811
Gallatin4604
Hardin38612
Pope3224
Out of IL20
Unassigned02356

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 735999

Reported Deaths: 13486
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1007151752
Lake54249977
Allen40946680
St. Joseph36335553
Hamilton35829408
Elkhart28844443
Tippecanoe22475219
Vanderburgh22367397
Porter18946311
Johnson18067381
Hendricks17317315
Clark13036192
Madison12762339
Vigo12501249
LaPorte12086215
Monroe11957172
Delaware10755187
Howard10001218
Kosciusko9466117
Hancock8373142
Bartholomew8098156
Warrick7799155
Floyd7690178
Grant7098174
Wayne7072199
Boone6745101
Morgan6611140
Dubois6166117
Marshall6111112
Cass5876105
Dearborn583178
Henry5785105
Noble565984
Jackson503773
Shelby494396
Lawrence4602120
Gibson437192
Harrison436672
DeKalb430585
Clinton428453
Montgomery425889
Whitley398739
Huntington394480
Steuben391057
Miami383968
Knox372890
Jasper372649
Putnam363760
Wabash355380
Adams342755
Ripley340770
Jefferson331881
White317754
Daviess298399
Wells292081
Decatur285992
Fayette282162
Greene280585
Posey272034
LaGrange268970
Scott267554
Clay261347
Washington242132
Randolph242081
Spencer232931
Jennings230949
Starke219354
Fountain213946
Sullivan212242
Owen203356
Jay197830
Fulton196040
Carroll190420
Orange184754
Perry184637
Rush174025
Vermillion170044
Franklin168535
Tipton163445
Parke146716
Pike135634
Blackford135132
Pulaski117445
Newton108934
Brown102641
Crawford101415
Benton99014
Martin89515
Warren82615
Switzerland7948
Union71410
Ohio57111
Unassigned0417